It’s just a short hop across the bridge from bustling Hammersmith, but Barnes’ village-like ambience is immediately relaxing. Riva has been serving the neighbourhood for 20-plus years and little has changed in that time. The small dining room, decorated in terracotta and olive tones, has a rustic, lived-in feel. The food sticks to simple traditions, and adventurous diners may need more persuasion than the plucky wine list to part with their cash, as prices are high and there are no set menus to alleviate the pain. We started with a tried-and-true combination of ravioli with crab and peas; for £13, we’d hoped for more than a few strands of crabmeat. Presentation is satisfyingly earthy, however; witness roast milk-fed lamb studded with rosemary and simply paired with cubes of roast potato.The maal concluded with a boozy crêpe served with prunes stewed in grappa. Reception from the owner was frosty, but the atmosphere soon thawed thanks to the friendly disposition of his waiting staff.
169 Church Road
|Opening hours:||Lunch served 12.15-2.15pm Mon-Fri, Sun. Dinner served 7-10.30pm Mon-Sat; 7-9pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Barnes or Barnes Bridge rail or bus 33, 209, 283|
|Price:||Main courses £14.50-£29.50|
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Average User Rating
4 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
This is my favourite restaurant in all of London and I've lived here for over 50 years. I first went there over 20 years ago on a snowy night in April. Their welcome was so overwhelming I've been going on a regular basis ever since. I can't give it anything less than 5 stars...
The food IS wonderful as Olivia says, (and different), but, without getting too lyrical, I found it rewarding on a number of levels. I went at least once a week for many years - the experience is careful & considerate, yet witty; delicious & different, yet reliable & familiar. Talking to Mr Riva I always felt more amusing than I really am! I once said to Mr Riva 'Why don't you write a Cookbook to go with the Restaurant?' And he said, obliquely, that this is what he wants to do. - presiding over what he thinks is the best way to do things. And he does that in fab style.
I ask myself - who keeps his staff from the year he opens till now? What does that say about a restauranteur?