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
458 reviews since June 2, 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 (347)special occasion (278)romantic (160)hot spot (136)notable wine list (134)neighborhood gem (123)great for outdoor dining (69)good for groups (58)great for brunch (46)great for lunch (43)vibrant bar scene (32)late-night find (14)scenic view (4)kid-friendly (3)Show More
  • bensonandpiper
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Everything we had was OUTSTANDING, except the cantaloupe soup was average at best. We started wtih the bacon, ceviche and soup as appetizers. The bacon was like a play on split pea soup and it was delicious. The ceviche was nice and fresh and refreshing. Then we had a lamb special, octopus, chicken and pork. The lamb and the octopus were very small but extremely tasty (its a good thing this is what the girls ordered). The chicken was a generous portion and our waitress said it'll be the best chicken you have ever had...i'd say she was pretty spot on. The pork was also a nice portion and was also very nicely done. The corn timbale for dessert! thats all i have to say. All around fantastic meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great overall but had to wait
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Service and food were great overall but we had to wait nearly 30 minutes even though we had a reservation made more than a week in advance.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Service was a little slow. Took quite a while to get our drinks and at least 30 minutes for our entrees. But is was the morning of the Race for the Cure so lots of large groups were in the restaurant at the time. Food was very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service is Lacking...
    OrlandoLawyerVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    I was visiting Denver and tried this place out on a Saturday night. The food was good but the service was a disaster, which ruined the experience. Although I had a reservation, there was no seat available when I arrived. Further, the restaurant was really hot inside the entire time. It took approximately 2 hours to eat an appetizer and main dish. Although I was in the mood for desert, I had no desire to be there any longer and moved on. I received an email the next day from OpenTable stating that they claimed I was a no show, which obviously was not true. Maybe it's better on a non-busy night, but I would not waste your time on a Friday or Saturday night. They clearly overbook the place. I'd rather pay more money for better service.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • They made up for bad service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Incredible food. However it took forever to get it. They had screwed up our order and reservation but they were gracious enough to make it right by giving us a round of free drinks, free desserts and 2 free appetizers to hold us over until our food came. If it wasn't for their effort and unbelievable food I probably would never go back but I feel like they made it worth our while. The steak was melt in your mouth I have never had a steak so tender in my life. Really amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • waiter
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Neil was outstanding as our waiter and really went beyond his job title to take care of us. I will be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Will be back
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Did the taste of Iceland here, and it was amazing! Service and good was wonderful!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Best place to take out of town relatives. The food is fantastic and impressive. Love this place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We have dined here many times and it has always been a good experience. The most recent time was when there was supposed to be a chef from Iceland preparing a special menu. When we made the reservation as well as when we entered the restaurant, the fact that this was for the dinner menu only was not mentioned. Imagine our surprise when presented with the standard "brunch" menu for Saturday afternoon. We decided to stay, as we were hungry, there were no dinner slots and a short wait was expected as the restaurant was about 1/2 full. Despite having a reservation and the availability of 2 booths, we were given the "afterthought" table partially blocking the entrance to the staff work/storage area. In 25 minutes we were served a mediocre meal.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yum
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Delicious as always! Rioja never disappoints when it comes to food or service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • consistently good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    The whole experience is good at Rioja. The staff is efficient and nice, they can pair a wine very well, and the food, well, it's great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent in every way
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Dined at Rioja on Friday night. It deserves its reputation as best restaurant in Denver. Lovely ambiance. Impeccable service, including a perfect wine recommendation (Spanish pinot noir) to go with our dinner choices (Grilled Berkshire pork chop and Grilled Spanish Octopus). The food was as delicious as it was beautiful. This truly ranks up there among my best meal experiences.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    The Icelandic dinner was superb. Done exquisitely. I mean seaweed foam? That's why we eat at Rioja Enjoyed the different combinations. The lamb loin could have been cooked just a touch longer. 24 hours later my wife was still raving about the dessert. Service impeccable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing as usual
    CindyVS
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    The chef at Rioja is a master of putting together unlikely combinations of ingredients and coming up with something that is eye-rolling-ly delicious. (You can ask my husband - I literally rolled my eyes after my first bite.) For our entrees, I had the seared scallops with arugula risotto and saffron-lemon puree, my husband had beet gnocchi with strawberries, mushrooms, and walnuts. Both were heavenly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    Price of dinner should have been included in 'net publicity.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • interesting menu, great service
    bisonburger
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    The service here is outstanding, unfortunately a rarity here in Denver. The flavors are oozing from every dish, although the portions were a little small. The pork chop was amazing, not too much commment from others at the table on their grilled octopus, and the scallops were really really good. Nice place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Taste of Iceland was superb.
    JLewisL
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    The two fish dishes were excellent. Chef Jen keep up the good work.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best date night ever
    Eatem
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    The food was delicious from the appetizer to the dessert
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Another celebration at Rioja
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Rioja is our family's go to pick for special occasion dining -- for this outing we were celebrating a birthday. The staff at Rioja know how to make any meal -- and any guest -- feel like they are celebrating something special, even on a Monday night. Service and food were outstanding. Everything that hit our table was delicious, including our cocktails (the Rub Sipper was the table favorite). We shared several small plates and three entrees between four people, and including the amazing bread service and two desserts shared among the table, we were perfectly satisfied. Chef Jasinski's plates are both beautiful and delicious with perfectly married flavors. Three days later I am still raving over everything we ate, but especially the halibut.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • hot hot hot - not in a good way
    Cledinner
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    The dining room was unbearably hot. We were told the a/c broke that afternoon. But, when we asked them to turn the temp down, they did. We could feel air circulating. That said, it did not cool down, and we left before dessert. We had planned to stay for dessert, as it was my husband's birthday and his parents were in from out of town. But, we were just so terribly uncomfortable, we couldn't take it any more. It didn't help that our server disappeared after he took our food orders. The beet salad was nice. The halibut was only half cooked and very, very salty to the point it was inedible. The steak and gnocci were nice. We've been here twice now and I'm not sure if I will go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding Food & Service
    BreckMom
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    The staff is always very friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. The food is delicious and served in perfect portions. The wine list offers excellent Colorado wines, the best of the US, and international selections. We especially love the bread tray! We visited Rioja to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and were greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne upon arrival. We will be back and will happily refer anyone to enjoy the experience themselves.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary dinner
    Panda
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Came here for our anniversary based off of Yelp reviews. Highly rated location and we thought it had a Spanish flare based on the name (my wife loves everything Spainish from her time there). The reality is it's "Mediterranean" influenced, according to our waitress. The end result is great food from the bread, to the salads, to the pasta and scallops we had. Everything seemed a chef's creation; we loved the different bread types which far surpassed your standard plain bread and butter at most restaurants. The location is also great, just a block off the 16th Street Mall. Highly recommended
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DrRoos
    ShowMeDoc
    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...
    Riboflaven
    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
    Love2eat
    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
    MrsT
    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.