A Taste of The Amalfi Coast in Leeds City Centre: Our Dining Experience at Riva Blu

Pizza and pasta lovers are very well catered for in Leeds with both popular chain restaurants and award-winning independents offering mouthwatering menus of Italian cuisine.

Riva Blu opened just over a year ago on Park Row, in what was previously Gino D’Acampo’s city centre restaurant. The interiors were given a striking refresh and Individual Restaurants assured regular diners that the rebranded restaurant would continue to deliver authentic food and excellent customer service.

Riva Blu

When browsing through the TripAdvisor reviews for Riva Blu Leeds, it’s immediately apparent that the restaurant group kept its promise. The city centre restaurant boasts an enviable 5-star rating and is currently ranked 19th for restaurants in Leeds. The restaurant receives multiple daily reviews; the overwhelming majority of which compliment the food and sing the praises of attentive and friendly staff.

My husband and I visited Riva Blu for the first time last week, right at the start of the long-anticipated spell of warm weather.

We were promptly led to a large round table towards the back of the extensive ground-floor dining space, from where we could admire the venue’s chic 1960s-esque decor. The menu was explained to us with admirable enthusiasm by Senior AGM, Giovannino. My tomato intolerance meant my options were understandably limited but Giovannino assured me that the team would happily amend dishes accordingly.

Riva Blu

As I’m indecisive by nature, limiting my options is often a blessing in disguise. It didn’t take me long to choose dishes, unlike Mr Wilson-Barrett who spent a good while frowning and deliberating.

Our drinks arrived first and I was thrilled with my chosen cocktail. My relationship with the ever-popular Passionfruit Martini was short-lived and I endeavour to try something vastly different whenever drinking out now. The Italian Iced Tea is a delicious alternative. It’s still fabulously fruity and boasts a gloriously frothy top but is nowhere near as sickly sweet. A beautiful summertime drink which I would return to Riva Blu for again and again.

Riva Blu

My husband is a whisky drinker so he opted for the Old Fashioned without smoke and sipped away merrily.

Our first courses arrived within a few minutes and I couldn’t fault either. Mr Wilson-Barrett’s simple Carpaccio starter pleased him immensely – it tasted divine! The velvety slices of seared beef fillet melted in your mouth and paired beautifully with the horseradish mayo.

Having read numerous positive reviews about Riva Blu’s oh-so-crispy risotto balls, I began with the Arancini. Each perfectly formed sphere delivered the optimal crunch from the outer coating and was filled with a creamy and flavoursome truffle risotto. They were served with a small pot of truffle mayonnaise which was quite intensely flavoured so I didn’t require much of it.

A delicious introduction to Riva Blu’s new menu!

Riva Blu

Neither of us wanted another cocktail so my husband ordered a beer to help wash down his main and I asked our lovely waitress to recommend a red wine for myself. I soon found myself enjoying a light-bodied Frappato and taking a photo of the bottle so I could get my hands on a bottle to drink at home! A much lighter alternative to my usual Shiraz or Malbec that was also better suited to my veal main course.

Riva Blu

We both considered the antipasti at Riva Blu hard to beat as we’d savoured every single morsel of the exquisite Carpaccio and dreamy Arancini. How wrong we were!

Having begun his Riva Blu experience with red meat, Mr Wilson-Barrett ordered the Polla Alla Griglia for main – chargrilled boneless half chicken served with ‘nduja butter, roast potatoes and grilled veggies. A somewhat unexpected choice as neither of us has ordered a half chicken in the past and received one which hasn’t been overcooked until dry and disappointingly bland. In this case, the chicken was succulent and juicy and the ‘nduja butter gave it a fiery kick.

Riva Blu

My veal did not disappoint either. Again, not a dish I would usually order but for vastly different reasons. However, it was beautifully cooked and the zesty lemon butter sauce scattered with salty capers enhanced the flavour of the melt-in-the-mouth meat.

Riva Blu

My requested side dish of tender stem broccoli dressed in chilli and garlic was equally tasty and provided an additional texture without leaving me too full for dessert.

Riva Blu

Now, I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth and there aren’t a great number of desserts which I’ll purposely leave room for when eating out. However, I do love Italian desserts and Riva Blu’s new summer menu features all of my favourites – Tiramisu, Cheesecake and Panna Cotta.

As it’s a brand new addition to Riva Blu Leeds’ offering, we opted for the Tiramisu Al Limone – a zesty alternative to the traditional tiramisu that was made at our table by the ever-so-charming Jimmy.

We watched with open, salivating mouths as Jimmy created our sharing dessert, layer by tantalising layer. The results were superb and we finished our dessert at an extraordinary speed.

Riva Blu

The Amalfi limoncello cream was outrageously moreish and we were given a shot of limoncello to enjoy alongside too. A simple yet decadent dessert that ensured we ended our Italian meal on a high!

As stated, lovers of Italian cuisine are spoiled for choice in Leeds so choosing a restaurant isn’t always easy. If you’re yet to visit Riva Blu, I highly recommend you give it a go. Everything we ate was genuinely delicious and the staff went above and beyond to ensure our visit was as enjoyable as possible. If you do decide to visit, be sure to leave room for dessert!

This review was published following an invitation to dine at Riva Blu, Leeds. An invitation does not guarantee a review or recommendation as we only publish following a positive dining experience. The restaurants we visit have no editorial control over our content.

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