Riva Restaurant

On those very rare occasions when Peter and I have pizza delivered, we either argue over the type of crust to get, or simply order separate pizzas. Peter likes classic “hand-tossed” crust and I prefer a thin crust because it’s less filling, and I admit…. I just care more about the toppings.

When Pizzeria Mozza opened a couple of years ago, we finally found that one pizza that we could agree on and actually enjoy together. Nancy Silverton’s pizza crusts are thick enough on the outside for Peter, yet thin enough on the inside so I don’t feel overwhelmed by dough.

We first went to Pizzeria Mozza on Christmas Eve in 2006, and have tried every pizza on the menu since then. Mozza’s “Gorgonzola, Fingerling Potato and Rosemary” is the one we return to again and again. It’s a real shame they don’t deliver.

Riva, MyLastBite.comLast friday we were invited to dinner by Peter’s friends, Barbara and John. They were in town, from Seattle, looking at colleges with their two teenage kids, Corey and Claire. Peter asked me to make a dinner reservation in Santa Monica (near their hotel) so I decided on Riva restaurant. We hadn’t been to Jason Travi’s Italian eatery yet, so after I made the reservation I started researching the menu online.

The L.A. Times noted that Riva’s menu “plays off the cuisine of the Italian Riviera” and serves delicious crudo (Italian style “sashimi”). I was surprised to read that they don’t serve pasta, but Riva does specialize in pizza. I found several good reviews about the pork lovers pizza called “Molto Maiale”, but it’s when I started reading about the “Patate Semplice” pizza that I began feeling well…. a little guilty. It’s made with potato, rosemary, fontina and sea salt, which sounded very similar to our favorite pizza at Mozza. Should we even try Riva’s potato pizza, or would it be like cheating on Nancy? It took almost fifteen years of “crust fighting” to find a pizza that my husband I both love, so maybe it was best not to test fate by bringing in a new player.

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s JUST PIZZA… GET OVER IT”.

Well, we did… and both of us absolutely loved the Riva potato pizza. To me, the crust seemed a little lighter than Mozza’s version, and the topping was almost custard-like underneath the potato. It was velvety rich and so cheesy that I had to eat it with a fork.

The other pizza we ordered was (of course) the “Molto Maiale” which was topped with sausage, meatballs, pancetta and bacon. After a few bites, we were all in pig heaven.

The L.A. times said it best: “While Pizzeria Mozza still rules, Riva is closing in, and here at least you can get a reservation”.

What we ate:

Riva, MyLastBite.comPatate Semplice Pizza (potato, rosemary, fontina, sea salt) $14

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Molto Maile Pizza (Sausage, Bacon, Meatballs, Pancetta, Caramelized Onion, Tomato) $17

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Molto Maile Pizza (Sausage, Bacon, Meatballs, Panceetta, Caramelized Onion, Tomato) $17

Riva, MyLastBite.com
 Crudo: DELICIOUS cured belly of ocean trout with house made mustard. $9

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Chef Jason Travi

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Chef at the pizza oven

Pastry Chef Miho Travi is a dessert goddess…

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Torta Della Nonna (grandma’s cake) served with roasted pears, caramel ice cream $10

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Ricotta Fritters served with catalan cream foam $9

Riva, MyLastBite.com
Sorbetti e Gelati Trio $8

More photos on Flickr

Riva Restaurant
312 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica
(310) 451-7482
RivaRestaurantLA.com

Dining date: 3/6/09
Thanks Barbara and John, for a wonderful dinner at Riva!

Mentioned Above:
L.A. Times Review of Riva

Pizzeria Mozza

Nancy Silverton

At Mozza
Riva on Urbanspoon

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12 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

12 responses to “Riva Restaurant

  1. Jo: This is not Just Pizza!!
    It looks so fabulous, from looking at it I could taste it, Yum!!!
    xo

  2. Very funny post, Jo. And it’s not just pizza when you’re that adamant about what you like. :-) It’s serious business.

    I can hear the crunch right through the photos. Incredible crust, and rosemary/potato/fontina is quite the combination. Love it!

  3. oh! I have to try this pizza. It looks AMAZING!

  4. duodishes

    Riva sounds amazing. And it’s not that expensive. Those desserts look great!

  5. maybe it’s time to head back west.. AGAIN…

    cuz, dangit, that pie @ Gjelina was foul.

  6. I hope you’ve gotten over the guilt!

  7. TonyC,
    I SWEAR the Guanciale pizza I had at Gjelina was good! LOL

    Barbara,
    THANK YOU again for dinner. And yes I’m over my guilt… until the next time I go to Mozza!

  8. i want to try that potato pizza, looks really good!

  9. I loooved the potato pizza at Riva too. You are so right on the description — the cheese/bechamel sauce is very custardy. Definitely hit my stomach hard! But delicious nonetheless. :)

  10. wow too bad i left santa monica before i discovered this. i love all of your pictures!

    you should definitely submit your photos to http://www.donteatthatyet.com. it’s a visual restaurant review site with a template similar to that of tastespotting.

    • Hi. I read somewhere that Riva recently decided to stop serving pizza. Such a shame! Something about the pizzas taking over all the usage of the wood-burning stove. I’ll miss that creamy potato pie!

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