Rioja
Rioja

Rioja

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.riojadenver.com/
  • Phone: (303) 820-2282
  • 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 July 31, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (349)special occasion (267)romantic (148)hot spot (142)notable wine list (127)neighborhood gem (118)good for groups (55)great for outdoor dining (53)great for brunch (48)great for lunch (42)vibrant bar scene (30)late-night find (15)scenic view (3)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Great Dinner
    BeltLinerVIP
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    When I knew I was going to attend a conference in Denver, I reached out to a friend who has lived in Denver for 41 years for recommendations. Rioja was near the top of his list and with good reason. Enjoyed a great meal with two friends. We all had great appetizers and entrees and the service was just right; attentive w/o being cloying. The only item that seemed a little out of sync was that riojas were not very well represented on the by-the-glass wine list. Highly recommend Rioja for your meal when you are in town or a local.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, service lacking
    Nicki
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    The food left nothing to be desired - plates are small but this is expected at a restaurant like this. We were there for brunch - eggs benedict were lovely. Pachetti pasta was also good if a bit small. Donuts were amazing. Also were served a complementary slice of bread. Some of the lunchier entrees looked more substantial in size. Only disappointment was the service - I got the vibe that they didn't think our group was worthy of being there (maybe because we look young? didn't get drinks?). Server was barely at the table maybe 3 times and didn't seem overly friendly - same for the hostess. Go for the food, not the service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lose the sugar bowl
    0447VIP
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    We were there for Sunday brunch. Everything was unpleasantly sweet, bread, rolls, and entrees. My wife had the breakfast sandwich--it had a sweet, sweet dressing. I had the lamb burger. Not only was it a meager offering, it too had a sweet dressing. Neither of us could finish the meal.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Larimer street option
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    We have been to Rioja several times. Met my parents there for my birthday prior to Madama Butterfly. Tables seem tight and waiter hit the back of our chairs just servicing others. Started with Eric's donuts, a lovely combo of sugar and lemon crème and also the garbanzo bean soup which was very flavorful. Omelets were small and underwhelming. My Mom requested double fruit which meant 4 strawberry halves and 4 grapes. Potato galette small. Raspberry French toast decadent and very good. I would say Rioja is still good but not as impressive as we have experienced in the past.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Turn the heat down!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    Our group of 6 chose Rioja based on recommendation of friends. The food was quite good; charcuterie plate, pheasant, lamb 3 ways stood out. The dining room was, however, UNBEARABLY HOT. We could not strip off enough clothes, and our dinner experience was severely affected. As a last ditch effort we ordered the sorbet for dessert and it arrived in puddles. I can only hope this was an anomoly. I would be reluctant to return and spend money to be uncomfortable again.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    excellent, origional cuisine informed, courteous service
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My go to
    nick
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    as always, the food and service were amazing. love the bread service. could just eat the bread with wine all night but the entrees and dessert were also amazing
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A disappointing visit for a birthday occasion
    FoodieNick
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    We made reservations based off a couple of interesting posts from Open table. We booked a table of 4 to celebrate my wife's birthday. In much anticipation of enjoying good food with good company, the only thing that came of the dinner was good company. We each had an appetizer and an entrees. With two drinks a piece our bill was almost $300 with a generous tip. The food looked much better than it tasted. The portions were unacceptable for pricing. Paying just over $30 for 4 average size sea scallops was mind boggling. The chicken entree was of generous size but lacking in flavor, almost tasting of bland chicken thrown in to sear and that was it. The New York Strip was the best tasting dish but again lacking in portion with just 4 slices of beef. The plate was good but for the price the portions just didn't add up. The panchetti was also ordered and with bland mousse filling it was a nice looking dish. Paying $25 for 4 ravioli type pasta just a little bigger than an inch the plate left you wanting more. At the end of the night we did our best to enjoy each others company and not have the responsibility of kids running around. An over priced, under portioned restaurant that left a group of 4 walking out disappointed and hungry still.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wanted to eat here for a long time/worth the wait
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    The salmon appetizer was fabulous as was the sole/gnocchi special was good but not to die for/beignets with goat cheese - yum!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful evening at Rioja
    David
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    We arrived early for our reservation so we enjoyed a drink at the bar then were seated right on time. This is a beautiful restaurant with excellent service and delicious food. We wanted to share two appetizers so they were prepared and given to us at the table as individual portions and in stages - very nice touch. I had the pheasant two ways, my wife had the lamb. Both were delicious. We recommend Rioja to everyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • dissapointedVIP
    Dined on 11/17/2014
    We had a birthday dinner and the service was excellent. A nice touch with the servers all signing a card. A waiter accidentally broke a full wine glass and promptly replaced. The food was OK- to good but portion sizes on all apps and entrees were so small we left hungry! Breads were the best! Of notable disappointment was Duck Confit which was served as 4 dice size dry little cubes. Not the rich and buttery shredded duck meat I was expecting.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • A Bit Disappointed!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 11/17/2014
    We have been to Rioja lots of times and this time we took some out of town guests that are moving to Colorado next year. The food was delicious, however, very, very scant for the price. When one orders $32.00 lamb, prepared three ways, one expects to have a decent slice of each. Mine and my friend's was a slice that you could see thru, and the tartare was two bites and gone. We expected for that charge to have a bit more of the protein....disappointed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Meal Ever....
