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“The best meal we have had in a while!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rioja

Rioja
1431 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202 (Downtown)
(303) 820-2282
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Ranked #5 of 2,558 Restaurants in Denver
Price range: $41 - $80
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown
davemann17
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“The best meal we have had in a while!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2013

I've been meaning to write about Rioja for the past couple of weeks and I finally have some time. I wanted to take my wife to a nice dinner in Denver for her birthday, and I found this place entirely based on TA reviews. We decided to pass on our table and chose to sit at the counter overlooking the dessert station. (We both like watching the chefs at work... and many times you have a chance to taste different dishes.) Well the food was awesome! We went entirely by the suggestions of our server...
We started with the bacon and salmon lomi lomi appetizers. (I know that some reviewers have put their noses up on the idea of an establishment offering "bacon", but they obviously didn't try it...) We then had the beet salad and the "lamb two ways" dishes. I don't want to sit here and talk about each individual dish because the overall food was definitely a sensory experience. We loved every part of the meal, and we do eat out a lot. It was such a wonderful experience that we are planning another trip to Denver just to go back to Rioja.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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776 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Orlando
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Small menu & portions, way over rated.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2013

I asked a local or two for one of Denver's best, both said Rioja. Checked TA for reviews which show it highly rated. Upon entering the loud average looking place, being seated next to server station, and seeing menu starting with apps like Bacon, I quickly saw I was not in a great place. Only fish was a farm salmon, only steak was a skirt steak, poor food selection. We almost left but server assured us it's great place. Dishes are small and pretty. Quality, ok, with my "lamb two ways" dish being one small overcooked tbone and one lamb meatball they called sausage. The skirt steak was also small, nicely presented but not flavorful. Should have followed instinct and left before we started.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Went on my brothers suggestion ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

Had a wonderful meal on cold night. Started off with a delicious apple soup and then had the combo lamb. So good I had to try their beignet for desert. Very crowded so I had my meal at the bar. Excellent service there. I would highly recommend this place.

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Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Gorgeous food great bread”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

We sat outside in a beautiful warm October and ate great food with good wine and local microbrewery beer. The meal began well with a selection of breads (all great) and our courses were all great. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the prices were fair for the quality. I will definitely return if I am every back in Denver.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wild Western Wyoming
Top Contributor
176 reviews 176 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“Delicious food, hit and miss service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2013

We have eaten here on several occasions, and have always enjoyed the food quality, taste and presentation. Though sometimes lacking in portion size, the quality has been spot on for us.
The wine selection is great, and the specialty drink creations innovative and interesting.
The service for us is not consistent. We were 20 minutes late for a reservation on one occasion, and felt like the hostess was punishing us with her poor attitude and condescending comments. We sat (I sat, my beau stood) at the bar for 90 minutes before we could get "worked in". We've had terrific servers, mediocre servers and marginal servers, but the food is always consistently delicious and fresh.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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