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Riva's Italian Restaurant

Map & Directions
(27 Reviews)

1117 Missouri St, Houston, TX 77006

(713) 529-3450

Today: 5:00 pm - 11:15 pm
Tomorrow: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
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Regular Hours

Payment method
all major credit cards, amex, discover, master card, visa
Price Range
Central Houston, Neartown - Montrose

Rivas Restaurant

Italian Restaurants, Caterers, Family Style Restaurants, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Lot, Private

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Good For Family: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Caterers, Family Style, Italian, European, Continental

Alcohol: Full Bar

Good for Kids: Yes

Good For Groups: Yes

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Price Range : Average


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Provided by Citysearch - 
Only average

I can't understand why people are giving this place 4 and 5 star ratings? I like Riva's atmosphere, location, free non valet parking, and clientelle, but the food quality is just average to bland in my opinion. I suspect the cooks are following bad recipes with no idea what Italian cooking is about. They obviously have no chef. My chicken marsala tasted like sweeened grilled chicken with vegetables and the marsala wine flavor was nonexistant. My dinner date had eggplant parmesan, but it was not any better than an Olive Garden entree. I will say the overall value of the meal was very good with small soup, salad, and entree included in very reasonable price. Overall: nice restaurant with average food, but not a place to take anyone who appreciates Italian cusine. Bar scene looking good, try that instead of eating here.



Provided by Citysearch - 
I'd date myself here.

Every year I take over-advantage of Dine Out For Life. I also promise to go somewhere I haven't been. This year, I saw Riva's was donating 100% of proceeds! HOLY COW! I was in.

Myself and a friend ventured over not knowing what to expect. It was adorable: corner house-like building that is super cozy inside [p.s. seat yourself - at least for lunch]. We got a choice table right up by the PIANO. [yes, there's a piano]. We arrived right at 2 not knowing the kitchen closes at 2. And we were never hurried along or even told the kitchen had closed until we asked after our waiter to order something To Go for a colleague back at the office. In fact, the owner and staff were very conversational and welcoming.

The menu is pleasing for all palates - sandwiches, salads, pastas [nothing too adventurous]. What floored me is how affordable this place is - and the quality was there, too. I had a grilled chicken salad - it was $7. And very generous.

There's an unassuming, cute patio out front. This place has some old-world charm. Christmas lights strung everywhere, photos of 'celebrities' that have dined there on every inch of the wall and a tucked away little bar. It's the type of place that makes me fall in love with this city. It's not overstated or trying to be something its not.

On our departure, the owner made us pinky swear we'd be back. And we will. If I had a date, this would be our regular spot. I'm taking applications ... ;-)



Provided by Citysearch - 

I absolutly love the place, so much that we got married there! Yes married outside then micheal and joseph were so kind as in shut down the hole place and let us have our reception inside as well!! Ever since moving to houston we have found a place that has made us feel like we are home away from home. Always welcomed with a hug and kiss at the door the BEST WAITSTAFF and FOOD. what can i say about bottemless mimosa its really bottomless i have never seen the bottom of my glass(which has had us walking home many of sundays). Please please visit and try it, I can honestly say you'll be back. and if you frequent enough maybe you'll make the wall!! like i said RUN DON'T WALK!!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great food and service

I'm so surprised by the negative reviews of this restaurant. The minute you walk in the door you are greeted by one of the owners. The food is always hot, excellent and plentiful and I have yet to have bad service.

Dinner can be pricey, but lunch has always been reasonably priced. I love the chicken marsala and the italian sub sandwich!

Hopefully some of the people with negative experiences will try once more and have the great food and service that the rest of us have received.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Unbelievable in every way

I was introduced to this restaurant by a friend on new years eve and since then I have become a self proclaimed regular customer. I met the owner on my very first visit, he shows all of his customers how important they are to the success of his business (unlike most local business owners). Each time we visit the restaurant we are greeted like family. Ever since my first visit the wait staff has remembered what I like to drink and I dont even have to tell them. I should add that if you are looking for a GREAT martini, this is the place to go. They are made perfect, they are huge, and they are extremely reasonably priced. Now on to the food! I dont even know where to begin, let me just say that I have tried almost half of the items on the menu and I have yet to try anything that was not absolutely delicious. A few of my favorites are the chicken Funchezzi, the shrimp mozzarella, and the lasagna. Absolutely DE-licious food and in my opinion one of the top 5 restaurants in all of houston. If you have not tried it I suggest that you do, you will thank me for it I promise.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Really Remarkable!

