We found an Italian restaurant in Midtown that is traditionally Italian.  Italian people actually own and run this eatery.

(I’m being factitious of course however it’s amazing how many eateries claim to be really Italian but they actually aren’t).  The menu reflects their commitment to paisano pleasures.  Creams and butters are not used en masse but reductions are.  Fresh food is made the way I’ve tasted food in Italy as opposed to Pizzas and Pastas here in South Florida which are often frozen, thrown into a hot oven and served with unusual toppings that do not pay homage to delicious authentic Italian cooking.   So we walked into a patron-less restaurant and asked for a table.  The waitress in turn asked if we had a reservation.  THE PLACE WAS EMPTY!  We said no and started to leave.  Restaurants do not ever want to see clients leave. Hence, there is always a tiny table for you somewhere.

Riviera’s waitress seated us at the entrance in their EMPTY restaurant.  The menu was lovely and reasonable.  Our Pino Grigio was properly priced.  The Minestrone ($12) was perfectly prepared.  I took some photos of the plates and then…surprisingly a bunch of Italian patrons walked in for their wine event.   In less than a heartbeat the place was packed.  Capiche.  Packed!   They were having a Wine event. Happily, they didn’t throw us out. Possibly because we have excellent table manners or possibly because we pay our bills and always leave a hefty tip. Whatever, the food was delicioso.

I enjoyed the Snapper with a side of creamy mashed potatoes topped with spinach ($23).  We inquired about the Wine Tasting dinner which was priced at $55.  It included a glass of Santa Margherita Prosecco Brut DOGG, an Antipasto Focaccia al Formagggio & Focaccia Pizzata with Cheese.  Also available the Melanzane condite, golden fried sliced eggplant with tomato sauce, Parmigiano and mozzarella paired with a Ca del Bosco Prestige, NV.  The Primo Piatto (main plate), was a Trofie with pesto, French beans and potatoes served with a Fattoria Sardi Rose 2015.  Then came the Secondo, which was grilled Octopus on chickpeas puree accompanied by a Muller Thurgau Kettmeier 2015 Sangiovese Sassoregale DOC 2015. Italians never forget a little sweetness at the end of every meal.  So guests were treated to a flourless chocolate cake with Amarena Fabbri Cherry.  Not a bad deal for the price.

They are located at The Shops at Midtown, 3252 NE Buenavista Blvd., #110, Miami 33137.  Details: rivierafocacceria.com.  Worth the drive there.