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“COCKROACH in my award winning paella” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Rioja

Rioja
11920 Westheimer Rd, Ste J, Houston, TX 77077-6666
+1 281-531-5569
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Ranked #2,193 of 7,288 Restaurants in Houston
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Spanish, Tapas
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: Rioja is a classical Spanish restaurant serving food and tapas from all areas of Spain. These recipes have been in our family for over 200 years.
Katy, Texas
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“COCKROACH in my award winning paella”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2010

The night that Spain won against Germany for the World Cup Semifinals, my family and I decided to celebrate it having dinner at a Spanish restaurant and we decided for Rioja Tapas Restaurant in Houston.
We arrived at Rioja at around 9 pm and there was no hostess available, we had to wait a few minutes until a server showed up. She asked somebody else to decide what side of the restaurant to seat us. Then we selected a table and when we sat down we noticed that the chairs and the floor were all sticky. The server told us “oh sorry but we were very busy this afternoon since the Spain ‘s victory all the people were throwing wine all over the place”. So we sat down at a different table. Since this was my first time I definitely wanted to try their very acclaimed “paella” . The paella came and it was not as good as everybody says. I gave a try to my 7 year old son and he said “YUUUCK” I was surprised to hear that from him and seeing his face, since he is very polite and he knows how to behave at a table, so I asked him, “what is it? he said, with tears in his eyes and almost throwing up... LOOK at it. To my big surprise it was a COCKROACH!!! in my “award winning paella”... ...I went speechless for a moment since everybody at my table tried that paella. It has been the first and worst, grossest dining-out experience I ever had at a fancy restaurant in my entire life. The worst thing here is, since that night, my son can not eat without inspecting his plate, even at home.
Okay, then I asked the server to come over and advised her about the COCKROACH, she immediately took the plate and apologized for the incident. The manager came over our table and he also started picking up all the plates and he excused us about the issue. He offered us no to pay the entire bill and also offered us a free dinner for four, next time.
Of course we are not gonna come back again to this restaurant. The free dinner for four has been listed on ebay with a starting bid of $0.01

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27 reviews from our community

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    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Houston
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Muy malo spanish restaurant in Houston.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2009

The food is not authentic spanish,the quality mediocre,the wines
burnt out,.What more can you dislike on a restaurant.Conclusion terrible .
Someone who knows Spain and its food.

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New Braunfels, Tx
1 review
“Great food, great wine, great atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2009

I have eaten at some of the most renowned Spanish tapas restaurants throughout the United States and Spain. Rioja truly stands as one of the best tapas I have ever eaten at. Anyone who says otherwise does not know what good tapas food is. I stumbled upon Rioja while on a business trip in Houston. The food was so good I went back four times in one week! They serve an excellent breakfast on the weekend also! The pork tenderloin and grilled lamb off of their low carb menu is to die for. I can not forget to mention the INCREDIBLE Spanish wine list which is one of the best I've ever seen. I tried a vertical tasting with Zumaya Crianza and Reserva---Excellent! I have been back several times on my own and with my family. My ten year old son now craves Riojas' steak and Asparagus! Excellent food, great service and relaxing atmosphere. I wish I had a Rioja in my home town!

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A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“I know Spanish food, and...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2008

I know Spanish food, and this place does it right, usually. The last couple of times though, things have been off. Food overcooked, etc. I noticed that those times coincided with Nacho's (owner) absence. We'll go back but try to make sure that Nacho's there.

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A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Fun place and great tapas, nice wine selection and live music on the weekends. But it's like a game of chance ordering...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2008

Fun place and great tapas, nice wine selection and live music on the weekends. But it's like a game of chance ordering the paella. I have been when it was delicious and other times when they have over cooked the dish: dryed out rice, and shrimp you almost destroy trying to take off the skin.

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