Based at RIVA Beach Club and overlooking the popular Palm Jumeirah haunt’s pool and sandy stretch, RIVA Ristorante feels every inch the laidback holiday hangout. Though equally good for a quick bite, this is the kind of place that deserves saving for days when there’s nothing stopping you letting a lazy lunch roll into a few early sundowners.
The white-washed, sun-bleached style of the interiors feels at once chic and beachy, which marries well with the menu. It’s all very Mediterranean, with a distinct Italian leaning.
From the starters, the enormous burrata arrives lavishly drizzled with a seemingly house-made pesto, surrounded by fresh, fruity slivers of tomato, while the parmigiana is a prettily presented, if not perfect incarnation of the classic.
Of the mains, the grilled seabass is crispy skinned while the flesh is soft, succulent and full of flavour – a side order of steamed spinach and a splash of olive oil make it sing.
The enormous oval vegetariana pizza, meanwhile, boasts an enjoyably chewy, if slightly unwieldy semolina crust – chunks of courgette balanced on top bounce off all over the rustic wooden dining table. It’s also another enormous dish, and takes a while to polish off Faced with RIVA Ristorante’s generous portions, seaside setting and now the promise of cooler weather, what more persuasion do you need for a long, relaxing lunch? The Bottom Line Hearty Italian eats in a lovely location.