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Rivera Restaurant
Rivera Restaurant

Rivera Restaurant Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://riverarestaurant.com
  • Phone: (213) 749-1460
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm,
    Dinner: Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Latin / Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: John Rivera Sedlar
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Special Events & Promotions: Rivera's Sangre room is available for private use for special engagements and group luncheons/ dinners. Contact the Special Events Manager at LucyC@riverarestaurant.com

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 11th ST
  • Public Transit: Easy transportation options, rare in Los Angeles, make the experience still more stress-free. The Metro Blue Line Pico stop is literally a jalapeño's throw from the entrance of RIVERA, and the restaurant offers the city’s “Hail A Taxi” service, conveniently bringing additional fleets of cabs into the proximity of burgeoning L.A. Live venues.
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: The valet parking service engaged by RIVERA extends a special courtesy to diners who park at the restaurant, then walk to nearby venues at Staples Center and LA Live for an evening event. As the guests leave the arena, they are able to call the RIVERA valet from their mobile phones and their automobiles are collected and returned to the restaurant as guests return to RIVERA.
A word from Rivera Restaurant
Best New LA Restaurant 2009"
John Mariani -Esquire

“I ate at Rivera more times than I really needed to. I couldn’t help myself.”
S.Irene Virbila -Los Angeles Times

“Sedlar has been exploring the culinary relationship between Spain and the Americas for his entire professional life.”
Patric Kuh -Los Angeles Magazine

“The tequilas, infused with vanilla, passion fruit, or rose blossom, are irresistible.”
Best of LA 2009 -Los Angeles Magazine

