|RivaBella's various seating areas all have different moods.|
What: A collaboration between Angelini godfather Gino Angelini and Innovative Dining Group (Boa, Sushi Roku) RivaBella is a super-sized, super-swank version of Angelini. Let's hope Angelini's always-thoughtful renditions of Italian classics don't get lost under the weight of chandeliers, Beverly Hills housewives and mid-level celebs.
|Carpaccio: just right for the paleo people|
The Goods: There is a lot going on at this place. Most of the roof retracts for open air dining in the daytime, while each table has its own overhead heater. Vaulted brick walls, chandeliers, floor lamps, a planted wall, iron gates, checkerboard floors and lots of indoor trees are just a few of the touches meant to evoke a Tuscan feel. Meanwhile the menu is fairly simple and classic Italian with thoughtful Angelini touches -- eggplant Parmigiana is topped with a thatch of fried eggplant strips and presented in a judiciously-sized disc; crispy branzino is served in filets instead of whole because "it's not a crowd that like bones." Spinach pappardelle with lamb ragu and mint sounds like a winner.
|Octopus salad is a hit with roasted potatoes and tomatoes|
Recommended dishes: Octopus salad, beef carpaccio, eggplant Parmesan, branzino with spinach, topped with a tangy Sicilian sauce.
Skip it: chocolate "bonnet" dessert custard didn't wow me; spaghetti with sea urchin seemed unbalanced
|branzino has a crispy skin and a flavorful, tangy Sicilian topping|
Possibility of a return visit: Good spot for an industry lunch, for visitors hoping to see someone famous or for meeting up with the relatives from Beverly Hills.
(This was a comped press dinner.)