I have already spoken of our time there to several people. It was about as good as it gets for a Valentine's dinner.
Hidden Gem. Great Service, fantastic food. Consistent dishes always prepared and served fresh and to temperature for all guests at your table at the same time. Why can't all more upscale restaurants manage to do this?
How great to have such a great Italian experience so convenient to our corner of Emeryville! Very nice vibe, great seasonal menus and reasonably-sized, very tasty portions. I bumped the service a little only because there were key moments we looked in vain for our server, mostly due to the ever-confusing mystery of why bread (or even bread-sticks are authentic) is so hard to get in nearly-authentic Italian restaurants in the States when it is part of every trattoria’s table-setting (MINUS the puddle of olive oil) in the home country. Very sad to miss cleaning one’s plate after the antipasto or pasta is eaten: the TRUE “puddle” for any self-respecting bread!
Very nice and courteous staff. Delicious food. Elegant place.
Riva Cucina is hidden away in an office/industrial area of Berkeley, on a side street West of San Pablo Avenue. We've eaten there twice and the food has been tasty, the service observant, the ambiance good and the noise level somewhat subdued. The restaurant does not have "buzz," for which I am thankful. The house red wine, a blend, was nice. I hope that the secluded location will keep the crowds down.
Good food, wine, comfortable ambiance and not very noisy—a big deal for us in this day and age. A little pricey but we were treated well and the meal was lovely!
Solid Italian cuisine, friendly service. Great anti pasta and salads. Arctic char and risotto were very well prepared.
We took friends fir dunner who were visiting from Europe. We mostly liked the food (the pork shoulder with spinach and polenta; breaded pork steak; bolognese pasta). The spinach and polenta were flavored well and the meat courses were very tender. One person who ordered the pasta thought it was overpriced. Several dishes came heavily covered with finely grated parmigiana which I would prefer restaurants not do. We ordered a bottle of the house red wine which at $46 was a bit high but very good, a zin-syrah-malbec blend that went with everything we ordered. But we will not return to Riva Cucina. The problem was our server. In my reservation I had requested a quiet table for conversation as we had only this one evening with our friends. Our server told us our table was the one next to the front door right next to other diners, even though other tables in the main room and the quieter adjacent room were empty (and they never filled). We had arrived right on time for our 8 p.m. reservation which was an hour before their last seating. We were all cold from an open window and the front door which was at one of our guest's elbow. We asked to be moved to a warmer table; our server closed the window. Again, we were hit by blasts of cold air whenever the front door was opened and again we asked to move. The only table the server would let us move to was facing the door and we declined to move there. I asked if we could sit in the other room; no, it's now closed. I really don't like to complain about servers but this one treated us smugly and almost with contempt throughout our dinner. All four of us agreed that it was not a great experience because of her coldness and disinterest in making our evening pleasant.
I attending during Restaurant week. A couple of us at the table had items off the Prix Fixe menu, while others enjoyed standard menu items.
My main course, fettucine ai funghi, was good, but my wife's papardelle ai funghi was much better: much richer in mushroom flavor. For me, the takeaway was that Restaurant Week items didn't get the same level of attention as full-price items.
I did enjoy Riva Cucina's ambience. The restaurant does much better than most about acoustics, so groups can hear each other much more easily.
Great place to enjoy a meal and share good company. Location is a bit out of the way.
Great food, consistently. Portions shareable, but not large. Got us out on time to make theater date.
Loved everything we had here!
Great service and fantastic food. Very laid back and nice place to meet and just enjoy conversation.
I‘m an Italian from Romagna, the same region the chef is from, and I can tell you that the food is really authentic. We had grilled shrimps and a scallop for antipasti, and they were prepared perfectly, they really tasted like home to me. We then had nero di seppia and ravioli di zucca. The former was amazing, the latter was good, but slightly too sweet. Bread with olive oils was great too. Panna cotta was amazing, and we also enjoyed the riva cucina red wine. Averagely price for Berkeley and the bay area. The service was attentive, but not overly eager to please (that is a plus for me). We‘ll go back soon.
Had a good dinner with good friends and good conversation.
We went there during restaurant week and we had not heard of this restaurant before. We use restaurant week as an opportunity to try new places. One of us had the special 3 course meal and the other ordered a la carte. The beet & orange salad was pleasant although I found the dressing a bit too vinegary. The risotto with butternut squash was also pleasant. I thought that the bread pudding for dessert was too sweet although my husband loved it. He felt similarly about his meal...that it was pleasant but there wasn't a dish he would order again. The ambiance was fine and the service was OK. We really wanted to love this restaurant but left a bit disappointed.
