Rioja

4.7
7272 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
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 St; 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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Specials

This Month is Staff Secrets!

This month's happy hour is featuring staff secret menu items - things that we all love, but you won't find on our normal menus. Artichoke Tortelloni is EVERYONE'S favorite, but we enjoy them deep fried with lemon aioli, and served with a Loca-Paloma (pepper-infused tequila, grapefruit, lime, soda). See ya at the Rioja bar and lounge for happy hour!

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: October 18, 2018

Ends: October 19, 2117

Availability: Mon-Fri 4:00PM-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 7272 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
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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MI
San Diego
22 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Good food and service at a decent price.

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AS
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great experience of great food, wine and service.
Will go with my eyes closed next time if I have to.

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S
Denver
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 3

We took a friend to Rioja for a get together.
He ordered the steak, and he carefully explained to the waitress that he wanted it "medium Rare" which he explained to her that it should be "pink in the middle".
When he cut into the steak it was bright red with just brown around the edges. He summoned a waitress and asked that his steak be cooked some more so it was as he ordered it. In a few minutes someone from the kitchen came back with his steak and it was somewhat better, but not what he wanted. He ate the vegetables, but left the meat. Our original waitress came back and he explained to her what was the matter, and she apologized and comped his meal, but it was not a great experience.

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KM
Denver
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Get the picnic for sure!! We loved the Brandi snap cannoli and peanut butter torte too.

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HK
New York Area
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We went to this restaurant a couple of times and always amazing us as far as creative taste which is very slow cook with seasonal sense, I think owner chief is always challenging something new that why we never get tired of.Our taste buds are enjoying all the time. Thank you.

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J
Milwaukee
80 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Skip your no/low-carb diet for Rioja offers a nice tasty bread service. Great food options too - after a foodie day exploring Denver, this was our last stop - I opted for the chicken entree - excellent preparation - crispy skin, hot juicy meat and delicious flavoring - next time I will go with an empty stomach and explore more ...

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KJ
Denver
22 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently Excellent! Fantastic dining experience!

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m
Denver
19 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We still think Rioja is the best restaurant in Denver for creative cuisine. You should expect smaller plates, but each plate will be special. It is not a cheap dinner but you get what you pay for. If you are a foodie you CAN'T miss it. We have been going since they opened and still go several times a year. This time dinner was to bring another couple who had never been to Rioja but had heard a lot from their friends in the restaurant business. They loved the experience and said it exceeded their expectations (we had no doubt).

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MH
Nashville
8 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have eaten many top end restaurants over the years in bigger cities with more accolades. This ranks as one of our top 3. Do the seven course. It’s worthy of every bite. Wine pairing is a must and so compliments the meal. Just do it!!

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A
Denver
64 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja never disappoints. Food and service are top notch. A special evening all around.

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E
New England
17 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Simply delicious.

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D
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

This was an anniversary dinner and the food and service did not disappoint. The issues were mostly out of the restaurant's control. We had let them know this was a special occasion but they sat us next to a table with a loud and cranky toddler. Most of our meal we couldn't even hear each other because of the crying of the child about 1 foot away from us. The three people next to us took turns trying to walk the child around, but this kind of scenario definitely kills any romantic anniversary vibe dinner could have imparted. On the plus side the food was great. We loved every bite. Salads, appetizers and a steak that melted in my mouth.

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OT
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was amazing. The food was delicious and the service was good. I loved my time there and I can’t wait to go back.

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J
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time to Rioja and we had an outstanding experience. Loved the atmosphere - very cozy and felt to ourselves.

With one exception, the service was outstanding. The exception was the greeting as we came in. The hostess was too busy on the phone to even acknowledge us. A forgettable start to the evening that fortunately we soon forgot.

In addition to our waiter who was attentive but never intrusive, there was attention from a number of members of the staff. They did a great job of explaining the dishes as they came out. Very friendly and warm. Everyone moved in concert to make sure the guests were all taken care of.

The food was even better. Creative, delicious dishes. The trout special was seasoned perfectly and served over a rich parsnip purée. The roasted chicken was cooked perfectly, juicy with great flavor.

Overall a very special evening. We’re sure to go back.

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m
Los Angeles
15 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Artichoke tortellini is the main reason I’d come back.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything from start to finish was amazing. The celery root soup was incredibly flavorful, and the octopus wrapped in Serrano ham did not disappoint. Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable about all of the menu items. 5 stars!

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SC
Denver
12 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We had a great experience at Rioja on Sunday. We went after a matinee performance at the DCPA and the 4 block walk was a great way to get some fresh air between the show and dinner. We were celebrating my daughter's birthday and they made her feel special without going over the top, very tasteful. The service was outstanding - loved everyone from the water and bread plate fillers, to the food delivery people, the bartender and our waitress was fantastic. The timing of the service was perfect. Wine list was extensive and they had some great seasonal cocktails. I got the Peach Bourbon drink and it was wonderful. We enjoyed all the food. My daughter especially enjoyed the vegetarian dish featuring four different items and I loved my salmon served over sweet potato risotto. My husband's seafood gnocchi was just okay, but not bad, perhaps just a bit on the bland side. Desserts were amazing. All in all I highly recommend Rioja and will definitely return.

