Rivera

  3.3 rating over 6 reviews
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1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1402

Neighborhoods: Downtown
Cuisine: Latin, Spanish, Mexican

Rivera is a Latin, Spanish, and Mexican restaurant where most Menuism users came for fun with friends, paid more than $50, and tipped more than 18%.

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Gayot
Rating:
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Price:
$$$$$
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mikeop34

 Los Angeles, CA
Rivera 4.0
 

Excellent food all the way around, especially...

Excellent food all the way around, especially the slow cooked pork entree, juicy and full of flavor. Service was very polished, but there were a few hiccups like forgetting a wine order. The back room is comfortable and quiet, but the main dining room could get noisy and a little scene-y.

Maya Puerco Pibil Sous Vide at Rivera

Maya Puerco Pibil Sous Vide

 

Tuna Ceviche

 

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christiedavid

 Pasadena, CA
Rivera 2.0
 

The Emperor's clothes?

Rivera features a visually striking decor, but it’s way too noisy for any real conversation even with the person directly across from your table for two. The drinks are delicious, but portion size is a dicey issue here, in the bar as well as in the restaurant. A number of $15 drinks contain no more than 3 ounces of drink. All the rest is ice…. I was here for a special 3-course dinner (not a tasting) commenced by a special presentation from Chef Sedlar. We so wanted to like this! Unfortunately, the execution of dishes is nowhere near the range of the chef’s intentions or ambition. White gazpacho was underflavored and grainy, reminiscent of processed hummus. Escargot were very nice in a lovely earthy sauce, a nice change from the all-purpose garlic butter. But the escargot, an appetizer — not an amuse bouche, are served as a miniscule portion. There could not be even 2 full tablespoons of food in that dish. A rib-eye was served room temperature, way too lean (rib-eye? really?) and the accompanying bright orange sauce was harsh and astringent. The potatoes on the side, about a tablespoon and a half of diced fried potatoes not unlike or any better than what you would find on the side of a coffee-shop breakfast, were paired with four tiny (green-grape sized) onions. These were the best dish of the evening — perfectly and surprisingly sweet with no sticky syrup or visible sauce — yummy! Scallops were perfectly cooked, carmelized at the edges and barely warm inside. But, again, portion size is out of control in the wrong direction here: 3 scallops is an entree! The scallops were served on a bed of khaki-colored mashed eggplant that was not good to eat and not at all good to look at, along with a sauce that seemed unrelated to the flavor profile of scallops. A table-mate’s snapper was bland and under-seasoned but well-cooked. Desserts, too, were disappointing. The 3-flan dessert, each about an inch or inch and a half with small smears of 4 dipping sauces, were sorely under-flavored. All 3 flan tasted nearly identical and the flavorings were so pale that none of the flavors could be identified by anyone at our table. An olive oil cake was dry and flavorless, not even as tasty as a pound-cake from Von’s, but the accompanying sorbets were fine — fine, but not special. Rock-hard semi-sweet berries on the sorbets and cake were in desperate need of macerating before serving, and the accompanying sauce was so lightly daubed on the plate that it could not be tasted when mopped up by the cake. All that and dinner for two with one cocktail each and one glass of wine was almost $200 — not good value by any stretch. We left hungry and unsatisfied, disappointed and deflated. We won’t go back, I’m sorry to say. We really wanted to like this….

snapper

nicely cooked, but no discernible flavor

3 kinds of flan

microscopic portion of 3 nearly identical flan, all under-flavored and bland

rib eye

room temperature, tough, no flavor, unappetizing sauce

white gazpacho

grainy, under-seasoned

olive oil cake with berries and sorbet

cake was dry and without flavor,berries were hard and not sweet,sorbets were OK but nothing special

scallops with eggplant and sauce of preserved lemon

scallops were lovely,perfectly cooked,all three of them. Eggplant was off-putting to look at much less eat — khaki-colored mash. sauce was harsh and unacquainted with scallops

escargot

tasty, but bring your microscope. You could put the whole serving in a thimble — no kidding

pleasurepalate photo

pleasurepalate

 Los Angeles, CA
Rivera 4.0
 

Fantastic Latin Cuisine at Rivera

With the restaurant boom happening in downtown Los Angeles, I wanted the dust to settle a bit before checking out all the various eateries. First on the list was Rivera, the brain child of Chef John Rivera Sedler with his take on Modern Latin Cuisine. I bet you can tell how he came up with the restaurant name. Anyway, 5 of us shared 16 different dishes from snacks all the way to desserts and even partook in a couple of cocktails. Mine was the Summer Splash made of Vodka, Lemon, Basil and Honey and it was quite refreshing.

