Haven't been to Rivoli is some time and rediscovering it was a delight. The occasion was a birthday and I mentioned it when I made the reservation. The service was delightful, even wishing my spouse happy birthday as we were seated, and the placement of a scattering of small birthday wishes on the table cloth was a very nice touch. The food was delicious with unexpected flavors and combinations. It is somewhat expensive but definitely worth it for a special occasion.
9/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
I've had a variety of experiences
I've had a variety of experiences with Rivoli, from knock-your-socks-off to ho-hum. This meal was all-around-good (2 appetizers, 3 entrees at our table), with nothing at the socks-level, but everything very good. The new short ribs with mashed potato entree was very nice -- soft cooked beef. The service was excellent. I was both surprised and pleased when the waiter recommended that i not order the two appetizers I was considering for my whole dinner, and explained why. I appreciated and took his advice. He also gave us some background on how the chef came up with another dish, which really added to the charm of our meal.
9/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wonderful birthday dinner
Had a special birthday dinner. Food and service were incredible. They had special touches to recognize the birthday that were tasteful done and very classy. Didn't need a knife to eat the short ribs, they almost melted in your mouth. Pork chops were delicious and a very generous portion. The lemon and plum sorbet were so flavorful. It tasted like summer. The service was excellent, very helpful but not overbearing.
9/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wonderful place to celebrate a birthday with a loved one. Garden view was beautiful. Meal was totally delicious. From our first bite of appetizer (fried portabello mushrooms), YUM! was heard frequently. The Ceaser Salad was very fresh and crisp. The Salmon entree was perfectly cooked and melted in your mouth. The pork chop was thick and delicious also. Although pleasantly full, we tried a very creamy panna cotta topped with fresh berries that did not fail to please. We most definately will return to try other mouth watering temptations.
9/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Service! Fabulous food!
Great Service! Fabulous food! Wonder place to celebrate a special event. Great when you or your group wants to give a gift certificate to someone deserving of a special treat.
9/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
RELIABLY TASTY, UP-SCALE FOOD
Rivoli has competition from nearby Chez Panisse and Cafe Lalime who offer similar California-European cuisine with a flourish. What is different is the view into a lush backyard, sometimes visited by local wildlife, and unusual but successful recipes.
Since my last visit and prior to this one, I have had to add another food sensitivity (already unable to do gluten and dairy) -- nightshades! Having alerted the restaurant by way of reserving through Open Table, I expected some expert guidance from the server when ordering. Not so. I ended up having the least provocative plate: scallops with cheese grits and succotash. While absolutely delicious, I ate cheese and red peppers, to which I had reacted the next day.
9/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Waiter was cordial, knowledgable,
Waiter was cordial, knowledgable, and helpful.
Appetizer salad was exceptional.
Main course was excellent.
Dessert was exceptional.
Wine recommended by waiter was excellent.
Rivoli hit it out of the park this time. They are usually very good, but this time was exceptional.
Expensive, but worth it.
9/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Rivoli is my favorite restaurant....I have never had a bad meal there. I started dining at Rivoli in 2003....not a bad track record for that length of time.
Rivoli truly embraces the concept of a dining experience....ambience, service, and superb cuisine! The staff are very wine savvy.
9/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
Excellent overall restaurant with beautiful garden, great service, wonderful food.
9/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
I found this restaurant using Yelp/TripAdvisor and it said it was the best Italian food in Berkeley. It was in a weird little neighborhood I'd never heard of before but danngggggg what a fancy place with delicious... everything. Pretty pricey (about $120 for 2 people including tip), but definitely in the top 3 places I've ever eaten. Made my lady's birthday very special.
9/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Top notch food and service
Winning combination of top notch service and outstanding food. The experience was heaven from beginning to end. Well worth it.