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PA
Denver
12 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

I always enjoy eating at Rioja's although I only go about one or twice a year for brunch before a Sunday matinee show. Sunday's experience was a bit less that I have had in the past. We had to ask several times for more coffee from at least a couple people. And I think the brunch menu has been the same for several years. It would be great to have more lunch options instead of so many egg dishes. We sat by the bar and at one point it became very noisy then after 30 minutes or so the group left and the noise level was more acceptable. We like the bread service, the food is always good as is the coffee. Certainly a leisurely way to enjoy a meal. And the flower arrangements outside are beautiful.

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RL
Las Vegas
6 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We visited Rioja on a recent trip to Denver. It was by far the most amazing meal of our trip. While everyone loved their food, I am still dreaming of the seafood gnocchi paella. Next time I plan to try the tasting menu.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server Micheal was delightful and extremely helpful. It was our first time dining at Rioja and we were celebrating my husband’s birthday. Unfortunately, there was a very rude table seated directly next to us that took away from our dining experience but management was so classy with handling our expedited exit. We eagerly anticipate our return for another fantastic meal in the near future.

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f
Denver
31 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja is one of our favorite restaurants. The grouper was spectacularly prepared with eggplant accompanying the fish. The veal dish was delicious and prepared to the correct temperature. Date night, theater evening, or birthdays always bring us back.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja is our favorite restaurant in Denver. It always feels like a special event. The staff goes out of their way and the food is always outstanding.

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MH
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The best in Denver. We keep coming back to Rioja because it’s always perfect food and service.

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M
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tye pork chops were a special on Friday evening. They were delicious!

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PV
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and excellent service. My girlfriend is allergic to garlic and they accommodated her dietary restrictions without compromising on taste and quality.

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OT
Houston
32 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Outstanding food, excellent service, very nice ambiance and interior amenities. Expansive drink and wine list.

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San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Biscuits served at the table were cold. I understand slices of bread being cold, but biscuits should be warm.

Otherwise, service was very good, and we enjoyed the atmosphere.

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ON
Denver
78 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja always pleases! Although we usually go with another couple, this time it was an important but intimate business dinner for 6 and it was perfect! We were seated in the side room where it is quieter, per my request, and the food and service could not have been better. When was the last time you had grouper outside of the Caribbean or perhaps Florida?

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W
Richmond
72 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Though our Open Table reservation at Rioja for Sunday for cancelled by the restaurant without explanation we nonetheless opted to go a different night since my wife wanted to try the ham wrapped octopus entree; that turned out to be a good decision & she enjoyed that dish very much. I had a squash ravioli with candied pecans which was quite good (though the pickled squash ribbons which came with it were an unnecessary touch). The chocolate tort dessert was excellent. Prices, especially for drinks, were quite reasonable. Service was good & not too intrusive. We recommend Rioja.

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SF
New England
47 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I wanted dinner after a show and this place was open. I think its a bit pricey, with smaller portions than I'd hoped, but the food was good. Their Sangria is NOT Sangria...tasted like red wine with seltzer in it, despite saying it had brandy and fruit (there was no fruit evident.)

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E
Austin
19 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja never disappoints!!!!!! We love it here and always make a point to go when in Denver!!!

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JT
Denver
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a spectacular restaurant. The food is sublime, the ambiance inviting, the service excellent. Make it a point to go here.

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LR
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

We thought the food was good, but not as excellent as prior visits. Usually it's amazing, this time it was just good.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

The food is really delicious and their menu is unique and creative! The first time we had dinner here the service was outstanding and our server was fantastic. This last visit we had at Rioja was a little disappointing in regards to service. We were seated for about 10-15 minutes before our server asked us what type of water we wanted and then failed to take a drink order. So then she came back 5 minutes later and started telling us the specials - but still didn’t take our drink order. We got our drinks after approximately 35-40 minutes after being there and then by the time we got our first app, we had been seated for about an hour. Our server wasn’t very knowledgeable when we asked her what was in a particular dish - she said “probably some type of onion” - so compared to our first experience with Rioja - the food was great, but the service was less than stellar - which is disappointing when you’re spending $$ on dinner.

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b
Denver
32 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

I really wanted to give my recent lunch at Rioja a better review, but the following shortcomings resulted in the 3-star rating:
The meal started off quite well with the lovely, "deconstructed" tomato corn soup and delicious bread. The amuse buche was a nice mid-course touch. The server was clearly disinterested and aloof. (Maybe because we were not drinking cocktails or wine?) As for value, a $15 upcharge to add protein to a $14 salad that consisted of frisee, egg and a bit of shaved lox was excessive, though the grouper was well prepared. Finally, the squid ink pasta that my companion ordered was, in his opinion, merely "good", and the portion size was very disappointing for the price point.

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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
13 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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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
13 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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