La Rivista Italian restaurant is towards the end of the High Street in the centre of Kilkenny city, just beyond the courthouse and directly opposite the waterside theatre. This great little authentic Italian restaurant offers good quality food and exceptional value for money. Owner Jenny Quinn is doing everything possible to give her customers what they are looking for in these difficult times.
La Rivista is recognisable by the black exterior and gold writing overhead, large picture windows and the always open door that gives a very inviting feeling. The interior is a large room split over two levels with an open kitchen to the rear. To both sides of the kitchen area are shelves from floor to ceiling filled with bottles of wine. The décor is contemporary; taupe walls with several large paintings on one side and large mirrors on the opposite wall. Dark wooden tables and leather high back chairs with an open drinks serving area completes the picture. Italian music plays in the back ground and on our last visit all the tables were full, with various kinds of groups from ‘girls night out’ to families and couples, all enjoying a mid week night out.
Lunch is served daily from 12.30 to 5pm and offers 2 courses for €16.95 or 3 for €19.95. Every evening there is an early bird which offers 2 courses for €22.95 or 3 for €26.95 and there is a set menu with 2-courses for €19.95 and 3-courses for €24.95, while couples are catered for with the wine & dine menu at €59.00 for 2 including a bottle of wine.
Set starters include seafood salad, crispy duck spring rolls, and homemade soup of the day with ciabatta bread. Main courses have a great choice with fresh fish, numerous chicken dishes with a variation of sauces, steaks and twice cooked pork belly.
The a la carte menu offers breads & nibbles; a basket of warm ciabatta with balsamic vinegar and olive oil or pizza bread topped with tomato sauce, garlic and oregano. Starters range from €7.50 for bruschetta to €9.50 for gamberoni picante; tiger prawns sautéed in garlic with lemon and chilli butter or there’s an antipasto misto. Pasta dishes include an authentic puttanesca, salcissia picante, and Amatriciana and there is a great selection of pizzas.
The wine list at La Rivista is short and well selected, 6 white wines priced from €17.50 for a Chilean sauvignon Blanc, or €5.50 a glass, up to €26.00 for a New Zealand Hunky Dory. With 8 red wines to choose from, there’s a Chilean merlot at €17.50 or €5.00 a glass, or have some Italian Prosecco. We chose the Hunky Dory, this is a great wine I recently found, and it’s crisp, fruity and really easy on the palate.
I enjoyed the crispy smoked mozzarella and then chose linguine with tiger prawns and rocket (Gamberetti e Rucola), while my dinner guest enjoyed calamari picante to start, which was cooked in a tomato sauce and served with chilli and shallots and he followed this with the Pollo rusticana; chicken prepared with smoked bacon peppers and shallots at €14.95. Both dishes were well presented and the portions left room for a dessert, but the waistline didn’t. We finished with coffee for me and a Hennessey for himself, the perfect end to an enjoyable evening.