Worst Customer Service in the East Bay.
I've been to Rivoli several times and am only treated well if I'm with a friend of mine whose parents are long and loyal customers. Otherwise, the whole atmosphere is very snobby and the waiters are terrible. One time we booked a reservation for my father's birthday and we had to wait 45 minutes. Once we got our table our elitist waiter said that he had "taken the liberty to order an appetizer for us". Great....
Another time, we went on a Monday and there were clearly tables but they said they were booked and we had to sit up front...
NOT TO BE MISSED!!.
Rivoli is not to be missed!!! Each dish is prepared with soul and elegance. It really seems as if the chef takes pride in each dish they turn out. The pumpkin gnocchi appetizer, chicken two ways and gingerbread cake are DEEELIIISH!!!! I'm from LA but I will be coming back to the Bay just to eat at Rivoli.
An old favorite.
Rivoli is my favorite restaurant in the East Bay. The portobello mushroom fritters never disappoint, and most of the menu is very well executed. It is not Chez Panisse or Olivetto -- and does not try to be. But if you want interesting and satisfying food, a menu with reasonable variety, a very sensible wine list -- all at a reasonable (not cheap) price, Rivoli will not disappoint. Service is best when Roscoe is in the front of the house, but can be a little hit-and-miss at other times.
Good but better restaurants in the area.
Decent food but not much flare or pizzaz. Definitely not a good value. Would feel better if they hadn't charged as much. Appetizers and drinks were excellent. Main courses and dessert were pretty good. Service was fine but not memorable.
Incomparable food flavors.
I've been to Rivoli twice, and each time, the food flavors were perfect, and I don't use that word lightly. Moreover, all the flavors in each dish complement each other. There were several times during each meal that I simply withdrew from conversation, closed my eyes, and savored the symphony of tastes. From the appetizers (the portobello fritters are a must) to the main courses, through the smallest of desserts (who knew a 1-inch ball of pineapple sorbet could be so satisfying?), every taste is a delight. The cooks even accommodated my vegan friend, who thought her meal was scrumptious.
The waiters know which wines to recommend, and the service is prompt and attentive. The ambiance is upscale casual, and the glassed-off garden is lovely to look at.
You'll spend some coin here, but the meals and the memories are worth it.
Excellent all around.
I've visited this restaurant twice and had an outstanding experience both times. The restaurant is cozy and warm, but tables aren't so crowded that you feel you have no privacy. The service is excellent from start to finish. Both times I had waiters who were attentive, answered all my questions and kept my water glass full. The food is exquisite. Although the menu is short (you can check their website for the weekly menu to make sure there's something you'll like), everything I've had there - seafood, pork, salads, appetizers, dessert - was excellent. The portions aren't skimpy; you'll leave there nice and full. It is a little pricey but definitely worth every penny. Be sure to make reservations - I went on a Wednesday night and they were packed. If you're taking a date, ask for a table by the glass door - you'll get a beautiful garden view.
I was disappointed, mostly by the waiter and manager who were subtly snooty. The food is tasty, but a little on the oily/heavy side. We were one of the earlier seatings but waited almost 10 minutes with no water or bread while people who were seated after us got their orders taken. I made the mistake of ordering "Belgian endive and arugula salad with bleu D'auvergne, candied walnuts, nectarine and champagne walnut vinaigrette." Who knows what "bleu D'auvergne" means? I don't eat blue cheese so ended up picking out each piece.
A terrific East Bay restaurant.
My wife and I have dined at Rivoli with other couples four times in the past 9 months. Each time we have found the food to be wonderful -- creative, fresh, interesting, and plentiful. The interior is pleasant, though the tables are a bit close together, and the service has been very good. Prices are extremely reasonable for what you get.
Goodbye to Rivoli.
I have been a devoted fan of Rivoli since it opened, but after several disappointing meals there recently, I don't plan on going back.
The food can still be very good, though less dependably now.
But it's the rest of the experience - the long waits (even w/reservation) in the uncomfortable and busy waiting area, the tightly crammed tables in the dining room, and the rude service, that are turn-offs. The sharp and frosty attitude of the "host" at the podium especially gets things off to an bad start.
For my money, there are so many other fine restaurants in the area that offer a warm welcome, delicious food and a relaxing environment, and that is where I will be in the future.