Riva Cucina

4.5
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1097 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
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 guests to gather and relax with good food and good company.
What 1097 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

Wasn’t as great as I was expecting but we went on a gift card. Fine restaurant but not sure I would go back except to use up the gift card. They gave us a glass of champagne for our anniversary and that was generous and lovely. Antipasto plate and bread were my favorite things, I did not like the seafood risotto.

MY
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our favorite Italian spot. Delicious beet salad, light vinaigrette. Homemade breadcrumb pasta is always fabulous with homemade sausage. Perfect wine suggestion--Barolo. Others: ravioli light and flavorful; squid ink pasta tasted of the sea!; Panzanella salad the best example ever we tasted. Riva Cucina was our granddaughter's choice for her birthday dinner, and she loved it.

M
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Riva Cucina has been a regular choice for eating out for some time. However, we were greatly disappointed by this trip. The noise levels were so high that conversation was impossible the entire evening, and even the waitress had trouble hearing us. And this on a midweek night. Pasta, as always, was excellent. My porchetta was disappointing; a bit dry, and very little flavor. Will stick to the pasta next time. LOVE the panna cotta. If the noise levels continue to be like this, we will have to leave it off of our favorites list.

l
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

The service was very slow and scattered. Couldn't ever figure out who or where our server was.

LZ
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was very good, the service was wonderful. The inside of the restaurant is quite nice. I will definitely return.

DN
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very authentic. Every dish was excellent and service was top notch.

L
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service in a tranquil, lovely restaurant.

XR
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 5

The food looked a lot better than it tasted. My breaded fish was slightly burnt tasting. The Oso Buco was served with a heaping pile of dried herbs on top for some strange reason. It was like chomping on twigs.

f
San Francisco
178 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Delightful Saturday night dinner. The panzanella was more of a salad than a tomato and bread creation, but still very good. Speck and burrata was so tasty! The Tortellinin de Bronzino was excellent - fairly light, excellent flavors. The boar sausage was just gamey-tasting enough, albeit a touch dry (as boar tends to be). Kenneth Volk Pinot Noir was fine, nothing special. Our server was friendly and helpful. We look forward to returning.

JM
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is one of my favorites. My friends and I stayed a little later than we intended this past visit, and even when we moved our conversation outside after paying, we were still offered service. This is a great place with amazing food and heart.

D
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

We had a very nice birthday dinner, but there were some off notes. On the plus side: the pasta was delicious, especially the vegetarian ones, and ample for dinner without a second course. The cauliflower appetizer was also delicious. The desserts were lovely, and it's very nice when a restaurant notices that you've said on the reservation that it's a birthday! And the place itself was very enjoyable.

On the minus: service was sweet but very spotty. A water glass had a big chip out of the rim, and when we pointed it out they nicely took it away - and never brought a replacement. There was a ridiculous and prolonged problem with a cocktail. The incredibly flustered server finally said something about "training" ... Despite other reviews, the fritto misto was bland, and the bread wasn't really good or plentiful enough for the cost.

I'd go back again.

n
Indiana
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Riva Cucina is truly a hidden gem! We had our service dog with us and they welcomed her with open arms. The service was perfect, suggestions for appetizers were spot on - speck burrata and cheese, the antipasti (yum). We had three pastas which we shared (there were 4 of us). Bolognese, Gemelli and the Risotto - all made with a very fine hand of flavors. Did I mention the perfect gin martini three onions. And then a surprise for dessert! We were celebrating an anniversary and a birthday - they presented us with one of the best chocolate fondant cake and Italain lemon cake. Oh my!! We will return to celebrate - and - next time perhaps behind the curtains.

T
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service were outstanding! Great for a romantic dinner date. Really unique northern Italian cuisine. Felt very special and would come back again!

JM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a favorite, lovely setting and wonderful food.

C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The pasta was deliciously fresh and tasty. We enjoyed the pasta fungi, and the risotto peace, as well as the appetizers of tomatoes, and of scallops.

