Rioja
Rioja

Rioja

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.riojadenver.com/
  • Phone: 3038202282
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch:

    Wednesday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm


    Brunch:

    Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 2:30pm


    Dinner:

    Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm,

    Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Fusion / Eclectic, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Jennifer Jasinski
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Getting there

  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet available on Larimer Square Tuesday - Saturday. A parking garage is located directly behind the restaurant on Market Street. Street parking is available throughout Larimer Square.
A word from Rioja
Chef Jennifer Jasinski's creatively inspired Mediterranean food is influenced by local seasonal products. Rioja is simple, pure food that emphasizes bright flavors & textures. The wines are a collection of fun interesting varietals that compliment the cuisine.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Rioja reviews from OpenTable diners
448 reviews since May 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (339)special occasion (276)romantic (161)notable wine list (132)hot spot (131)neighborhood gem (119)great for outdoor dining (67)good for groups (60)great for lunch (47)great for brunch (45)vibrant bar scene (32)late-night find (15)kid-friendly (4)scenic view (3)Show More
  • DrRoos
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    Loved the Rioja "picnic". Pork chop was delicious too. Very accommodating for gluten allergy. Portion of ravioli was too small for a meal...would have been good to know this at time of ordering. Will dine there again next time we're in town!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bring a headlamp...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Excellently prepared food and a bit on the expensive side, but overall a pleasant experience. The interior is so dimly lit, I finally had to approach a ceiling light to read the fine print of the wine list. At that point a server brought me a small flashlight that had the Rioja imprint on it. That was a clue. The server mentioned that repeat customers will often bring their own small flashlights and headlamps. That's a good idea.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Glad we went
    Scott
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    We were in Denver for a conference and picked Rioja on the strength of other reviews. We were glad we went! The food was outstanding. Innovative but accessible; the flavors were outstanding and the ingredients clearly fresh and high end. We would recommend Rioja to anyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Excellent, small portions
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    I found the food and service at Rioja to be quite good. The halibut ceviche with strawberry/tequila foam was both beautifully presented and delightfully falvorful. The lamb three ways which inlcuded a wonderfdul tartare element was excellent. Quiet when I first arrived around 5:30, the noise level amped up as the restaurant filled. With tip and a glass of wine, my bill for two ralatively small courses was $90. So go expecting a lovely, special meal and a hefty bill.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Rioja rocks.
    anitafricklas
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    I invited a New York friend to have dinner with us on a Monday night. I couldn't believe how crowded it was, how energetic the party was, and how fabulous the food was. We loved everything about it and can't wait to return. Our dinner guest said it was the best restaurant she ever ate at in Denver. I agree.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Monday night dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Finally tried Rioja on Larimer, been wanting to try for years & it was worth the wait. Beautiful, simple and elegantly decorated. Service was great, a few hiccups but nothing to complain about. The kitchen was very accommodating by allowing us a smaller portion of the grilled octopus as an appetizer instead of an entrée. The grilled octopus was spectacular! Our dining experience was perfect until a large group was seated very close to our table. Luckily, we were nearing the end of our dining experience. Larger groups tend to be much more demanding which is understandable. Overall a very nice evening.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AMAZING!
    beckycdraper
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    This is one of the best meals I've ever had. Try the vegetarian special even if you're not a vegetarian. The food is fresh and delicious. Will definitely go back here repeatedly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • One of the best I've ever been to
    wyocowboy
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Restaurant is crowded and noisy, but…the food is amazingly creative and constantly changing, with efficient and knowledgable service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful, as always
    Xxxx
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    This time I tried the octopus, tender but not really to my taste (never had it before and I paid the price of being daring, which Chef Jen does all the time!). My wife's scallops were divine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The food was outstanding. The services was terrible. It took 15 minutes before anyone came to our table, the waiter read the specials from a card, our food was delivered to table that had just been seated. The space is extremely crowded. We were placed next to a wall with a wall behind one of us. We could not get up to use the restroom. This was the second time we had a bad experience. Will not return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Poor Service
