Bite-sized Summary: Woodfired pizza, fresh handmade pasta and an entire page devoted to Italian desserts. Need I say more? Located a 20-minute drive from Sydney CBD, this family-run restaurant offers an extensive menu and warm, friendly service.
Despite the large, somewhat industrial-looking space, Vivaldi still manages to provide a cosy, welcoming atmosphere through little touches like red and white checkered tablecloths and countertops lined with jars full of peppers and dry pasta. The toasty, delicious aroma of woodfired pizza is the first thing we notice before receiving a warm greeting from owner/manager Raffaele.
We flip through the menu, which is filled with everything from classic pizza and pasta to arancini, antipasto boards, slow-cooked pork belly, fresh mussels steamed with white wine and even a seafood platter with lobster tail and king prawns. With such an extensive menu, there’s truly something for everyone here. We decided to let Raffaele choose a few of his favourites…
From the starters menu, we were excited to receive the melanzane parmigiana ($18) with layers of tender, silky eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella. Served on the side was a “carrozza”, which is essentially a battered and fried sandwich filled with warm, melted mozzarella cheese. This was perfect for mopping up the leftover sauce, however, I found it lacked the crunch that I expected from the fried coating; perhaps if we had eaten it right as it arrived at the table instead of waiting until the end this would not have been an issue. The real star of this dish, however, was hands down that tomato sauce, so beautiful and rich in flavour, and perfectly seasoned.
To the discomfort of my blue cheese-phobic partner 😅, Raff recommended the gnocchi zola ($25) in a creamy white sauce with gorgonzola cheese and walnuts. He mentioned that the gnocchi is freshly made in-house and that his chef creates the dish in a way that even people who don’t enjoy strong cheese can enjoy.
As the dish arrived at the table, that polarising aroma of gorgonzola was the first thing we noticed; the taste, however, was much more subtle. These little pillows of potato gnocchi were incredibly soft and smooth; perhaps a little too soft for me, however, combined with the delicate creamy sauce and crunch from the walnuts, we both (!!) enjoyed trying this dish as something different from the tomato-based pasta dishes we are normally drawn to.
Of course, we couldn’t visit Vivaldi without trying a pizza fresh from their woodfire oven. To my delight, we were presented with a beautiful, Napoli-style (my favourite!!) ‘Quattro Stagioni’ pizza ($25) with a thin base and slightly puffy crust, topped with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte cheese, mushrooms, smoked ham, artichokes and olives.
I don’t think I’ve paid so much attention to pizza crusts in the past, however, Vivaldi’s were extraordinarily flavourful with the perfect amount of chewiness – the best I’ve had in a while! The classic, simple toppings were delicious on top of the base, which held together nicely without becoming overly soggy. My only criticism is that the artichokes didn’t seem quite right with a mushy texture.
To finish, Vivaldi offers several delicious Italian treats like classic tiramisu, pannacotta and freshly baked ricotta cake; all made in-house. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough room left for the Nutella pizza, but I can imagine just how good that pizza base would taste layered with rich Nutella, banana and berries.
I definitely wasn’t disappointed, however, with the cannoli siciliani ($12). Featuring light, crispy shells filled with smooth ricotta, which was flavoured with slightly bitter and slightly sweet candied orange peel. A must-try from Vivaldi Kitchen!
A local restaurant offering delicious, flavoursome Italian cuisine complemented by warm, welcoming service. Owner/manager Raff speaks so passionately about the food that its a delight to visit Vivaldi and feel like you’re part of the family. Highlights for me were the eggplant starter and cannoli dessert.
A big thank you to Raff and the wonderful team at Vivaldi Kitchen! Eats with Marie dined as a guest of Vivaldi and Ompty Media. All opinions, comments and photos are 100% honest and my own.
3/495 Bunnerong Rd, Matraville 2036
(02) 9311 1554
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