After being closed for more than two years, one of Dallas’ most popular restaurants is reopening. Dolce Riviera is back with a fresh menu, upgraded patio, and new luxury champagne and wine bar.
The Dallas Morning News reports Dolce Riviera will begin welcoming back patrons on May 12. The upscale Southern Italian restaurant has been closed for some 800 days due to COVID-19 restrictions that started in March 2020, limiting capacity within restaurant dining rooms.
As patrons return, they will find the perfect ambiance in the Dolce Riviera’s spacious, remodeled patio, which features a towering faux lemon tree. The patio, adjacent to the bar/lounge area, is the best location within the restaurant to eat, according to Chief Operating Officer Matthew Minichino.
Chef Taylor Kearney refreshed the menu with in-house pasta and dishes with more seafood options. Kearney also added gluten-free and vegan plates. For those who were regulars at Dolce Riviera, some staples have remained, like the Frutti Di Mare (a seafood appetizer), Gnocchi Al Tartufo (gnocchi with truffle), whole branzino, and the beloved Spaghetti Pomodoro.
“I would say that if a guest was coming for a very specific dish, pre-COVID, more than likely it’ll be on the menu — maybe in a new form or fashion,” says Kearney.
Another change Kearney has made is to “activate” the dining experience “to make it more of a show,” he says. While Kearney is not trying to make dining at Dolce “over-the-top,” he is confident that between the food, service, and the new wine program, the restaurant will attract many “repeat” customers.
The star of Dolce Riviera is the new champagne and wine bar. “The Parlor,” which Minichino describes as an “intimate cellar,” accommodates fifteen to twenty people. It will feature hard-to-find wines, some priced at $100 to $200 per glass.
The restaurant will use the Coravin wine preservation system, allowing servers to pour wine for patrons without actually uncorking the bottle. The void in the bottle is then filled with argon gas, preventing oxygen from touching the remaining wine and “keeping it as fresh as the day it was bottled,” the Coravin website explains.
Wines will start at $35 to $40 per glass, and there will also be a curated cocktail menu that includes Old Fashions and martinis. The Parlor is perfect for private parties, and during the week, the space will serve breakfast and lunch.
The restaurant offers grab-and-go options such as biscotti and cannoli in the morning, while Italian sandwiches made with ciabatta and focaccia are available for midday fare. The Parlor will operate as a cocktail lounge on Wednesdays through Sundays, starting at 5:00 p.m.
Reservations for evening dining are recommended but not required. Valet parking is available, as well as street and garage parking. Dolce Riviera is located at 2950 N. Harwood Street, making it a convenient dining option for patrons heading to the nearby American Airlines Center.