9/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
First class restaurant
We dined at Rivoli on a special occasion with my 94 year old father. I made the mistake of ordering a certain entree when I meant to order another. When the plate came, I said I thought I'd ordered something else. The waiter did not question me, just sent the meal back. While I waited, the host brought me a little cup of delicious soup. I felt really embarassed - I am usually not so high maintenance! But the staff did everything they could to just make it right. We all enjoyed our meal, especially my father, who said it was one of the best meals he'd ever had. This place is just top notch, first class.
9/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wonderful complete dining experienc
Food was carefully prepared, fresh and delicious. Service was prompt but not rushed. The view to the garden was easy on the eyes. The large glass windows were squeaky clean. Very good coffee. I'll definitely be back.
9/23/2013 12:00:00 AM
Outstanding Dining Experience
The restaurant is always packed. The service is impeccable and the food great––superbly cooked, fresh, tasty and all that. It has a friendly neighborhood atmosphere with a cosmopolitan collection of suspects to provide intrigue. The interior dining area has a cramped feel, like one is in a tan box with a garden view. At times I kept wishing to dine outside amongst the trees and shrubs.
9/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
After-Show: friends dig real food!
We had the best waiter(s)! The service was great, food so good and fresh. My partner had the hanger steak and proclaimed: this is possibly the best steak i've EVER had! (he's had many!!). Mushroom appetizers, butternut soup. Unique salads. Everyone enjoyed their meals. Our table is what made the noise level go up, otherwise i do not think it is always like that. The view is like looking into a giant terrarium. So beautiful. Zen dining room. Nelson? Lights. Sweet little bar. Staff was happily accommodating for our two-table group of 9 and a child. The banana key lime cheesecake was awesome and like icing on top of the Greek Theatre cake! (with a candle!) Looking forward to going back and eating an entrée with a glass of wine......
9/29/2013 12:00:00 AM
we had a terrific meal! service was excellent. The only downside was a lady at the next table who very loudly provided a monologue that lasted (non-stop) about her world travels that lasted the entire time we were seated. Not the restaurant's fault of course, just a reminder that "stuff" happens sometimes!
9/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
Attentive and eager to please.
The staff was wonderful and accomodating for one of us who had to adhere to a special diet. The food was delicious and prepared with care. We will go back.
10/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
Best Meal of the 21st Century
Dinner at Rivoli was on of the best meals of my life, certainly of this century. Everything was perfect, and I was grateful for a level of ambient noise that masked soft moaning sounds from first taste to last.
10/4/2013 12:00:00 AM
A meccca for foodies
I went to Rivoli last Saturday for an early dinner. It was excellent across the board. The staff was friendly, professional and attentive
You could see by the size of the early dinner crowd that it is already well known. I will return there in the futur.
10/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
dependable restaurant: always tasty. well combined flavors. varied textures. good color. large portions.
I LIKE TO HAVE THE BIG MEAL AT LUNCH; I WISH A RESTAURANT OF THIS HIGH CALIBER WOULD SERVE LUNCH.
10/8/2013 12:00:00 AM
Excellent service; delightful
Excellent service; delightful choices in the menu.
10/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great dining experience!
No complaints here. Rivoli is a small, but beautiful restaurant. We had a 8:45 reservation but the hostess was gracious enough to seat us as soon as a table opened. The food was spectacular and the wine list has options for all budgets. This was our second time here and it did not disappoint. The food is so good I do wish the serving size was a little larger.
10/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
We always return to Rivoli
We were celebrating a very special event. We were choosing between Chez Panisse and Rivoli, and the Rivoli menu, casual ambience, and easy access won us over. My husband had the portobello appetizer (always a huge winner) and I had the smoked trout salad, which was fantastic. Then he had the shrimp/lobster risotto and I had the swordfish -- both were indescribably rich and delicious. The service was great, as always. Can't rave about the experience enough.
10/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Still a Favorite
We've been coming to Rivoli for twenty years, practically since it opened. Rivoli is still our "gold standard" for what a restaurant should be for food, ambience, and attentive service.
10/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Perfect place for special night!
This restaurant exceeded all our expectations! The food is exceptional,the staff is very attentive! Berkeley is special because we met at CAL. It was our 32 anniversary and except for the Loma Prieta earthquake this was one to talk about!
10/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
Being not too experienced
Being not too experienced in fine dining, I found Rivoli to be very easy to enjoy. The atmosphere wasn't stifling, lighting was perfect. You can take a date here but it felt like a great place to go with a couple friends as a special occasion. Service was as expected from a restaurant like this, friendly and precise, leaving you wanting for nothing. The food was great. Not much more to say. Mushroom fritters were good and it's popularly ordered but I felt like a lot of the other appetizers were more interesting and special for a place like Rivoli.
10/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
a wonderful early evening dinner
We dined with 4 friends early saturday evening ( 5 pm on 19 Oct). Our appetizers and entrees were superb, and the service was great. Our only disappointment were the deserts which were not up to par. We have dined at Rivoli a couple of other times over the past several years and always look forward to coming back.
10/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
A LOVELY DISCOVERY. EXCELLENT
A LOVELY DISCOVERY. EXCELLENT SERVICE AND BEAUTIFUL FOOD!
10/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
We always have a very consistent dining experience at Rivoli and I would recommend the restaurant to others. The 2 dings I would give the restaurant are 1) the kitchen is not very flexible with substitutions and 2) their desserts are fine but nothing ground-breaking. Otherwise, a solid overall experience and we'll definitely be back.
10/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
Allowing for it's occasional mistakes, which happen in any kitchen, Rivoli can be counted on for subtle blends of flavors, genuinely interesting menus, and fine preparations. I have been choosing Rivoli over Chez Panisse Cafe for sometime now.
10/27/2013 5:00:00 PM
Continues to please
Rivolis has been a Solano Ave favorite for a number of years and it still manages to score high in satisfaction, for the food, service and ambience.
10/29/2013 12:00:00 AM
Nom nom nom
I went here for a birthday dinner with my partner on Saturday night.
The food was fresh, nicely plated and tasty, especially the pork brochette plate.
Service was remarkably fast and the view of the garden was very nice. I will be returning and I would definitely recommend to someone. Its up there with some of the best SF restaurants. I should know because I have worked at quite a few of them ;)
11/1/2013 5:00:00 PM
Rivoli is fabulous!
we go to rivoli for all of our special family celebrations…the food is amazing, the service is superb and so personal, the setting is beautiful, and it is easy to park…
11/1/2013 5:00:00 PM
My wife and I had an excellent anniversary dinner at Rivoli last weekend. In addition to amazing food in a relaxed atmosphere, our server James was outstanding and made the entire evening absolutely perfect. We will definitely be back.
11/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
Dinner was delicious on this
Dinner was delicious on this occasion. Our entrees of beef ragout, duck breast and ravioli were all well done and very rich. Vegetable accompaniment to meat entrees were good, but lacking with raviolis. Fried portobello appetizers were good, but not a knock out as had been reported by some. Might have been better had they been served warm. Hot fudge sundae is always a very good bet for dessert here, though it seemed a little wanting this time.
11/2/2013 5:00:00 PM
We were pleasantly surprised at this place - understated, yet elegant,
11/3/2013 4:00:00 PM
What I love the most about Rivoli is the kind staff and their attention to detail. They noticed I was a carrying a gift bag and asked if this was a special occasion. When I said it was my wifes birthday, they took a little extra time to put birthday confetti on the table. Just a little thing but my wife loved it. The food presentation is beautiful and is delicious. I love this place.
11/4/2013 4:00:00 PM
Overall, we had a good experience. It was difficult to hear each other talk due to the noise level in the restaurant. (It was crowded.) The food was good....although the chef was a bit heavy handed with the salt. We ordered the chicken & veal dishes. The Caeser salad was very good & the apple/pumpkin sorbet was outstanding. We loved the cookies that came with dessert & could have eaten a whole plate of them! Ordered a glass of the Pinot Noir suggested by our waiter, but was very disappointed & would definitely choose another wine next time.
