The grand opening of RivaBella marks a new place to see and be seen in Los Angeles. Occupying an 8,000-square-foot space on the famed Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, the building that now holds the upscale Italian eatery underwent a total makeover, so expect a fresh and contemporary design to marvel while you dine.
RivaBella is the newest addition to the IDG Restaurant Group (best known for its BOA Steakhouse and Sushi Roku restaurant concepts). The establishment is broken into three luxurious, but distinct, sections: a lounge area with a marble and mirrored bar; a vast main dining room featuring L.A.’s largest retractable roof and a bevy of live olive trees that make you feel like you’re dining alfresco; and a small, cozy brick wine cellar room, perfect for a romantic date night or for a high-profile personality seeking some privacy. As such, RivaBella offers some of the most beautiful restaurant interior décor in Los Angeles.
Legendary chef Gino Angelini, the master of L.A.’s Osteria Angelini, helms RivaBella’s kitchen, and the food stands up to the restaurant’s show-stopping interior. Star dishes on the menu include the deep fried mussels in a luscious beer sauce, eggplant parmigiana with tangy tomato and smooth béchamel sauces, and the clean amberjack crudo with a refreshing citrus sauce that’ll make your mouth water.
But the real standout menu item is the expertly handmade linguine with sea urchin sauce. Briny and creamy, the dish transports you right to the Italian seaside. The biggest appeal of the food at RivaBella is that while the fare is beautifully plated, the food is not fussy. There are no intimidating foams, molecular gastronomy or miniscule portions to be found here. And while your fellow diners are most certainly fancy, the food is well-executed, simple Italian fare.
Want to try out this new hot spot? Get in line. It’s nearly impossible to score a table at RivaBella these days, especially on a weekend night. Advance notice is the key to secure your reservation, so call about six weeks beforehand to reserve weekend seating and four weeks in advance for a spot during the weekday — it’ll be worth the wait.
Photos courtesy of Innovative Dining Group