Our meal started off with a trio of items from the snacks section of their menu. First to arrive was the Patatas Xips which were Kennebec potato chips that came with a chipotle-lime crema topped with caviar. Nothing spectacular, but at least the chips were light and crispy and I liked the tart and the little kick flavor of the crema.

Next came the Xnipek which was described on the menu as a Yucatan-style charred-habenero “Dog’s Snout” Salsa and Mini Chips. The “Dog’s Snout” refers to how the salsa is suposed to be so spicy that once you sample it, your nose will be equivalent to a dog’s runny nose. I actually didn’t think the salsa was as spicy as it proclaimed to be although it did have a kick, but it didn’t matter, I loved it. If I could, I would have gone in the kitchen, spooned some into a jar or two and taken it home.

The trio was rounded off with the Tortillas Florales, housemade Nixtimal tortillas and ‘Indian Butter". This is actually my second time experiencing these Tortillas with my first time being at Altamed’s Fourth Annual East LA Meets Napa Event which I attended last July. Second time around was just as delicious. I loved the presentation of the pressed edible flowers inside the tortilla plus the tortilla itself which was thick, crispy and hearty.

After the snacks, we went into the starters and what better way to start than with the Chile Pasilla Relleno which was a chilled pickled mile chile filled with burrata cheese. Of the 6 starter items we ordered, this was my favorite. I enjoyed the slight vinegary aspect of the chile plus with it being served cold, it was refreshing to the palate. By the way, on some of the dishes, there were different kinds of what I’m going to call “spice art”.

Soon after the Chile Pasilla Relleno, the other 5 dishes arrived in full force like the Cordero Vasco, which were Basque lamb chops, chorizo, piquillos, olives and capers. The lamb chops were cooked just right, but considering the ingredients that were used, I expected more pops of flavor, but was missing that.

The Piquillos Rellenos which were Spanish peppers stuffed with chorizo, golden raisins and gruyere cheese was actually one of the favorites of the table. I appreciated the tenderness of the pepper and how the sweetness of the golden raisins complemented the milder gruyere cheese. The chorizo wasn’t as present as it could have been, but I didn’t really miss it.

With a recommendation from our server, we also ordered the Bacalao Negro Fresco which was seared black cod and serrano ham crisp. I liked how the fish was delicate and moist, but had a crisped surface. The saltiness of the ham also went well with the mild flavor of the cod.

The next dish was my least favorite of the entire meal and it was the Cordorniz Cubana, a grilled quail with black beans. This is my fifth attempt at trying to like quail and it didn’t take this time either. Most of my other party enjoyed this dish, but it wasn’t for me. I’ve always find quail to be fatty. Maybe, if it was fried, I’d at least enjoy the crispy skin, but as of now, this is the last time I’m eating quail.

Last but not least of our starters was the Tamal which had braised pork short rib, seasonal mushrooms and guajillo sauce. The tamal itself was delicate and moist and maybe, I’m being just a bit greedy, but I would have loved more pork and mushrooms. I especially liked the mushrooms which added a nice earthiness to the overall dish.

After we finished off the last bit of the tamal, our 3 main entrees arrived along with a side of calabacitas. By the way, the calabacitas were prettily presented in a corn husk and I loved the color and the crunch of the squash, the bell peppers and the corn that made up that mixture.

Of our three main dishes, the one that I thought was just okay was the Maya Puerco Pibil Sous Vide which was banana leaf braised pork shoulder and Peruvian potatoes. Honestly, I don’t understand what the big deal is in regards to meats that are cooked using the sous-vide method. Perhaps, my expectation isn’t correct in that I always assume that the meat cooked in this manner should be extra tender, extra juicy. It’s not as if the pork in this dish was tough by any means, but it didn’t meet my perhaps too lofty expectations? However, this dish’s presentation was quite eye catching.

The Kurobuta Pork Chop with a Mole Sauce and Sweet Potatoes on the side was tasty. It’s not the best mole sauce I’ve ever had, but it did have wonderful flavor plus the pork chop was thick and juicy.

