To say this restaurant is understated chic is to fall headfirst into the trap of pretension. While it might be true - it does have ochre (or beige) walls after all - this detracts from what Riva is about. There's no aloof service, you couldn't hear a pin drop and you don't feel like you're having to shout across the white expanse of tablecloth because your friends are so far away on the other side of the table. Far from it. This place has a buzzy, intimate atmosphere and, with 50 covers, owner Andrea Riva can get round all the customers and, if you're lucky, offer his recommendations - even luckier if said recommendation includes newly arrived ingredients straight from Italy. The restaurant is a testament to his big, warm personality and his love of Italian food - classics such as buffalo mozzarella, risotto alla primavera and penne all'amatriciana feature highly (as well as fish and meat dishes) and expect them to be fresher and yummier than usual.
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