Rioja

4.7
7213 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean
Top Tags:
  • Special Occasion
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Creative Cuisine
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.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Mediterranean, Fusion / Eclectic
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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
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Phone number
(303) 820-2282
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Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jennifer Jasinski
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
15th & Larimer St
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Parking details
Valet available on Larimer Square each night of the week for dinner and during weekday lunch from Wednesday to Friday. A parking garage is located directly behind the restaurant on Market Street. Parking is complimentary in the garage on the weekends for Brunch with validation ticket. Street parking is available throughout Larimer Square.
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Gift Card
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Private Dining

The culinary prowess of James Beard award winner Jennifer Jasinski is highlighted at every meal served by the talented Rioja staff. A Mediterranean menu with local, seasonal influences is served in semi-private or restaurant-wide events from 20 to 150 handled with Rioja’s award-winning expertise.

View Private Dining Details

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.3

There aren't a ton of compelling reasons to go downtown for dinner these days, but Rioja is still one of them.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 7213 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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5.0Dined 3 days ago

I had the lamb loin, which was perfectly prepared, and paired with superb accompaniments. The staff was able to recommend a beverage that both suited my taste and complemented the food. Excellent, unique, experience.

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4.0Dined 5 days ago

I love the location of Rioja! Larimer Square is a beautiful hot spot in Denver, especially at night! The food is delicious, very creative menu. The portions are very small, but incredibly flavorful! My glass of white rioja was so crisp and yummy and complimented the grouper so well!

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Exceeded my expectations in all regards. I had heard about Rioja for years, even though I live in Fort Collins. When my usual go-to Denver pre-concert restaurant choices had no available reservations for a Tuesday night I checked on Rioja and got a table for 2 for just the time we wanted. We arrived early and were seated immediately. Service is delightfully professional. None of that Fort Collins, "How's it tasting?" to contend with. Half glasses of wine are half the price of whole glasses. What a wonderful surprise for us small drinkers. The special appetizer was a unique dragon bean salad, simple, but subtle and creative (think Japanese plum slices). The waiter picked up on my "we will share" phrase when I ordered it and it came already beautifully plated in two beautiful ceramic bowls. No extra charge for sharing it. My husband said his grouper entree was the best prepared piece of fish he has ever had. The accompanying figs and eggplant were delicate complements. My halibut was prepared perfectly and the accompanying creamy pea ravioli was almost light enough to float off the plate. I usually pass on dessert but the description of the peach special was irresistible. Beyond description. Speechless. Final note: f you order espresso you might as well order a double. The cost is only a little more than a single. Totally satisfying restaurant experience.

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5.0Dined 6 days ago

Really good service, atmosphere and presentation of the food. We had the Rioja picnic for an appetizer and some really good pasta dishes. The lemon yuzu tart for dessert was great.

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5.0Dined 7 days ago

We looked for a special meal to celebrate our visit to the Denver area and we weren’t disappointed—a peak experience!

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5.0Dined 7 days ago

Delicious dinner. Great location for pre-theater dining. Only regret, we didn't have room for desert.

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5.0Dined on August 12, 2018

Absolutely incredible evening and meal! Made a late reservation and were offered to sit at the chef’s table which was such a treat. We watched the dessert chef in action all night and glimpsed at the amazing dishes as they left the kitchen. We split three entrees and three desserts and everything was phenomenal. The staff were exceptional and it made for such a lovely experience. We will be going back for sure!

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3.0Dined on August 11, 2018

I had dinner here this evening. Sadly, I was disappointed. We came back as super satisfied customers from several very memorable experiences and something was way off tonight.
Dinner was cold. Service was short staffed and forgetful.
I think of this as one of the finest in Denver. Not so any longer. 😩

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5.0Dined on August 11, 2018

We went for lunch/brunch on a Saturday. Fabulous food and VERY reasonable.

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5.0Dined on August 9, 2018

Omg, this restaurant was listed as a top 10 in Denver and I can tell why. The drinks, food and desserts were amazing!! One of the best meals I have ever had!!! My coworkers all agreed.

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5.0Dined on August 8, 2018

The service was excellent — water glasses were kept filled and flatwear changed with each course. Excellent breads to choose from. Loved the pine nuts and figs. Portion size was small, but very tasty.

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4.0Dined on August 8, 2018

Rioja was a wonderful find on a quick trip passing through Denver. Recommend for others to try.

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5.0Dined on August 8, 2018

My wife and I are from the east coast and were vacationing with family in Colorado Springs. Well, we spent a couple of days in Denver and we were looking to have a great dinner to celebrate an anniversary while there. Rioja was highly recommended, so we made our reservation and it did not disappoint! From the wine that our waiter recommended, right through the appetizers and dinner, we marveled at every dish! Wish we could visit more often. I'd like to try all there is on the menu. Outstanding!

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

It took me a few pay checks to save up money to go here, but oh my god was it worth it. My partner has several food allergies and she was wonderfully accommodated. The food was fun, innovative, and unique. The flavors were complex and intricate, from the pre-dinner bread, to after main meal desserts. Incredible from start to finish. Definitely worth the money.

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2018

This was the best meal of our vacation. We had a great time.

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Brunch on Saturday: breakfast sandwich and sweet potato hash were wonderful. Server Jessica was very helpful... service, knowledge and good conversation. Awesome combination of flavors in both dishes, and the homemade potato chips were very tasty.

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5.0Dined on August 2, 2018

This was my second visit from out of town. Last time was probably nearly ten years ago and it is still outstanding. Still the best gnocchi I’ve ever had.

