Riva Cucina

By Mary Ladd

This is West Berkeley’s secret spot, complete with a hidden garden piazza. Friendly faces animate the dining room inside a red brick building that was once a spice factory, where this Michelin-recommended restaurant showcases northern Italian fare and trumpets local organic ingredients. Chef and co-owner Massi Boldrini hails from a family of cooks in Italy’s celebrated culinary region, Emilia-Romagna, and specializes in seafood, cured meats (riva is the shore, after all, where land and water meet), and fresh pasta, all made using tried-and-true traditional techniques. His version of passatelli alla salsiccia is a savory, rich medley of house-made Italian sausage, breadcrumb pasta, Parmesan, and sage. With Massi’s touch, fresh day boat scallops have rounded notes of lemon and herb, and his filet mignon with green peppercorn is not only delicious but, at only $23, one of the best values around.

menu musts*

Prosciutto e rucola
Passatelli alla salsiccia
Capesante gratinate (day boat scallops)
Filetto al pepe verde
*menu changes daily
view full menu here

sweet seats

Larger groups can cozy up and linger at tables set up behind plush curtains that add a visual dramatic flair to the dining room. Warmer weather means the chance to settle in and relax at outdoor tables facing the garden patio.

chew on this

Peek at the bookcase near the bar, where you can see the cookbooks, culinary tools, and ceramic art that have inspired Chef Massi. Outside the restaurant is an aromatic bounty of Meyer lemon and rosemary, planted by the chef with the children from the neighboring Aquatic Park School.


Lunch: Tue–Fri 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
Dinner: Tue–Thu 5:30 PM–9 PM; Fri–Sat 5:30 PM–9:30 PM
closed Sunday and Monday

price range

$14.50 (tagliatelle) to $23 (filet mignon)