On the river platform along which the Four Seasons boat lives, is a casual outdoor pizzeria aptly named Riva, Italian for someone who lives by a wharf or on the bank of the river. Being the fastidious pizza critics we are, and lovers of authentic Neapolitan pizza only consumed in Italy, we were ready to dig our teeth – and shrewd taste buds – into Riva’s offerings.
Riva offers a concisely curated menu, put together by Italian F&B director Mr. Michele Garbuio offers a simple and straightforward selection of traditional Italian dishes and brick oven pizza.
Signature Dishes & Dishes Sampled
Signature is the pizza of course, we were first greeted with Riva’s take on the complimentary bread basket, slices of plain pizza dough baked with rosemary, (freshly plucked from the neighboring chef’s nursery, visible from where we were sitting). Served with a dynamic dip of fried onion, Parmesan and olive oil paste, a deep flavor profile with an ever so slight sweet kick that set the tone for the night.
Antipasto: We were quick to order our starter dishes, we knew exactly what we wanted, the Arancini, a mark of any consummate Italian chef, the Vitello Tonnato, a staple in restaurants in Italy, and the Caprese.
The Arancini ai Funghi – fried risotto ball with mushrooms and basil, served with tomato salsa and Parmesan fondue – was coated in a perfect golden crunch on the outside, and had a melt-in-your-mouth soft and gooey inside. This got our full approval, was likely the star antipasto for the night. The Caprese came in a rustic presentation – fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil, with splashes of pesto and olive oil on the dish – a refreshing cool bite after the warm Arancini. Also got our approval.
The Vitello Tonnato – thinly sliced, slow cooked veal fillet with tuna sauce, Parmesan and capers. The tuna sauce certainly gave this dish the salty, creamy kick that the overcooked veal fillet needed. Still enjoyable, but could have done with a thinner slice and less cooking time.
Pizza: Our pizza order soon landed at our table looking every bit as rustic as we’d imagined having just come out of the brick oven. The Margherita with cow’s milk mozzarella, tomato sauce and olive oil made for a satisfyingly chewy bite. The garlic in the sauce slightly overwhelmed, but if you’re a garlic lover like us, you’ll be well pleased. The dough was thin and pulled nicely, a mark of authentic Neapolitan style pizza.
The Salsiccia pizza with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, smoked Scarmoza cheese, veal sausage, oregano and olive oil did not disappoint either. The smoked Scarmoza gave this pizza a more evolved flavor profile with smoky, nutty hints, while the sausage surprised our palates with bursts of spice. This probably won the pizza round.
Dessert: We opted to share a Panna Cotta as this would also be very telling of the authenticity of the cuisine, but also because the dairy and gluten overload we had just indulged in left no room in our overly satiated bellies. The Panna Cotta came covered in a berry sauce with blueberries, cherries and raspberries, shaved almonds, and cookie crumbs.
We could have done without all that fuss on top and would have been fine and dandy with a simple sauce on the side. The Panna Cotta itself however gave a good bounce-back when we dug our spoons into it, not too sweet. The perfectly smooth texture, along with the tangy sauce ended our dinner on a perfectly sweet note.
Drinks: We sipped on the house sangria, fruity and refreshing and a virgin cocktail of lemonade, cranberry juice and rosemary, a vibrant drink.
Décor & Ambiance
What you would expect from an outdoor deck or terrace. Lots of bright woods, white seating with light grey upholstery, potted plants everywhere, large fans spritzing water into the air, making for a nice, fresh breeze. The brick pizza oven in plain sight. No fuss, casual, spacious.
While our dinner took place midweek, we were told that Riva is buzzing with lunch and dinner patrons Wednesday to Friday: families, couples, groups of friends mid-twenties and up, professionals from neighboring offices.
The staff is all donning masks, with sanitizer available on each table, and the sanitized cutlery presented in a small plastic bag, which we found a bit unwarranted as every time the cutlery was changed, more plastic bags piled up on our table.
Price Range: We found the prices to be on par with other authentic-style pizzerias around town, mid to high range.
Tel: 356 71600
Opening hours: 12 pm to 11 pm