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Dorsoduro: Ristorante Riviera

1473 Zattere , Phone: 041.522.7621
Closing day: Monday

Reviewed by: basti100 from UK, review #3081

When: 2008

Fabulous food, great service and overall an extremely memorable meal.

We went to the Ristorante Riviera last week when we were in Venice. We'd already had numerous excellent meals around the city and went on a relatively quiet Tuesday lunchtime to celebrate my father's 70th Birthday. We were not disappointed with what was to follow.

We began the meal with a free glass of Prosecco each, delicious. Then came the food. We all ordered antipasti and primi piatti (pasta dishes), as we were about to order secondi, the waiter informed us that the dishes were all quite large so maybe we wanted to wait and see how full we were and then decide what to order. So we sat back and sipped at our Proseccos.

The antipasti arrived beautifully presented - the dishes included a plate of fresh seafood, traditional fish, including sardines, anchovies and tuna tartare. The highlight was an amazing dish of scallops on artichoke hearts. Wonderfully cooked and absolutely delicious. My father, it being his birthday, was given a small additional starter of boiled octopus and scallops.

Then came the primi piatti. We had black taglioni with scallops and artichoke, spaghetti with seafood and risotto with prawns and mushrooms, all of which were outstanding. We had a delicious bottle of local dry white wine and decided that we could just about fit a couple of secondis in. We ordered the turbot and prawns to share. The chef helpfully split the two dishes between the four of us. Despite getting a different prawn dish from the one we ordered, they were both unsurprisingly superb.

Just when we thought we couldn't eat any more we were presented with a mini birthday cake, tiramisu and panna cotta - complete with a rendition of Happy Birthday from the ever friendly waiter.

The meal was completed with copious amounts of Grappa.

This was a truly excellent meal, served by knowledgable and humourous staff. We would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone going to Venice - it was our best meal there.

Reviewed by: jgk from FL, review #2991

When: 2008

Our best lunch in Venice. Sit right on the Giudecca canal, smell the sea and indulge yourself in top notch food and service. Great house wine, too.

Directions: near San Basilio stop

the end of the meal, photo by

What a memorable lunch we had a Riviera! We took the vaporetto to Accademia and walked all along the Zattere to work up an appetite and get in the mood for lunch. Almost at the end, is Riviera. We sat right in the corner, feeling like this was the best table in the world. We were treated royally throughout the meal and only at the end did I say we were "friends" of Ruth and Shannon.

We started with a little "amuse" of chopped tomatoes and I think, chopped eggs - I may not remember exactly.

We ordered the shrimp and avocado starter. It was simple boiled, large head-on shrimp set beside slices of perfectly ripe avocado drizzled with some really delicious olive oil. (Kris thought the shrimp were over cooked but I didn't care - thinking it may just be a stylistic thing.) I drank white and Kris drank red house wine and we both agreed that they were some of the best house wines we've tried.

We had a pasta (taglierini maybe - they were long and flat and tasted home made) with scallops and porcini. The flavors were gentle and subtle with a little tarragon and more of the lovely oil.

We shared the "frittura mista" which included fried calamari, shrimp and some shoestring cut vegetables. The fry technique was perfect! The seafood was so fresh tasting and the plating was beautiful with a little salad on the plate in a separate little shallow bowl. Needless to say, we LOVED this dish. And we were glad we shared. There was more than enough for both of us.

As we lingered over our caffe, taking it all in, we had one of those moments great trips are made of - the feeling of total satisfaction!

Reviewed by: Boleskine/Ruth from NJ, review #2627

When: 2007

After more than two dozen visits Ristorante Riviera remains on high on the short list of our favorites with extraordinary offerings for every course.

Directions: From San Basilio Vaporetto Stop: Turn right; the restaurant is a short distance ahead.

With a new formal dining room for cold weather and outdoor seating along the Giudecca Canal for mild weather, Riviera has greatly extended its original small capacity.

The tuna tartare is extraordinary, as is the tuna three ways, the artichoke bottoms with scallops, the pesce crudo; even the salads, dressed with a very aged Balsamico, are unsually fresh, crisp and beautifully plated. Gamboretti, tiny shrimp, with rich satisfying polenta is another good choice for an opening course. Asparagus with egg and Parmigiano or Granseola, spider crab are wonderful lgiht ways to begin your meal.

