Ristorante Riviera

Tel: +39 041 522 7621
Address: Zattere (opposite Molino Stucky), Dorsoduro 1473
Notes: Closed Monday. Booking advisable.
Tables outside? Yes
Website: www.ristoranteriviera.it

Riviera is a restaurant for a sunny day or balmy evening, as there is much more space outside than in – about eight tables just by the restaurant and a new water terrace providing views across the Giudecca.

Until it not-so-mysteriously burned down last year you could also admire the strange bulk of Molino Stucky – now you can check on how much restoration still hasn’t even started… well, this is Italy. However there are still the vaporetti performing their water ballet at the stop just along from the restaurant to keep you amused.

Riviera is pricier than many, but we discovered some years ago it’s worth every euro: the arrival of a glass of very fruity prosecco and little plates of perfectly fried baby zucchini helped to confirm the view. Crisp white linen over yellow cloths and very friendly and helpful service add to the enjoyment.

It’s what used to be a rarity in Venice, a restaurant that offers really good cooking. This year we made it our choice for Easter Sunday lunch (having taken good care to book some days in advance).

Cappesante ed asparagi all’aceto balsamico (€16) was fabulous, the scallops perfectly cooked and the asparagus – some green, some white – very tasty. Tortino di granseola e fagiolini, olio al basilico was slightly disappointing at €18 – the crab was excellent but I never did find the beans and I rather expected a tortino to have some sort of casing. Simpler antipasti include parmigiana di melanzane (€10) or scampi e sarde in saor (€14) which I suspect would be superb here.

I was tempted by seeing plates of tagliolini primavera (€12) go by, and didn’t regret the choice – it’s a simple pasta dish that can be sublime if prepared with care, as this was.

Secondi (€18 – €24) offer a good choice of fish and meat. The carpaccio di manzo speziato, rucola e parmiggiano was extraordinary. I have never tasted such melt-in-the-mouth, sweet beef.

Puddings (€8 – €10) offer variation from the traditional Italian fare, including a wickedly goodsemifreddo all’amaretto and the Riviera version of Crepes Suzette that I remember fondly from previous visits. The pudding wine suggested to go with the semifreddo was a gorgeous, toffee-flavoured Passito di Pantelleria.

The house red is a very acceptable cabernet; house white is also good at €12 per bottle.