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5.0Dined on July 31, 2018

Very fine restaurant. We had a group of business colleagues out for a relaxing, pleasant evening. The server was working hard—the restaurant was very busy—but tended to our needs and made solid recommendations. There was a grouper special that sounded excellent, but only one was left by the time we ordered (one of our party snagged the last fish and made a good report). A variety of other dishes ordered and reports all positive. Nice wine list but we ordered by the glass (happily so). This is a winner.

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5.0Dined on July 31, 2018

I brought my fiance in for his 40th birthday, and we had a wonderful, romantic dinner with fabulous and friendly service. I was so impressed with the staff and how helpful and considerate they were. The food was excellent, but the people made the place somewhere I would like to return to soon!

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5.0Dined on July 29, 2018

We had a great dinner with friends. The food and drinks were excellent. The service was great, they did not rush you and made great recommendations. Overall a wonderful night, we will definitely be back

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5.0Dined on July 27, 2018

Not cheap but good food, excellent service and nice atmosphere make it worth it.

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5.0Dined on July 27, 2018

This is the BEST restaurant in Denver in my opinion. Amazing just amazing...

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5.0Dined on July 26, 2018

Rioja was beyond my expectations regarding ambience, quality of service and food. I can’t wait to go back to Denver and dine at Rioja.

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5.0Dined on July 25, 2018

Excellent meal, great ambiance, reasonably priced. I’ll be back!

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5.0Dined on July 24, 2018

I have never enjoyed a meal more than I did at Rioja. I’d guess there is a magician running the kitchen and I bet everything on the menu is incredible. I had a sea bass special that was out of this world delicious followed up by some goat cheese and fig filled little pastry pillows of heaven with what I think was a port reduction. I normally stay away from desert. The mix of flavors and textures of the grits and greens with the sea bass was beyond my ability to understand! I will be back every time I’m in Denver. I almost forgot to mention the bread... Best olive bread ever and the small cheesy biscuits were amazing too. Whatever you do, don’t miss this place!

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5.0Dined on July 23, 2018

I love this place! Food is always wonderful!! Service is awesome!

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5.0Dined on July 22, 2018

Friendliest staff anywhere. You've got to try the lamb burger.

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5.0Dined on July 22, 2018

I am NEVER disappointed at Rioja. Everything is delicious and beautiful! It's been one of my favorite places in Denver for over 15 years! Jennifer is doing EVERYTHING right! They even recreated a dish for me that I spotted on FB that they posted but hadn't made in 6 years. I was so delighted! Fresh and gorgeous! Always a treat to eat here, from the custom cocktails, to the after dinner sugared mint leaves...it's all wonderful!

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5.0Dined on July 21, 2018

Excellent meal, fresh ingredients. Had two of the homemade pasta dishes - Artichoke Tortolini and Raviol with Halibut. They both had a lot of flavor. Extensive wine list. Added touch was the sea salt added to the butter and the choices of bread.

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5.0Dined on July 21, 2018

Fantastic food, service and ambiance. Am excellent place for a great meal.

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5.0Dined on July 20, 2018

Loved our time here. We sat outside which was extremely noisy...will remember that for next time! The food was divine as was the service!

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4.0Dined on July 19, 2018

We dined with friends in from out of town. Service was exceptional. Three out of four rated the food as superior but I was very disappointed. The beet salad had no dressing I could taste. The Japanese (almost raw as requested) tuna dish with avacado was merely about five 1/8" thick medalions each smaller than a quarter with a few slivers of avacado. Not enough to make a dinner meal. No ginger, wasabi or soy sauce for flavor only a very thin grey something without significant taste. Certainly not worth $30.00. Everyone enjoyed their desserts and the coffee was well above average. To be fair, we did dine on a Monday when the principle chefs are usually off, but still.....

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5.0Dined on July 15, 2018

Amazing food and excellent service. Server was very helpful in explaining dishes and pace of dinner was perfect. We have never been disappointed at Rioja

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5.0Dined on July 15, 2018

Outstanding! Great service with creative and unique menu selections. We enjoyed our evening and would highly recommend it to everyone else. Best meal during our Denver stay.

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5.0Dined on July 15, 2018

The food was AMAZING! I can’t wait to go again!!!

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4.0Dined on July 13, 2018

Everything was delicious. Serving sizes are perfect. Our group had halibut and pork chops cooked perfectly. My lamb loin was too rare but was back in 5 minutes to perfection.

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5.0Dined on July 10, 2018

Rioja beyond exceeded my expectations. The food was AMAZING.

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2.0Dined on July 10, 2018

Food was outstanding. Service was so bad I had to go up front to the hostess and ask them to please bring my wine. Had to repeatedly ask for lemons for ice tea. Fish entree had to be sent back as it was not cooked. Kind of had to work ourselves to get what we ordered. Made the anniversary dinner a little unpleasant

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5.0Dined on July 9, 2018

Inventive and beautifully prepared apps and entrees. Ate there and booked a table for the next night as we left. This restaurant compares favorably to the best in San Francisco and makes NYC cuisine seem stodgy.

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5.0Dined on July 9, 2018

I go to Rioja about 6 times a year. It is my favorite restaurant in Denver. The flavors that make up the dishes are just amazing. From the house salad to the tortellinis and the always changing main courses there is not much better. The staff is incredible. My usual waitress Jessica is so passionate about the customer experience it just makes you go to a happy place. I had a new waiter this evening and he was just as phenomenal. Highly recommend even if the menu makes you question because it isn't the norm but it will be the dining experience you will always remember.

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