The service was wonderful, and everyone was helpful and friendly.
The desserts were incredible, especially the baked creme.

p
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual, Riva Cucina didn’t disappoint. The food is amazing- and we’ve lived in Italy and don’t say that about very many Italian restaurants in the US. Love the cocktails too- just plan to get the dessert too- you have to try the torta della nonna.

b
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really gorgeous. The space is beautiful. Parking was easy. Got the branzino and bolognese. Both were outstanding. I'm sober so I ordered a not-too-sweet mocktail. It was perfect. The waitress was attentive but not too much. Honestly one of my favorite new spots in the area.

DD
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

An okay standby, but food never feels inspired or particularly interesting. Frankly, there are much better options if you plan ahead.

YM
San Francisco
92 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a treat to dine at Riva Cucina. The rich Velvet curtains that reach the high ceilings makes for an elegant soundbreak against the backdrop of cozy brick walls. The dishes are notably select favorite
dishes of the Chef-Owner, and are delicious Northern Italian fare. I love the fritto misto appetizer and can't help but always order the Pappardelle Funghi which has the perfect amount of truffle oil. Upon leaving, I purchased a bottle of their own Olive Oil with Rosemary; I can't wait to serve it with a rustic baguette at home- it is to die for!

OT
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Portions are kind of on the small side, but the food is incredible!

BK
Kansas City
187 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this private out of the way location. A great find. Thanks Open Table. Authentic Italian cuisine.

F
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

The seared scallops were just fine, but my wife ordered pork cutlet and I ordered braised pork and both came to us tough as shoe leather, over cooked and not nice at all. we sent both back. We had the lemon cake and it was strictly meh. Somebody needs to go back to school and learn how to cook meat.

RF
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great random find! Loved the building and the atmosphere inside.

J
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 3

Absolutely ridiculous wait for our 2 pasta plates. It almost felt intentional the disregard the restaurant gave us, making us wait a full hour before we had our entrees when the restaurant was half EMPTY. What the heck? This was on my girlfriend's bday weekend, so extra minus points.

We came in at 8:30 seeing there were still open reservation spots at 8pm available for 8:15, 8:30, and 8:45 and figured it best to walk-in given they didn't look busy and we live only 5 minutes away. The waitress looked very surprised when we said we didn't have a reservation despite the fact half the restaurant was empty and said she'd need 5-10 minutes to seat us. Fair enough, I went ahead and put us on the next available 8:45 reservation online (while standing right in front of our waitress) and then we went for a walk outside for 5 minutes. When we returned (~8:35) we were promptly seated in the far back, however after ordering our food the real absurdity began.

We order shortly after sitting, and given it was our first time we decided on just 2 pasta dishes and a simple appetizer of 2 small baked scallops. The scallops take 15 minutes, and the pasta takes another ~30+ minutes! Meanwhile, all the few remaining tables around us are being served their entrees (some of which arrived after us including a large family of 5) and the waitressing staff of at least 4-5 are just milling around cleaning tables and ignoring us. Again the restaurant is more than half empty at this point. After what feels like eternity, we ask the waitress who has not bothered to explain what is going on whether our 2 (only 2!!) pasta dishes will be ready soon and she says yes they're coming soon. another 15-20 minutes pass by with no updates or apologies and finally our entrees arrive. By now it is past 9:30pm (i.e. closing time for this restaurant and a full hour after we first got here) and finally we can eat. The pasta was indeed tasty, however it absolutely doesn't excuse horrible service.

RA
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent in all ways. Noise level is a problem for us with hearing impairments

ST
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

The experience was fair. I have to say on a Saturday night they only had to waitress's working so service was less then fair. They we're very polite but they messed up on our order which was a disappointment since it was a birthday dinner. As for the food, great flavors and fresh food. Would I return for the trip over probably not.

JC
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always we love Riva Cucina .

