Riva – Santa Monica

After our excellent lunch at Riva we decided to try Riva for dinner. According to Susan Miller, the gracious, knowledgeable and very competent GM, Jason Travi is spending most of his time at Riva. 

Susan sans wine

Susan Miller


Riva - BYO white wine

BYO White Wine


Riva- Seth

Seth, our excellent server. He had the patience of a saint. One table had him describe almost every dish on the menu and he did so graciously and accurately.


Riva - bread and butter

Rolls were warm and fresh.

Crudo – 4 ways – Chef’s Choice – this was absolutely superb with sashimi grade fish plus incredible light saucing that were perfect matches to the fish.

John’s crudo

Riva - crudo 2

From upper left corner

Tonna di Tonnato – Big Eye Tuna,  Tonnato sauce, capers 

Hamachi Parfait – cucumber, avocado basil

Sea Bass, Pink peppercorns, lemon oil

Cured Ocean Trout, House Made Mustard, Dill


My Crudo Order

Riva- crudo 1

From upper left corner (excuse the finger nail)

Albacore, Tomato, Black Olive, haricot vert

Hokkaido Scallops, Santa Rosa plum, Basil Oil

 Sea Bass, Pink Peppercorns, lemon oil

Tonna di Tonnato – Big Eye Tuna,  Tonnato sauce, capers


riva- hamachi

We just had to have a full order of the Hamachi Parfait. To be honest, I stole most of it from John’s plate so…….


Riva- BYO red wine



Riva - meatballs

Wood Fired Tuna Meatballs, Chickpeas, Heirloom Tomatoes – this was incredible – a take on tuna tartare done as a meatball and cooked just enough, but not overcooked. The chickpea and tomato accompaniment was a plus addition instead of why add those ingredients addition. This is just such focused cuisine – each element adds to the whole.

There were a number of items on the menu that intrigued me – lamb tartare and pork belly among them, but the menu will be changing shortly. Pizzas will only be offered on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The focus will shift to small plates, more a tapas style menu. Given how incredible the crudo was as well as the tuna meatballs, I can’t wait. But we did have to bid a fond goodbye to pizza at Riva on Saturday:

Riva - pizza

Molto Maiale – sausage, bacon, meatballs, pancetta, caramelized onion, tomato, cheese as an addition – always delicious


Riva - dessert

Chocolate Hazelnut Purse (wrapped in filo), Flourless Chocolate cake, Chocolate Ganache, Hazelnut Puree, Nutella Ice Cream – to be honest, I was quite full and only nibbled at the dessert.

Riva - packed

The restaurant was packed; they are obviously doing it right. During these times, it is a credit to the restaurant that they are enthusiastically supported.

We already have made our next reservation after the menu change.


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