This and That
Great for a special or romantic occasion! The ambiance and decor really sets this place apart. The only drawbacks: its outdoor dining is not available for dinner because of their neighbors and it only offers beer or wine (not a full bar).
5/30/2013 4:00:00 PM
ever changing menu
We love the ever changing menu, that depends on what's fresh at the time.
Also love the laid back atmosphere and rustic décor.
6/1/2013 12:00:00 AM
Two home runs and a triple.
We look for three major things when we go to a restaurant, Food, Service, and Ambience. Riva hit home runs on the first two with an interesting menu of delicious choices and truly delightful service from Paige. On the third, a solid triple with a slight complaint about the hard seating. After a couple of hours the hardwood chair and bench made us squirm. We will be back again because the food and service are compelling.
6/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
I like Riva Cucina a lot.
First, I like the environment. Although R.C. is in a light commercial area, it faces onto a peaceful garden terrace or plaza between buildings. This makes walking to and from R.C. a nice experience. Parking is easy. Inside, R.C. is roomy and fairly quiet. There's space between the tables! Decor is low key --- brick walls and calm lighting (pictures of Ferrara??) Actually, reminded me of a place in Cremona and another in Ferrara. What I ate was super. Excellent beet salad with a generous helping of farro salad in the middle. Tagliatelle with bolognese sauce was very authentic --- even had a little sweetness. "Nonna's" cake was excellent with a great Italian cream filling. This place is not to be missed.
6/18/2013 4:00:00 PM
The food was fresh and delicious. Our waitress was great. We will definitely go back!
6/21/2013 4:00:00 PM
All 3 of us enjoyed our meal here. It was a quiet week night, so the noise level was very moderate, though when we had been here before, on a Friday, it was pretty noisy. The pastas are really delicious. Interesting choices. Will definitely be returning.
6/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
Riva Cucina is a hidden gem located in a quiet business park just off Ashby Ave. by Interstate 80 freeway. Before you enter the restaurant there is a garden area with outside seating. There is also a water sculpture within a second garden nearby. The interior of the restaurant is unpretentious but presents a quiet atmosphere. I had halibut with polenta which was quite tasty. My wife had
the Tagliatelle Bolognese. When finished she had a great smile on her face. When I suggested she lick the plate the wait staff said she has seen it happen before. It was that good. The wine was reasonably priced and a generous pour. I had the lemon sorbet with infused whip cream. Just like in Italy.
A great way to end a lovely meal. Bon a petito.
7/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great place to meet friends
We enjoyed out dinner very much and it was a convenient place for East Bay/Marin buddies to meet. Noise level substantial, but the outdoor seating looked VERY appetizing for our next visit. Good food, good service, not cheap, but not too expensive...
7/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
good little germ
It was crowded that night and it is a bit noisy for quiet talk. The food is quite good,not too heavy, and the service is attentive and very helpful. Adjustments to our orders were investigated and happily made. They did get one appetizer wrong and promptly corrected it. When they forgot a veg and later brought it, they offered to take it off the bill. My biggest complaint is that the seats are hard and uncomfortable. This was a goodbye dinner, and we had to say goodbye sooner than we meant to. We couldn't sit any longer on those seats. So no dessert and coffee for us. Cushions would make a great difference.
Still, it is a great place for a reasonably affordable, delicious, local and healthy meal.
7/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Italian food
The food was exellent and the service was great.
It was a high level of service w out being in your face.
We went for a special occasion and we had a memorable meal.
7/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great food, so quiet that you start wondering why, strange location&appearance (doesn't look like a restaurant from outside), small but delicious portions (really european size!), I would go there few times a week if it wasn't so expensive. Good for quiet over lunch/dinner talk with a visitor. Server took away my unfinished beer without asking if I'm done with it, so that made it 2 stars. Moderate dinner for 2 costed me $65.
7/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wonderful new find!
We had a great dinner, the service was amazing, and I will definitely return to Riva Cucina. The herb encrusted sea bass was incredible as was the pappardelle with funghi. Special thanks to the waitress and waiter who were very attentive. She taught me how to debone my fish very professionally and was super attentive.
7/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Deserves the high rating
Quality of food, uniqueness of ingredients, distinct and fresh flavor. Add in attentive service and pleasant staff disposition and you have the things that elevate this place above merely good.
7/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Always a good experience.
Always a good experience. Solid execution of Italian cuisine and great service.
7/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
Another great experience at Riva.
We dined on Saturday in the early evening. The food was excellent. One minor hitch when I received the wrong entree. I received a great little appetizer on the house while this was quickly corrected. We had nice conversations with Ellen and our server, Lauren. They really know how to make guests feel like 'family'. We live down the Peninsula so Berkeley is quite a 'hike' for us, but well worth it. We have also gotten to really like the custom olive oil Riva has for sale. (We're on our second bottle!)
7/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Unpretentious with soul
Such a nice place, really good food without being precious, "fit for foodies" who don't have or need attitude. The Pinot Noir from the Central Coast was absolutely spectacular - $50. Perfect for small groups (8-10), who are artsy, witty, smart, good cooks, know their wine, ethnically diverse, young and old -- like my birthday group!
7/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
Finding a very good restaurant is difficult, but not impossible. Finding one that is excellent repeatedly is a unfortunately very unusual. Food and service have been terrific during 5 visits over about a year. Always interesting menu options that change regularly, are cooked just right and are presented beautifully.
8/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
Outstanding Italian food
The food was truly outstanding. As good as I have eaten in Italy. The gnocchi was light and fluffy. The porcetta was tender and very flavorful. The scallops were perfectly cooked. The burrata was tender and sweet. Wine list is decent and fairly priced. Only thing they can improve on is adding few more wines to the list. Don't change the food. This Berkeley restaurant is far for us but I will be going again - even making a special trip.
8/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Tuesday Evening Dinner
Great local find tucked away from the main drag but not far from work. The Tuesday evening dinner with co-workers was welcomed for reasonable portions, good by-the-glass wine selection, and moderate atmosphere. The salmon tasted fresh, the bolognese was flavorful, and service was timely. Going back to try the rest of the menu.
8/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
ALWAYS A WINNER!!
Do wish Berkeley area could grow more restaurants like Riva Cucina. The place is perfect:
sensible menu offering perfectly done meals, lovely ambience ( we can actually hear ourselves easily!!!!),
and terrific, consistent service by lovely staff. My favorite. The part brick and paint interior with grand velvet
curtains is icing on the cake.
8/8/2013 12:00:00 AM
I discovered this place about a year ago and have visited about 5 times since then. Always the experience has been excellent which has brought me back again and again. Flavors are full, richly layered, not overwrought. There's a confidence to the food that translates into a satisfying comfortable food experience. It is what it is and it's excellent. Last night I had the pappardelle with funghi with a starter of their wonderful beet salad, Insalata Di Bietole. Very nice. We're thinking of going again next week. That says everything. Oh, the wait staff has always been warm and accommodating. And what's really nice is parking is always available.
8/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Peaceful and quiet environment
Not only food and service are excellent. It is a good place to engage in conversations without raising the voice.
8/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Well I knew I had won when
Well I knew I had won when my foodie cousin asked "How'd you hear about this place?". We're a hard to please crowd. The food was delish, there's a kids menu, it's set in a really pretty garden courtyard and during the day you can eat outside (too cold at night). The service was great: accomodating and helpful, present without looming. The latte was fantastic. Thanks for taking good care of my family!
8/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
We enjoy the food and service
We enjoy the food and service so much that we have all of our celebrations there. The staff is friendly and food excellent.
8/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
A hidden gem that's always reliable
Tucked away in an old factory area of Berkeley (but safe to walk in at night), the restaurant's former industrial setting has high ceilings that help keep the noise of conversation at an easy level. Imaginative food. We always split one of their generous appetizers - and I've even taken one as a main course! The pastas surprise with good flavors. Friendly. knowledgeable staff who are ready to give advice about wines. Enjoy the shared courtyard with its fountain and landscaping.
