Rioja

4.7
7656 reviews
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$31 to $50
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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

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Specials

Happy Hour at the Rioja Bar: "It's All Greek to Me!"

enjoy cocktails, food and wines inspired by, and featuring Greek ingredients!

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: May 2, 2019

Ends: May 3, 2118

Availability: Mon-Thu 4:00PM-6:00PM

Get Your Prix Theater Fixe!

Come join us between 5:00pm and 6:00pm for a special 3 course prix fixe menu complete with your choice of appetizer, entree and dessert! Guaranteed to have you in and out in just an hour, this is the perfect way to have the complete Rioja experience before your next play, concert, or symphony.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: November 26, 2018

Ends: November 27, 2117

Availability: Daily 5:00PM-6:00PM

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 7656 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
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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OT
New Orleans
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Still Denver’s best restaurant in my opinion. Extraordinarily creative menu and presentations, great flavors and colors, and attentive but not intrusive servers

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SB
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely the best food we have eaten ever. We have spent a great deal of time in Europe and have found, upon returning to the states, that American food has been a challenge to adjust to. However, the food prepared at Rioja was exceptional. Each ingredient could be deciphered and enjoyed without one ingredient overpowering another. This is the way food was meant to be enjoyed. Well done! Excellent staff and excellent experience.

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OT
St. Louis
6 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja is the best restaurant in Denver. Go there, eat, and drink everything.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated receiving my PHD. Awesome atmosphere

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OT
Denver
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We LOVE this restaurant. I hardly ever write reviews but this restaurant is one of my favorite’s. Always consistently delicious, service was excellent. Try the chicken, you won’t be disappointed!

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OT
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great time!

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P
Miami
14 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Recommend by my Denver girlfriend. We loved everything! From the ambiance to the service, from the appetizer to the dessert. Loved the variety and the presentation! I would easily give it a 10! Don’t miss this spot... I will go back next time in Denver.

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CD
Denver
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

30 year anniversary

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A
Denver
5 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Fabulous location. Lively atmosphere. Great service. I wanted everything on the menu. Unfortunately, all four of us were disappointed with our meals. It was Mother’s Day so it may have been a bit crazy. I will definitely give it another try. I want to love it.

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BT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Believe it or not, we went here for brunch and it was incredible. I usually don't like paying for breakfast food but this was an awesome value for such great quality food and service. I'll still be back for dinner more often though :)

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N
New York Area
44 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

Overall, we did enjoy our time at Rioja, however there were no vegan options and the food was terribly slow. Our waiter did give us a free dessert to make up for it, which we appreciated, but we were there for over 2 hours still. Also, it was quite overpriced for what you got.

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S
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

This was our third visit. We won't be back. Our first visit was decent, but our second was horrible (service and food). I decided it was time to retry dinner here due to the amazing reviews. Unfortunately, we waited 70 minutes from the time we ordered, until our entrees were presented (50 minutes between our salads). Our consolation, some refilled bread plates and "yea the kitchen can get backed up." The beets had little taste aside from the sprinkling on top. If you told me these were canned and presented within 2-3 minutes, I'd believe you. The house salad was basic without flare. It tasted best once we transferred the beets to it. The tortellini was bland with pasta in a basic broth without much flare - most reminiscent of a far eastern Europe dumpling shop. The fish was extremely small and thin, but, admittedly, cooked well. I'll agree that the gnocchi was actually quite tasty, with some fresh ingredients and diversity. Alas, after 1h 45min, we had disappointed expectations and, thank god, our check already signed. I had to ask for it before the entrees hit the table.

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S
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

A great dining experience with our kids. The service was excellent on all levels. They looked for a specific bottle of wine for us that was no longer on the list. We had the “picnic” and octopus (special) for appetizers. They were both excellent as was my scallops as an entree. A great experience overall.

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TE
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The bottle of Chablis was absolutely outstanding. We both had the lamb, and it was obviously extravagant.
The fresh flowers everywhere are a small but amazing touch.
Never felt rushed which is very important to me.
I will definitely be back.
This was the best dinner I’ve had since Arnauds in New Orleans.

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KE
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

I guess My visit blindsided the restaurant. I selected vegetarian options from the a la carte menu & the dishes were disappointing. The wines I selected were fortunately satisfying, so the meal ended neutral. Not the result one would hope for considering the reviews & the cost.

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BC
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best restaurant in Denver! Amazing veggie/vegan option. Highly reccomend

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A
London
31 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service exceeded initial expectations, pastas were to die for

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TK
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Enjoyed a nice meal before Nuggets playoff game. Short walk to Pepsi Center. Very high-quality, dependable Larimer Street option. Tom

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LT
Denver
86 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It is always a treat to dine at Rioja. Outstanding food, wine and service. Highly recommended for a special occasion.

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AP
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A wonderful and thoughtful experience. Every detail was well done.

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m
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing evening! I will go back every time I visit Denver!

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SK
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best scallop dishes I’ve had in years and our server, Loring, was phenomenal! Glad we chose Rioja for our anniversary dinner.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food great service

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GT
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been going to Rioja for years, and have been a fan of Chef Jennifer J since before Rioja. Can't say enough good about Jennifer and her restaurants, and our recent anniversary dinner was outstanding as usual.
This was our first time to Rioja since renovations were made. The very obvious benefit was that it is MUCH quieter. Thank you big time!

