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Oct 28, 2008 09:43 PM


Pronounced "rivah", not "reeva", on Wilshire at 3rd (next to Barnes and Noble, old Scarboni's spot), from the Fraiche team. Went there tonight, opening night. Server tells us it's an italian inspired menu from the Cinque Terre portion of the Italian Riviera.

First thoughts post meal: I will be back, for sure, but will probably make this a drinks and pizza spot. The pizza is amazing, with their fire oven thin crust pizzas and things like potato pizza, anchovy pizza, meatball pizza, a bianco, a margarita - yum. They're all about $15 each.

The bar drinks are out of this world, I always like a good drink menu. No Roses Lime Juice here, everything is fresh juice. I highly recommend the pomegranate with Proseco martini.

There's a crudo menu, all seafood, and the servings are small. They recommend that you share crudo, appetizers, pizzas (2 per 4 people) and have your own entree. These are about $14. The standout was the burrata/tomato/red pepper appetizer and it was out of this world, but small.

The entrees are Trout (river trout, very much like salmon), John Dory, Sirloin, Prime Rib (for two, at $80), Pork Chops, Lamb and Chicken (high, at $28). Everything's about $28.

Dessert for us consisted of the bread pudding (the pomegranate sorbet was a big hit) and the Fig/caramel/cake/cream fresh/pine nut dessert that was amazing... Service is impeccable.

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  1. I think a year from today LA is gonna be an all pizza town at the rate we're going, but it's good to hear this one seems a worthy addition. I'll wait for a few more rumblings before I induce myself into a carb coma.

    With the price of a pizza being close to that of Mozza, are they of similar size?

    1. Thanks for the report. I was wondering what the prices were going to be ...

      1. I hope LA gets better pizza places. Seems like a must try. Thanks for the writeup

        1 Reply
        1. re: risottoman

          We had dinner also that included 4 crudos the big eye tuna, sea bass with pink peppercorns, geoduck and cuttlefish. They where all good but the cuttlefish was a standout. We had two pizzas, the bianca with spinach and the arugula and prosciutto both were fantastic I also heard good things about the potato with lardo. We also had the beet salad and the burrata salad both were great but small servings. For entree I had the lamb chop and braised lamb neck. This dish was outstanding especially the neck it had a nice ratio of fat to meat and the braising really gave it a great consistency. The chops were two good size chops cooked a perfect medium rare and the saffron risotto was perfect. Others had the trout which I believe was a sea trout from the atlantic and a chicken wrapped in some kind of pork. The people liked there dishes but liked mine more.

          It's a beautiful space with a nice menu it will be a good addition to SM

        2. Wow...this place sounds intriguing -- thanks for the report!

          1. I just went last night and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. Granted, I only had the pizza, but I don't think I'm going back anytime soon. I have a much longer review with pictures in the right places posted on my blog, but to summarize here:

            Cocktails - We ordered something with elderflower. This was $12, and not worth it. While it was pretty good, it also was pretty average. I really shouldn't order cocktails unless I'm at The Hungry Cat.

            Pizza - We were not feeling terribly hungry, so we only ordered one pizza to share. We were undecided between one with pancetta and one with housemade "tiny meatballs", fontina, and basil, I think. The server highly recommended the meatball one. $16.

            The pizza was pretty good: the crust was sweet and chewy, the meatballs had a nice little spiciness to it, and importantly, everything held up to the weight of the cheese and meatballs. No nasty sogginess collecting on the bottom of the crust. The biggest problem was that there was some residual flour on the bottom, which resulted in a bit of a pasty texture when chewing. Kind of annoying, but a kink I'm hoping will be worked out.

            Overall, though, not nearly as good as the pizzas at Mozza. Not nearly. Not only do you get a better crust, but the pizzas there are bigger, more interesting, and more filling than the ones here. And for the same price points! If someone really wanted to get pizza in the area, I'd immediately point to Joe's instead.

            Dessert. The server highly, highly recommended the first dessert on the menu: torta della nona, which is an almond custard cake with pine nuts. This one comes with a dark chocolate sauce and fresh and dried figs, both on the side. $10.

