Friday, April 10, 2009

Girl Friday Happy Hour: Riva Bene!
by Kylee Van Dillen, The Liquid Muse Girl Friday

Two blocks from the beach and only a few steps from the Third Street Promenade, Riva brings a little Italian charm to Santa Monica.

The urban-rustic interior features with high ceilings, exposed beams, and Tuscany stone walls. Young business sophisticates chill out on couches in front lounge area, or sip cocktails at the candle-lit bar
. The vibrant Latin music adds an upbeat energy throughout the space, and the extensive “Bar Bailout” happy hour menu—served all week from 5-6pm, and 10pm-12am - provides a little taste of la dolce vita.

“Aperitivi” include draft beers at $3, and Italian wines “Bianchi o Rossi”—red or white—are $4. Three specialty cocktails from their full menu, normally $11-14, are available for $4 as well. Our favorite is Sois Sage: a refreshing cooler of muddled sage, Sagatiba Cachaca, lime and soda.

And what would Italy be without the food? For $3-10 you can mangia with the best of them. The Eggplant Parmesan Pizza ($8) has a crispy-soft perfect crust and a sweet marinara sauce that pairs perfectly with the Mozzarella and Gruyere melted on top. For a savory treat the trio of Warm Olives ($3) is a perfect light bite.

If your sweet tooth needs some attention, take a glance at the amazing dessert menu. The “Ricotta Fritters” should not be passed up; hot donut-like balls coated in cinnamon sugar, served with balsamic strawberries and whipped cream. Although Riva’s food and drinks may inspire you to sing a song of Amore while strolling down 3rd street, we encourage you to try your best not to dance in the fountains too!

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