After looking at some reviews, my boyfriend and I decided to give Riva's a try in our search for good Italian food in Houston. I am so glad we went!

For $13.99, I received: a glass of wine, a cup of AMAZING soup, a salad, my veal entree, and a HUGE bowl of pasta with Alfredo sauce. It was so much food, we couldn't eat it all!

The soup was homemade mushroom, and it really was great. We've tried copying the recipe, but it never comes out right! The garlic bread was freshly made with real garlic, no canned or packaged sauce. The wine was good and strong, and the salad was fresh with just the right toppings.

My veal was very good, not overdone like it so often is. But what impressed me the most (as silly as this is) was the Alfredo sauce! There's no other way to describe it... it was ""fluffy""! They had whipped it so that it practically melted in your mouth. The pasta was also freshly made, so the two of them together was so amazing, I kept nibbling on it as we finished our wine for the evening.

We live out west, but we'll definitely come in for Riva's again, anytime!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Hidden Gem in Montrose

On a whim my husband and I decided to check out this restaurant and we left with big, fat smiles on our faces. The food was excellent. We had shrimp scampi as an app and it was pretty good. Then soup and salad came with our entree - soooo good and fresh! Then, two excellent entrees - one veal with capers, artichokes, tomatoes in a lemon butter sauce - OMG, very good! My husband had the chicken dish that was also very good and both were served with fetticine which was average (our fav is still Grappino de Nino's). We couldn't finish our huge portioned entrees, but not for lack of trying! The waitstaff was also friendly, helpful, and colorful - we loved them all! It seems like everyone here (including the guests) want you to be taken care of. One of the regulars told me she and her husband and 1yr old still drive in from Cypress b/c they love this place so much. Oh and the wine list wasn't over the top, but it was good, decent wine. For $5 a glass for house wine it's tough for me to complain. All in all, we spent $65 and what a value! Definitely will be back! Check out this hidden gem in Montrose - you'll be glad you did.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Mom and Dad travel the world, but call Rivas their favorite Italian

My 80 year old parents took me to Rivas after an Astros game on a Sunday. While they have traveled around the world, including Italy, they say this is their favorite in Houston!
We were one of the first to arrive as they open at 6PM. The waitstaff welcomed us in as if we were in their own home. So warm, and friendly, and the old woodwork, and big windows give it a cozy, comfortable, charm.
We had a beautiful dinner, and as others have mentioned, the salad was so good! A wonderful menu with traditional Italian dishes, and the pasta was cooked to perfection. My scallops were also cooked just right, not over or under done. Delicious...and garlic bread...yum...
Casual, and fun, I would say this intimate place will remain a favorite!
PS. If you don't wish to wait, then Sunday around 6PM is a great time to go. Have fun, and give this place a try! Forget about the other gossipy reviews, and just enjoy.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best service of any restaurant in Houston

We were so happy to find a great Italian restaurant so close to home. The restaurant itself is very inviting and cozy. Most meals come with a soup and salad. The soups are always homemade and delicious. The salads are beautiful and come with two dressings which are amazing. You can't go wrong with any of the entrees. The staff makes you feel like home and one never has to ask for anything because they are one step ahead of you. If you are looking for a quite, romatic, fast, great meal this is the place you should go!!!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Don't Miss This One! Take it From an Italian!

I am Italian; hence I love GOOD Italian food. Combine that with great atmosphere and a fun staff, I am sold! Rivas offers a great selection of dishes with wonderful flavors. The lasagna is amazing and the portion is huge. The penne pasta with roasted prosciutto and mozzarella?to die for! And the owner, (Michael) makes you feel like you have arrived at a wonderful relative?s home for dinner. Lunch is extremely reasonable and the dinner only slightly more expensive. I have read some reviews that speak of the slow service and rude staff. I have nver considered the service to be slow. Relaxed and informal might be a better lable. And as for the staff being rude? I can not imagine any of them eveer being rude. This is a wonderful place with an eclectic atmosphere. It is ideal for a group of friends to get together or for a romantic evening for just the two of you. Weather permitting, dine on the patio! Actually, I have made myself hungry?going there tonight!



