Rioja

4.7
7424 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

Sweet and Savory Chocolate Happy Hour!

This month we are featuring all things chocolate! From sweet classics to inventive savory applications, paired with chocolate friendly wines and beers and an exclusive chocolate cocktail. You're gonna want to set aside your New Year's resolutions for this Happy Hour!

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: January 3, 2019

Ends: March 1, 2019

Availability: Mon-Fri 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

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Come join us for a Valentine's Day to remember at Rioja! Treat your special someone (...or your BFF, Mom, or yourself!) to a night of incredible food, fun cocktails and unique, interesting wines! Seats fill quickly, so book today!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

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 7424 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
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a wonderful experience. My husband and I went for our 2 year anniversary. Excellent food and excellent service. We will be coming back for future dinners.

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SE
Denver
17 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja was a remarkably impressive and enjoyable experience from start to finish. Welcoming staff, cozy ambiance and decor, a knowledgeable waiter, and delicious food with top notch presentation. I was especially impressed with the layers and textures in my entree and how every ingredient worked together. Now I know why Rioja is so highly rated in Denver restaurant lists - it lives up to the expectations, and then some. Can't wait to return.

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W
Denver
14 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary dinner. Service was great. Food was great. Drink menu is unique.

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D
Denver
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

The first time my husband and I went to Rioja, it was a pleasant experience, so we returned prior to attending a play at DCPA. The second visit could not have been more different from the first! When we walked in the door, we were the only ones waiting. The hostess was on the phone, staring at her computer, and did not even acknowledge our entrance. We were eventually seated and it took an extremely long time for our waitress to arrive. She took our drink orders and did not ask if we wanted appetizers (which we did). She then brought the wrong martini, and argued with my husband that it was made correctly. I had to tell her that we were ready to order; she walked away, looked over her shoulder, and said, "I'll be back." Our food finally arrived and my scallops were cold, there was a hair on the dish where my husband was to discard his shells from his pasta dish --which, okay, it was for shells, but really....a hair?

Seems like something is definitely going wrong here - not going in the right direction. It's unlikely that we will return.

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OT
Denver
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always a great meal at Rioja. The only drawback is that it can be a little loud when it's crowded, and it's almost always crowded.

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CD
Denver
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best brunch I have had in Denver in 19 years. Love this place.

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AM
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great service. Would recommend for date night. Staff is knowledgeable about their wines, a rare find in Denver or the U.S. in general.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice restaurant with good atmosphere and surrounding. Good place for dating.

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DC
Denver
45 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is a special occasion place only, and you have to know what you're getting before you go. It's very seasonal and ingredient-driven, but many dishes pile a lot of ingredients on top of each other, so you might not like everything. But if you do find a dish you like, it will be really good. Bread is excellent and frequently refilled. Drinks are fantastically expensive, but desserts were all very good. It's a good place to go when you have a big event to celebrate.

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DV
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food here is always wonderful and the service is impeccable. Our waiter was very patient with us, answering our questions and making recommendations. I love the fact that some of the dishes have smaller portions; honestly, the smaller portion with Rioja's lovely bread is quite enough food. If you let them know it's your birthday, dessert is comped AND they give you a birthday card signed by the staff. Customer service like that is rare nowadays. Will definitely be back.

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g
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

A group of 4 of us visiting Denver from California came to Rioja to celebrate a birthday. Our reservation was for 8:45pm, but we weren't shown to our seats for 30 minutes. The most disappointing part of the night was that the restaurant didn't do anything at all for my friend's birthday. We expected at least a small treat as a gesture for choosing to celebrate at a high-end restaurant like Rioja. After spending $400 on food and wine we were surprised not to receive anything on the house.

As for the food, the results were mixed. Most of the appetizers were delicious, in particular the 'bacon pork belly'. However we were extremely disappointed by the entree dishes, in particular the lamb dish. The lamb was covered with a fig sauce which make it extremely sweet and completely took away from the flavor of the lamb. It was one of the sweetest dishes I've had in recent memory and was almost inedible.

Ultimately I could not recommend Rioja due to the poor service and disappointing entrees.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was awesome. We went to rioja for a special date night and had a great time. The only reason I didn’t give it a perfect score was my husband said his entree was a little too one note. He had the lamb. He said it was pretty sweet and didn’t have a lot of other flavors.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja is the best! The food, service and ambiance are of the highest standard. I am vegan and Chef Tim always prepares amazing options for me. This restaurant is always spot on and fast becoming my favorite dining experience in Denver.

