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Rioja

Map & Directions
(45 Reviews)

1431 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202

(303) 820-2282

CLOSED NOW
Today: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Tomorrow: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
14
YEARS
IN BUSINESS
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Hours

Regular Hours

Extra Phones

Phone: (303) 825-2588

Primary Phone: (303) 825-0982

Phone: (303) 820-2288

Fax Number: (303) 825-2588

Fax: (303) 825-2588

Payment method
all major credit cards, amex, discover, master card, visa
Price Range
$$$
Neighborhoods
Downtown Denver, LoDo, Central Denver
Categories
Mediterranean Restaurants, Greek Restaurants, French Restaurants, Bar & Grills, Italian Restaurants, Spanish Restaurants, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Dressy

Good For Groups: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Spanish, Mediterranean, Greek, French, Italian, European, Continental, Bar & Grills

Alcohol: Yes, Full Bar, Wine

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Reviews

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Jenny B.

03/03/2014

Overall

Rioja serves up some relish foods! The tortillini is my favorite as is all the other breads you get! Go here for sure

james730

07/27/2011

Overall
This is one of my favorite res...

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Denver. The food is always inventive yet comforting. Service is good. Go here and then get drinks at the Green Russell afterwards!

ShellySL

07/16/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Rioja

We have historically had great meals here, but today the food was awful. The kitchen kept burning eggs and the whole restaurant smelled horrible. Everything we had was stale. My daughter couldn't even eat her doughnuts because they were so hard. I hope they get together.

jacksonsplace

10/12/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Best Dining Experience Ever!!

My friend and I were visiting Denver this past weekend and the concierge at our hotel recommened this wonderful restaurant. Chef Jennifer Jasinski is fabulous. We are from Houston and we thought we had good food in Houston, but nothing compares to the experience we had at Rioja. We had lunch there on Friday and we were back for Brunch on Sunday. Our waitress Shannon Austin was wonderful and really took care of us. Will we be back?? You bet!! We will fly to Denver just to eat at Rioja!!! Also, check out their other place Bistro Vendome...we ate there on Saturday for brunch. Both places created the best dining experience we have ever had.

Cidartha

09/25/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Disappointing experience

We've always liked Rioja. Great food. Good service. Etc. My wife and I went for a special occasion. To make a long story short: Our server had an attitude and was incompetent. One of many issues: We had made clear we wanted to order a bottle of wine with our main course, after having a glass beforehand. As soon as we were done with our first course they brought our main course. We'd never gotten a chance to order our wine. We had to ask another server to bring it ASAP. I could go on with the problems ... but I will mention our first course and fig tart were excellent. However, we won't be going back any time soon.

Ian76

08/04/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
a great menu, a few drawbacks

Dining at Rioja was wonderful, with just a few drawbacks.

Pros:
• Inventive breads: orange fennel and lavender sourdough bread.
• Tuna tartar appetizer: though tiny, it was fresh with well-balanced flavors.
• Scallops: perfectly cooked.
• Pork belly & prawns: was a mixed success. The pork belly, salad, and gastrique were excellent. However, the prawns were fishy and the peanut sauce was much like eating peanut butter puree with pork.

Cons:
• Dessert: was a let-down. The sliver of angel food cake was completely soaked by the accompanying 'consomme' (aka juice), which ruins the lovely texture of angel food. It was also overwhelmed by the sorbet. Orange brandy 'cannoli' was fine but boring.
○ Lack of seasonal/summer ingredients. July & August are prime time for pastry chefs, with choices such as berries, peaches, cherries. The dessert menu was void of these lovely summer choices, with one strawberry dish as the only seasonal option.
• Crowded seating: a few of the tables (including ours) are simply too crowded. Denver's fine dining restaurants seem to have a problem with crowding the tables (undoubtedly with extra revenue in mind). It can be frustrating to constantly filter out the conversation of others.

jjane2007

06/15/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
great food, cool atmosphere

Having been dining here since they opened. Great food and staff - fun place to go before a concert or show.

