great food, affordable late night menu, tasteless seared halibut, cozy place, herbs homemade tortillas, unique scallop crudo, better creme brulee dessert
Chef John Sedlar does a brilliant job showcasing the flavors of Latin America. Tortilla florales with avocado butter are flawless. There is a little something from regions all across Latin America and everything is spectacular. The cocktail program is just as stunning as the food. One of the best places to dine in downtown.
Overrated!. We felt we were at the tv show "Chopped" where every meal served by the waiter is followed by a detailed description of all the ingredients that were used to create the dish. The description itself takes longer than eating the rather minuscule portion. I can't recall which one pained me the most having to sign the check or my stomach screaming from hunger.
Great escape from L.A. Live. This is the perfect place to go when you want to get out of the chaos that is L.A. Live. It is right across the street, but is much nicer than the restaurants you'll find around the Staples Center. The drinks are great and I do agree with the reviews that say it is the best Latin Restaurant in L.A. and quite possibly one of the best restaurants in town!
good food...Bad customer service and inept management. I hosted an event for 19 physicians and agreed to sign a contact well in advance. First they lost the contract. Then I contacted them to add three seats to my party. They first refused stating they had no extra chairs in the entire restaurant. Then they agreed to add three seats to our special contracted table, but when I arrived with the party they reniged. They forced the host and two others to separate from the party. They offered no accommodations. The food was good but the managers a little too full of himself and I would never take our group back. There are many good restaurants. Unfortunately, the management at Riera is satisfied to set the restaurant apart from the others by excelling in BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE and they seemed unconcerned by their treatment of our party. Good food was overshadowed by inept management.
A little too much flavor in everything.
So you can still read my original post below but I have to upgrade Rivera to a 4 and I have a feeling that I will be going back a lot. Just had an awesome lunch there. The open face tacos (black cod) were sooo good. The bread they give while you wait is more like a gordita without the fillings with butter on the side. Very yummy. The chocolate tart in drunken pineapple is flourless so I was easily enamored.
I'm not anxious to try dinner again because it was such a miss and for their prices - it makes me a little nervous to try it agian. Maybe I'll give it another shot sans the alcohol. Who knows maybe I was having an off night. This is a great restaurant though so I have to say I love having it 2 blocks away. Awesome- I mean awesome superb decor.
We have gone for the late night menu which was awesome. I would do that again. The tacos, the tortillas florales, the quezos, the habanero salsa- everything superb. The drinks were very good.
We went again for dinner and were dissappointed. The seared halibut was a little dry and tasteless on the inside. I was heavily tempted to pour on some salt. The frijoles negros have brown sugar in them which they should advertise. I want some old school black beans not something sweet that overwhelms the palate. The frijoles blancos are just like mashed potatoes. The quinoa is very buttery- nothing special. I expected so much more after coming to the late night menu. The drinks are good but when paying $15 for a drink - I don't want a glorified margarita.
We spent 10 minutes waiting between courses to get our food- big no no!
Rivera presents Spanish and South American delicacies and very innovative takes on the traditional tapas spots of Mid City.
In fact, the very thing that sets Rivera apart from its neighbors begins right at that bar. The bar manager has carefully concocted the restaurant’s specialty drink menu. Their take on a margarita includes fresh lime and floating cucumbers for a refreshing relaxer. If Burke-Williams served alcohol with their $100 massages, this would be their relaxing signature. The Barbacoa is a heady mixture of blanco tequila, chipotle juice, jalapeno, agave nectar and ginger. Float a homemade slice of beef jerky on top, and you’ve got the most complex and satisfying bloody-sweet mary tequila drink of your life.
Rivera leans toward all things tequila, which includes the thick-leather “tequila tasting” chairs, low to the ground for easier landings and departures, and saddled with broad side extensions to easily set your glass between sips. They are basically old-school, elementary student desks for mescal abusers; and abuse you can, as the tequila tasting list numbers well into the hundreds with each varietal broken down by category – agave, blanco, mescal and so on. With glasses priced from $14 to close to $50, it’s best to pick with a clear eye for the tequila guy.
The dinner menu is split down three lines – snacks, starters and larger plates. The larger plates are plenty for one and include selections such as a mole pork chop to wild striped sea bass with tomatillos and tempura chilies, but eliminates the fun of trying a plethora of things.
