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Aug 24, 2009 08:58 AM

San Vivaldo Trattoria, Warwick review

The Trattoria is an unassuming looking little place on Rt. 33 in Warwick that could be easily missed if you weren't specifically looking for it. We went to dinner on Saturday and had an amazing meal in an empty restaurant which was a shame as the food and atmosphere is so terrific.
The restaurant and parking lot are ringed with old footed bathtubs where many varieties of fresh herbs are growing. I took this as a good sign and was not disappointed.
The one word I would use to describe Chef Bigazzi's food is sublime. The advice I would have for anyone with an adventurous palate is to put your trust in the chef's hands. We just asked him to prepare his best meal for us and sat back with a bottle of excellent Malbec (one of our favorites) enjoying the excellent bread and flavored olive oil. The first course was a stuffed pepper, simply but amply seasoned with a bread stuffing along with a salad (herbs and baby greens) with a simple but lovely vinagrette and a piece of Bruschetta broiled with what appeared to be a variety of cheeses. Simply marvelous. This was followed by a small serving of some corkscrew pasta in an excellent Bolognese sauce.
At this point, the chef asked what we wanted as a main course and we told him that he was batting 1,000 so far and to just bring whatever he saw fit. It turned out to be a perfectly cooked piece of pork tenderloin with a light mushroom sauce and some roasted potatoes. Fabulous!
We were well into the second bottle of Malbec by then when chef asked about dessert. We ended up splitting a dessert of roasted peaches with what appeared to be a cross between a lemon semifreddo and a slice of cake with a light topping of cream. It was truly the perfect ending to a great meal. We both said the next day that we could easily have had the same meal again right then and been happy as clams.
When we were done and I paid the very modest bill, chef brought us an amazing herb bouquet with lemon thyme, mint, chives and other herbs to take home. What a marvelous gesture.
To sum up, I would urge anyone who truly likes food to PLEASE GO! If this place existed in the Boston area, I would be there weekly or more, it is that good. One caveat: if you are looking for a more structured Olive Garden type meal, this place might frustrate you but if you are a true foodie you will love every minute of the experience.

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  1. Sounds lovely. Would you give us a ballpark estimate of what you consider a "very modest bill" not including the cost of 2 bottles of wine? Thanks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thinks too much

      The bill with wine was just over $100. Yes, WITH wine.Please pass the word that this is a great and unique venue that needs everyone's patronage to survive. Chef Baggazi is a unique chef, almost a throwback to a time when the chef controlled everything that happened in his place of business. Please go. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

    2. I posted very similar (but far less detailed) sentiments on Friday. I'm also worried that this place will not survive. Please go!!
      Our bill for 3 with wine and 1 dessert was $80

      4 Replies
      1. re: elle

        I googled this restaurant, some sites post a menu (which looks great), other sites say there is no menu, you just tell the chef what you want. Can anyone clarify, I'm not sure if what I describe will be as good as what the chef makes. I'd rather a menu.

        1. re: care2

          I googled too! There website posts a menu but it appears that there are likely lots of daily specials.

          1. re: care2

            There IS a menu but the chef prefers to have a discussion with you; if you looked at the menu in advance and then said you wanted something from it, he'd make it for you. He'll also make suggestions and tell you what he made that day. It's really a you-have-to-be there to get it kind of thing.

            1. re: elle

              One thing I forgot to mention was that the chef brought out some pasta with sausage and rabe for a side with the pork, as if we needed more food at that point!

        2. Does anyone have any idea of two lacto-ovo vegetarians could safely eat there? I've been wanting to try it out for ages. Thanks in advance!

          4 Replies
          1. re: invinotheresverde

            You'll be fine-freshly made mozzarella appetizers, all manner of veggie friendly pastas. My first time there, I had an amazing gnocchi with pesto. The chef frowned when 2 of us said 'no meat' (he's a bit judgememental but in an affectionately crotchedy way), but he got it and did well by us.

            1. re: elle

              Sounds great. Can't wait to try it... That area is otherwise seemingly just one chain restaurant after another... Only really Twist and Haruki nearby.

              1. re: Garris

                The chains are all out on "BA(l)D Hill Road." This is located on a Secondary road and the only other things near it are a neighborhood Italian market / deli and the West Valley Inn.

                1. re: FjmArch

                  Right, this restaurant is located in the traditionally Italian enclave of Natick in West Warwick - not on the nightmare that is Rt 2.

          2. After reading all the reviews in the last week or so, I had to go to this place.

            Everything was wonderful! The chef and one other person were working for the night. The chef can be a little gruff, but we were prepared based on what we read here and on a few other reviews elsewhere on the web. The chef did not approve of my husband's drink selection (gin and tonic) and told him so "what a waste". Later we shared a bottle of Malbec. There is no written menu. The chef came to the table and asked us what we wanted. We told him we heard that it was bet to put ourselves into his capable hands. He prepared an wonderful appetizer plate with several items (cold roasted pork, salad and tomatoes and 4 of 4 other bites). Next he gave us an amazing ravioli with meat sauce pasta course. My entree was a sole with a Mediterranean sauce. My husband had a chicken and veal dish. We shared a homemade dessert (lemon cake). You might have to wait for your drink or next course if he is tending to the kitchen or another guest. I think that once he gets to know you a little and know your likes and dislikes, he softens a bit. Like others have said, I'm worried that this place isn't going to make it. When we arrived, there was one other couple. Another couple came and sat at the bar (they picked up a few things to go). That was it! Nobody else came in while we were there. The chef said things have been a little slow. I intend to try and make it part of our dining rotation. This is seriously a unique and enjoyable dining experience. I think the place would make a great location for a chowdown! Don't let the lack of a printed menu keep you away. Tell the chef what your likes/dislikes/allergies and let him create a wonderful meal for you. It was a bit of a struggle for my husband who tends to lean towards a more traditional dining experience but he said he really enjoyed the night and wants to go back too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bluebird

              A chowdown at this location is an excellent idea.

              1. re: FjmArch

                Smashing idea! If we can schedule a weekday, I will be there!

            2. Based on this discussion, we went to San Vivaldo last night for Wife's birthday. Things played out as described. Place was 2/3 empty at 8 PM. Chef went through his act; dinner was fine. Wines were appropriate. No wine list. Sauces were complex and delicious. Prices were very reasonable. Chef "Alfie" is bizarre; rude, even. His behavior is off-putting. We will let the evening mellow over time, before deciding whether to return. If he is having trouble filling the place, I would look to his behavior.

              2 Replies
              1. re: trail 6

                How do you think the chef will be with someone who cannot have any lactose? Sometimes the chef's on the gruff side have an issue with the adjustments it requires. I looked at the menu online and it seems there might be a thing or two but thought I'd check in here too. Thx!

                1. re: eenie1

                  As I recall, there was an earlier post like this. If you search the restaurant name on thie board, I think you will get your answer