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Jul 12, 2009 07:15 AM

MSP-Riverview Wine Bar

Ever since we decided to go to Argentina to explore Malbec, quite a few collegues have expressed their love for the Riverview Wine Bar. One in particular is my father-in-law who has been trying to get us in for months now.

The first thing to remember is that this place is closed Monday and Tuesday. Second thing to remember is to go in the Wine Bar section, not the Riverview Cafe. Third thing to remember is try and get there early, otherwise you may suffer the worst service imaginable.

We arrived at 8pm on a Thursday. It was fairly busy at that time, especially with patio seating, so we expected to not get much service at all. We ordered some wine flights, a bottle of Malbec (we had to go based on our own knowledge since our server did not lend any help with the selection), two pizzas, two salads and two desserts. This took a whopping 2.5 hours to get. We actually wanted more wine and more food - but our server just never came around and I even tried to get her attention which just got ignored. Our water was filled up once. The last hour and half, the place was half dead, so still - we did not understand why the poor service.

On a good note, I found the wine flights to be interesting and creative. There are the traditional flights of pinot noir, or sake - but there are other flights that mix up and really give you the best grapes the region offers.

We loved the mango and proscuitto pizza! The desserts were also nicely done.

Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar
3745-3753 42nd Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

I know this happens to be a local favorite. I want to try this place again because I do believe their wine selection is intriguing and I believe in second chances. However, I just am one who cannot tolerate poor service. Any recommendations? Perhaps just sitting at the bar next time with the bartender will provide me the wine knowledge I seek? Or going on a Wednesday...

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  1. I think the only way to enjoy the Riverview is to surrender and enjoy the zen of the place. And to also eat first. I don't think that you can count on stellar service there, so I have found that I only go there for drinks and somehting small to eat there. That way I can sit back, know that things will take time, and not hear my stomach growling.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. This is sad to hear, but thanks for the warning. I took my wine-tasting group to the Riverview Wine Bar a few years ago, in the dead of winter, and got great service (the place was otherwise empty). But I'll be sure to avoid this place for our upcoming August outing.

        What a shame that a place with such potential - and clear popularity - can't ramp up to handle a full house. It's not like they couldn't hire more servers and cooks in this economy. (Everyone I know is job-hunting...)


        2 Replies
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          And what is the point of a wine bar where the staff doesn't know anything about the wine?

          1. re: kevin47

            Good point Kevin. Most wine bars have staff that are not wine savy.