Home made pastas are heavenly; the trenette with astice (lobster) is lovely, if a little messy to eat. Spaghetti con Beverasse comes with dozens and dozens of tiny clams, and the risotto with shrimp and asparagus is perfectly prepared to a rich creamy texture without the addition of cheese or cream. The lamb chops with blueberry sauce are an unsual and unsually delicious presentation although they are small and not your typical big fat American double cut chops. At other time the lamb chops are made with different and delicious sauces but the blueberry remains our favorite.

The Bollito Misto is a dream come true for carnivores. On the fish side of the menu, rombo with artichokes is a lovely light secondo, and the classic fritto misto is fabulously fresh and crunchy. The whole Branzino baked in a salt crust is a dramatic presentation with equally spectacular flavors, and well worth the wait. The platter of mixed grilled fish tastes even better than it looks. The breads in the bread basket are all baked on the premises, and are all worth blowing your carbohydrate count for the day.

Among the desserts, the panna cotta, creme brulee and tiramisu are several cuts above average, but we usually prefer the Tre Filer, a dessert wine from the area around Lake Garda, which comes with a plate of Monica's home made butter cookies or biscotti.

Luca is a genius at matching wines with the most unusual combinations of food so if you are not sure of what you want to drink, you can rely on him. Alessandro and Manuel, the two servers, are charming and helpful. Riviera is an expensive restaurant, and you will not find the same locals you may find at a small trattoria, but you can hear Venetian along with traditional Italian, English, French, German and many other languages - at least you can when the diners stop eating long enough to start talking.

Reviewed by: sharonzuk from NJ, review #2408

When: 2007

I think this is simply the best restaurant in Venice. Great food, funny excellent service. Nice wine list. Great view.

Directions: It's on the Fondamenta Zattere, just before the Billa supermarket

We ate in Riviera twice in our week-long May visit. Riviera has become the traditional first- and last-meal in Venice. We were not disappointed.

Our first lunch: we sat outside in front of the Canale della Giudecca. The view is fantastic and the food matches the view. We let Luca, who runs the service while his wife Monica is the chef, decided for us. To begin, we had thin slices of marinated artichokes over some greens and a slice of parm. cheese accompanied by a stuffed, fried zucchini blossom (the stuffing was cheesy with a faint hint of anchovy). For pasta, we shared a pasta primavera made with homemade pasta and the sweetest carrots and zucchini I've ever tasted. Our main course consisted of three kebobs: one grilled shrimp, one grilled tuna, one grilled scallops (with roe attached).

After the welcoming glass of prosecco, we had a bottle of a white wine: Podero San Michel 2005. We finished with an espresso and a cafe latte (delivered with a flourish). Excellent wine and food.

The last night was a contrast in weather: it was pouring. We sat inside at a table beneath the windows which gave us an excellent view of the outside and of Monica working in the kitchen.

The wine was a 2004 Nebbiolo from Lange Ginestrino. We started with the zucchini blossoms again and something else that I forgot to write down! The pasta course, penne with fish was the only misstep as we found it too salty for our palates. The main course, branzino baked in a salt crust, was a showstopper. All eyes were on Luca as he broke the crust and expertly boned the fish. I have never had a tastier fish. It was moist and tender--my mouth waters as I think of it. Served with zucchini and carrots (Monica's vegggies are fantastic), it was a great end to our stay in Venice. Since we couldn't decide on dessert, the waiter served us creme brule and tiramisu - both of which were great. It wasn't cheap: 176 euro - but the bill was soften by a few complimentary glasses of grappa!

Ristorante Riviera is a great place to eat some of the best seafood you'll ever find. (And the other stuff is great too!)

Reviewed by: Boleskine/Ruth from NJ, review #1066

When: 2004

This small restaurant expands its capacity when weather makes it possible to dine outside along the Giudecca Canal. The menu is small, but every item on it is tempting.

Directions: From the San Basilio vaporetto stop: turn right and walk along the fondamente. The restaurant is a short distance ahead. Take a #82 vaporetto to get to San Basilio.

Reviewed by: KenC from MA, review #924

When: 2004

Outstanding food in a beautiful location on the waterfront -- highly recommended!

The Riviera Restaurant is located right on the waterfront in Dorsorduro. Luca, the owner and chef of Riviera, recommended a vegetable dish with pici pasta dribbled with olive oil for my wife. I had grilled Branzino, a sea bass.

We sat at a table by the water, watching cruise ships float by as we drank red wine and waited for our food. Our meals were absolutely amazing! We enjoyed two antipasti, one first course, and one second course with half a bottle of house red for €75. This is certainly a place to go out of your way to find—fabulous food in a great location. Highly recommended!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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