Everyone went gaga over the our last entree which was the Duck Enfrijolada with goat cheese, stacked blue-corn tortillas, black bean puree and chile rioja sauce. It wasn’t the prettiest dish of the night, but all the flavors melded well together, from the pungency of the cheese to the earthiness of the black beans and so on.

13 dishes down and yes, we still had room for dessert and we ordered three of them. The first one to arrive was the Torta Xocolata, a chocolate torte and drunken pineapple. I forgot to ask what the pineapple was drunk from, but the tartness of the pineapple paired well with that dark chocolate torte.

The Crema Catalana with almonds and xerex creme had a wonderful crispy caramelization on the surface, but was a bit soupy, which was unexpected. I liked the fact that this dessert wasn’t overly sweet, but I wish that consistency was thicker because I would have enjoyed it much more.

Our last dessert was Quesos Españoles which consisted of three Spanish cheeses with sangria jus and crusty bread. We let our server choose our cheeses. Unfortunately, I only remember that one of them was a Manchego and the other was a blue cheese. Regardless, it’s hard to go wrong with cheese and it was the perfect finale to our meal.

Overall, except for one or two minor things, this was a wonderful meal and if all the new downtown Los Angeles restaurants are on par with Rivera, than I have a lot to look forward to as I explore more of what downtown has to offer.

Calabacitas at Rivera

Calabacitas

After we finished off the last bit of the tamal, our 3 main entrees arrived along with a side of calabacitas. By the way, the calabacitas were prettily presented in a corn husk and I loved the color and the crunch of the squash, the bell peppers and the corn that made up that mixture.

Tortillas Florales at Rivera

Tortillas Florales

The trio was rounded off with the Tortillas Florales, housemade Nixtimal tortillas and ‘Indian Butter". This is actually my second time experiencing these Tortillas with my first time being at Altamed’s Fourth Annual East LA Meets Napa Event which I attended last July. Second time around was just as delicious. I loved the presentation of the pressed edible flowers inside the tortilla plus the tortilla itself which was thick, crispy and hearty.

Crema Catalana  at Rivera

Crema Catalana

The Crema Catalana with almonds and xerex creme had a wonderful crispy caramelization on the surface, but was a bit soupy, which was unexpected. I liked the fact that this dessert wasn’t overly sweet, but I wish that consistency was thicker because I would have enjoyed it much more.

Chile Pasilla Relleno at Rivera

Chile Pasilla Relleno

After the snacks, we went into the starters and what better way to start than with the Chile Pasilla Relleno which was a chilled pickled mile chile filled with burrata cheese. Of the 6 starter items we ordered, this was my favorite. I enjoyed the slight vinegary aspect of the chile plus with it being served cold, it was refreshing to the palate. By the way, on some of the dishes, there were different kinds of what I’m going to call “spice art”.

Quesos Españoles at Rivera

Quesos Españoles

Our last dessert was Quesos Españoles which consisted of three Spanish cheeses with sangria jus and crusty bread. We let our server choose our cheeses. Unfortunately, I only remember that one of them was a Manchego and the other was a blue cheese. Regardless, it’s hard to go wrong with cheese and it was the perfect finale to our meal.

Cordero Vasco at Rivera

Cordero Vasco

Soon after the Chile Pasilla Relleno, the other 5 dishes arrived in full force like the Cordero Vasco, which were Basque lamb chops, chorizo, piquillos, olives and capers. The lamb chops were cooked just right, but considering the ingredients that were used, I expected more pops of flavor, but was missing that.

Patatas Xips at Rivera

Patatas Xips

First to arrive was the Patatas Xips which were Kennebec potato chips that came with a chipotle-lime crema topped with caviar. Nothing spectacular, but at least the chips were light and crispy and I liked the tart and the little kick flavor of the crema.

Maya Puerco Pibil Sous Vide at Rivera

Maya Puerco Pibil Sous Vide

Of our three main dishes, the one that I thought was just okay was the Maya Puerco Pibil Sous Vide which was banana leaf braised pork shoulder and Peruvian potatoes. Honestly, I don’t understand what the big deal is in regards to meats that are cooked using the sous-vide method. Perhaps, my expectation isn’t correct in that I always assume that the meat cooked in this manner should be extra tender, extra juicy. It’s not as if the pork in this dish was tough by any means, but it didn’t meet my perhaps too lofty expectations? However, this dish’s presentation was quite eye catching.

