Sunday, November 02, 2008

Riva - I Forgot My Camera

I hate it when that happens. I met some friends for a fantastic meal at Riva the other night. Owned by the team that brought you Fraiche, Riva is another awesome creation. In the old Scarboni and Pentola spot in Santa Monica, I think this restaurant will be the first to last in that spot.

They have a nice, all Italian wine list organized by style and price, rather than region, making it easy to navigate for those unfamiliar with Italian regions and varietals (the informed sommelier can help you out too). We ordered from each section of the menu: crudo, appetizer, pizza, main courses, cheese and dessert.

Of the crudos we had seabass, tuna and cuttlefish, each one better than the last. Refreshing, light, and just enough for one bite per person, they were the perfect starter. Then we shared some house-made headcheese, which our sommelier paired brilliantly with a sparking rosado wine. We shared two pizzas (one, curtesy of chef Jason Travi), a bianca with spinach and ricotta, and one with potato, creme fraiche and rosemary. Cooked in a wood burning oven we each enjoyed these pizzas thoroughly. On my next visit, I would like to take a seat at the bar, and enjoy some crudo, pizza and wine and call it a night. But last night we couldn't stop there.

We shared the steak for two (yet big enough to split among the for of us) presented table side, served with lentils, cavalo nero, and bagna cauda, cooked a perfect medium rare. To kick off the end of the meal, we had a cheese plate with three (very small slices) cheeses, then three desserts: torta della nonna, chocolate cake and budino. All beautiful. We were stuffed. I loved the whole experience and cannot wait to return. I am sorry I forgot my camera, I hate blogging without photos. Thanks for reading all the way to the end! By the way, we had a celebrity sighting. At the table next to us was Tom Hanks and Martin Short.

312 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA


mattatouille said...

nice! I was planning to go to this place this past week but didn't get the opportunity. Maybe sometime this week.

Anonymous said...

ahhh shucks! no pix!

but the crudo sounds great tho! and headcheese? in Santa Monica? who woulda thunk!

Anonymous said...

I was pretty disappointed in this place.
I went with three people and nobody enjoyed the pizza. I'd say a lackluster crust is the main issue. I love the cocktail menu at Fraiche and this one is uninspired in comparison adding prosecco to almost every drink.
I'd go to Gjelina instead over this place any day.

Anonymous said...

dayyuuuuum you get around!!!!