Chef John Rivera Sedlar celebrates Latin food in all its diverse varieties. RIVERA’s menu reflects decades of Sedlar's passion for Latin culinary history and gives new relevance and relish to familiar foods from the sultriest of latitudes: tamales, mole, ceviche, feijoadas, fideos and jamones. The restaurant offers a unique tequila program, mixology by innovator Julian Cox and wines from the regions of Spain, Portugal, Madeira, and more
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked 1000-Point Tables
Diner Reviews
  • "Rivera tries to be a great restaurant, yet just doesn't succeed. The food is good, but seems dated. The overly hot salsa with the cute tiny chip-strips was innovative 15 years ago. Now it's a silly affectation. Why not serve a high end real salsa and chips? The poached egg on the duck enfrijoladas was not cooked properly. The yolk was hard. And the enfrijolada itself was not warm enough. The menu lacks food that I'd want to eat regularly (except for the fish tacos). The room has a cold feeling -- both literally and figuratively (although I note that the hostess kindly turned the air conditioning off for us). With just a few tweaks, the restaurant could be so much better...."
    Dined on 8/18/2014
  • "Being from New Orleans I do not expect to find restaurants in many other places where the food served is comparable to that in my city. There were five people in my party and we were all impressed with the delicious and unusual (to us) cuisine. Rivera would be a popular and well accepted restaurant in New Orleans. The wine list was extensive and wonderful. We had a grand time and I hope to visit Rivera again when I am in LA. As for the service, it got off to a slow start with a couple of gaffs--BUT the staff was so concerned and apologetic for the initial problems, they made up for the errors ten times over and were very charming to us. We loved our evening at Rivera."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "We love Rivera but arrived before they opened and were not allowed to sit at the bar while we waited. They need to have a bartender ready early because there is no place to sit outside. Our dinner started with well crafted cocktails and creative starters like the Gyoza and roasted peppers and the "Taco Cart" was fun and the stuffed squash and ceviche were both very good. However the Sea Bass needed additional flavor and none of the 5 sauces enhanced the fish or were at all picante. We will certainly return because we love what John Sedlar prepares but we will avoid ordering a plata grande and simply add a more smaller plates and enjoy the offerings from the Taco Carts."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "I love high-end dining and the food choices & preparation was fantastic! Having said that, I wasn't very impressed by the preparation of our meat choices. I had the ribeye steak which lacked salt (a big no-no for any chef!) and the meat was not medium rare (as I had ordered it) but more well-done (hardly even pink) and when I mentioned it to the waiter, he should have insisted that he would bring me another OR take it off my bill. When you spend $200 for dinner, you expect the best. My boyfriends pork shoulder was also very dry and lacked flavor. I would return for dinner but not for the meat. All the other choices, including the choice of cocktails was excellent."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Love the new menu! Chef Sedlar is a genius. Great service, beautiful atmosphere."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "My husband and I had a fabulous dinner at Rivera on Aug 2 with another couple. At first we were a bit put off when the waiter would not suggest any specific dishes, but we learned it's because--as he said--everything is great! Other reviewers warned not to order too much & to wait for the rolling carts. I'm glad we limited ourselves 2 appetizers and 2 large plates because there were so many great choices from the carts. Our favorite was the squash encasing a tamale filled w/ pork and cheese--absolutely divine! The conchinil pork dish was also exceptional. The bottle of Spanish rioja wine my husband chose was "only" $58, but it was very smooth and went well with the dishes we ordered. Dessert was also fantastic."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Our foursome had dinner at Rivera for the first time, picked from the reviews on Tripadvisor. It was an outstanding and very memorable experience. Special drinks were fabulous, a number being mescal based. We sampled many small plate appetizers, some from the menu and some from a cart brought to the tableside. The recipes were very inventive and the flavors incredible. We had 3 different entrees, all superb, ranked as follows: #1 chicken, rib eye, pork shoulder. We had a flight of flavored tequilas brought to the tableside and two wonderful deserts. The environment is very appealing and the service first class. We all left completely euphoric--a rare experience."
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "My friends and I came here before an event at Club Nokia. The small plates and cocktails were good, but most of it was just fair. A cart came by with a tequila and fruit juice flight that was so bad we didn't drink most of it, and it was removed from the bill. I would go back for a drink or light snack but not a full meal."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "Waitress didn't know what was on the menu and didn't know what the olives were stuffed with. At lunch, long wait between courses with only 6 tables being used. Shrimp in Mojito Shrimp and Watermelon Salad tasted from iodine....Menu is very creative and could be a great experience."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "I have eaten at Rivera many times. I like the simplified menu. As always, the quality of the food was great. Our server was substandard. He acted like he couldn't wait to go home. He didn't pay any attention to the social dynamic of our table. This is disturbing because our guest was an important vendor who travels internationally. She agreed with us that the food was great but that the server was substandard."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "The entire team was fantastic. The host could not have been more attentive, and every other member of the staff welcomes us. The food was delicious and different. The mixture of ingredients in many of the dishes provided a burst of flavor in our mouths and the presentation was flawless. Rivera will go on my favorites list!"
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "Food great as always, imaginative and savory. Big disappointment, they were out of scallops since it was a Sunday and no fish delivery. The Jidori chicken was good. Short ribs tgamale was superb.Host "Jackson" stopped by and made things right."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "Our server, Erin, was most helpful and gracious, explaining the menu options and the particulars of each dish. As to the food, the sea bass was outstanding and the jidori chicken quite flavorful. Each of our party of four selected a separate specialty cocktail - - - each was tasty and refreshing."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "As usual Rivera offers a goodly menu of excellent and interesting choices. The pork pibil and the scallops were outstanding, as were the oyster appetizer. We like the push-carts that came by early on offering tastes of other starters, and later, desserts. A great alternative to the places at LA Live, one block west."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "Chef Sedlar does it again! The new dishes and recipes are even better that the ones the restaurant has had in the past. Chef Sedlar deserves all the accolades he receives!"
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "A total food experience - starting with the amazing cocktails - mine had beef jerky - sounds weird but it was amazing! The appetizer carts were fun and delicious and the main courses were perfect. We can't wait to go back with friends!"
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "Very attentive service. However, I would have preferred more typical Latin food. Perhaps a too creative for my palate."
