Houston >Food & Dining > Riva's Italian Restaurant
1117 Missouri St, Houston, TX | Directions 7700629.746051 -95.392484
Neighborhoods: Central, Neartown/ Montrose
Only average – I can't understand why people are giving this place 4 and 5 star ratings? I like Riva's atmosphere, location, free non valet parking, and clientelle, but the food quality is just average to bland in my opinion. I suspect the cooks are following bad recipes with no idea what Italian cooking is about. They obviously have no chef. My chicken marsala tasted like sweeened grilled chicken with vegetables and the marsala wine flavor was nonexistant. My dinner date had eggplant parmesan, but it was not any better than an Olive Garden entree. I will say the overall value of the meal was very good with small soup, salad, and entree included in very reasonable price. Overall: nice restaurant with average food, but not a place to take anyone who appreciates Italian cusine. Bar scene looking good, try that instead of eating here.
I'd date myself here. – Every year I take over-advantage of Dine Out For Life. I also promise to go somewhere I haven't been. This year, I saw Riva's was donating 100% of proceeds! HOLY COW! I was in.
Myself and a friend ventured over not knowing what to expect. It was adorable: corner house-like building that is super cozy inside [p.s. seat yourself - at least for lunch]. We got a choice table right up by the PIANO. [yes, there's a piano]. We arrived right at 2 not knowing the kitchen closes at 2. And we were never hurried along or even told the kitchen had closed until we asked after our waiter to order something To Go for a colleague back at the office. In fact, the owner and staff were very conversational and welcoming.
The menu is pleasing for all palates - sandwiches, salads, pastas [nothing too adventurous]. What floored me is how affordable this place is - and the quality was there, too. I had a grilled chicken salad - it was $7. And very generous.
There's an unassuming, cute patio out front. This place has some old-world charm. Christmas lights strung everywhere, photos of 'celebrities' that have dined there on every inch of the wall and a tucked away little bar. It's the type of place that makes me fall in love with this city. It's not overstated or trying to be something its not.
On our departure, the owner made us pinky swear we'd be back. And we will. If I had a date, this would be our regular spot. I'm taking applications ... ;-)
RUN DON"T WALK – I absolutly love the place, so much that we got married there! Yes married outside then micheal and joseph were so kind as in shut down the hole place and let us have our reception inside as well!! Ever since moving to houston we have found a place that has made us feel like we are home away from home. Always welcomed with a hug and kiss at the door the BEST WAITSTAFF and FOOD. what can i say about bottemless mimosa its really bottomless i have never seen the bottom of my glass(which has had us walking home many of sundays). Please please visit and try it, I can honestly say you'll be back. and if you frequent enough maybe you'll make the wall!! like i said RUN DON'T WALK!!
Great food and service – I'm so surprised by the negative reviews of this restaurant. The minute you walk in the door you are greeted by one of the owners. The food is always hot, excellent and plentiful and I have yet to have bad service.
Dinner can be pricey, but lunch has always been reasonably priced. I love the chicken marsala and the italian sub sandwich!
Hopefully some of the people with negative experiences will try once more and have the great food and service that the rest of us have received.
Unbelievable in every way – I was introduced to this restaurant by a friend on new years eve and since then I have become a self proclaimed regular customer. I met the owner on my very first visit, he shows all of his customers how important they are to the success of his business (unlike most local business owners). Each time we visit the restaurant we are greeted like family. Ever since my first visit the wait staff has remembered what I like to drink and I dont even have to tell them. I should add that if you are looking for a GREAT martini, this is the place to go. They are made perfect, they are huge, and they are extremely reasonably priced. Now on to the food! I dont even know where to begin, let me just say that I have tried almost half of the items on the menu and I have yet to try anything that was not absolutely delicious. A few of my favorites are the chicken Funchezzi, the shrimp mozzarella, and the lasagna. Absolutely DE-licious food and in my opinion one of the top 5 restaurants in all of houston. If you have not tried it I suggest that you do, you will thank me for it I promise.
Really Remarkable! – After looking at some reviews, my boyfriend and I decided to give Riva's a try in our search for good Italian food in Houston. I am so glad we went!