Inouropinion

12/02/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Food outstanding, fun lively ambience, courteous helpful staff, drinks water-downed.

We throughly enjoy Riojas and have been dining there for years. Their food is outstanding and very innovative and the menu offers so many wonderful options. We've never been disappointed with food, ambience, or their courteous helpful staff. Our one complaint is that the last couple months or so, they are watering down their mixed drinks. No excuse for that! If alcohol prices are increasing, charge an extra 50 cents!

ken17

09/27/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Very good food and excellent service

My wife and I went to Rioja for dinner and had great time. The food was very well cooked. The service was attentive and at the same time was very friendly. It was weekend but the restaurant was full. The portion of the food was just right that you can finish the appetizer and the main course and still have room for dessert. I ordered their lemon gnocchi for appetizer which was really good. It was full of flavor. My wife ordered duck but it was a little undercook. At first she didn't want to say anything but our server noticed right away and offered to bring it back into the kitchen. For dessert, We ordered their version of smore. The chocolate wasn't too sweet, just the way I would love to have it. We would rate the food 4 stars and service 5 stars. One little nitpick was we felt the tables were a little too close but overall it was great and we will definitely come back.

m1k30

06/11/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Best food and service I've ever had!!!!

I went on a Tuesday night to celebrate an anniversary with my girlfriend, and had book my table through OpenTable . com which was great as well. I had a request for no prices on her menu, and mentioned an anniversary, but that was it. They called the day before to confirm the reservations plus that there were no prices on the menu. We got there and the service was amazing, the food can't even be described it was so incredible, and the atmosphere was fantastic. There was absolutely nothing about this dining experience that I would not want to experience again! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

cjcurtis

05/16/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Perfect

My wife and I don't have a ton of money, and we get to go to high-caliber restaurants like this about once per year at most. Still, we've made it to a lot of the top rated spots in the Denver area, and all I can say about Rioja is that it is, to date, the single best dining experience we have ever had. The food was fantastic, the service was literally flawless, and the atmosphere was wonderfully intimate.

mo11

12/15/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Fantastic food and professional service!

Please pay no mind to the vindictive reviews from dining ?newbies? who have not been to Rioja more than once and who probably think the average McChain restaurant is innovative. As someone who has been going to Rioja since their opening, I can assure you that this is one of the best restaurants in town and they just keep getting better. Not only is the food sublime, but the staffers are consistently friendly, efficient, and work together well as a team. For one diner?s claim that the removal of artichokes from the artichoke tortelloni dish was a ?slight augmentation,? please know that this request is as ridiculous as ordering a Whopper and asking for them to remove the beef. Those of us who have eaten this luscious culinary marvel for years know that it is pasta stuffed with artichokes and served in an artichoke broth with braised artichokes and artichoke chips. As for the claim that there is only one veggie option on the menu, this is patently false. Further, believe it or not, restaurants are not required to cater to everyone's narrow preferences based on their food phobias and ideological beliefs. It is impossible to craft a menu to please every person in the world. If people would just open their minds a little and trust the chef, they would find that talented kitchens can turn seemingly-ordinary ingredients that your Aunt Melba may have ruined into a symphony of textures and flavors. I've ordered items here that I did not necessarily expect to enjoy based on my own preconceived notions yet ended up dazzled. For those of you who seem to constantly post about receiving ?rude? service around town, realize that the common denominator in this equation is YOU. If you are truly respectful, polite, and communicate well with your servers instead of being selfish and demanding, you may find that your dining experiences improve immeasurably.

noir14

10/07/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Absolutely horribe

Last night I went to Rioja in a group and it was a complete disappointment. My girlfriend and I are both vegetarians, and there was only one thing on the menu for us to eat. It came out in under ten minutes, clearly pre-prepared and reheated. We didn't even eat it and the waiters didn't offer to get something else. Also, our waiter was extremely rude and unappreciative of us as customers; when I asked her if she could slightly augment a dish by not putting artichokes in it she refused. It wasn't only me who was frustrated with the food, the other people [who actually had more than one option seeing as they ate meat] also didn't think the food was up to par. Overall, it was a very expensive night with unsatisfactory service and food. I would not recommend Rioja to anyone.

mixer_star

10/03/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Very disappointed!

