I sound like a Yelp review, but I seriously can’t get enough of Rivabella. It may partially have something to do with my constant insatiable appetite for Italian food and dining on patios, but with each visit to Rivabella I discover more and more reasons to immediately return. This past weekend I had one of my best foodie friends from SF here in LA to visit, so naturally the weekend was concentrated on showing her LA’s finest in terms of what I’d like to consider a few of our “perfect” restaurants. Of course it would take a lot more than one weekend to share alllll of them with her, but we did the best we could with our limited time together. The weekend started with dinner at one of LA’s latest hot spots, Republique, then moved on to breakfast the following day at one of Venice’s gems, Gjelina, and concluded with one last dinner at our latest WeHo classic: Rivabella. All of these eateries were completely unique to LA and guaranteed to make me look like I knew my way around the foodie scene in Los Angeles (shit, it’s only my job, I should hope so) and Rivabella was the perfect chic spot to end a perfect food focused weekend.
The menu at Rivabella is one of those menus that has you unable to decide what to order for what seems like eternity: it all looks good, and sadly I can attest, it all tastes good. I’ve been fortunate in the fact that on each visit, the wait staff are more than knowledgeable and willing to share their favorites. Ask to be seated with Jason if you’re a wine lover and enjoy a good chuckle: the man knows how to pick bottles of wine AND he’s a comedian (win win if you ask me). The menu features everything under the Tuscan sun from burrata, beef carpaccio, octopus, “insalate”, “paste”, to “secondi”s – all “traditional Italian fare with a dynamic and modern approach” (Rivabella’s words, not exactly mine, but that sounds pretty on point when I think about it). Truthfully I’ve had a commendable variety of dishes off the menu, but the octopus appetizer, the porcini mushroom risotto, the lasagne, and the liquid nitrogen “terminator” ice cream (my words not theirs) they whip up table side are by far the dishes most worthy of revisiting. The wine menu in all of its impressive entirety is worth revisiting as well, it was interesting to look around on my last visit to discover that almost everyone, at every single table, was drinking wine; but with a 10+ page wine list with prices anywhere from $30 – $300, wine almost seems to be a requirement.
The meal at Rivabella is most certainly the main contributing factor to my loyalty and appreciation for the establishment, but the fact that they have an enchanting, romantic, and impressively grand open air patio, that is usually host to one or more celebrities a night, is just the icing on the cake. From brunch/lunch time to dinner time, Rivabella never loses its charm and sense of approachable richness. Now, this is no two $ restaurant my Yelp or Open Table people, it’s more like three or four $, but Rivabella epitomizes modern fine dining in LA – they’re consistent in maintaining the highest standards in taste, ambiance, quality, and overall experience without the unattainability and attitude of “white tablecloths”, “tuxedos”, or “fan napkins”. It’s a special meal you’re in for at Rivabella; whether that be for a delicious Monday night meal (when bottles of wine are 1/2 off!), for that special occasion, a new date, or to impress your out-of-town foodie companion, it will be one worthy of remembrance and recommendation. You may put a nice little dent in your checking after a filling traditional Italian meal at Rivabella, but you will have had an incredible time doing it without a single ounce of regret, this I assure you.