Piquillos Rellenos at Rivera

Piquillos Rellenos

The Piquillos Rellenos which were Spanish peppers stuffed with chorizo, golden raisins and gruyere cheese was actually one of the favorites of the table. I appreciated the tenderness of the pepper and how the sweetness of the golden raisins complemented the milder gruyere cheese. The chorizo wasn’t as present as it could have been, but I didn’t really miss it.

Bacalao Negro Fresco at Rivera

Bacalao Negro Fresco

With a recommendation from our server, we also ordered the Bacalao Negro Fresco which was seared black cod and serrano ham crisp. I liked how the fish was delicate and moist, but had a crisped surface. The saltiness of the ham also went well with the mild flavor of the cod.

Kurobuta Pork Chop at Rivera

Kurobuta Pork Chop

The Kurobuta Pork Chop with a Mole Sauce and Sweet Potatoes on the side was tasty. It’s not the best mole sauce I’ve ever had, but it did have wonderful flavor plus the pork chop was thick and juicy.

Cordorniz Cubana at Rivera

Cordorniz Cubana

The next dish was my least favorite of the entire meal and it was the Cordorniz Cubana, a grilled quail with black beans. This is my fifth attempt at trying to like quail and it didn’t take this time either. Most of my other party enjoyed this dish, but it wasn’t for me. I’ve always find quail to be fatty. Maybe, if it was fried, I’d at least enjoy the crispy skin, but as of now, this is the last time I’m eating quail.

Duck Enfrijolada at Rivera

Duck Enfrijolada

Everyone went gaga over the our last entree which was the Duck Enfrijolada with goat cheese, stacked blue-corn tortillas, black bean puree and chile rioja sauce. It wasn’t the prettiest dish of the night, but all the flavors melded well together, from the pungency of the cheese to the earthiness of the black beans and so on.

Tamal  at Rivera

Tamal

Last but not least of our starters was the Tamal which had braised pork short rib, seasonal mushrooms and guajillo sauce. The tamal itself was delicate and moist and maybe, I’m being just a bit greedy, but I would have loved more pork and mushrooms. I especially liked the mushrooms which added a nice earthiness to the overall dish.

Xnipek  at Rivera

Xnipek

Next came the Xnipek which was described on the menu as a Yucatan-style charred-habenero “Dog’s Snout” Salsa and Mini Chips. The “Dog’s Snout” refers to how the salsa is suposed to be so spicy that once you sample it, your nose will be equivalent to a dog’s runny nose. I actually didn’t think the salsa was as spicy as it proclaimed to be although it did have a kick, but it didn’t matter, I loved it. If I could, I would have gone in the kitchen, spooned some into a jar or two and taken it home.

Torta Xocolata at Rivera

Torta Xocolata

13 dishes down and yes, we still had room for dessert and we ordered three of them. The first one to arrive was the Torta Xocolata, a chocolate torte and drunken pineapple. I forgot to ask what the pineapple was drunk from, but the tartness of the pineapple paired well with that dark chocolate torte.

Rivera 1
January 22, 2013
 

amazing tapas and ceviche
Rivera 1.0
April 12, 2011
 

Overrated!

We felt we were at the tv show "Chopped" where every meal served by the waiter is followed by a detailed description of all the ingredients that were used to create the dish. The description itself takes longer than eating the rather…
Rivera 5.0
March 24, 2011
 

Great escape from L.A. Live

This is the perfect place to go when you want to get out of the chaos that is L.A. Live. It is right across the street, but is much nicer than the restaurants you'll find around the Staples Center. The drinks are great and I do agree with…

Read 16 reviews on Citysearch »

Tags
Latin Downtown Spanish
Website
Video
Hours
Mon-Sat 05:30PM - 10:30PM (Dinner)
Sun 05:30PM - 10:00PM (Dinner)
Thu-Sat 10:30PM - 01:00AM (Late Night)
Mon-Fri 11:30AM - 02:00PM (Lunch)
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pleasurepalate

Los Angeles, CA
+193 useful

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Irvine, CA
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Rivera  Restaurant Reviews

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Rivera is located near the cities of Civic Center Little Tokyo, Sanford, Dockweiler, Windsor Hills, and August F Haw.
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