    JuanSeVIP
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    The food and the service were impeccable. The fresh bread was sublime. We ordered salad, bacon(2), scallops, lamb and chocolate. Every plate was cooked and seasoned to perfection. We do recommend Rioja to anyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We had an amazing experience dining at Rioja!
    Juana
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    I recommend any of the pastas but the truffle one was divine. The pheasant was delicious and I loved the pumpkin touch. Cocktails were solid. I really loved the food but to be honest I thought the wall decorations had room for improvement. Will definitely be back and am recommending to friends!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent!
    DiningDinksVIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    We had been to Rioja previously and had a great experience, and this one solidified why it is one of our favorites. The entire experience was excellent. I had the truffle gnocchi special and my husband had the sole. Both dishes were fabulous and the service was impeccable. Definitely a must try!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lost its flair
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    I've been going to this restaurant for 6 years consistently; brunch, lunch and dinners. The menus always seem creative and new. But, this last brunch was just o.k. The same menu for years doesn't cut it anymore. And, when my husband comments about it being "eh" I know it's time to move on. First, the hostess was not the "mostess" - she was grumpy when we arrived about 35 minutes early (the restaurant was about 1/5 full) and then she sat us at the crappiest table in the restaurant; in front of the bus station stuffed in the corner staring at the wall and rack of glasses. Mind you, the restaurant has a massive number of tables open. The favorite goat cheese biscuits were hard, flat and tasted a day or two old. The donuts were the shining star and we should have stopped there. I didn't care for the Raspberry Stuffed French Toast - it was pink but no raspberry flavor and it was clearly fried in last nights oil and tasted like the dinner menu. My husband had the eggs & bacon but ours at home are much better. I'm yawning...gotta find a new brunch place.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 1969paulVIP
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    This place was highly recommended by family and it lived up to the hype. Will definitely consider this again when back in Denver.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lauren
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    This restaurant is always my husband and I's go to for a great date night. We recommend this place to everyone! Never disappoints.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Little Underwhemled
    forkknifebaseballwifeVIP
    Dined on 11/10/2014
    We went to Rioja to celebrate our first anniversary; I've read about it countless times in 5280 and was pretty excited to finally give it a try. We ordered a variety of dishes, from a beet salad to pork belly, scallops to pasta. We were quite disappointed in the food- there were elements on a few plates that were very bitter, so much so that we hardly ate the two entrees we ordered. We are both big foodies, so it was a bit of a let down. That being said, the service was fantastic, the atmosphere even on a Monday night was busy and exciting. I may give it another chance in the future, but it will not be a place we are returning to any time soon.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • TXCB
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    We arrived at 7:15pm, but they were already out of lamb. No accuse. The Tasting Menu was ordered, when asked to substitue their Cheesecake dessert; they substituted a tiny scoop of sorbet. This is cheap Walmart stuff, and why would anyone paid high prices for a scoop of sorbet. Bad attitude.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Rioja's
    Beth
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Rioja's is still a good restaurant, but I was a bit disappointed this time. The service was only average. The food while still very good, wasn't as inventive as I've come to expect. And either my tastes have changed or they changed the recipe on their blackberry whiskey sour. It used to be exceptional and a must have cocktail when visiting, not sure I'd order it again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Always great service and a great menu. Exactly what you expect from an upscale place with a world class chef.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful Experience
    HookdOnDis
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    The Rioja is a gem of a dining experience. Whether after theatre, a special occasion, or just because you want a terrific dinner, Rioja is excellent in all regards. I noted that EVERY staff person on our way out thanked us for dining with them that night! GREAT JOB!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always Fantastic
    JiggsMann
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Our meal and service on the 8th were fantastic. We've been dining at Rioja for what I believe is almost 10 years now. Never had a bad meal. We returned to Rioja on the 9th after a disappointing experience at Stoic & Genuine. Had another great meal at the bar and excellent service from Lauren.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Energy and Elegance
    paigeappleVIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    What a find in Denver! Wonderful, innovative food paired with great service. Do not miss the artichoke pasta... or the chocolate/caramel tart. Our server guided us to excellent choices and a lovely wine to pair with the meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Downtown Diamond
    pinkyaVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    A friend and I ate at Rioja prior to a show at the Buell Theatre. We were seated promptly and greeted enthusiastically by our waiter/bartender. We chose to eat at the bar and were not disappointed. Our friend recommended his favorite dishes on the menu and steered us in the right direction for drinks/wine/food. Everything was OUTSTANDING and I highly recommend for a great evening out when you're downtown. We enjoyed the Fresh Bacon, Artichocke Tortellini, and the New York Strip. Everything we had was amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience
    AW1985
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    Great service, lots of delicious foods and wines and relaxing atmosphere. Upscale, good for special occasion. Fun dishes and nice that they offer a tasting menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Exceptional Spot
    dining14VIP
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    As always, this is the true dining experience, always consistent and absolutely first rate.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Will definitely return
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    We took clients prior to the theatre. Service was attentive and informed, and the food was delicious with a beautiful presentation. We highly recommend the pork chops and the chocolate caramel tart, as well as the black and white cheesecake. The bread selection was also really good, lavender sourdough bread, goat cheese biscuits etc. We look forward to returning and trying other dishes. My only disappointment is how noisy it got when the restaurant was full. This seems to be the trend in restaurants unfortunately.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    avoid the lamb omelet. not good at all. told the server and she said she'd tell the chef. nice
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • food was great
    nick
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    as always, brunch at Rioja was great. love the service and the food is always outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best dinners I've had!
    LorieR
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Rioja was absolutely amazing! The ambiance is dark and cozy, and although it was a bit loud, I could still hear my husband across the table. The waiters were so knowledgable about the menu and really made some great recommendations. Now, the food? Obnoxiously amazing!!! I had the pork belly, artichoke tortellini and the beignets and WOW, everything was so delicious! This is an absute must for anyone that loves phenomenal food!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    suzyqVIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Looking forward to dinner as we have always had great food. Not so this night. I ordered the special - beef short ribs, which I normally love! Taste was too salty, sautéed Asian mushrooms were gritty. Overall, too many flavors on one plate. I did not eat it but server kindly took it off bill. Too late to order another entrée. However fresh bacon app & salad were both good.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious food, impeccable service!
    Yummly
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    What a find! I brought my husband to Denver for his 40th birthday and found Rioja online. Each course we were served was better than the one before it and the server was not only spot-on in each of her wine-pairing recommendations, but she was friendly and her timing was superb. We're already dreaming of our return. Oh, and did I mention, my husband was presented a birthday card signed by the whole staff? Nice touch!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The best
    Foodie
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Had not been to Rioja in about a year. I was dazzled by the delicious, beautifully presented food and perfect service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Awesome as always
    JMR1
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Rioja never disappoints. The food and ambiance and FABULOUS wait staff are always superior! You can seats expect the same level of care and service. We love it here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Dinner
    luvfinefood
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Creative selections - octopus & beet gnocchi! Attentive and informative service, including a nice b-day card for my husband, signed by the staff. My only complaint is that the noise level was too high for comfortable conversation across our round table for five. Otherwise, as expected, a fine dining experience!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Incredible Gem!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    The presentation was spectacular and the food tasted as good at it looked!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What a find!
    myexperience
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    We loved our evening at Rioja - the food was wonderful, very inventive and tasty. Our server was busy, yet she was very personable and spent time visiting with us and never rushed us. We felt like we found the best spot in town!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great meal
    jds2214
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    Had a wonderful meal here with six coworkers while we were in Denver for a meeting last week. The service and the food were fantastic; Rioja was the perfect choice for a group that included both vegetarians and meat lovers.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.