We preferred to play in the starter sandbox to get a maximum array of flavors. We started with a house special from the snack section which was a Yucatan take on chips and salsa with the salsa being a charred-habenero mixture with a fluid, smoky heat that lingered for a good moment or two after every bite.
Onto the little plates, we started with a chilled, pickled pasilla chili – blackened on the outside and stuffed with creamy, white burrata cheese, a close cousin of buffalo mozzarella. The succulent mix of spice with the milky cheese soothed the tongue on every impact. Grilled quail cut into pinky-sized nibbles suffered from a heavy-handed salt shake that was fortunately minimized by an unctuous black bean puree beneath. Two lamb lollipops covered in a dollop of olives, capers and chorizo was gamey and good right down to the bone.
Best of all was a seared black cod about the size of a grown man’s knuckles with seared strips of Serrano ham blessing the crispy top. Simply set a fork lightly on top of the fish and the moist, buttery fellow fell apart like a deck of freshly-shuffled cards. Teeth suddenly became obsolete as the buttery flesh literally melted away on the tongue and slid easily down the throat. As close to dessert as fish could possibly ever be.
For additional restaurant reviews and recipes, please go to www.scottschalin
Best Tortillas Ever!. I went here with a friend late night after an event we had downtown and we found an amazing, inexpensive menu! Everything on the late night menu is gourmet, I never thought I would find duck on a late night menu, but I did and it was fantastic. Also, they make their corn tortillas at the restaurant and I don't even like corn tortillas and these were outstanding. Rivera will be a place that I will eat/drink at everytime I go to the Staples Center or Nokia. I wasn't drinking this night, but they also have an tequlia menu that can not be found anywhere else. Overall fantastic!
BRAVO!. Awesome eatery! Great location! The service is top notch! The bar has exclusive choices of tequilla and a huge wine and beer list. Besides the spectacular decor this place has amazing food. The sauces are exquisite. We had an appetizer special which was a short rib tamale...can't wait to go back to have this again. The mole is super tasty!!
Great food!. Ever since Chef Sedler closed Bikini in Santa Monica, we have been hoping that he would open another restaurant in Los Angeles. When we heard that he would be manning the kitchen in his namesake restaurant Rivera, we couldn?t wait to try it. So, we went to Rivera for dinner on Valentine?s Day and were extremely pleased with the restaurant, the service, and especially the food. There was a special pre-fixe menu in addition to the normal menu. The homemade tortillas were delicious and herbs and edible flowers were used artistically to make them beautiful as well. The short rib tamale with mushrooms was a great appetizer as was the salad. The citrus roasted chicken was both tasty and juicy. The braised pork shoulder was delicious and the most tender pork I have ever tasted. The creme brulee dessert was as good or better than any I have ever had in a restaurant. Admittedly, our expectations for Rivera were very high because of our experiences and memories of delicious meals prepared by Chef Sedler at Saint Estephe in Manhattan Beach and Bikini. Suffice it to say that our expectations were exceeded by our dinner at Rivera. We cannot wait to return and introduce friends to the kitchen magic of Chef Sedler!
Downtown L.A. gets cooking with exotic, seasonal pan-Latin cuisine from the kitchen of John Rivera Sedlar.. The namesake arrival of Chef John Rivera Sedlar's restaurant has signaled the return of one of L.A.'s original tastemakers. (He was the guy who helped put L.A. dining on the map with Saint Estephe, Bikini and Abiquiu back in the day.) Now, with his "community restaurant" located just across the street from downtown's ginormous L.A. Live campus, Sedlar is taking pan-Latin gastronomy to new heights while still keeping things down-to-earth. (Read: Most entrees hover around $21 and although the multi-room space is wickedly sleek, it's still cazsh enough for those who simply walk in unannounced.) The menu features only about five entrees, and that's just fine--the real adventure can be had with the "snacks" and "starters" that range in price from $2 to $14. Ground-by-hand homemade tortillas with pressed flowers are almost too pretty to eat; deconstructed salsa is a worthwhile experiment (it even comes with a beaker of tomato water), and the scallop crudo garnished with horseradish pearls, cucumber and ginger salsa is stimulating. If that weren't enough, this is the only restaurant in L.A. with a wine list written by a master sommelier (Steven Geddes) with selections exclusively from Latin America, Portugal and Spain .... Sorry, "Sideways" fans, take your mainstream tastes elsewhere.
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