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A Sophisticated Happy Hour at Riviera Restaurant/Lounge

Posted By Karen Young On April 13, 2010 @ 11:20 pm In Continental,Cuisine,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Happy Hour,Italian,Lunch,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | No Comments

BY KAREN YOUNG

Looking for a Happy Hour with a more sophisticated vibe than the usual 2- for-1 drinks and typical bar food? Then checking out Riviera Restaurant and Lounge in Calabasas is a must.

The lounge area is dimly lit (looks brighter here for photo purposes) and with a sophisticated edge. Photo: Courtesy Riviera.

Their HH deal is offered seven days a week from 5 to 8 pm. The entire restaurant menu, as well as the bar menu and drinks, are 30 % off. Plus, they serve a complimentary flavorful  bruschetta appetizer accompanied by a handful of fresh potato chips with your drink order.

Located across from the Calabasas Commons, Riviera is quite a surprise considering  it’s located in a shopping center anchored by Babies R Us. It has a casually elegant, European ambiance, complete with stylish couches, leather chairs, stucco walls, hand blown chandeliers and warm lighting. The bar itself, with its high backed chairs,  feels a tad more homey than bar-like. Absent is the “rushed” feel of Happy Hour. If you arrive just before 8 pm, the special prices will be honored for whatever you order.

The full bar carries 30 wines by the glass with prices starting at $8. Wine flights with two ounce pours are offered as well. Cocktails include mixed drinks of your choice and some special martinis. Order appetizers or entrees from the main restaurant menu.

A beautifully presented and equally delicious Hawaiian Tuna Tartare Photo: Karen Young

The bar menu consists of such items as Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata Cheese, Kobe Beef sliders, Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartare, Spicy Eastern Mussel “Arrabbiata”, Fritto Misto of Calamari and Sandabs — all of which are regularly priced from about $8-14. It is definitely most fun to share dishes and easier on your wallet.

Chopped Grilled Vegetable Salad. This is divided in half. Photo: Karen Young
The full menu of modern Italian specialties (thrown in with non-mediterranean items, such as the kobe beef and Hawaiian Tuna), including a variety of soups, salads, pastas, seafood, steak and duck,  are always available. As is dessert — which is presented on a  tray hosting sweets such as crème brulee and tart tartine.

The food is all carefully plated. Service is very friendly and rather proper for Happy Hour — complete with linen napkins and a full place setting. Upon ordering the chopped grilled vegetable salad to share, the server even asked if we wanted it split on two plates.

Tart Tartine. Photo: Karen Young

This is not the $4 Happy Hour selection offered elsewhere — think of it more as a dinner option in a lounge.  Two drinks and sharing three items will set you back about $30 (including tip) — but then that’s the cost of two good regular drinks alone these days.

Filled  with co-workers, dates and friends-night-out,  Riviera’s Happy Hour is great way to socialize casually, eat quality food and drink good spirits at a fair price.

And in this economy, just say ‘Cheers’ to that.

Riviera Restaurant and Lounge,  23683 Calabasas Rd, Calabasas   (818) 224-2163  Happy Hour everyday 5-8 pm.

Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of MY DAILY FIND

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