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Our waiter Matt left us waiting unattended for 45 minutes. The Open Table reservations says that the optimum time for 2 for dinner is one hour and thirty minutes and asks patrons to honor that amount of time so that all reservations can be handled. Our visit was closer to 2 hours due solely to lack of attention after our meal was served. This left us with no time for dessert as we had theater tickets. We would have mentioned it to the waiter and/or other staff but they were not available to us either. One of our pasta meals was very bitter and did not taste good. The cocktail with ginger syrup tasted like cough syrup.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lived up to recommendations
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We went to Rioja on the recommendation of a friend who considers it the best food in Denver. Can't comment on how it compares to others, but thoroughly enjoyed it. The food was indeed superb and the wine list had an extensive range of well-priced Rioja wines. Excellent cocktails at the bar and the general buzz in the restaurant - which was incredibly busy - added to an overall great experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Worth the visit
    DiningOut
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Dinner was very good. Interesting cocktails and a good wine list. Our server was helpful with wine pairings and menu suggestions. All of the staff were very polite, friendly, and knowledgeable about the menu. The only aspect I wasn't pleased with was reservations. I had made a reservation a couple weeks in advance and upon arrival we were seated at a table that wasn't in the dining room. The table was clearly there for walk-ins. Not sure why a reservation was seated there, but we asked to be moved. I would have preferred a proper table in the dining room. Restaurant should state that you must request a table in the proper dining area if they intend on putting reservations in the bar area. Otherwise, it was a pleasant experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • European "picnic"
    Vicki
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We had a wonderful evening. The staff were very accommodating and knowledgeable. The food was a real treat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing!
    YummyinDenver
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Unique dishes--all delicious! A must-go!!! Ambience was very nice. Crowded and busy but not too much. Food was ridiculously good. We had the pork belly, house salad to start. Both devine. Then one of the hand-made pastas and the halibut for our main dishes. Wow!!!!! And save room for dessert...just too good. Prices were very reasonable. And the service was perfect. Make a reservation--they are busy!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pretty good. Small portions
    nnn2323
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    This was my 4th time here & I took out of town coworkers. I had forgotten how small the portions are which is not great for men. 1st course was beet salad. It was actually not a salad but a few beets on a plate with a too sweet sauce. For my entree I had the halibut which was good, but I had really been looking forward to the squid ink pasta with octopus that had unfortunately been taken off the menu. At least it had the same fried lemons from the pasta.Love those. We all ordered dessert because we were still hungry (maybe this is their strategy). I had a strawberry dessert with a cookie and coconut sorbet. The cookie and sorbet were delicious. Strawberry part ok. Had a snack when I got home which is a bummer after a $60 per person meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Continuous interruptions
    jaireviews
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Took a professional connection to lunch. Had a good experience before but this one was not nearly as good. Within the first 5-10 minutes we were served by 4 different people who usually came over and interrupted our conversation rather than politely introducing themselves. Food was also mediocre. I ordered the special that was a kind of meatloaf made of poultry; I couldn't even finish it. Will likely not return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good place
    PlattParkBandit
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    We enjoyed our dining experience at Rioja. It had been built up quite a bit by several people who recommended it, so my expectations were pretty high. There was nothing wrong with our dining experience, but the bar had been set so high, that I didn't feel it was an extraordinary experience (which is what I'd expected). The food was good, the service was good, but there was nothing that stood out as an "oh wow" dish.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Second Visit
    MikeL
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    We went to Rioja on our anniversary in May and enjoyed it so much we returned in September with family and friends to celebrate my wifes' birthday. Not a single thing bad to say about either experience. The food is incredible and the service outstanding. My elderly in-laws even liked it and they are pretty fussy - a good sign in my world. Special touches like the birthday card for my wife and the celebratory dessert donuts with a candle rounded out a very enjoyable visit. Definitely can't wait to go back again. TRY THE PORK BELLY! it is OUTSTANDING and fun!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary Didder
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    it's a great place to go for an anniversary dinnerour.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • not what I was led to believe
    jb1977
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    I was recommended this restraunt by several friends who said it was great for a romantic night out. I was rather disappointed. The place was very liud making conversation difficult. The appitizer was decent and inventive but small. My wife really enjoyed the sangria, however my martini was littered with ice chunks. The entre was very flavorfull but again too small for the price. Both of us left hungry and a little dissapointed. On the plus side the service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fabulous dinner in Larimer Square
    mthom