11/5/2013 4:00:00 PM
They were very helpful getting a wine selected. Price on the wine list was even less than a wine shop for the same vintage. Service was attentive, but never intrusive. Good food. Very tasty and good presentation. We forgot something at the table and they are mailing it to us. That was a benefit of Open Table and them having our contact info.
11/9/2013 4:00:00 PM
Rivoli always serves amazing
Rivoli always serves amazing food, but their stuffed trout, polenta and cabbage at my recent visit was amazing. The polenta was creamy, the trout perfectly cooked and the cabbage had just the right touch of acidity to accompany the sweet polenta. The seafood trio as an appetizer was unusual and delicious. The lettuce and beat salad with green goddess dressing was very tasty. All in all one of the best means I've had in a long time.
The small and intimate dining room facing a floor to ceiling glass wall onto the nicely lit and lush patio garden always adds to the experience. The service is spot on.
You just can't go wrong at Rivoli.
11/11/2013 4:00:00 PM
Thanks for a delicious wedding
Thanks for a delicious wedding anniversary dinner. Fish and seafood dishes were exceptional.
11/13/2013 4:00:00 PM
This review will be dated as soon as the current menu changes, but here we go. The Portobello frittatas were fantastic, as always. The coulibiac was very good. The grilled shrimp were out of this workd good. The lamb & pork meatballs were disappointing. Really bland and no pizzazz. I was very surprised by the lack of flavor (I should have had the Moroccan chicken, which I've had before and is great). Great ambiance. Great service. We love this place so much, I don't even mind when a certain dish is less than spectacular.
11/13/2013 4:00:00 PM
Great B Day
Staff, old, ambience was great for this special event; my wife's B day. This restaurant never disappoints and maintains a high standard of quality food and service. My wife's favorite restaurant.
11/17/2013 4:00:00 PM
Rivoli's has an innovative menu that is very well executed. It's a small restaurant, the service is excellent and while the ambience is a bit too noisy for me, this may not be case for others. It's expensive enough that any diner would want a food experience that is unique and interesting which Rivoli does. I'm a repeat diner; you might become one as well.
11/21/2013 4:00:00 PM
Good every time
Had a delicious trout dinner. Always a great experience. Good place to take out of towners.
11/24/2013 4:00:00 PM
This is probably our favorite restaurant of all time. The food never fails to be excellent. its small cozy atmosphere along with excellent service make this our choice for special events like anniversaries, celebrations. we choose it over many of the glitzier, pricier , hyped up places in San Francisco
11/26/2013 4:00:00 PM
Best in the West
One of the best restaurants in the east bay. Creative and delicous food, and great wine list.
11/29/2013 4:00:00 PM
So nice to visit a restaurant
So nice to visit a restaurant where one can actually have a conversation while enjoying excellent food and wine. We dined at Rivoli in December. The crab toasts were a wonderful combination of crab, leeks, and avocado. This dish hit all the taste buds. The scallops were as sweet as we have ever had them and perfectly prepared. The swordfish was moist - a difficult feat to accomplish.
11/30/2013 4:00:00 PM
This restaurant never disappoints!
I came here for a special birthday celebration and had several people with multiple dietary restrictions. Rivoli staff went out of their way to be accommodating. Not only did they find ways to feed people with multiple restrictions , they did so in a most accepting and friendly way. Several of our diners are real foodies and wine aficionados from the East Coast and they all raved about the choice of restaurant . Everybody was thrilled with their dinner. Thank you.
12/5/2013 4:00:00 PM
A hidden gem
Rivoli may be a little hard to find, but it is well worth the search. It had great food and very personable and prompt service. There was good variety on the wine list with decent pricing. Enjoy!
12/6/2013 4:00:00 PM