From left, Robert and Teresa Ribellino, Victoria Balestrieri and Keith Grucbele. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Oh what a night!
The big Italian party continues to live on bigger than ever at Villa Paradiso in Great Kills. The dining spot is nestled behind the former Pathmark Plaza of Great Kills where theres a celebration going on week after week.
Revelers strike a pose at Villa Paradiso. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
And last night was no exception.
From left, performers, Elisa LaChiusa, owner/performer, Leonardo LoVerde and performer, Nnoemi DiStefano. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Situated off Greaves Avenue and Amboy Road, the casual, 150-seat Italian supper club that opened its doors about seven years ago and replaced Joes of Avenue U, continues to attract diners with its unique concept.
Vocalists, Walter Curella and Noemi DiStefano. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
After all, foodies have always opined music and food go hand-in- hand and that the restaurant experience isnt only about authentic cuisine, but also about music and good entertainment.
From left, performer, Ciro Silvestri and Carmine Manna. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Music continues to remain an integral part in the success of any restaurant especially when live entertainment is part of the bill of fare.
Just ask Leonardo LoVerde, owner of Villa Paradiso and native of Palermo, Sicily, who not only sits at the helm, but doubles as a featured performer when he takes center stage each week and serenades diners with romantic Italian love songs in his native language.
From left, Michael DiTrani, Michael Angelo DiTrani, Venera DiTrani, who was celebrating her birthday and Michelle DiTrani. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
At Villa Paradiso, however, the real party comes to life when LoVerde is joined on the dance floor by the incomparable Ciro Silvestri, whose upbeat, operatic tunes and uproarious antics never cease to wow the crowd. And when he distributes tambourines and symbols it further enhances the dining performance.
Owner, Leonardo LoVerde performs in the dining room. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
FYI: Live musical entertainment is also provided by accomplished artist/songstylist/keyboardist and composer, Walter Curella, whose name has been synonymous with the music industry for several decades.
Ciro Silvestri, standing right, Lisa Cartalano, sitting in front of Ciro, owner of The Max Challenge in Charleston and her team out celebrating January birthdays. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
And Curella encourages amateur singers to come up and take the microphone.
A diner takes the microphone, left, while Ciro Silvestri, standing right, performs. Sitting from left, are Carmine Manna and Joe Travaglione. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Says LoVerde: We have a different concept. Its very relaxing. You can eat at home, but when you dine out music is a welcomed addition, before adding:
I have another fruit and vegetable business with my sons, Tony and Silvio, called Circus Fruits & Vegetable Market in Brooklyn. So my restaurant business isnt work for me. Its my hobby and a relaxation that I really love and get to enjoy.
A couple dances the night away as singer Roberto Serafini (cantantore) performs. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Because the excellence of the Italian cuisine depends on the quality of the ingredients from which it is prepared, the menu adopted at Villa Paradiso Ristorante is consistently fresh, with food delicately prepared and customized to meet the dietary requirements of diners.
From left, owner, Leonardo LoVerde, performer, Walter Curella and performer, Ciro Silvestri. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Starter standouts from the menu: the Vongole oregante, baked clams with seasoned breadcrumbs and Involtini di Melenzane, stuffed eggplant with ricotta, topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce.
Also: homemade pasta dishes like Paccheri al filetto di Pomedoro, large rigatoni in a tasty tomato sauce with a hint of onions and proscuitto and Scialatielli ai fruitti di mare, homemade pasta with mixed seafood in a light red sauce.
A platter of flavorful bronzino was served family style. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Entrees like Filetto di Branzino con insalate croccante, branzino filet seared over mescalin salad and Filetto di vitello ai carciofini, veal madallions sauted with fresh baby artichokes, are patrons' favorites.
Succulent sliced steak and lamb chops with sides of broccoli rape and roasted potatoes was another of the entrees served family style. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
A dessert sampler that included a variety of homemade sweet treats created by the wait staff, capped our dinner.
Lucious desserts of chocolate cream puffs and panna cotta capped our meal. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Villa Paradiso is located at 145 Greaves Lane in Great Kills.
For further info phone 718-227-2405 or visit VillaParadisoRestaurant.com.
Robert Ribellino serenades the crowd. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
From left, vocalists, Elisa LaChiusa, Leonardo LoVerde, owner, Noemi DiStefano and Roberto Serafini (cantantore). (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Robert Ribellino plays the bongo drums on the table of the dining spot. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Diners at Villa Paradiso enjoy the party. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Eugenio Buestin of the wait staff, distributes red roses to the ladies. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Teresa Ribellino sings her heart out for the crowd. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Roberto Serafini hugs a diner. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
From left Walter Curella, Robert Ribellino and a diner perform for the crowd. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti)
Staten Island Advance
Party goers strike a pose at Villa Paradiso. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance
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