            This was the only thing absolutely worth it. Absolutely. This was delicious. Delicious. I don't even like custard so much, and it was delicious. I don't even like figs so much, and it was delicious. The cake, not too dry. The custard, not too eggy. Also, warm! It was delicious. The minor quibble was the dried figs - a little too strong, it took a bit away from the rest of the lighter flavors.

            Total damage was $41.14 with tax, without tip. Split between us two, it wasn't horrible. Nonetheless, it's definitely not going to be a regular spot. Sigh. While I wasn't expecting to be able to stop in and dine on the entrees (way too expensive for me), I was hoping that it would be a spot where I could just drop in and nosh on really good fancy pie. Not it, though. I'd much, much rather drive to Mozza instead.


            5 Replies
            1. re: Queequeg

              I see what you mean--the pizza in the picture looks not good.....

              1. re: Adsvino

                Yes the torta della Nona is amazing what's nice is that it had an amazing flavor without being sweet. I read your blog review and I'm curious was it on this particular review that someone referred to the pizza as "phenomenal"? Because I cant find it on any of these reviews. I did not find my pizza to be pasty I personally really enjoyed it. One of the things that gets me about chowhound is the people who come out with definitive reviews on a new place. Go and read a review from the LA times from Irene Verbila and see that she, before panning a place reviews it multiple times. Nor does she pan a place for her lack of "monies" for the entrees. It's the fair thing to do especially in this economy, after all we really don't want more people on the dole do we?

                1. re: trojans

                  I did read here somewhere that the pizza was "phenomenal", but you're right, I can't find it here anymore either. I'll clarify this in my entry. Thanks.

                  I agree, it can be unfair to pan a place without going to it multiple times, but I don't think this is always true. I think sometimes, you can pan a place just based on your first visit (i.e., going to Crustacean for the first and only time - my review was, and will remain: ew, ew, ew). In any case, to be fair to me, (1) the first review was equally definitive, but in a positive way (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) and (2) I didn't really pan it, I just said I wouldn't go here again. This is a personal issue for every hound: when to return to a restaurant even though you didn't like it initially, but thought that there was good enough potential. It really is a case-by-case basis. For me at Riva, I don't think it's worth returning to. I also felt this way about Bar Pinxto, which predates my blog. Good, but not good enough to return. At Riva, I can't afford the entrees, as I said plainly in my review, so that is something I would not get in any circumstance. Based on the portion size, I thought offhand they were awfully small for the price charged. That is the extent of that particular criticism. I think this is worth noting for those of us who do consider portions to be an important, but not always deciding, factor in deciding what to eat and where to go. Better to know this information in advance and know what you are getting rather than getting a potentially unhappy surprise, that is what I say. Especially in this economy. We certainly don't want more people on the dole, but we certainly don't want people shelling out because of some misplaced fiscal guilt either.

                  As I reported, I did rather like the pizza; the flour issue was a minor problem at best, and one that is just one of those things that happen. Their pizzas just weren't good enough for me to want to try another one, especially if I can get to Mozza instead.

                  Usually new places open with kinks in service, and this is where I always cut the restaurant slack and return if that was the only issue. I had no problems in service at Riva. Food-wise, I gave Riva the same consideration I give to every restaurant I go to for the first time, new or old. Conclusion: I have limited funds, and I would rather explore other places than go here again. I don't have the luxury of a critic like Miss Irene. I don't have anyone paying for my meal over a few weeks or months to compare and contrast the dishes. This is why she has the LA Times and I just have a blog. Sad music ensues ...

                  1. re: trojans

                    the difference is that most people on chowhound do not have an la times credit card (for whatever that's worth these days) to take four people to a place 3 times to try it out. this is an informal board for people to give real world experiences. we all know that we are pedestrians, and that's who i want to hear from.

                    i am going to try this place soon despite the reviews.

                    and i agree with Queequeg that you only have to go to crustacean (and a lot of places) once to know whether you like it or not. when a place is bad - why should we go back over and over wasting our money to decide whehter we like it? there are 1000s of other places in the la area to try and find a fit.

                2. re: Queequeg

                  Yes, that's the dessert we had, and are still talking about it!

                  Our pizza didn't have flour on the bottom, thankfully. And I agree, they are small.