Behind a hedged garden wall on the corner of Harwood and McKinnon streets is a glimpse of a dining terrace. Insiders know that a side walkway from the valet fronting the 22-story Frost Tower leads to a lively spot. Dolce Riviera joins half a dozen vibey restaurants set in Harwood International’s multimillion-dollar development of residential high-rises and office buildings in Uptown. Open since September, the restaurant is Harwood CEO Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s tribute to the Riviera, the coastal playground of France and Italy, and the famed haunt of jet-setting glitterati going back decades.
The sidewalk leads up steps to a spacious patio buffered from the street by tall greenery and stone walls. The terrace is extensive, with seating for 150 in garden space graced with antique Italian pots and fountains.
The interior scene is one of timeless casual elegance, distinctly European and coastal in feel, with white-washed stucco walls, seaside-themed accents in natural tones blended with shades of cerulean blue and Venetian glass chandeliers. Beautiful people are well in attendance. This is a place to be seen.
Dolce Riviera’s general manager and sommelier, Danilo de Nardo, hails from the Puglia region of Italy, and curated a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning cellar in New York before coming to Dallas; the 2,000-bottle wine list reflects his love of Italian, French and Californian wines, including rare finds. The cocktail program is inspired by carefully crafted ’30s- and ’40s-era libations in drinks based on vodka and gin, and an emphasis on aperitifs made with bitters, prosecco and vermouth.