A local Italy escape

Many are indecisive when it comes to choosing a great place to eat. If one goes off the beaten path and just a little further down the road, 75 Montgomery Dr. to be exact, they will find the hidden gem known as Riviera Ristorante. 

Nestled in between a tiny creek and small business center, the Riviera has been providing amazing food and spectacular customer service to the wine county for 25 years. This family owned and operated restaurant was started by the Pesce Family, whom one will often find cooking in the kitchen or waiting on their customers.

Gianluca, whom has been working at the restaurant for six years, has nothing but positive things to say about the Riviera.

“I love working here,” said Gianluca. “It’s like a family, the atmosphere is great, the food is amazing, I eat here about five nights a week and sometimes find myself coming here for dinner on my days off. It definitely helps me miss my family in Italy a little less.”

During weekends one can always find the Riviera alive and buzzing.  When one walks in their friendly staff is always very welcoming to newcomers and happy to see familiar faces.

“Every time I come here the staff is always very welcoming and so are the customers; it’s like dining with a big family,” said  long-time customer Bryan Bautista. 

This is definitely a great restaurant to come and celebrate a birthday or a special night when one feels like splurging, due to the fact that their main entrees range from anywhere between $14 and $29.

The atmosphere at the Riviera was very warm and inviting. Once seated by the greeter, a friendly waiter arrived at the table to state the specials.  As an added bonus, when asked, their waiters can provide great wine recommendations to accompany their tasty specials as well regular dishes.

Riviera Ristorante provide an array of tasty appetizers and salads, such as their bruscetta al pomodoro. The bruscetta is to-die-for and makes ones taste buds explode with their mixture of tartness; from the extra virgin olive oil that seeps into the rustic Italian bread, to the cool freshness of the tomatoes and light hints of basil.

Their caesar salad is also a crowd pleaser, “it is fresh and delicious, the anchovy dressing is just right and does not overpower the entire salad and it is just enough to give it that tangy taste,” said Carolyn Kristof, a customer of the restaurant.

The food at the Riviera is always delicious with their array of pastas, meats and seafood. Their capellini is always a crowd pleaser, for anyone looking to enjoy a tasty pasta dish.

Customer, Francis Aner can only describe it as “perfecto.” The angel hair pasta is topped with fresh basil tomato sauce and tastes simply amazing. The capellini seems to melt one’s mouth and leaves one wanting more, with its hints of cooked tomato chunks and sliced basil. 

Dinner and lunch at the Riviera are always accompanied by their delicious warm bread and fresh butter, one will find themselves soaking up the delicious juices and sauces from their meals in this bread.

And who can forget about the desert? One can choose from their many Italian desserts on the menu, such as their amazing tiramisu, doused with espresso, mascarpone frosting and chocolate. There is also a lemon sorbet, which comes in a frozen lemon and is nothing but tangy delectableness.

Riviera Ristorante is open seven days a week, with lunch provided from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner provided from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Sunday. 

Walk-ins are always welcome, but it is always best to make a reservation, especially during weekends. Next time one finds themselves in Santa Rosa, go and try the amazing food at Riviera Ristorante and bring a “buon appetito” (good appetite).