What a great random find! Loved the building and the atmosphere inside.
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.
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.
As always we love Riva Cucina .
Terrific meal all around!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Great food as usual. Friends had never been but said they would go back. We love this place.
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
Always amazing food! The best place to go for Italian
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.
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.
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
Lovely birthday dinner with a good friend. Food, service, all wonderful, server was especially helpful.
Pasta entrees were outstanding. We ordered soup as first course, but it was super salty. We sent it back and ordered salads which were excellent. Desserts were also very good.
Our meal was a great value, and every dish was delicious. The whole grilled fish (and accompaniments) was especially wonderful, and cost probably 1/3 less than it would have a similar high-end restaurants.
This place is a little bit off the beaten path, but well worth finding.
Love the pasta here. Always a great dinner and they have gluten free for my sister! One of my favs when I come to visit Berkeley.
Socially we had a fine Time . the sword fish was excellent. But all of the pasta dishes were mediocre in that there was very little sauce on the pasta and could barely be tasted. it seemed skimpy especially for the price. The cauliflower was nothing special nor was the bean soup. I am afraid I would not go back nor would I recommend the restaurant.
We had a lovely, leisurely dinner. The wait staff was attentive without being intrusive. For apps, we had frito misto and antipasto platter. Perfect for a variety of savory bites. For entées, two of us had pastas. Both were delicious—the artichoke ravioli particularly so. The Petrale sole was also very good. A slice of chocolate cake for a birthday surprise was an ideal way to end the meal. We will certainly return.
Service and food was excellent. The restaurant has a substantial wine list.
The best Italian cuisine restaurant in Berkeley. Innovative salads and entrees. Attentive service.
Table for 8, no problems! Professional waitstaff and most important reliably top food choices and preparation.
Super food. Staff strikes perfect blend of friendliness and professionalism. Prices are a bit higher than similar restaurants with similar menus and service. Noise level is troublesome for me (I find it unpleasant, not "energetic"), but that's the default these days and Riva is no worse than other places. One of my favorites.
The arctic char was a little overcooked. The pork belly my wife got seemed quite dry and not juicy at all. The pasta was decent.
Riva is always great on all counts. People/staff there are consistently pleasant, professional and accommodating. We love it there!
Delicious. Must try olive oil infused on site. Great service, not too noisy. Full bar and decent by the glass wine list.
Wonderful food. Nice variety. My wife’s pasta melted in your mouth. The wild boar sausage dish had excellent mix of other flavors from wild mushrooms. The scallop appetizer was also wonderful.
Had been there once before and really liked it. This time, it was still just as good That is unusual. Food is good value. Portions are an edible size--not huge.
I was surprised and really enjoyed my meal. It was a great all around and would highly recommend it!
Simple place with very good food. Lots of parking around the area. I plan to go back and try more items on the menu as it was challenging to choose since there were so many yummy sounding dishes.
Great service and fabulous food. Never let us down.
Food was excellent, gluten free pasta is made in-house and was the best I’ve ever had. For those of you that roll your eyes at GF, it’s a real thing for some of us and it was a pleasant surprise. The atmosphere was quaint, the location is a bit hidden, service and food was superior.
One of the best Italian spots in the area. Love it, from the bread and homemade olive oil to the seafood risotto. Outstanding! Buy a bottle of rosemary olive oil to bring home, that stuff is amazing.
If you hang out with foodies, this place is perfect as they will appreciate all aspects of this restaurants. The food was very good and our waiter was excellent.
Try any of the pastas! The antipasto appetizer is large and a great value. We also appreciated their small but excellent wine list.
We've often eaten at Riva Cucina. The food is always wonderfully prepared and often quite innovative. The wait staff are personable, there when needed, and don't hover. The food is reliably excellent, which I say because after eating there over the last three years, we've never had anything but excellent food.