Provided by Citysearch - 
great food

me and a group of co-workers went in for lunch and the place was really great and also the waitstarff was really quick with all the service including the time and promptness with the food .great time all the way around will comeing back for another great time .



Provided by Citysearch - 
Be scared, be very scared!

I wasted my dining experience on this place once. Let me just say I have worked in the industry and this place is BAD! My food was cold at best. After waiting for 20 minutes to be waited on. I never send food back but I asked if they could just heat it up a litte more. The waiter pitched a fit, so we told the manager, well he was no better. He was indignant and said no one EVER complains about the food at Riva's. I am usually not this animate about a poor dining experience but this whole visit was just bad. It was not busy and the mimosa's tasted watered down, at best and it took forever for a refil. Go anywhere else, but if you really want Itaian food at a decent price I recommend Pronto.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Awful and Rude Experience

This was our first time to Riva's and definitely our last time. There were four of us that went on a Sunday for brunch and the service was extremely slow. It took 15 minutes to get anyone to bring us drinks and then the refills on the ""unlimited mimosas"" was so slow. The food finally came out and was cold, we said something to the waiter and they brought our so called ""fresh"" food, it was not hot, it came out luke warm. We then spoke with the manager and he said they have served many chicken marsalas and never got a complaint. Which is hard for me to believe! This manager was very rude and I have never been treated that bad in a restaurant. I would definitely recommend going to the Olive Garden before recommending Riva's to anyone.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great lunch place

I've eaten here a number of times, both for lunch and for dinner, and think the food is pretty good. It's not a high end Italian place, but the food is tasty and a great place for a good lunch. I have always had good service, plenty of bottomless garlic bread, and plenty to eat.

I'd say the food is fairly simple, unpretentious, tasty but not high end or fancy. You'll get more interesting fare at the Original Carrabba's on Kirby or Vincent's, but Riva's is a good place as a simpler alternative. The ambiance is a bit strange (all those pictures on the wall of beauty queens and the owner don't exactly add to it), however the food and value is good. Check it out!



Provided by Citysearch - 

I have eaten here 4 times, food is always good quality, service 5 of the 4 times excellant, last time had a TERRIBLE WAITER, we were not dressed to his approval, way home from a game, his loss we always tip at least 20% for good service he got ONE, UNO, A SINGLE DOLLAR. HAVE NOT BEEN BACK SINCE nd wont even if it was free



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great food, great service, nice atmosphere

My husband and his co-works haven eaten at Riva's for quite awhile. He kept telling me how good it was and how the owner and service were so nice. We love Mike! He is absolutely great! One of the nicest guys I've ever met! The food has always been excellent! I love sitting outside on the vine covered patio! It's so nice and quite, even just a street away from the hustle and bustle of Westhiemer! I love eating here! I've gone for my birthday and just to eat lunch or dinner. Never have I felt so welcomed in a restauraunt. They always take the time to make sure everything is just perfect for us. I also love that it's a small family owned place. I highly recommend eating here!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Awful, awful, awful!!!

I have traveled the world, eaten many substandard meals, but never have I been treated so rudely by anyone in the restaurant industry, especially the owner! After enduring an absolutely awful crab cake, salad, veal and pasta entree, and poor service, we spoke to the owner. We explained that the food was not to our standards. He asked us if we had seen all the plaques on his walls. He then told us we had no taste and could leave by the back door. As we were leaving money on the table for tip, he came back and irately said, You didnt even touch your salads! I had 200 people in this restaurant today, but you are the only to complain! I tried to interrupt to tell him it didnt matter, we were leaving, but it was no use. We let him finish, then we left. Through the front door.



Provided by Citysearch - 
My favorite resturant in town!

I have been eating at Rivas since 1999 and Mike and Joe are the greatest. It is hard to say what I love most about this place. It is a three way tie between service, quality of food, and ambience.



Provided by Citysearch - 




Provided by Citysearch - 
Great Place

My dining experience at Riva's was perfect. The food is very good. The value is also excellent. With my entree, I recieved a tasty cup of soup, a wonderful house salad, with all the garlic bread I wanted and a side of spagetti, all at no extra charge. The food quality is superb. This place is sure to make anyone happy. I will definetly be back again and again.