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“A favorite that we keep coming back to; perhaps our best visit yet”
Review of Riva Cucina

Riva Cucina
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Ranked #24 of 796 Restaurants in Berkeley
Price range: US$30 - US$30
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 7th Street
Reviewed 24 September 2017

My wife and I tend to go to Riva Cucina every few months. Why? The food is very good and a good value. It reminds me of the food we ate when we lived in the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy. The service is generally sound. The restaurant is attractive and elegant, a place you could go for a special date. Corkage is free on Wednesday, and so if you have some nice bottles of wine that you want to enjoy with a lovely dinner, it is a great combination. For a variety of reasons we hadn’t been for quite a few months, and so it was high time to revisit Riva Cucina along with our daughter.

There were multiple familiar dishes on the menu. When I have found a dish I enjoy, I really have to force myself to try something different; you never know what you might be missing. On this occasion, there were three of us, and so there were more dishes to share. I am fond of the dayboat scallops in the shell ($6/scallop) and the fritto misto, which is a substantial serving and well-suited for sharing. My wife had the speck and burrata; she thought the portion, particularly of the burrata was very large. My wife enjoyed her pumpkin ravioli; usually I get a bite of whatever she has ordered, but not this time. My daughter had the pasta with mushrooms, and enjoyed her dish. I ordered the spiedini, with three skewers of grilled shrimp and grilled swordfish atop some oven-roasted potatoes. I was also given a side salad that may have been a bonus. The fish was beautifully grilled and fresh, and the shrimp were very nicely cooked. It was a very pleasant and delicious dish, and at $23, a great value. Although I did not order it this visit, the seafood risotto is also very good, and highly recommended.

A few tips. Street parking can be difficult, but the restaurant has a substantial number of parking spots reserved in a parking lot very near the restaurant. If you are heading north on 7th, then before you get to Heinz Avenue, turn into the office-building parking lot and proceed in the direction you would go in to reach the restaurant on Heinz. You will see soon see numerous spaces marked as reserved for Riva Cucina. Wednesday appears to be a quite popular night, and we saw many other tables that brought bottles of wine along. If you want to dine on Wednesday, you may wish to reserve. Riva Cucina is on OpenTable, or you can call the restaurant directly. If you have never had a good glass of Lambrusco, that sparkling red wine from the Emilia-Romagna region, order a glass here. The same holds if the last time you had one it was an under $10 bottle from a supermarket. They often have more than one, and it is a wonderful sparkling wine that goes well with the food of the Emilia-Romagna area. Save room for the panna cotta. There are a number of Italian restaurants in the East Bay that I like very much, but of all of them, I like the panna cotta at Riva Cucina the most.

We have had many excellent dinners and lovely lunches at Riva Cucina. If you haven’t tried it, it is one of four Italian restaurants in the Berkeley-Oakland area that we really enjoy, and rotate between when we have a hankering for Italian cuisine.

Date of visit: September 2017
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1  Thank Andreas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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15 - 19 of 104 reviews

Reviewed 24 August 2017 via mobile

After driving 3+ hours to attend a concert that was cancelled when we arrived we were won over and our evening salvaged at this gem of a restaurant. Staff, chef, food and wine all contributed to a delightful evening. The parmesan, bread crumb pasta with homemade sausage, sage sauce was to die for.

Date of visit: August 2017
Thank bettyg490
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2017

We took my in-laws to CA for my Father in Law's 91st birthday and found this gem late on our first (and very stressful) day in CA. We were looking for a place to have dinner with two tweens, two 40-somethings, and and elderly couple. We were dealing with one case of diabetes and one case of Celiac Disease in addition to the tweens who are suuuuper fussy!! We called Riva Cucina to see if they had an opening but they were full. We called a few other places and they all had long waits but to our great relief and surprise, Riva Cucina called us back saying they had made space for us. It was truly the best meal I have had in a long time and brought up memories of my favorite restaurant tucked away in Montalcino, Tuscany. The server, Bethany, was so warm and friendly, I felt that I had known her all my life. The meal, the presentation, the smells and the taste were simply fabulous. If I could have gone back each night of our trip I would have. We recommended it to our friends who are locals and they are now fans too!

Date of visit: June 2017
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Thank jenskis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 June 2017

Five of us all enjoyed our dinner at Riva Cucina. I found that conversation was easy ... not too loud which was great. The service was very good and not rushed. I'd recommend this restaurant highly.

Date of visit: May 2017
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Thank amasland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2017

Melt in your mouth, little pillows of creamy yumminess - that's the gnocchi at Riva Cucina. And the parsley pasta dish was crisp and bursting with flavor. Riva Cucina is a hidden gem tucked off of busy 7th/Ashby. A wonderful spot for date night, girls night out, or a birthday gathering. Buon appetito!

Date of visit: May 2017
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Thank gj726
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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