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "Pork was not tender. (Advertised to be cooked for 18 hours). Restaurant and service has changed from a few years ago. Establishment decided to go for almighty buck, particularly with sides. Use to really like this place. Sorry to say I can't recommend anymore. Service came off a little pompous/smug."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Wait staff did a great job of explaining the many food options. The tequila mixed drinks were superb."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "We opted to try this restaurant based upon reviews and were delighted to find it met our expectations. Though the menu is limited, the specials offered on roving carts turned out to be the highlights of our meal. All of the wines were European or South American, so we asked for help in choosing a good red to enjoy with our meal. The staff asked us about our preferences then proceeded to choose a very nice Malbec. Be sure to try a glass of Tequila de Mujer!"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "On high recommendation tried RIvera before Staples Center Concert, entering at once could see staff extremely warm and professional making this guest feel very comfortable...wine choices excellent with tasty appetizers but portions way too small, expected a Rib-eye Steak Dinner to be a Steak Dinner, not a small spot of beef on the plate the size of a Silver Dollar! Again everything was tasty but being a total foodie this one didn't do it for me..."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "One of the best dining experiences ever, and the staff was excellent, I can't think there would have been a better place to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Very cool and creative food, but the whole time we were interrupted by a person with a cart trying to get us to take more food. This was after the server insisted we get more initial plates than we wanted to begin with. Rivera staff: relax and trust the food and your customers. No need to push things."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Was not busy at all for lunch. Presentation of the plates and the food seems less formal during the day--no spice messages. So a little less impressive. Food was excellent and the service spot on."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "The many little dishes plus the rolling cart with specials was a treat."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "The good was excellent, though if the lonchera has showed up earlier, we probably would have skipped menu first courses. Service started out very strong and sort of disappeared. Not even asked if we wanted dessert."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Service mediocre; wine service worst I've ever seen in 40 years of dining out. Food good but catering to the jeans and tee-shirt crowd. Won't be back soon."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Park at LA Live. Even though I used valet parking one of my tires was slashed open requiring replacement."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "This is a very unusual restaurant with an interesting and very tasty menu. You can order small plates and entres from the menu. The selections are unique - flan egg custard with quinoa, pastrami taco - and delicious. But don't order too much and save room for the roving cart (dim sum like) with special unusual dishes (stuffed whole squash with goat cheese, uni with chips, ceviche with finely sliced radishes on the side). I am not a good reviewer because I cannot remember all of the dishes and ingredients but I can tell you that I enjoyed the evening and found the food and service to be excellent!"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "The rolling carts are filled with amazing small plates but no one discusses the price per plate (only when the tequila cart came by did the server say "3 shots for $9). Plus the very nice waiter gave us bad ordering advice - no one needed an entree after all the appetizers and little plates. But if money is no object OR if you are extremely disciplined, the cocktails are wonderful and the food is out of this world."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Pleasantly casual early on the weekends and a good spot for Father's Day (or weekday lunch). Although not ideal for kids, we had the little one in tow, and she enjoyed the food."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "most interesting menu in LA, great drinks. overall great."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Rivera was so much fun! They have a cart that goes around with small dishes that you can grab (similar to dim sum). The food was delicious. This is a must try!"
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "We liked the cart. The tacos where excellent. One dish, the duck, was overwhelmed by the sauce."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "It's been several years, since I visited Rivera. The first time the service was welcoming and impeccable. This time although the waiter was friendly and personable, the service was poor. Long waits between courses, course did not come at the same time so many guest were left waiting for their food. This happened not just once but several times. If you are going to have "latin dim sum" the choice of two dishes on a cart doesn't cut the mustard. How does one share a fried oyster after being told ahead of time that the cart dishes are good to share. Presentations are delightful and the flavors are good but portions and service leave a lot to be desired. It's too precious for the price point. Tapas bars do better."
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "Excellent service, great food and knowledgable staff."
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "We came to LA for the food on a weekend trip from Seattle and although Rivera wasn't initially on our destination list, we ended up there through some online review research and it ended up being far and away the highlight of our "foodcation". The restaurant décor is cool and modern, the wait staff are not only incredibly friendly and accommodating but intensely knowledgeable about a fairly complicated menu. Our server made cocktail suggestions based on traits like "refreshing" or "savory" and was right on the money with what we selected. The menu was very modern and creative latin food and everything we had was a home run. If we were local, we'd be at Rivera every weekend. I fully recommend with no reservations."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "It's such a pity that a restaurant with such great food has such terrible service. We enjoyed everything we ate, but the inattentive, careless and slow service really ruined the experience to the point that I would never recommend Rivera to anyone. We decided to enjoy a few small plates to share and just ordered one at a time to give us time to see what was available on the tapas carts. This backfired when it took a minimum of 20 minutes for each dish to arrive. We would have ordered and enjoyed several more dishes if we hadn't been so frustrated with the interminable waits and being continually ignored by our waiter. I've never seen such lazy service at a fine dining restaurant."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "I have dined at Rivera 5 times now, and each time it has been nothing less than stunning. Now that they've added the rolling tapas carts, the experience is even more spectacular. The service was impeccable from the waiter recommending drinks specific to our "taste description" to his descriptions of the food to his salesmanship in steering us to the very best. Each plate we had was surprising, innovative and nothing short of exciting. I held each bite in my mouth a bit longer than usual just to savor the unique combinations of flavors. Everything at Rivera is top notch. I cannot recommend it highly enough."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "I would suggest Rivera make some changes before they fall by the wayside. The menu gives no clue whatsoever as to what you'll receive and the wait staff do nothing to help explain it. Waiter was completely unprofessional--too vague with descriptions and too jokey. They recommend a few appetizers and then a cart comes round with more. The noise level was such when the cart arrived that we couldn't hear what was being described and were annoyed that the wait person just interrupted our discussion. One entree (of 4) came 20 minutes after the 1st 3 so 3 were cold by the time the 4th arrived. No explanation and no apology. I used to love Rivera but won't be back any time soon."
    Dined on 5/30/2014