8/22/2013 12:00:00 AM
my new favorite in East Bay
I've gone to Riva Cucina 3 times in the last month and several times before then. This place has become my new favorite go to restaurant. The food is excellent. Everything. Consistently. Their pasta dishes are wonderful - hand made noodles cooked to just the right bite, the mushroom dish I had for the second time in a week and could eat it again and again. The Pork Shoulder and Ribs were both excellent. Haven't tried the fish however really love thr Scallops served on the shell as well as the calamari fritti. All ingredients are fresh. And the cooking style feels so comfortably deft - nothing feels pushed, overly-worked or trying too hard. This is a chef who knows what he or she is doing and does it with a skilled ease. (continued below)
8/22/2013 12:00:00 AM
The service was top notch and the food absolutely delicious. I felt like I was back in Italy! I had the Beet Salad and Pappardelle Al Funghi, and my husband raved about the NY Strip and Boar Sausage. The only drawback was the noise level which made it very difficult to converse with those at my table. It would not keep me from going back however. Weather permitting, consider an outside table.
8/24/2013 12:00:00 AM
t was a Wednesday night--no
t was a Wednesday night--no corkage fee for wine night--very loud with a large group
8/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
Everything was great. Probably our new favourate Resturant. Food excellent.v
8/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
Worth A Drive
We have eaten at Riva Cucina many times now and always look forward to returning. The meals are exquisitely presented - and better - all very tasty . We had some difficulty in choosing a main meal (so many options) so we split our fish and pasta dishes. A perfect blend of what they specialize in - Italian and Contemporary cuisines. Parking is also another plus - Riva Cucina is in an industrial part of Berkeley and on a side street where one has more opportunities to park closeby.
8/30/2013 5:00:00 PM
A Great Place to Eat & Hang Out
A very comfortable atmosphere greeted a colleague & me as went to Riva Cucina in Berkeley, CA. for dinner. I had the beet salad appetizer and it was a hybrid beet-so delicious. We got a really great bottle of red wine. It was a 2009 Azur - a blend of Cabernet & Syrah -I really enjoyed it. The NY Strip I chose for the main course was cooked perfectly. The wait staff was genuinely friendly and Massi the owner and head chef came over to the table to say hello and make sure everything was just the was we wanted it. I highly recommend this place. I would certainly go back again.
8/31/2013 12:00:00 AM
My favorite restaurant, great food, ambiance and great for a special occasion or just for a simple meal. Want to go back soon!
9/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great, fresh food, pleasant staff, easy to miss but convenient location--one of my favorite restaurants!
9/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
We went to Riva C. for my birthday dinner. It was wonderful. We're already told others about it.
9/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
Consistently great service,
Consistently great service, creative meals and high quality of food !
9/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
Always the best
I've yet to find a better dining experience - anywhere. The food is 5 star, as is the service. Don't forget to pick up some Riva Olive Oil on the way out.
9/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
An East Bay Treasure
We have eaten at Riva Cucina many times over the past ten years. The food is excellent, particularly the pasta dishes. There is an excellent selection of Italian wines available and the wait staff is knowledgeable regarding appropriate pairing of food and wine. Desserts are fine, especially the Torta della Nonna. Street parking is readily available in the neighborhood. Our guests ordered the sea bass which was carefully boned by our server. The portions are ample so that sharing of dishes can be accommodated.
9/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
With michele guide' recommendation, this restaurant is red lily worth visiting.
We ordered the seafood risotto -- no doubt the most tasty dish I've ever had! The petrale sole is a little blend comparing to the excellent risotto fir nt taste, and the beautifully cooked pork shoulder us definitely the dish for meat eaters. Their appetizers are outstanding as well, the air loom tomatoes beautifully displayed, and tasted so fresh and sophisticated, tge scallops in their shells baked just right with garlic and butter, I could be eating all day!
