We kick off with a carpaccio (the fish changes daily), sliced and served with coconut flakes, olive oil and kiwi fruit. It’s an unusual pairing, and the flavours don’t quite meld. Saldanha Bay mussels – marinated in olive oil until wonderfully tender, and served on a crispy fried piece of polenta – are a safer bet.
Pasta is made in-house and the bronze-drawn spaghetti, served with cherry tomatoes and clams, is perfectly al dente. Squid ink gnocchi with prawns comes laced with vibrant threads of saffron, which lend a unique flavour to the dish. If you have space for secondi, there’s the option of a vast platter; a smaller platter of fried hake, calamari and bait fish; or the Abalobi catch of the day.
For dessert, there’s a wonderfully chewy, almost creamy, lemon sorbet and a very good tiramisu.
At the time of writing, four months after opening, the restaurant was still waiting for a liquor license. For now, take your own wine, or make do with a rock shandy.
The restaurant takes its name from the legendary boat-building company, Riva, which makes the kind of wood-clad speedboat that James Bond would pilot. The white walls are cleverly decorated with broad blue stripes, a clutch of black-and-white photos and a little boat-themed bric-a-brac. Above, light bulbs dangle from thick rope. All in all, the feeling is of a relaxed seafood trattoria, with lights just dim enough for it to feel romantic rather than simply cheap and cheerful.
Friendly and swift.
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