My husband and I went to Rioja on a gift certificate. Thank goodness, because we would have never wanted to pay for the food we got.

Every piece of meat was overcooked. Everything was really oversalted. It was just a terrible disappointment.

The service was good, however.

drlsubaru

09/24/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Didn't live up to t he hype

Don't get me wrong, Rioja has good food... but it definitely did not live up to the hype. Our waiter was courteous and patient. My fiancee started with some sangria which she found to be nothing special. I played it safe with a Pellegrino. Took a while for the bread to arrive. When it did, it was nice to be able to select from a unique assortment.

For appetizers we ordered the fig, goat cheese, polenta tart and the pancetta-wrapped mozzerella. Both were good. I preferred the tart but my fiancee seemed to go the other way. Neither were Earth-shattering, however.

For entrees we ordered the leg of lamb and the seared tuna special. The lamb was nothing special. Actually, I would rate it below average. It was rather flavorless. My fiancee's tuna was cooked nicely but the celery root risotto, that the server raved about, was really not that great. I will admit, however, that the risotto was much better when eating it along with a bite of tuna rather than by itself.

I wouldn't be opposed to visiting Rioja again but if I was picking up the bill I would definitely suggest somewhere else like Mizuna or Cap Grille.

qwestdir

03/04/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Love this place.

I was impressed with the selection of items on the menu. There was really good desserts too. Not the greatest place for kids, as we got some ""looks"" from the hipsters everytime one made a peep, but the food was some of the best I've had in a long time.

anneee

02/10/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
just okay

This week was my third visit to Rioja. My two other visits were in 2006, and I walked out feeling very satisfied with my meal and overall dining experience. This time I was very disappointed. I hope this was just an off night and not a sign that the staff of Rioja are letting their usually outstanding cuisine slide downhill. The food was just okay and the service was also less than I expect. At this point in time, I would not recommend Rioja until they get their act together.

cavery

01/29/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Small Plates, Great Taste

My fiance and I went to Rioja for a romantic dinner. We were seated immediately, and our server was very attentive. I ordered the horseradish and potato-crusted salmon, and it was absolutely delicious, as the salmon was perfectly cooked and the flavors well-developed and creatively combined. My fiance ordered the artichoke tortelloni, but he was less impressed than I - his plate barely contained enough pasta to feed a five year old, let alone a grown man. My plate also contained a little less food than I would have liked, especially for $20 a plate. We both agreed that the food was wonderful, however. Definitely a great place to go if you want to impress!

carolinefugler

01/02/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Perfect First Anniversary Dinner

I had heard good things about Rioja, so I booked it for our first anniversary dinner on New Year's Eve 2006. Everything at Rioja was better than I hoped for. We had a reservation, and we were seated immediately. The restaurant was full, but the tables are spread out so it was not overwhelmingly packed. the atmosphere is nice while also hip and urban. We had complimentary glasses of champagne and appetizers brought to our table as a special anniversary treat! Our waiter was very attentive, and the menu has a great variety. We both ordered soup to start, and I had the gnocchi while my husband had pork. We also ordered a bottle of Spanish red wine (they have a great selection with good wines at reasonable prices as well as higher-end pricey wines). We had a great time, and the bill at the end of the night was less than it might have been at other downtown restaurants! We also stopped at the bar at Corridor 44 before dinner (right next door) for champagne cocktails. I definitely recommend both places!

robn

12/08/2006

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Over-hyped

We moved to CO 6 months ago so as ""foodies"" we are trying all the restaurants - Loved their other restaurant (Bistro Vendome - everything is great) so looked forward to Rioja - I could go into detail but it easier to say that everything was mediocre. Nothing really bad just very average.