RG
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Terrific meal all around!

OT
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We enjoyed the experience. I would have given it a higher food rating had the potatoes on my wife's branzino been fully cooked, particularly after the wait to have the entrees served. Otherwise very good

L
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Ho Hum! Service was great until they became busy and then faltered. The risotto dish was mediocre with sparce seafood and a misdirected sauce. Papparadelle and mushroom dish was rustic to say the least with dry pasta and no sauce to speak of. The Bolognese as the other two pasta dishes was nothing special, again dry and unappealing. The three wines that we had were delicious and with the service in the beginning of the meal were the highlight. Almost forgot, we shared the special panna cotta of the day and again we found it to be underwhelming, notably thick and dense. Maybe an off night, maybe the head chef and the main staff was off, all in all this quality of Italian cuisine can be had and surpassed at numerous restaurants throughout the area.

ML
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

The pastas were good if smallish in some cases. The frito misto was nice but mostly calamari, fewer shrimp than the time before. Service was attentive. Overall I good value I thought. The only negative was the tremendously loud patrons, two or three large raucous groups. The restaurant should do some baffling on the ceiling or walls.

KB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Quality food at good prices and exceptional setting. The servers seem really to like their work, making good dining a very pleasant experience. We don’t go out often but when we do— first choice is always Riva Cucina.

JN
San Francisco
49 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

We usually have a great experience dining at Riva Cucina. This last time we found that our entrees we’re a little too salty. The food is always innovative and well prepared. However this time the chef was too heavy handed with the salt; otherwise the seasoning is very good.
Dessert was excellent!

M
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Sorry to post my first negative review on OpenTable. Riva was recommended by a successful San Francisco restaurateur/friend (Italian cuisine) and the experience was underwhelming. Burrata appetizer was served without bread, water glasses were mostly empty and two of the three pasta plates ordered had obviously been sitting awhile as they were presented cold. On the positive side; the scallops were delicious, one pasta dish was piping hot and the server was apologetic. Not sure if I can give them another try and will definitely advise my friend not to recommend them.

RG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food as usual. Friends had never been but said they would go back. We love this place.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, amazing service! I deeply recommend it to celebrate special occasions. I went with my family to celebrate my birthday and it was wonderful

m
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always amazing food! The best place to go for Italian

JS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There were 5 of us celebrating a 28th birthday as a family. We split the Antipasto Misto and enjoyed the variety of flavors to being our meal. We chose different entrees that included swordfish (moist and flavorful), pork (cooked to perfection), pappardelle al funghi (OMG) and risotto al pesce. All of us commented on the delicious flavors in our food. The server noticed a card passed from one member to another and brought over a piece of birthday cake with a candle that was a surprise to all. I wish I had her name because her service was attentive but not intrusive. I have gone before this evening and will return.

t
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Riva Cucina is true Italian food. We went right for the pastas as that was why we came. My wife ordered the Tagliatelle Bolognese and I ordered the Passatelli alla Salsiccia. Both dishes were excellent and you could tell the pasta was fresh and house made. My one complaint was they both could have used just a touch more sauce. I know it is a tough balance, though, as so many restaurant pasta dishes are way oversauced.

The desserts, an Italian Chocolate Fondant and a lemon cream on a pine nut/almond crust, really complimented the meals. The perfect balance of sweet, too.

The restaurant is located in an old warehouse and it can get noisy as it fills up.

We brought a bottle of wine from home as it was a birthday celebration. Corkage is a reasonable $18. Their wine list is average priced for nice restaurants and they have a good selection.

JP
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The restaurant was far from being full (8pm) . Fried octopus, shrimps,...pretty light and good.
The scallop in a shell was good but a lot of butter + salad not really appetizing (salad from a bag and no dressing). Creamy pasta with mushrooms very good. Pasta with vegetables undercooked. I love pasta al dente but mine were missing 1 mn cooking (they were hard). Decaf espressos and wines very good

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