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DG
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing! Everything was fresh and delicious! The wine paired beautifully! It was the highlight of our dining experience in Denver.

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R
Denver
22 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service here is fantastic! I love the ambiance and I highly recommend the pork belly.

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CF
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this! I haven’t considered Rioja for many years, but this experience was amazing! Will definitely come back. We shared the breakfast sandwich and the Rioja Benedict. Both incredible!

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s
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent in every sense👌- save room for dessert!

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M
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

All of the food was excellent with the exception of the gnocchi which had been sautéed and had little gnocchi flavor. The sauce however was good.

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c
Denver
98 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

A delicious meal made into an excellent dining experience by an excellent waiter.

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OT
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food, wine and service was amazing. Our waiter, John, was very personable and always helping out and offering suggestions when we needed it. Really great place, would go back in a heartbeat.

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OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

For a special occasion an absolute treat! I was there solo and sat at the chef’s counter staring at the team preparing all the yummy desserts. They were great to chit chat with. If guava sorbet is on the menu, you must have it!!

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JB
Denver
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Bread was incredible! Food was excellent and came in good portions. Service was stellar.

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L
Denver
40 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

We had a party of four for dinner at 7:15. Dinners, including Scallops, Bass, and the Black and White Pasta dish were well presented and very tasty, I think the prices charged were very high. Some of the descriptions seemed like a "canned" presentation. Service was okay, not great. While the wine list was extensive, I noted that I could not find a reasonably priced Napa Cabernet. They went from a low of $58 to over $100, nothing in between.

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CD
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

We came specifically for the advertised Prix Fixe Theater menu. We thought we could get a good meal in enough time to make our show (as it was advertised when we booked). However, from the start, the restaurant seemed confused by our intentions. I booked the dinner, indicating with the reservation that we were doing the Theater menu. This information was either lost on the staff or never conveyed in our reservation. After being initially seated with what turned out to be the wrong menus, no one came back to our table for quite some time. We waited over 10 minutes before we finally flagged down someone to give our drink orders and tell them the menus they gave us were not the Prix Fixe menus. When our server came, knowing this error, she asked what we wanted. The problem was that we had yet to see the actual Prix Fixe menu. She seemed disgruntled at us for not knowing what we wanted, again, never having seen the proper menu. The food was hit and miss, especially for the price and reputation of the restaurant. The Arctic char was over cooked, the vegetables were under seasoned and the baked potato soup was over salted. The desserts, crudo and tortellini were good. The food did take some time to come out. This is normally not a problem and is my expectation with fine dining. However, the restaurant advertises getting you to your show on time. We had to hurriedly eat our desserts, asking for the check before the desserts even arrived. However, the emphasis of our need to get to our show was completely lost on our server, who we had to remind a second time that we needed our check. The desserts arrived 5 minutes before the start of our show. There was no apology. There wasn’t even so much as an acknowledgement by our server to the situation and time crunch. If anything, she seemed annoyed that we had an expectation of ordering the theater menu and getting to our show on time. I would say this is a one off. However, our first time at Rioja was not much better.

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JM
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every bit of food was amazing and unique. The service was top notch, personal and always timely. We had an amazing experience

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JG
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Atmosphere at Rioja was awesome. Very lively and centrally located. The food was amazing, we had the goat cheese sampler with excellent chesses. The scallops were a highlight; perfectly cooked and great flavors. The bass was good as well, but nothing really stood out on the dish.
While the waitstaff was quick and attentive, we had to mention multiple times that there was a gluten and egg allergy while our waitress was making recommendations. This ended when she asked what we would like for dessert and we responded by asking if there was anything that we could even have. We were told, 'probably not'. While that is common at most restaurants, I had specifically chosen Rioja because they claim to cater to food allergies and will always work with the customer. Definitely did not quite feel that way.

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TF
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing! The staff attentive without being over bearing. We had the vegetarian four square and the lamb it was all exquisite. Perfectly prepared lamb. The vegetarian plate had a lotus root square which rivaled the lamb in greatness. It also had a jalapeño bread that was toasted with a goat cheese spread topped with grilled mushrooms and onions. It was to die for. Then we get the bill!! The dinner, dessert and drinks were far less the cost than at many sub par restaurants. This is our new go to for anytime we are eating out downtown. Bravo!!

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MO
Houston
17 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Food was delicious, but service was poor. We were there for a pre-Symphony meal, allowing almost two hours for our meal. Despite our also telling our server of our time constraint, we barely had time to finish our entrees and had to skip dessert. It seemed to be more of an issue with our particular waiter than the kitchen, as other tables came in much later than us and finished quicker - and they got dessert! Our waiter kept disappearing, took a very long time explaining the menu at every table he served, and could only do one thing at a time (turned in order for drinks at the bar, then stood there and waited for them to be filled). It was 35 minutes before he took our food order.
Every food item we had was superb, however, as well as the cocktails. The beet salad and the pork belly appetizer were beautifully presented and delicious. The lamb and bass entrees were well-cooked, well-seasoned and artistically plated. We ate every morsel.
Because the food was so good, we will likely give Rioja another chance - we want to try dessert!

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OT
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food and great ambiance, but very loud when full.

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