Crave Magazine

Riva Blu Leeds Domenica Italiana Sunday Menu: A Much Needed Burst of Neapolitan Sunshine

Despite the dire British weather so far in 2024, Riva Blu Leeds are embracing the summer with the launch of an all-new Neapolitan-style Sunday menu. Inspired by the hearty recipes and vibrant street food of Naples, the small yet perfectly formed Domenica Italiana menu is brimming with temptation. 

We arrived on the launch day to try out the new dishes to find the restaurant packed to the rafters and buzzing. It also happened to coincide with the ‘Festa della Repubblica’ celebrations, which is an annual event in the Italian social calendar. 

With a DJ spinning vinyl and every table full, the place has definitely got a vibe. A sudden appearance by Danny from Rate My Takeaway had me wondering if it was worth fanboying him for a selfie, however, as he was clearly off-duty and out with his family, I decided against it. 

Within minutes of arriving, our friendly waitress Laura was taking our drinks order as we perused the menu. First we tried the first of two wines recommended to enjoy alongside the new dishes – the Falanghina Di Campania from San Salvatore. A light, minerally white wine with bursts of apple, pear, apricot and citrus notes, this was the perfect accompaniment for my Frittura Di Mare (9.50) starter. 

Arriving wrapped in a paper cone, this street Porto di Napoli classic consisting of lightly fried king prawns, whitebait, calamari and red mullet was a real treat and came served with a moreish garlic aioli and lemon dip. Absolutely delicious. 

The Trio Di Bruschetta Miste (9.50) was equally popular at our table. Our favourite of the three toppings was surprisingly the grilled Mediterranean vegetables, closely followed by the porchetta ham and smoked provola cheese. 

The quality of the ingredients really elevated this humble snack, with props to the juicy tomatoes sourced from the fertile soil of Mount Vesuvius. Now this is how you do bruschetta

Highlights from the mains include the Pasta Al Forno Alla Siciliana (13.50), which is a comforting pasta bake stirred with tomato, aubergine, smoked cheese and parmesan. Laura informed us this is regularly enjoyed by Italian families on a Sunday, and traditionally a way to use up leftover ingredients. 

The only misstep for us was the Calamari Ripieni, which consists of squid with tomatoes, semi-dried tomatoes, garlic, white wine, capers and black olives. Served with sourdough bread, the calamari was rather tough, and the dish as a whole was lacking in flavour. 

The Ragu Alla Napoletana (17.50) on the other hand was a true standout. Boasting melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked beef, juicy meatballs and sausage, the dish was finished off with a rich vine-ripened tomato and red wine sauce and toasted sourdough for mopping up the sauce. A divine recipe that takes the italian meatball recipe to a new level. 

The Ragu was enhanced further with a glass of the recommended Aglianico Rue Dell’inchiostro – a bold and additive red wine from Campania that went down a little too easily. It was so nice, we tracked it down on Vivino to purchase some to enjoy at home. 

The Piccola Pasticceria Sharing Dessert (15.00) is fantastic too, with something to suit even the fussiest of people. Of the seven pastries, we especially enjoyed the Cannolo Siciliano (with rich ricotta, vanilla, chocolate and crushed pistachios), the Tiramisu, and the Coda Di Aragosta Al Pistacchio -a buttery lobster shaped pastry stuffed with pistachio.

Final verdict

Riva Blu’s bold take on the Sunday menu is both refreshing and unique, well-executed and moderately priced. Add to the sublime food a really cool, laid back vibe and cracking service and you’ve got an essential Sunday hotspot unlike anything else in the city. 

Riva Blu, 11-12 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5HD. 
Review and photography by Fletch.

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