Riva Cucina
Riva Cucina

Riva Cucina

  • 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

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 7th Street
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: We have ample parking available at night both on the street and in the lot behind our building.
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!
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Riva Cucina reviews from OpenTable diners
58 reviews since June 27, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.3
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (39)neighborhood gem (36)special occasion (25)romantic (21)good for groups (20)notable wine list (18)great for outdoor dining (11)great for lunch (6)kid-friendly (3)late-night find (2)hot spot (2)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Good dinner for two or with friends
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    The food and the wine were really good. We had a great dinner and enjoyed the attentive service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • completely authentic the whole way
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    The chef owner is from Ferrara, in Emilia Romagna, north of Bologna and south of Venice. This makes the restaurant, for those of us who are also Italian or Italo-philes, an extra treat since he can speak to guests in either English or Italian, and because his dishes are the real thing. The pappardelle with mushrooms was exquisite, the pasta not being overcooked. The salad with blue cheese and pancetta is the best salad I've had in ages, and I eat salad a lot. I was visiting Berkeley and would come again on my next visit along with recommending the restaurant to any who love good food. The menu isn't touristy, more picky in terms of choosing a few dishes in each category. Dessert was wonderful and the service was very gracious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    The greatest flavors of Italian heritage food. Authentic, and very pleasing to the palate. Fabulous presentation, and impeccable service, the suggested wine pairing with our meal was perfect and on the money! The chef owner is very personable and not hurried in preparation. We will reccomend this to anyone local or from out of town guests, who can appreciate talent for food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great authentic Italian food
    Gerhard
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    The food at Riva Cucina is the star. It is very fresh, authentic, very well seasoned and there are many great choices on the daily changing menu. They have a nice wine list, which works well with the food. I can totally recommend the restaurant, and we will be back soon!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Loud and small portions
    Morethanamommy
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    The restuarant was loud and portions were notably small. We did enjoy the dessert, however. The moscato was delish. Service was nice.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • solid; not sublime.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    chose 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good, but overall disappointed
    GregB
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    Burrata 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:
    good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Jinyan
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    I'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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Enjoyed by All
    Kathleen
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a great place on paper
    collintomikawa
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    This looks like a great place. All the reviews spoke very well. Our entrees were just okay. So a little disappointing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fourth time here -- still great
    skyfxVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Ambiance 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:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Consistently Excellent
    ArmandPaulVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Shhh...don't tell! ;-)
    CeCe
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    At 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always a Treat
    Kelly
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • World class ravioli
    Stevarino
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    The fresh ravioli were wonder fun in a light sauce.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely restaurant
    outandback
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Loved 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Italian Cuisine!
    Neto48
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    A favorite dining spot for our son and daughter in law.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Superb!
    Lorenzo
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Riva 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:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food
    JJJJVIP
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Sorry 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:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • EHF123
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    very 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:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Food is OK
    Anne
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    This 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely overall
    dalialuna
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    The burrata and the scallops dish were absolutely delicious, but the antipasto plate (with salumni, olives, etc) was nothing special.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Food/Atmosphere
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Both 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A favorite since it opened!
    FilizBerkeley
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    This 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:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • best Italian I've had in a while
    Jomama526VIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Pleasantly surprised ... quiet little spot of the beaten path. Magnificent entrees ... wonderful sparkling Lambrusco ... Great service! My new favorite.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Authentic Italian Gem
    serve2allVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    One 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:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 31 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 27, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 462 reviews are from the Riva Cucina reviews archive.
  • Riva Cucina...A Wonderful Find
    GinaS
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tucked away gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2001
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Personal, thoughtful food and warm mindful service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • delicious
    Emc1
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Three 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:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful place
    pastaluvr
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, service, and ambience
    luvgudfudnquietplace
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    Our 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:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 5/27/2014
    Three 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Hoping for better
    lov2eatVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Sorry, 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • joshua
    Dined on 5/22/2014
    average 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 it
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Enjoyed Riva Cucina
    lovedRiva
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    We 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:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Riva Cugina
    motomama1
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    This 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:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Finally
    Mazaleyrat
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    I 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:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great authentic Italian
    Donz
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Solid pastas, fabulous Arctic char
    PizzaAddict
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    No-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:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.