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

We partner with The Infatuation to bring you their smart, helpful, trustworthy reviews of restaurants on OpenTable.

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.02mi
  2. Distance: 0.07mi
  3. Distance: 0.07mi
  4. Distance: 0.16mi
  1. Distance: 0.02mi
  2. Distance: 0.07mi
  3. Distance: 0.07mi
  4. Distance: 0.16mi

About 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.

1431 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80202
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Mediterranean, Fusion / Eclectic

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

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(303) 820-2282

Website:
http://www.riojadenver.com/

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.

Executive Chef:
Jennifer Jasinski

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine

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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.

Rioja Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.6

ambience

4.6

value

4.2

Noise

Moderate

92% would recommend it to a friend

Fit for Foodies (126)
Good for a Date (108)
Creative Cuisine (91)
See All
Special Occasion (89)
Good for Anniversaries (77)
Romantic (66)
Neighborhood Gem (51)
Notable Wine List (51)
Good for Birthdays (49)
Pre/post Theatre (46)
Business Meals (43)
Local Ingredients (39)
Good Vegetarian Options (36)
Worth the Drive (35)
Hot Spot (35)
Handcrafted Cocktails (34)
Authentic (31)
Cozy (28)
Seasonal (28)
People Watching (26)
Fun (25)
Healthy (24)
Quiet Conversation (24)
Tasting Menu (21)
Great for Brunch (19)
Great for Outdoor Dining (19)
Good for Groups (18)
Great for Lunch (16)
Tapas (16)
Organic (14)
Vibrant Bar Scene (12)
Casual (11)
Bar Seating (10)
Gluten Free Options (9)
Sunday Lunch (8)
Happy Hour (5)
Late-night Find (5)
Quick Bite (4)
Vegan (4)
Kid-friendly (2)
Comfort Food (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Live Sports (2)
Scenic View (2)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Spicy (1)
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6732 reviews
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·Dined 5 days ago

Took my wife here for her birthday. Food was outstanding, and was well paced between courses. Service was impeccable. I mentioned in the reservation that we were dining to celebrate my wife’s birthday and the staff brought her dessert with a candle and a signed card from the entire crew. Probably the best overall dining experience we have had 8+ years in Denver. Highly recommended for a special occasion!

Tags: Fun, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined 5 days ago

Though the food sounded delicious on the menu, the meal was remarkably bland. And the service on the patio was very slow. A couple was seated next to us and they gave up and went somewhere else. If I was doing it over, I'd do the same thing.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service2
value2

 
·Dined 6 days ago

I took my girlfriend to Rioja for our two-year anniversary and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The service was quick, efficient, and kind and the mood was perfect. The food was absolutely fantastic. There isn't a person I would not recommend this restaurant to. Wonderful.

Tags: Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Denver)·Dined 6 days ago

Restaurant was excellent for pre theater, within easy walking distance to dcpa. Food was excellent as was service and price. If u want a quieter option ask for the room next to the main dining area where the noisy bar is found.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Extremely accommodating. We requested a romantic table, and we when arrived, we were sat at a two-top in the center aisle...not romantic. When I asked for a change, the hostess was beyond kind. She swiftly moved us and was very genuine in her desire to seat us in a comfortable space. Due to the switch, we ended up waiting a bit to get our drink order, but after that, we had decent service. The food was outstanding - top notch cuisine! Thanks you, Rioja for making our anniversary special.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on November 11, 2017

I surprised myself and ordered an all veg menu. First, I had a “little wild mushroom thing” (Can’t remember what it was called.) Delicious, but there was only 1 wild mushroom. Tasty, but a little disappointing. Then I had 4 vegetarian dishes as an entree. Loved 3 of them-all colorful and full of texture.-accept one. The beans in one dish had a weird texture that was unappealing to me, and it seemed as though they had been doused them with spaghetti sauce. Dessert was one of the most beautiful and delectable things I have seen ==light and dark chocolate mousse, with touches of caramel, and a bit of l dolce de leche ice cream. Neeed I say more?/ Overall a lovely meal.

Tags: People Watching, Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Good Vegetarian Options, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Denver)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Service and food is normally exceptional. This time our service was slow, Sometimes waiting up to 15 minutes to get another glass of wine. This was sad because we had brought another couple to Rioja for the first time after talking it up.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service2

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 10, 2017

Fantastic anniversary dinner! We started with the bacon appetizer and artichoke tortelloni as an app as well. Both amazing. For main dishes we had the serrano wrapped octopus and scallops. Great as well. The flavor combinations and presentation of every dish were superb. Service was excellent too. Finished with the Rocky Road dessert. Mmmmmm. Awesome evening out!

Tags: Good for a Date, Authentic, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Portland)·Dined on November 9, 2017

Consistently one of Denver's best spots. Lunch was terrific as usual. Cocktail was as advertised by waitress. Lamb burger perfectly cooked and just the right size for lunch. Rioja seems to get even better as it moves forward.

Tags: Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on November 9, 2017

Amazing in every aspect!! We’ll definitely be back!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 8, 2017

Great food and good service with a good vibe. My vegetarian brother liked the four square vegetarian dish.

Tags: Hot Spot, Notable Wine List, People Watching, Good Vegetarian Options, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Great restaurant...creative and delicious. Perhaps a bit guilty of over-ingrediented.

Tags: Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Denver)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Rioja is without question one of the very top restaurants in Denver. If you want to enjoy LoDo (Lower Downtown) and enjoy eclectic food and great wine, this is the place. The food is consistently excellent, the service professional and attentive. It is five star in every area but price; you can enjoy a very reasonable dinner (our entrees were in the $20 range). Exceptional and reasonable wine list.

Do not miss Rioja!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Fun, Tasting Menu, Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Another great dinner at Rioja! Innovative menu. I had the Sea Scallops. The Spanish wine by the glass was excellent--all 3 glasses! Always a great place to dine for a special occasion--in my case, La Boheme at the Ellie.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Denver)·Dined on November 6, 2017

Delicious meal and excellent service. We enjoyed the beet salad, venison, and artichoke ravioli.
Some of the best and beautifully presented food I've had in a long time.

Tags: Healthy, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on November 6, 2017

Enjoyed the tasting menu and was quite blown away. Tried foods that are not my favorites (beets & fois gras), but the preparation made them quite tasty and enjoyable. Wine selections were well paired. Very attentive service staff and manager. Liked this so much I had to come back for another meal two nights later. Did not do tasting menu and was equally impressed. By far one of the best dining experiences in Denver!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 5, 2017

I took a few friends visiting from out of town to Rioja for Sunday brunch and it was AMAZING! The staff was so kind and attentive-- always filling water, coming around with bread, etc. My friends got brunch cocktails which were great, and the food was amazing. The starter rioghnuts are delicious doughnuts with berries that I would absolutely recommend. Then we all got different items from the brunch menu-- I had the Rioja benedict, which comes with a delicious biscuit, perfectly cooked poached eggs, crispy bacon and fresh spinach and tomato, not to mention an amazing parmesan sauce. My other friends got the omelette of the day and the hangover cure, both were great. Overall, the vibe here is wonderful, the brunch menu was SUPER affordable for such a nice place, and the food was amazing. I'll definitely return!

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Denver)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Have been to Rioja several times, it has been my go to spot for nice dinners or special occasions. However, we have seen a drop off in both the quality of food and service since the chef moved on to focus on a new restaurant.

This visit overall was fine but was certainly not what we’ve come to expect from Rioja. Two of four entrees were served cold and had to be returned. Another entree (the octopus) was just over room temperature, chewy and bitter. Overall, the meal was ok. Service was average and slow for Rioja, which didn’t help.

Rioja was the best restaurant in town, but based on this visit, I’m not sure you can say that any longer.

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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Food was excellent. We did the 7 course tasting menu with the wine pairing. I would highly recommend it. Service was unbeatable. Robyn explained all of the dishes very well and was friendly and helpful!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Delicious brunch. Loved the Bloody Mary !!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on November 4, 2017

The food was fantastic. Excellent service.

1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (México)·Dined on November 1, 2017

It was a very special nigth, the food spectacular, excellent wine, all were very kind and attentive with us. Thank you

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients, Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Authentic, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 31, 2017

Am visiting Denver and saw this highly ranked and vegetarian friendly. Went with my colleague and friend after convention and were seated promptly. Was warned our table was next reserved for eight which was less than 1 1/4 hour but we had a commitment already at 8pm so we were fine with that. I am new to being vegetarian and generally order meat or seafood dishes at restaurant so qualify my review by admitting I have little experience judging vegetarian dishes at restaurants. I had the artichoke tortellini as an appetizer and it was good. Came out in a soup and could have been more flavorful. Then had the four vegetarian entree which was delicious. Asparagus with delicious sauce, Brussels sprouts which were flavorful but not overdone, fried coated avocado in a green sauce which was outstanding, and a sweet potato like purée wrapped which was excellent was well. Service was attentive and food came out very quickly so we were done in an hour. Breads were also excellent. My friend had the angel hair pasta with shellfish which he enjoyed. Located in a cute section of town on a street that is filled with light decorations and was clearly a restaurant hub. Would have been nice if Weather was suitable for walking.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on October 29, 2017

The atmosphere and food were excellent. The waiter kept our drinks full and took great care of us. The food was slow to come out but we were okay with that as we were enjoying a Sunday brunch. Would highly recommend this place the food was great!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 29, 2017

Creative menu, very tasty, service was great and is a beautiful restaurant!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 29, 2017

While the food was delicious, I didn’t feel as though the price was justified. The portions were small but flavorful

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Denver)·Dined on October 29, 2017

Rioja has been "the" special place for years and it did not disappoint again. Beet salad and the scallops were outstanding. Special kudos to the hostess, Molly, who understood our traffic troubles and greeted us warmly when we finally arrived!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on October 29, 2017

We celebrated our anniversary, and the staff went above and beyond to make sure it was special.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on October 28, 2017

Just great flavors fine service and a superb wine list outstanding!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Denver)·Dined on October 28, 2017

The tasting menu was a perfect fit since it came with a tasting of numerous items on the menu. Every bite contained an abundance of savory flavors. Very pleased and a great anniversary dinner!

Tags: Tapas, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Cozy, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Dallas)·Dined on October 28, 2017

I had heard so much about this restaurant and it didn't disappoint !!! I had the James Beard winning tortellini which was divine!!!

Tags: Notable Wine List, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Tapas, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on October 27, 2017

Roija was recommended by a friend. We had dinner before the theatre. We told our waitress that we had to be in and out in an hour and it was not a problem. Everything we ordered was delicious. Highly recommend the artichoke tortilines Also one of the best lemon drop martinis I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to go back!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Richmond)·Dined on October 27, 2017

We were visiting from out of town and decided to grab lunch at Rioja, and it end up to be a meal to remember from our trip to Denver. The fresh bacon was out of this world thanks to the combination of flavors and... the meat just melt in your mouth! The roasted beets salad was very good, as well as the angel hair pasta and the beef cheeks spaetzle. The service was attentive without being intrusive. The crowd at lunch time was mostly business type.
We will be back the next time we find ourselves in Denver!

Tags: Hot Spot, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Creative Cuisine, People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Seattle)·Dined on October 27, 2017

Stunningly good food and highly imaginative dishes. Timing of tables and kitchen was awful. Service was delightful but I only give 2 stars for service due to the timing problems which would be excusable in a new restaurant, but not one that is more than a decade old.

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food5
ambience4
service2
value4

 
 (Denver)·Dined on October 26, 2017

Service was top notch. Food was better than expected. Great wine list. I’ve been here several times, but it had been about 5 years. Quality is still upper level.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 25, 2017

The menu and food were very fancy. Gourmet feel. Almost too much going on for my husband and me. Sometimes less is more. I liked my salmon which I had read on reviews as a favorite. My husband had the lamb and it was just ok. The chocolate peanut butter tort was amazing though. We were seated in a booth and warned it had a vent that hit it directly and we were freezing the whole time. At that point we didn't want to move though. Wine was good and the place was very lively. I liked the ambiance but if I were to go back I would definitely be seated somewhere different. And I would make an early reservation. Ours was on the later side and we had to wait a long time. I think people got comfortable and didn't want to leave.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Good Vegetarian Options
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on October 25, 2017

Rioja never disappoints. The food is excellent, the picnic appetizer and tortellini in particular. The wine list is extensive and very good.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Denver)·Dined on October 24, 2017

Wonderful, upper end restaurant on Larimer Street. I have been here on a number of occasions, and it never fails to meet expectations. There were four of us at dinner, and each person found their entree to be exquisitely prepared and presented.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on October 22, 2017

Second time we’ve been to Rioja. Everything on par. Food,service,ambiance. They have it down. Love this place!

Tags: Seasonal, Creative Cuisine, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 22, 2017

Fantastic food, beautifully presented. Great service.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Gluten Free Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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