FROM THE SET OF WOODY ALLEN'S BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (1994) AT CAFFE VIVALDI, A PORTRAIT OF ENGLISH SOPRANO AND COMPOSER LIZA LEHMANN (1862–1918).
When Joseph Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987, he gave international press interviews while sitting down at Vivaldi and enjoying his favorite drink. When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village, they came to Vivaldi.
Over the last thirty years, Vivaldi has been a haven for New Yorkers and creative people from the world over. However, it has always been a gathering place for musicians. It is, after all, named for the Italian composer, Antonio Vivaldi.
In the mid 1980s, Caffe Vivaldi had a significant role, along with radio stations WQXR, WNYC & WNCN, in the resurgence of New Yorkers’ interest in classical music. Ishrat Ansari, the owner of The Listening Room at Caffe Vivaldi, played selections from his vast private collection. For hundreds of his customers, this was their first introduction to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and other masters of western classical music. The opening of the first Tower Records in the neighborhood further helped the phenomenon along. Every evening, after their first listening to a recording at Vivaldi, customers would walk over to Tower Records to buy a copy.
In addition, there were weekly live music events at Vivaldi. It was an eclectic mix of original pop, jazz, western classical, Pakistani and South Asian classical and world music. On persistent demand of music-loving New Yorkers, we have now extended that weekly event to daily live music at Vivaldi.
With live music seven days a week, The Listening Room at Caffe Vivaldi has become New York’s premier spot for original music by uniquely creative singer-songwriters. For an authentic Greenwich Village experience, we have fine dining, a full bar, coffee drinks and desserts combined with great live music.
Since our founding, we proudly serve locally sourced and produced ingredients mostly from centuries- and decades-old Italian-American establishments. These independent, local businesses have long been the heart and soul of Greenwich Village. We urge you to patronize them!
We are a slow food establishment, as almost everything is made from scratch. As such, expect to wait longer than usual for your meals. Since most of the items on our menu are prepared to be sold the same day, we usually run out of food by eleven p.m. However, after eleven p.m. you can still order our cheese plate or desserts to pair with your single malt, favorite cocktail, or glass of red.
The French-Italian roast we use to pull our espressos and coffee drinks and the loose leaf tea we serve by the pot come to us from the Porto Rico Importing Company, a hundred-and-ten year old Greenwich Village institution.
Prep time does take extra hours, but we prefer to make our own sauces and vinaigrettes from scratch, the old fashioned way. Pesto is made with basil leaves only – no stems – and organic pignoli nuts. Marinara from organic tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. Our herbed champagne vinaigrette is so delicate that it has to be made right at the time of serving, not a minute before.
Raffetto’s on Houston Street has been making the fresh pasta on our menu in the back of their store every day for over a hundred years.
Fresh mozzarella comes from the world-famous Di Palo’s in Little Italy, established in 1910. Their mozzarella cheese, freshly made on the premises daily, is regarded by most critics as one of the finest in the world.
Our cheese plate selections and the parmigiano we grate on our pasta are from the famed Murray's Cheese on Bleecker Street.
The dense-yet-soft Tuscan focaccia we use for our panini, bread baskets and cheese plate is made daily at Parisi Bakery, a hundred-year-old Little Italy mainstay.
We buy our chicken from Ottomanelli & Sons, the famous gourmet butchers operating on Bleecker Street for almost seven decades.
We buy all our seafood from the Lobster Place, one of the finest seafood purveyors in the country, also located on Bleecker Street and in the Chelsea Food Market.
The unique blend of spices we add to our signature omelette and the garnishes for our more complex cocktails come from the Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company.
Desserts are custom made for us – mostly from creations by the celebrated Italian executive pastry chef Salvatore Settepani at Pasticceria Bruno, from the Little Pie Company and from Ferrara Bakery in Little Italy (est. 1892).
We buy our gelato from the prolific Il Laboratorio del Gelato.
From our famous Irish coffee and brandy apple cider to single-malts and signature cocktails, we offer our patrons a full bar.
What you will not see are bright, polished “neat” looking table tops. Our tables are made of real travertine Italian marble with antique brass bases. Our old wooden chairs have a history and are mostly positioned in approximately the same spot where they were when they first seated the likes of Andy Warhol, Al Pacino, Woody Allen, Bette Midler, John Cusack, Rob Reiner, Joseph Brodsky and many others. We have a fireplace and it is usually lit on cold evenings.
Visit us and experience the charm of how the Village used to be in the days of Bob Dylan, Coltrane, Edgar Allen Poe and others captured in the movies and documentaries shot at Vivaldi.