The portion is not overly large, and the price is reasonable.
I will definitely come back!
9/24/2013 12:00:00 AM
Pasta was excellent!
We had been meaning to try this restaurant for years and just sort of didn't get there. Finally the night came and we gave it a try. Tucked away in an office park, the outdoor patio looked like a nice place to have lunch on a warm day. The inside of the restaurant was fine. Pleasant, not noisy but nothing special. Sort of standard issue but not alluring in any way. Our server was lovely - friendly and quite professional. Both pasta dishes were quite good and it was nice to get fresh, homemade, perfectly cooked noodles. The lentil soup was tasty. The panzanella fine but not great. We didn't try dessert. Overall it was pleasant but won't be a go to, "have to get there" place for us.
9/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
always a treat
have returned many times and found it consistently good.
a favorite for us.
10/4/2013 12:00:00 AM
Cant wait to return!
Truly one of my favorite dining experiences, and in no small part due to the impeccable wait staff as much as the food.
10/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
It is hard to find a good risotto alla marinara in the U.S. but Riva's risotto is superb! for anyone who likes risotto with seafood this is a true find!!!
10/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
where's the fig?
the artichoke soup was wonderful; the pomegranate salad was delicious. The pork loin was very good and a generous amount of meat. However, when the menu said "stuffed with figs" I had a hard time finding more than 4 thin slices of maybe half of a fig. That was my only disappointment with the entire meal.
10/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Off the beaten path
Located in an unusual place but easy to get to.
The food was excellent. We all had different pastas and risotto. All very good.
It was a bit noisy for us but we are old f*rts and everyone else was having a great time.
Will be going back sometime soon
10/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Our service was impeccable, and the food was interesting and creative as well as delicious. We would go back.
11/5/2013 4:00:00 PM
This was my 4th visit to Riva Cucina and the quality of the food never disappoints me, it is always superb. The fish was as fresh as they had gotten it out of the water 10 minutes before cooking. The salad had the same effect , with a top quality prosciutto under the greens, pomegranate seeds and persimmon slices. What a beautiful combination......plus it had a very generous amount of prosciutto.
My husband had meat with polenta, and again, done to perfection. Our waitress, Alessandra, was not only knowledgeable about the whole menu but also great with the suggestions for wine pairing, plus a great sense of humor and very professional. It is so good to feel well served, I will be back again.
11/6/2013 4:00:00 PM
Excellent place. The food
Excellent place. The food is fantastic, the atmosphere great and the service personal yet professional.
11/15/2013 4:00:00 PM
Keeping up standards
Riva Cucina remains a very good, reasonably authentic Italian restaurant for the East Bay.
We have now gone a number of times over the last 7(?) years that they have been open.
Often take others with us. Just a couple of non-pasta main dishes; very good pasta dishes
(gnocchi w/lamb ragu this time was an excellent choice); many appetizers and salads.
Unostentatious, competent staff.
11/25/2013 4:00:00 PM
one of Berkeley's very good finds
The food is very thoughtfully prepared, flavors uncommonly appealing and the service is attentive and solicitous but not intrusive. The diner will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.
11/28/2013 4:00:00 PM
Outstanding food and service
From the moment we arrived we felt welcomed & comfortable. The seasonally inspired menu included sustainably caught day boat scallops & an antipasto misto platter. The scallops were perfect with a delicious sauce & plenty of crusty bread for dipping. One of us chose the Passatelli Alla Salsiccia, a melt in your mouth breadcrumb, egg & parmesan pasta dressed with sausage, cream and sage. It couldn't have been better. The Papparadelle al Funghi was also delicious, especially with an extra dusting of Parmesan cheese. We tried the Eight Arms Cellars, "Tentacles," a red blend that we'll look for when the winery puts out it's new selections next year. Topped off with a shared panna cotta, the meal hit all high notes. Can't wait to return!
12/3/2013 4:00:00 PM