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B'day dinner: Church & State or Rivera or ???

A Saturday night, group of 6 or 7 for dinner.

Never been to: Church & State or Rivera - but wanting to try either.

Curious about: price point, food, and overall comfort/atmosphere.

Would like to keep price point reasonable ($50/pp including drinks) and have a relaxing evening.

I'm currently leaning toward Rivera (because of the noise level reviews a C&S).


Would like to keep it to Downtown or Eastside are.


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  1. I think that price point would work at either place, but why not check the menus online to make sure it works for you?
    I personally love both restaurants, but the noise level at Church & State is something to consider. Though if you're with a fairly large group, you may have able to survive it.

    1. I really enjoy the food at both places. That's no help, I know. I just mean you can't go weong with either. But if you do choose Rivera, you MUST get the chocolate/pineapple cake thingie for dessert.

      1. I love both but keep in mind that the incredible cocktails at Rivera are around $15 so that can add up quickly. They really are amazing, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mollyomormon

          Agree with above. Love Church and State too, but if you have one cocktail, an app and an entree you're going to be over 50 with tip, and at a birthday celebration, who has one cocktail?

        2. speaking of cocktails, just a heads up if you go to rivera. the cocktails take FOREVER to come out. we got our food way before our drinks. wine is most likely quicker.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Clyde

            I haven't been to Rivera yet so can't comment, but Church and State has the same problem. The drinks take forever to come out so good idea to order a couple at a time if you plan on making an evening of it. They do make very good cocktails though.

            Speaking of Church and State, I like it but don't understand the raves it gets on this board. It is pricey for decent French bistro food and service is spotty.

          2. Thanks for the input! Am I missing another location that's similar to Rivera and C&S, but perhaps with a softer price point?

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Oracle

              At a "softer price point" but, really not similar to either, I would rec Wood Spoon.

              At the same price point, Drago Centro should be in the mix as well.

              1. re: The Oracle

                Chef Joseph Centeno's new place, Lazy Ox Canteen:

              2. Rivera...no question for me..better food...much better drinks. Take advantage of your group and share so you can try everything. Julian's in my top 3 bartenders in the city. You might go a little over on the budget. Definite orders are the duck enfrijolada, the tortillas, lamb chops, and chile rellenos. All of julian's drinks are great but the barbarcoa is probably the craziest, flavorful, most fun to drink/eat cocktails in LA. a meal in a cup

                1. I like Rivera! A booth in the Sangre room would be perfect for your group.

                  1. Update: Thanks to everyone for your feedback. Our group ended up at Rivera - and, surprisingly, I didn't like it all that much. We tried the tortillas (fantastic and loved the guac they served), the olives (5 individual olives each paired with something different) - we did not like those at all, and the chips and salsa.

                    For the mains I had the duck enfrijolada - which was ok, but nothing that had me swooning. Others liked their dishes about the same - portions were on the small side. For dessert we tried the chocolate/pineapple cake - and, again, it was fine but not particularly impressive.

                    Service was fine, but from a food perspective - I wouldn't rush to go back, nor would I necessarily point people towards it. For the Rivera fans - they were telling us they are going to start up 'room centric' menus - with different menu choices depending on what room you are seated in. Basically an incentive to return and try different menu options.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: The Oracle

                      I go back to Rivera only for drinks these days...