Rioja

4.7
7235 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean
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.
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, 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.

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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 7235 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
4
3
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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Dining Al Fresco was great!

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DB
Denver
11 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very good service. A top 10 spot in Denver. A must try and worth the trip downtown for sure.

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OT
Chicago
58 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great quality dining in Denver downtown Larimer Sq area. Good service, excellent wine list, interesting dishes all round. Sommelier knew his stuff. Decent value.

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MM
Denver
16 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Rioja remains one of our favorite spots in Denver.

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DB
Denver
11 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best food in Denver. Wonderful dinner, perfect weather to dine outside. Every course was perfect and the service coordinated the meal with perfect timing.

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T
New York Area
53 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

This was another restaurant I found searching reviews. I made a reservation for a Thursday night while I was in Denver for a seminar. My dining companion was delayed and missed our reservation. The restaurant was very understanding. I ended up eating at the chef’s table so as not to occupy a table for two on a busy night and I enjoyed watching the kitchen staff. I ordered the gnocchi as an appetizer and the “vegetables four ways”, along with a glass of wine. I had a difficult time choosing food since the menu had many items I wanted to try. I wasn’t quite hungry enough for the tasting menu (there was a 5 and 7 course option with and without wine pairing), although it was very tempting. The gnocchi was delicious, although a bit heavy. I think they were fried. It took an extra long time to receive my appetizer. It seems the waiter forgot to put the order in so the manager kindly comped this item without my asking. All four of the vegetarian entrees were also very heavy. They were all either fried, in a heavy cream sauce, or covered with cheese. While they were good, it was too heavy and I was craving something lighter. I would like to go back next time I’m in Denver and try something else. I really appreciated the kindness of the staff; everyone from the gentleman pouring my water to the hostess were all so very nice. The staff was excellent. While I was disappointed in this visit, I’d still recommend the restaurant.

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JA
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

It was a wonderful dining experience. We will be back. Excited about trying a pre theater happy hour.

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M
San Francisco
116 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Very creative dishes such as pork belly in a curry purée sauce, artichoke tortellini
and a refreshing lemon sabayon torte dessert to complete my delightful lunch.

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DM
Naples
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Every course is a party for your taste buds. Love Rioja as a before theater dinner spot.

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OT
Denver
16 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as always. Slight under cooking of some pasta. But otherwise great.

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OT
Dallas
3 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic tasting menu.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It was beautiful - great service

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ST
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food - Manhattan quality - per this New Yorker. Great vibe and decor. Excellent wine list, wonderful service.

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TC
Denver
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja is our go-to for special events/occasions. The food is always incredible and inventive. It is a little pricey, but definitely worth it!

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PC
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of the best restaurants we have enjoyed. The food is fabulous. Incredible presentation and oh so delicious. Have never had anything we’re not impressed with. The service is impeccable.

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MC
Houston
16 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

nice restaurant food was all very good but the chicken was the best almost 5stars with a great waitress from Austria overall my wife and I had a pleasant meal probably affected by a loud medical presentation next to us

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F
New Mexico
4 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I have been going to Rioja for years and Jennifer Jasinski is one of my favorite American chefs. This is her first restaurant and I've always thought of it as her flagship. She's shortly going to open her 5th restaurant and I think I'm going to start going to the newer ones she still has more influence over. Rioja just didn't seem to reflect what I've come to expect in the food anymore. The entrees and special just wasn't as creative and flavorful as I've loved in the past. It seems to be more influenced by the executive chef. It's still an excellent restaurant, but I miss the Chef Jen vibe on the menu I wasn't getting this time around.

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MP
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Good service, but no as good as I was hoping to be. I have different sensitivities, waitress was eager to make accommodations, but my plate wasn’t impressive and I was still charged $30 afterall. Cardamom chicken was fine, but they sub the califlower for a salad (one single ingredient)!!! and for starch just sauté potatoes. The creativity was gone! Herbs, and garlic were highly needed. Only lettuce for salad!!!! give me a break and you still charge me $30??? Everyone was please with service and food, but me.

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D
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 2

We have had good experiences at Rioja over the last several years. However, this was not one of them. Had a terrible table with staff constantly walking next to our table. The food quality was not as good as we remembered it. Denver offers many options and we had much better meals at other restaurants during our stay. Not sure if we would go back to Rioja.

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E
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love coming here! Food and service is top notch. The Manager Cassandra is one of the reasons we keep coming back!!

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OT
Birmingham
3 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday Dinner - one to remember!

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L
Denver
99 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We haven’t been to Rioja in years & came here sat night for a date night. We were so pleasantly surprised. The food was wonderful! Service was spot on & cocktails were great! The flavors were complex & delicious. Prices were good too. I definitely recommend Rioja & we’ll be back!

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RS
Cleveland
11 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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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TA
Denver
29 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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k
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

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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OT
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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SE
Denver
19 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

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

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OT
Manitoba
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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KJ
San Diego
11 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

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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R
Minneapolis
7 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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LU
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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T
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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MF
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

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

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DV
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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FF
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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GT
Houston
16 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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S
Denver
64 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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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JT
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

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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CM
Indiana
85 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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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