I love this place. I’ve been several times because the food is outstanding and the ambience is beautiful.
Lovely little discovery! So happy to have finally found an Italian restaurant in the East Bay that both my partner and I can enjoy.
Riva Cucina never disappoints. Pasta is fresh and melts in your mouth, salad was fresh and tasty, great options for wine, good selection of designer cocktails and best of all you can hear yourself think! Fritto misto was the best I have ever had. Street parking is always available.
Good Food in the Berkeley Ashby-University Warehouse district. Entrance was a little hard to find so we wandered around the inside of the adjacent offices for a while. When they saw we hadn't eaten the Brussel Sprouts side (underdone + we've been spoiled by roasted brussel sprouts with char at other places) they took it off the bill, which was unusual and highly appreciated. Will definitely be going back next time we find ourselves in the area.
New Year's Eve
Great food and great service but with such a gem they really should have a hostess to great you and to say goodbye to you when your leaving. First expressions and last impressions are everything in the hospitality field. I’ve been here 4 times, including NYE and each time the food is amazing, the service is average but each and every time, including NYE, there is no hostess. You have to wait at podium until a server gets a break from a table and the server seats you, a la Denny’s, but the food is great, wine list is great, and the value is great.
Excellent meal and service on NewYear’s Eve
The New Year's Eve Prix Fixe menu offered multiple choices in each category, and everything was truly delicious. The drinks were creative and potent! I recommend the one with vodka and fresh rosemary. Superb wine list. Excellent service.
We went on New Year's Eve as we've done several times in the past. All fixed price choices were good to great. Service was a bit brisk due to a busy night, but impeccable. Price was reasonable for the occasion. Wines were excellent. We like it because its not trendy, somewhat off the beaten track, but reliably high quality for overall experience. The food usually doesn't knock our socks off (hardly anyplace does) but its always good and carefully done.
Riva Cucina is amazing! Everything was delicious, from the soup and salads to the pastas and meats, and the best panna cotta I’ve ever had.
Comfortable, lively atmosphere. Excellent, knowledgeable waitstaff. Every dish we had was exceptional, but the best was the pappardelle with wild mushrooms, which was deeply-flavored, rich and utterly delicious. The seafood risotto was outstanding, as well.
Excellent wine list by the glass. If I lived in Berkeley, this would be a regular stop for me.
Visiting friends and family across the country. Therefore we wanted our visit to be memorable fir our short visit.
Wonderful meal. Nice table, attentive server, house wine a pleasant blend, menu attractive with choices not seen before. Overall I rate this as excellent and would choose to go there again and recommend it my friends.
It still is one of our favorite spots but the service is not quite the same .... though still service with a smile!
We skipped dessert as it took far to long for the server to return and take a desert order .... perhaps a very busy night.
My first visit to Riva. Every aspet of the experience was outstanding. The food was excetionally fresh, perfectly orepared. The taststes were rich and elegant, but subtle. Absulutely the best fritto misto I’ve ever had. Definitely going back. Thank you!
We were a party of 6 and everyone was very happy with dinner. However they ran out of chocolate dessert. But my friend said she had the best panna cotta ever.
As always, excellent food, drink, and service. They even made us a special drink that is no longer on the menu.
Riva Cucina had excellent pasta - the ingredients tasted fresh. Our overall experience was amazing. We went in to celebrate a friend's birthday, and they were able to accommodate and bring her a slice of cake at the end. We always shy away from the birthday singing, and they were able to make it more intimate without the singing and we got to celebrate our own way.
The service and food are definitely their selling point. The ambiance is very intimate - dimly lit and light chatter. We would recommend for date nights or catching up with a friend! (definitely not a rowdy place)
I was very disappointed , as I’ve been wanting to try this place for awhile, but it seemed like a splurge. We ordered 3 mains but only liked one. The sole was flavorless, the seafood risotto was supposed to be in a white wine sauce, but it had a tomato base, which we all disliked. We did enjoy the fritto misto and the Acme bread, and the braised pork.
Well prepared food and delicious wines in a pleasant space but the service was a little slow on a Friday night.
What a find! Absolutely delicious authentic Italian cuisine with a terrific wine list at very reasonable prices! Took a local friend here who loved it too. We’ll be back even though we live on the peninsula. Excellent service all around and cozy ambiance. Easy parking too. Bravo!!!
It was lovely
Great service, nice ambiance....
scallops were delicious unfortunately we had a late reservation and they ran out of the beef shoulder so I ordered the sausage. I must admit the sausage was kinda off mark for me. Everything else was exceptional. I would return for sure..
The olive oil!!!! Yum.