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TI
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Seriously, one of the best meals I've ever had.
The pork belly/green curry app was AMAZING. The artichoke tortelloni was melt in your mouth yummy, and the wagyu steak I could eat for days.
I think the price of the different courses are great, not too expensive.
Staff was really friendly.

The only thing that could be improved is how close the tables are to each other along the wall.
We could hear the conversations of the diners on both sides of our table as if we were all sharing one long table.
I could eat there everyday.....and I've never said that about any restaurant.

If you're in Denver, you have to try Rioja!!!

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AL
Denver
9 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I just moved to Denver 5 months ago and I haven’t had a bad meal since. Rioja was on my list because I read about the restaurant and the chef. My friends were visiting from N.J. so I made a reservation a month ago. They said everyone at their hotel was jealous they were going to Rioja for dinner. Now I know why. Our service tonight was impeccable - Tracey was very attentive, knowledgeable and particularly enthusiastic about the menu. Every dish we ordered was phenomenal - fresh, and a mix of flavors that showcased the chef’s culinary talent. Pure excellence. Definitely a favorite!!

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N
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, and service was great! I had the milk soaked lamb, and I could taste the dairy! Mhhh. All in all great experience

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FP
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely delicious, with stellar service and presentation. The menu is varied and excited, evolving with the seasons. One of my favorites!

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c
Denver
36 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food as always! Our server, Robin, was very helpful with recommendations and provided attentive service. The seafood special was incredible. Best restaurant in Denver!

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C
Calgary
22 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I am anyway a big fan of Rioja, but this were the best mains ever. We had the lamb and the steak and the composition of flavors was devine.

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DB
Kansas City
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a wonderful restaurant.....my favorite when I visit Denver

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k
New England
4 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Bloody Mary was not good. Did not finish it. Brunch was drlicious.

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C
Denver
11 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A very good dinner for a special occasion. Wait staff had lots of good recommendations and food was cooked to perfection.

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G
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rioja has always been an excellent choice for a quality dinner.

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SL
Denver
112 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous dinner this past Friday night for five friends/colleagues.

Attractive white-tablecloth room. Adequate distance between tables so we didn’t feel that we were participating in the lives of others. Nor they in ours.

Food itself is great. We broadly sampled the menu. Charcuterie, mussels, salads, chicken and lamb. All amazing.

Efficient, friendly service.

Extensive wine list. Knowledgeable wine staff.

Skipped dessert.

Not expensive for a high-end restaurant.

We’ll be back!

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T
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very attentive wait staff. The menu is not extensive but definitely something for everyone and very high quality. Convenient to the theater.

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OT
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Rioja is always great!

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OT
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

La comida me encanto y la atencion... de las mejores que he tenido

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L
Denver
4 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We ate here after the Colorado Symphony New Year’s Eve concert. This was our first time dining here. The food and service were first-class. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

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

One of Denver best experiences!

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CJ
Denver
21 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as always another New Year's Eve. Great food and service.

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CA
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner on New Years Eve, with friends it was great, the food the service. Difficult to achieve on such a busy night!

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D
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

One of the servers was unpleasant and cold, the rest of the staff was amazing. The food was great, but we were seated in an area that was a bit cold and loud.

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AC
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent service. The food was really good by every measure. Overall it was a great experience! We are a table of 3 and we had a total of 4 appetizers, 3 entrees and two desserts. Every dish was delicious. Look forward to dining at Rioja again next time we’re back in Denver.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Very noisy and vulgar guest sat at the table next to us 1/2 way through dinner. Very obnoxious, surprised server didn’t ask him to tone it down and be more respectful.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Vegetarian food was some of the best we have had. Been going there 15 years and best food experience so far

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PP
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent. All very interesting and creative. Atmosphere was fantastic. Lively which I like. Service was top notch. The menu was well priced but the wine list was quite expensive. Just for your information.

Overall I would highly recommend.

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AS
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The pasta dishes are very well done. Deserved its james beard. Friendly staff that you see again and again

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NW
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome as usual!

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KB
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We went to Rioja for my birthday and did the tasting menu with wine pairing. The food was outstanding and the service was excellent. Well worth the money!

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BL
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous restaurant. Terrific food,, wine and service. Made our anniversary special.

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