800 Heinz Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94710Neighborhood:
ItalianPrice: $30 and under
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.rivacucina.com/
- Phone: 5108417482
- Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday & Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Italian
- Executive Chef: Massimiliano Boldrini
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Beer, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
- Private Party Facilities: We have a private dining space that holds up to 22 people. The entire restaurant is also available for private events of parties up to 60.
- Private Party Contact: Jennifer Boldrini 5108417482
A word from Riva Cucina
Our Emilia-Romagna inspired menu offers a selection of organic foods from nearby farms and waters, as well as a few of our favorite products from Italy. We’ve created a place for people to gather and relax with good food and good company. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us or simply stop by and say hello. We’d love to have you!Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Riva Cucina reviews from OpenTable diners
62 reviews since June 2, 2014
- Ambiance4.3Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (41)neighborhood gem (40)special occasion (28)romantic (18)good for groups (16)notable wine list (14)great for outdoor dining (12)great for lunch (7)kid-friendly (3)hot spot (2)late-night find (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
- solid; not sublime.OpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 9/26/2014chose this restaurant for a special dinner because i love emigllia-romana and bolognese cuisine; because of chowhound and other online, positive reviews re food and ambiance; and, because we were in the mood for a grown-up, neighborhood restaurant rather than a hipster hotspot. the food was good, but not amazing; the plating and decor seemed a little dated; and, the menu seemed a little random. the chocolate cake was great and the best thing we had. the staff was extremely efficient and well-trained, and while they were friendly, neither the staff or the room felt very warm.
- Good, but overall disappointedGregBDined on 9/24/2014Burrata mozzarella - the caramelized tomatoes was excellent, as was the bread & olive oil. The salmon sauce on the gnocchi - very nice, but the gnocchis were on the heavy, floury side - not pillowy & delicate. The grilled Salmon was overdone; seasoning, the cut, the accompaniment were unexceptional. The chocolate fondant cake was most disappointing. Tho nice, it's not outstanding. One of the edges was dried up. Service & ambiance were excellent. In fact, the waitress had the kitchen recook another small piece of salmon to replace our dry leftover take-home piece. I expected much more with the good ratings on Yelp, google, Zagat. The food had its highlight in the burrata, but had its pitfalls elsewhere, esp. in the dessert. We won't beback.Special Features:
- JinyanDined on 9/23/2014I've been to this restaurant a couple of years ago and had a great dining experience. Took an old college chum out to dinner Tuesday night - what happened? The starters were great, the desserts were great, the wine was good - but the entree just tanked! We both ordered the osso bucco and it was terrible! The dish was woefully underseasoned, the veal shanks were falling into chunks - looked as if they had not been tied when braised. The sauce was pale, watery and lacking in flavor, and the meat was an unappetizing grey. The menu listed polenta as one of the accompaniments, but we had only a smidge on our plate - and even that was unseasoned. What a disappointment!Special Features:
- Enjoyed by AllKathleenDined on 9/23/2014We ate at Riva on Tuesday night for the first time. The restaurant was quiet enough for two couples in 60s and 70s could actually have a conversation. The cod dish was very good and we all raved over the prociutto and pomegranate appetizer. The atmosphere was somewhat romantic, though I think the addition of white tablecloths would greatly enhance the feeling. We will go back again. We shared a chocolate cake dessert- so moist and delicious that it actually melted in my mouth.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- a great place on papercollintomikawaDined on 9/20/2014This looks like a great place. All the reviews spoke very well. Our entrees were just okay. So a little disappointing.Special Features:
- Fourth time here -- still greatskyfxVIPDined on 9/13/2014Ambiance and food were great, just like the previous times I had been here. The waitress was nice, but a little too soft-spoken for how lively it was on this Saturday evening. Other than that, no complaints!Special Features:
- Consistently ExcellentArmandPaulVIPDined on 9/13/2014We eat here a few times a year. It is always excellent. This time started with grilled veggies for appetizer followed by a delicious seafood soup.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Shhh...don't tell! ;-)CeCeDined on 9/12/2014At the top of my 'favorites' list...I kinda don't want to tell anyone about this place because it can already be a challenge getting a reservation. I can't say enough good things about Riva Cucina! Wonderful food, pleasant & low key surroundings where one can actually hold a conversation with your dining companions. Wait staff is very pleasant and just the right amount of attentive - I think there's a rule that only nice people are allowed to work there! I grew up eating very similar food...this is the real deal. Enjoy!Special Features:
- Always a TreatKellyDined on 9/6/2014We go to Riva regularly and always enjoy our meal. The bolgonese is a favorite, but I have never had something that I did not enjoy. The service is very good and the atmosphere is relaxing.Special Features:
