Riva restaurant in Sidney BC lunch review

4:27pm, Sun Oct 1

Debating the menu with myself now that my lunching friend has agreed to Riva tomorrow.

At the moment I’m looking at the cauliflower fritters, the brussel sprouts, and the squid is a debate.  Calamari strips sounds delectable.  Maybe I’ll abstain from drinking to cut the budget, and also seem like less of an alcoholic to my friend.

2:54pm, Mon Oct 2

God, what’s going on in that kitchen, they’re squeezing out 2 week old shellfish over the vegetarian food?

My guts ?

Inner paranoiac activated! TBF, I was also up last night with fucked up guttiwuts.  I think I ate too much blue cheese at once or something.  Tough call really, the timing is suspect. I was fine for 12 hours until 2 hour after eating ?‍♂️


I’ve always avoided Riva in lieu of other Sidney eateries because I severely had the impression that it’s a place for Ladies Who Lunch; scarves and coifs type crowd.  It’s always seemed slightly not-my-pricepoint, not-my-scene.

I randomly got carried away on a fancy deciding to eat here, don’t know what struck me really.  Maybe just that it’s like the only place I’ve never been to in Sidney by now and I’ve been to Surley Mermaid about eight times since spring, and Floyd’s in Saanich is still feeling played out because I’ve eaten there with this friend about a million times.

It’s got a kind of art nouveau-y, billiards-room-on-a-luxury cruise type of a feel.  I said it felt like the jazz lounge on the Titanic and my friend was like “…okay?” so maybe that’s just me. They did have a sign in the entranceway about live jazz.

I matched the seats.

For some reason we originally came in the back entrance thru the entire restaurant; my friend felt there was no front door anymore since the liquor store opened and the pub side turned into Riva.  This is not so! The host station was at the whole-ass other end of the restaurant from the back entrance lmao, why is that even called an entrance.

So, the prices were slightly higher than they were a year ago, and the dishes are slightly different.

Current Riva menu

I opted for the brussel sprouts, I’m so tired of soggy pre-sauced buffalo cauliflower “wings” ?

My bowl of sprouts. Call me crazy but I think the bowl should be smaller if the sprouts don’t top the edge, you know? I want it to look like a heap. This looks sad to me, but it’s actually a substantial meal, with the aioli.

Honestly it was good that I didn’t wild out and get the squid too, since I decided sort of spur of the moment when the “together or seperate” moment came, to get the bill as per tradition since it’s my friend’s birthday coming up.

As per my sneaking plan, I got tea.  Loved the serving style, love when a place does this:

Teapot plate, set for a triple-triple just in case.  Organic tea in a suspiciously non-recyclable seeming cloth sachet.

Anyway, we were asked if there was anything else we would like and I felt like it was the kind of place where I could legit just ask for aioli on the side.  Super clutch idea, recommended.

View of my brussels sprouts with the side of aioli on the left.  I didn’t hate the nuts and cran mix but I thought the amount of individually peeled sprout leaves was excessive, felt like a lot of portion fluffing.

Beginning to think the belly craziness might have been from eating the unico peperoncini off my buddy’s sando:

This doesn’t feel like a $24 sandwich to me ?

Like, I hate a bite, it was fine.  It was good.

(I used the wooden skewer for my sprouts, actually, because the fork seemed weirdly unwieldy.)

We did both instinctively say “tasty” when asked how our food was.

Ughhh why was the tea $5 though really?  I like how it says it’s premium tea, very funny POS entry there.

I do like this beautiful planter space out front, best ambiance in the house.

Not my style, don’t know why I’d go back.


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