For $13.99, I received: a glass of wine, a cup of AMAZING soup, a salad, my veal entree, and a HUGE bowl of pasta with Alfredo sauce. It was so much food, we couldn't eat it all!
The soup was homemade mushroom, and it really was great. We've tried copying the recipe, but it never comes out right! The garlic bread was freshly made with real garlic, no canned or packaged sauce. The wine was good and strong, and the salad was fresh with just the right toppings.
My veal was very good, not overdone like it so often is. But what impressed me the most (as silly as this is) was the Alfredo sauce! There's no other way to describe it... it was "fluffy"! They had whipped it so that it practically melted in your mouth. The pasta was also freshly made, so the two of them together was so amazing, I kept nibbling on it as we finished our wine for the evening.
We live out west, but we'll definitely come in for Riva's again, anytime!
Hidden Gem in Montrose – On a whim my husband and I decided to check out this restaurant and we left with big, fat smiles on our faces. The food was excellent. We had shrimp scampi as an app and it was pretty good. Then soup and salad came with our entree - soooo good and fresh! Then, two excellent entrees - one veal with capers, artichokes, tomatoes in a lemon butter sauce - OMG, very good! My husband had the chicken dish that was also very good and both were served with fetticine which was average (our fav is still Grappino de Nino's). We couldn't finish our huge portioned entrees, but not for lack of trying! The waitstaff was also friendly, helpful, and colorful - we loved them all! It seems like everyone here (including the guests) want you to be taken care of. One of the regulars told me she and her husband and 1yr old still drive in from Cypress b/c they love this place so much. Oh and the wine list wasn't over the top, but it was good, decent wine. For $5 a glass for house wine it's tough for me to complain. All in all, we spent $65 and what a value! Definitely will be back! Check out this hidden gem in Montrose - you'll be glad you did.
Mom and Dad travel the world, but call Rivas their favorite Italian – My 80 year old parents took me to Rivas after an Astros game on a Sunday. While they have traveled around the world, including Italy, they say this is their favorite in Houston!
We were one of the first to arrive as they open at 6PM. The waitstaff welcomed us in as if we were in their own home. So warm, and friendly, and the old woodwork, and big windows give it a cozy, comfortable, charm.
We had a beautiful dinner, and as others have mentioned, the salad was so good! A wonderful menu with traditional Italian dishes, and the pasta was cooked to perfection. My scallops were also cooked just right, not over or under done. Delicious...and garlic bread...yum...
Casual, and fun, I would say this intimate place will remain a favorite!
PS. If you don't wish to wait, then Sunday around 6PM is a great time to go. Have fun, and give this place a try! Forget about the other gossipy reviews, and just enjoy.
Best service of any restaurant in Houston – We were so happy to find a great Italian restaurant so close to home. The restaurant itself is very inviting and cozy. Most meals come with a soup and salad. The soups are always homemade and delicious. The salads are beautiful and come with two dressings which are amazing. You can't go wrong with any of the entrees. The staff makes you feel like home and one never has to ask for anything because they are one step ahead of you. If you are looking for a quite, romatic, fast, great meal this is the place you should go!!!
Don't Miss This One! Take it From an Italian! – I am Italian; hence I love GOOD Italian food. Combine that with great atmosphere and a fun staff, I am sold! Rivas offers a great selection of dishes with wonderful flavors. The lasagna is amazing and the portion is huge. The penne pasta with roasted prosciutto and mozzarella?to die for! And the owner, (Michael) makes you feel like you have arrived at a wonderful relative?s home for dinner. Lunch is extremely reasonable and the dinner only slightly more expensive. I have read some reviews that speak of the slow service and rude staff. I have nver considered the service to be slow. Relaxed and informal might be a better lable. And as for the staff being rude? I can not imagine any of them eveer being rude. This is a wonderful place with an eclectic atmosphere. It is ideal for a group of friends to get together or for a romantic evening for just the two of you. Weather permitting, dine on the patio! Actually, I have made myself hungry?going there tonight!
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