- World class ravioliStevarinoDined on 8/29/2014The fresh ravioli were wonder fun in a light sauce.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lovely restaurantoutandbackDined on 8/29/2014Loved everything about this restaurant. My husband and I came here for our 5 year anniversary. The food was spectacular. We ordered the scallop appetizer and they were incredible. Next up we split gnocchi, and then our main dishes arrived. I had the braised pork shoulder (incredibly tender but could have used some more flavor) my husband had the fillet. Fillet is an understatement, this thing was substantial, tender as hell, and the flavor would knock your socks off. I still can't figure out how they served up such a lean cut that was very flavorful without being overbearing, major compliments to the chef. The staff brought us panna cotta on the house for our anniversary and it was perfectly creamy and sweet. We will definitely be back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Italian Cuisine!Neto48Dined on 8/23/2014I love the food at Riva Cucina. The night I made reservations the place was packed. Nonetheless, as busy as they were, the food was brought out pretty quickly. I had the "Ravioli al Branzino" with sea bass and my friend has the "Salmone Alla Griglia". Both dishes were very tasty, especially the ravioli. Staff was very attentive to us. The only down side for me was sitting next to a large group, which seemed to contribute to the noise level being very high. The waitress having noticed, was kind enough to give us a free dessert, which was thoughtful. But, the noise level on that particular night was just too high. However, that would not keep me away from going back.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIPDined on 8/21/2014A favorite dining spot for our son and daughter in law.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Superb!LorenzoDined on 8/6/2014Riva Cucina has the most beautiful and inviting entrance. The restaurant is located is on a small plaza filled with flowers in an area of trees and easy parking. Actually, it's in an obscure corner of the old light industrial section of Berkeley, California. The restaurant has high brick walls and wood Italian country furniture. The lighting is not bright. The service is pleasant and friendly. The food is superb. For example, the panzanella was so fresh and tasty. The fig and prosciutto starter was really high quality. The fish risotto smelled like seafood. The pasatelli (?) with sausage bits had a perfect creamy, cheesy sauce! Rich but not heavy. I could have eaten a half-pound of it! Nice fresh Lambrusco, too.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- FoodJJJJVIPDined on 8/6/2014Sorry to see that the food is not as good as it used to be. The fig and prosciutto dish was a gooey mess. Other dishes were thrown together carelessly. Too bad!Special Features:
- EHF123Dined on 7/30/2014very nice spot. all the food was delicious (pasta is fresh and tasty), reasonable prices, friendly and efficient service, went wednesday and got free corkage.Special Features:
- Food is OKAnneDined on 7/29/2014This is a decent place with pleasant atmosphere; not sure how it got such a high Zagat rating, though. Also, the wine is overpriced -- not sure what the corkage is but might be worth taking your own.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lovely overalldalialunaDined on 7/24/2014The burrata and the scallops dish were absolutely delicious, but the antipasto plate (with salumni, olives, etc) was nothing special.
- Great Food/AtmosphereOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 7/19/2014Both myself and my girlfriend really enjoyed this place. The prices were reasonable and the food was great. For reference, I had a filet mignon with potatoes and a spinach cooked in a basalmic reduction for $26. The wines were great and reasonable in price as well ($10 a glass for a great red wine). I thought the serving size was just right, but others might have found my dish too small for their likes. I was nice and full at the end and didn't feel like I overate - the dish was completely gone.Special Features:
- A favorite since it opened!FilizBerkeleyDined on 7/18/2014This is a gem tucked away in a former industrial area of Berkeley. I've taken visitors here and they all want to come back. Portions are generous - the appetizer beet salad needs to be shared - and is, by the way, much more than a simple beet salad! Generally Italian with a California twist. Good wine list - try the Octopod Syrah. Servers knowledgable and quick to suggest modifications to dishes to accommodate dietary needs or preferences. In Michelin diction, "worth the detour."Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- best Italian I've had in a whileJomama526VIPDined on 6/28/2014Pleasantly surprised ... quiet little spot of the beaten path. Magnificent entrees ... wonderful sparkling Lambrusco ... Great service! My new favorite.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Authentic Italian Gemserve2allVIPDined on 6/28/2014One of Berkeley's best kept secrets....lovely Italian restaurant with some very creative dishes (the scallop appetizer is delicious).Outdoor seating worked with warm weather. Staff very friendly. Lovely Italian wines. Easy street parking.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Riva Cucina...A Wonderful FindGinaSDined on 6/21/2014We fortunately found this cool little establishment on Zagat and starting with the caprese salad, prosciutto with mozzarella and country bread started the meal was fantastic. Would have ordered a bottle of wine, but the ho hum waitress offered no suggestions. She in fact was the least pleasurable aspect of the evening. Entrees, desserts, cappuccinos, company though were all exceptional. Will definitely go again.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Tucked away gemOpenTable Diner Since 2001Dined on 6/20/2014Personal, thoughtful food and warm mindful serviceSpecial Features:
- deliciousEmc1Dined on 6/20/2014Three of us had dinner at Riva Cucina on a Friday night. The food is very authentic and delicious. Staff friendly and professional. It got noisy around 8pm (actually too noisy for us, but we're older...) However, that's the norm with restaurants so you just have to live with it. The panna cotta was yummy.Special Features:
- Wonderful placepastaluvrDined on 6/17/2014We come here for special occasions or when we just need cheering up. The place is lovely and comfortable, the food is wonderful, the staff is attentive and skilled. We particularly love the pasta and fish dishes and the panna cotta. On warm summer evenings, the patio is a great place to be. Lunch is also a great deal and a nice change from usual lunch spots.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food, service, and ambienceluvgudfudnquietplaceDined on 6/4/2014Our dishes were cooked perfectly, respecting the integrity of the fresh ingredients. The wine selection was very good. The service was attentive and friendly. The setting was very pleasant and it was quiet enough that we could have a conversation. In the last few years restaurants have increasingly opted for a combination of music and hard-edged decor that does not absorb sound, making it impossible to carry on a conversation with our dinner companions. As a result, we have avoided such places. Riva Cucina is a very pleasant exception, making it possible to have both -- great food and good conversation with our friends.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- The following 457 reviews are from the Riva Cucina reviews archive.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIPDined on 5/27/2014Three of us loved our risotto, and our other diner did not like his overcooked pork. The ambiance and service were superb, as was the attention to our needs and wants.Special Features:
- Hoping for betterlov2eatVIPDined on 5/23/2014Sorry, I was hoping to write a great review. We were a party of 4 and all main courses were overcooked. Flavor was there but meat dry-Osso Buco and the Veal Scallopini. We all shared an order of Tagliatelle Bolognese. The pasta was fantastic. We should have gone for the pasta dishes as a main course. Dessert was very nice. We had the Chocolate cake and Italian cake w/ lemon. Service was friendly. I would imagine the place to be very noisy if crowded. For some reason we could not get a 7pm reservation through open table and took the 6:30 reservation instead. The restaurant was not busy for a Friday night.
- joshuaDined on 5/22/2014average food for average prices deserts were good but not spectacular This restaurant is rated 26 for food in Zagat. That is a joke 22 is more like itSpecial Features:
- Enjoyed Riva CucinalovedRivaDined on 5/17/2014We had a very pleasant evening to celebrate my son's graduation. The food was fantastic. The salads were fresh and delicious. I am so glad we found Riva Cucina.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Riva Cuginamotomama1Dined on 5/10/2014This restaurant was tucked away in a warehouse-type area, not where you'd find a restaurant. It was done very nicely in dark woods and brick. Though it was a high ceiling the noise level wasn't very loud at all. We were there for an early Mother's Day dinner, to avoid the crowds on Sunday. We had two appetizers, the prosciutto with mozzarella and an antipasto plate. They were both delicious. I had the osso bucco, which was flavored very nice and very tender. The boys had squid ink pasta, ravioli, and pasta with various mushrooms. The last dish was verry good, I traded with my husband for that one.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- FinallyMazaleyratDined on 5/8/2014I always look for a restaurant where I can 'safely' take my very old friends. This is a simple, friendly place. The service is wonderful and the food makes you happy. I went there for dinner and lunch.Special Features:
- Great authentic ItalianDonzDined on 5/8/2014I had the seafood risotto and while I was eating I was in Italy! Excellent service with good food/beer suggestions. Very interesting beer list.Special Features:
- Solid pastas, fabulous Arctic charPizzaAddictDined on 5/7/2014No-corkage Wednesdays - wish I had known. Though the pastas have always been solid, Arctic char was what I opted for this time, and I was quite pleased - delicate and nicely seasoned, hearty portion, well-complemented by polenta, spinach and asparagus.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- LindaG63Dined on 5/3/2014My husband and I always enjoy Riva Cucina !! The food was very good. The Saturday night we went was very busy, so the service was not up to its usual standards -- not bad - just slow. We will definitely go back.Special Features:
- barbaramDined on 4/26/2014We had a uniformly excellent meal, with attentive but not intrusive service and good timing. The restaurant is rather loud (mostly hard surfaces) but takes have adequate space between them. I will definitely return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Local gem!DCarl1Dined on 4/19/2014This place has it all: serene atmosphere, great central Italian food, and a good wine list. It's always consistently wonderful whenever I have been there.Special Features:
- Another Excellent Riva ExperiencejagmackVIPDined on 4/19/2014Riva Cucina has become one of our top two or three favorite restaurants. We're dining there about every other month because it's well worth the 'hike' from the Peninsula to Berkeley. We enjoy the interesting flavors in the salads and entrees. Several of the 'front of the house' staff have become our friends and we always look forward to seeing them. They take good care of us, greeting us by name and saving us a special table we like. The servers are very good at pacing the courses so they come when expected for a leisurely, relaxed meal, just what we want. The desserts are very good. combining traditional Italian plates with other choices.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Top of the Heap!!YingMeiVIPDined on 4/16/2014Love going to Riva Cucina. The offerings are impeccably delicious and unique and the staff are gracious and sweet. Eating here feels like being served in the private home of an established villa in the hills of Italy. The meals are a gustatory delight, every time. Being a foodie, I've not experienced the same quality of blended tastes anywhere else....well, okay, perhaps in Tuscany, but that's far to go from Berkeley during the weekday.Special Features: