Riviera–El Paso, TX

Riviera Restaurant
5218 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 584-1542


Riviera has been in operation since 1948, and when I came to El Paso it was one of the several restaurants (mostly located in the Upper Valley) specializing in New Mexican style food. Even though I have a hard time defining the differences between the local style of food in El Paso and New Mexican cuisine, it is evident by eating in some of El Paso’s popular restaurants versus the ones in Las Cruces. In the case of Riviera it was mainly the red enchiladas that caused me to classify it as New Mexican.

Riviera had a change in ownership sometime around the beginning of the 2000’s, and after that I noticed a change in the food. My main benchmark was the red enchiladas, which I almost always ordered here. In addition to having one of the city’s spiciest red chiles, they were characterized by a deep red color and a very straightforward chile flavor. In some other respects the food was very close to the style of El Paso cuisine, but with the red enchiladas I thought it was straight up New Mexican style.

The Riviera web site says it is now a few generations since the Riviera began, but “our reputation for serving the finest in authentic Mexican cuisine still exists.” In describing the enchiladas it states that you can choose the Original Red, New Green (creamy), or Old Green (rajas de chile verde sautéed with onions and tomatoes). I am not sure if they are saying that the red enchiladas served now follow the original recipe, but if so I think the restaurant took a few turns along the way in order to get here. I very much like the red enchiladas that are now served, and the spice level is in line with many that are served in Las Cruces. I do not think the food at Riviera is as spicy as it was with the original owner, which was at the five-chile level. I now think the five-chile level is overkill, and the chile here is plenty spicy enough for most people (including me).

I always find Riviera to be cool and relaxing on the many days when it is very nice to get out of the hot weather. They even have several shaded parking spaces at the back of the building where the bar is located. The music is always good, or at least interesting–on a recent visit they were playing 1960’s and 70’s counter-culture rock music (perhaps as nostalgia for when the restaurant was only 20 years old).

Since the Covid epidemic Riviera is not open as late as it used to be, but it is apparently still true that the bar stays open later than the restaurant. They no longer have lunch specials or Taco Tuesdays, but otherwise I think they are working hard to keep the original Riviera going. I am not sure how I would define the original Riviera, but I think I would say that it is different from most restaurants in El Paso, and has a New Mexico twist to the food.

Riviera is open for breakfast every day and serves enchiladas montadas, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, Mexican omelettes, etc. I have enjoyed the breakfasts, but I found many of the items to be expensive compared to other restaurants.

Dinner Menu

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

The Salsa here is what I consider to be on the wimpy side, although it has a good flavor and is not diluted with tomatoes or other fillers they use in other parts of the United States (such as Oklahoma).

Combo No. 2 at Riviera

“Combo Dos” with two enchiladas, two tacos, and chile relleno

Riviera has now eliminated the lunch menu, and just has one menu for both lunch and dinner. The various combination plates have also been changed to just three. The “Combo Dos,” though, has what I consider to be the best of the restaurant –enchiladas and chile relleno.

There are two Enchiladas (your choice of color but I like the red ones). In the past I have gotten them flat but I am now ordering the default rolled ones because they come with a generous amount of sauce (something that many times only happens when you order them flat).

The Chile Relleno has a little bit of cooking oil that is evident along with some seeds inside, but has a good flavor and good cheese (I think they use Monterey Jack for both the enchiladas and chile relleno).

To me the Tacos are just a bonus and I would be just as happy if I could get a combination plate without them (you can get beef, chicken, or shredded beef).

The Rice and Beans are also excellent here, a key factor that I think puts Riviera in the category of the city’s better Mexican restaurants.



The Chicken Flauta used to be available as an a la carte item from the dinner menu, but now just comes three to an order. In the past I did not think they were as flavorful as some of the tacos, although i do really like the guacamole at Rivera (which comes on an order of flautas).

Other Notes
The main reason I come here is for the red enchiladas–I think these are among the top five in El Paso.

A bonus of coming here is that it is relaxing, they have very good iced tea, and on hot days it is cool but I do not feel like I am in a refrigerator.

There have been many inconsistencies with the food in the past, but as of 2023 I feel that they are at the top of their game (especially with the red enchiladas).

Riviera Web Site


Cuisine: Mexican El Paso
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Full Bar

Most Recent Visit: Apr 28, 2023
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Red Enchiladas, Chile Relleno, Guacamole


Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: Vegetable


Special Ratings
star 5 Red Enchilada
star 5 Chile Relleno
star 5 Shredded Beef Taco
star 5 Chicken Taco
star 4 Ground Beef Taco
star 4 Chicken Flauta
star 4 Chicken Fajitas
star 4 Slaw (I think this is no longer available)
star 5 Beans
star 5 Rice
star 5 Salsa

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