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.
In a word.... Thoughtful.
The decor has a modern Latin/Italian vibe. Brazilian marble floors, wall art that changes on screens, and each sitting area has its own theme & name (e.g. Red Dragon, the Playa Bar, Samba and Sangre), all tying together perfectly. There are custom chairs that surpass even Virgin America's first class seating! Yet, with all this high end design, the place is cozy and friendly. The staff has a lot to do with that of course - they could not be any nicer or more professional.
The bar is almost unrecognizable, with all of the unique bottles and boozes - brands you have probably never heard of... They have a solid selection of beer (micro and belgium), and they have an extraordinary wine list. Created by a famous sommelier, it is big, reasonably priced and full of Spanish, Portuguese and other Latin picks .
Come here for cocktails and see for yourself. You will most likely end up staying for the food, as you should. Latin inspired, snacks, small and large plates - something for everyone - but not your average tapas spot. The chef has done what only a great chef can do - prepare familiar foods in new and exciting ways. He even does this cool thing called 'Spiceology' - make sure to ask about it. The menu is affordable, with all entrees under $30 and most in the teens and low twenties. The snack menu has items for $2-$6.
We will be back - Well worth the drive. Right next to the new 'LA Live' area, so there is plenty to see and do - valet parking for only $6 makes it very convenient to get in and out and close to the freeway exits - it is not a hassle to get here.
Sublime seafood and luxurious cocktails.
I brought a few friends from Boston to Rivera and soup to nuts we had a memorable dining experience!
1. The whiskey cocktail with the fabulous giant ice cube is more than just a cocktail, it's a treat to your senses. First is the beauty of the ice surrounded by the golden whiskey and honey, second is the whiff of fresh basil with just a hint of red chile that you get when you raise the glass to your mouth, and then the sweet and smoky whiskey.
2. The potato chips with the ancho crema and caviar are a beautiful little snack to start with. They are the perfect amuse bouche.
3. The tapas, especially the seafood, are the perfect size so you can order a few and share. The scallop crudo with the horseradish pearls are unique and creamy.
4. I had the turkey mole and my friends had the steak. We were all scraping our plates, everything was prepared and presented perfectly!
5. The desserts were the perfect wrap. A mixture of sweet and bitter. And the coffee in the Eva Solo carafes - my friend said it was the best cup of coffee he's ever had.
I just hope that I will always be able to get a table here when there is a line around the block!
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