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Riojia for dinner before the theatre was a great find! The fresh made pastas were innovative and delicious. The drink selection was fantastic. The staff were friendly and helpful. .
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Average Brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This was my first time going to Rioja for brunch, and I really wasn't impressed. While we waited for our food they offered us some house made biscuits that were cold, hard and dry. I ordered the bacon and eggs and, while the "bacon" (pork belly) was good, I was struck by the lack of flavor in the accompanying french toast. My sister did not care for her dessertesque raspberry french toast, and barely ate a bite. The service and ambience was up to par, but the brunch there just isn't that impressive.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • great!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    fantastic bread. and the artichoke tortellini is amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently exceeds expectations
    Foodlvr
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Wonderful food and exceptional service, consistently.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceeded expectations
    Mike
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Wow. Food and service were spot on. We went on out anniversary and just blown away. They even had the staff sign a card. Every part was over the top!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Rioja was amazing. Our waiter, Neil, was great so personable and funny he made our experience that much more pleasuable. Also, the price was great especially for the atmosphere and food you can not beat it. I would highly recommend Rioja!!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great, as usual
    James751VIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Rioja for dinner (Petaluma chicken a must-have) is always great, but I took a business associate there for lunch on a sunny Denver late afternoon. Both of us had the lamb burger...fabulous! Lunch time seems to be a slower time for this gem...I'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, atmosphere, will return
    Acham81
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    Rioja is one of my most favorite restaurants! Always a great experience because of the fantastic food, great wine selection and the servers are awesome.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely evening
    mayorguy
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    Group of four, seated promptly, service was excellent. Easy to converse, interesting wine list with a very knowledgeable server. Food was superb and well presented. Not cheap but a great value given the quality of the overall experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very good , nice atmoshpere
    Atlanta01VIP
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    Great dining experience. Very good food. Try it, you wont be disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious
    BECKS
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    The food was amazing! Everyone was friendly. I was disappointed that they knew we were celebrating a big anniversary and the waiter never mentioned it. Our desert could have been in the house. We spent a lot on food and great bottle of wine, too bad not even a mention of it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great when celebrating
    emichel
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I chose this restaurant based on some online reviews, and could not have been more pleased. The food choices were unique and modern, but also accessible and comforting. My husband and I were celebrating an anniversary and the entire staff went out of their way (on a busy weekend evening) to make up feel welcome and special.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Rare Disappointment
    EllendummVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Food is usually top-notch and innovative here. I adore the artichoke tortellini - signature dish! We took a friend from California here for brunch - tried the breakfast sandwich to get out of my rut. Very ordinary and had a sweet cream cheese that didn't fit at all... But I'll be back, because I know this is an unusual experience here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent as Always
    KyleVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Whenever I'm in Denver I eat at Rioja. The food I'd innovative and delicious. I went with my mother and husband. Everyone loved their meals. The highlights were the pork belly starter, so tender it melted in your mouth, beet salad, ravioli, and the pork. Great red sangria and a good wine list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • jepr
    JeprVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    We have always loved Rioja and last Sat. night was no exception. The food and service were both outstanding. I had the Halibut and our guests had the Petaluma chicken. Both were fantastic. I can't wait to go again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never disappoints!
    luvflavorfulfood
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    I have been going to Rioja since she opened the restaurant and I love the lunch lamb burger and always order the beignets...YUMMY :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Areyoukiddingme
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Vibrant dining spot. Food was great as was the service. Will definitely dine there again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • GF friendly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    One of our diners was gluten intolerant, and the chef and waiters not only went out of their way to accommodate her, but were very friendly about it as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Walt
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Everything was excellent except one thing. The temperature inside the restaurant was freezy - much colder than outside that evening and the evening was not even a very warm one.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate