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“Amazing - top notch from start to finish”
Review of Rioja

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Ranked #9 of 3,016 Restaurants in Denver
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $41 - $80
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Amazing - top notch from start to finish”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

I would have given this restaurant 5 stars for service alone or food alone; the fact that both were just outstanding is icing on the cake. I went with my mother who was visiting from Vail because I had read really good reviews and was looking to try something new. Everything we had was absolutely wonderful. The scallops were cooked perfectly, my duck sausage was something totally unique and delicious and the deserts were the perfect finish, particularly the goat cheese and fig beignets - amazing.

Aside from the charming location and decor, I cannot say enough about the service. Everybody was so gracious and knowledgeable, especially our bartender, Jesse. He had wonderful wine recommendations and was instrumental in our decision making process in regards to the many delicious menu options.

This spot is not to be missed!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Marissa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,517 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
48 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“A special treat”
Reviewed September 14, 2013 via mobile

My wife, her former business partner and I were looking for a good meal mid-week ( my wife and I used to live in Denver and were back to visit friends). Turns out this is the week of the Colorado rains and floods. We drove down to Larimer Square and took a chance on getting in to Rioja because seating that night was first come, first served. We were lucky - we beat the rush and got 3 seats at the chef's counter. And had one of the finest meals served in the most friendly way I have ever had in the 40 years I have been eating out in Denver. Three dishes in particular could be served on any menu anywhere; the peach flatbread ( trust me Colorado peaches are at their height now) and the grilled calamari were spectacular. Never had more tender calamari anywhere - the dish could be on the menu at Le Bernadine. My wife orders salmon a great deal - 2 days later she is still talking about it. The only flaw in our meal was that we were full and just didn't have room for dessert - that did not stop us from splitting a plum patisserie that was perfect.

Visited September 2013
Thank Steve S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Parker, Colorado
Level Contributor
39 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2013

My husband and I went to Rioja for our 3rd anniversary. I have been meaning to go for awhile, and it was very, very good. It wasn't the best meal I've ever had, but it was well executed and tasty. I had really high expectations after hearing so many rave reviews, which weren't quite met; but so many things on the menu looked delicious that I am sure something on there would blow me away!

The front of house works as a team, which I love to see, so there are a number of people helping with different things. It always feels so much more efficient than 1 person doing everything for 1 section. Prices are a little high, food took awhile to come out, but I would definitely go back!

I do much prefer their sister restaurant, Bistro Vendome, based off of this visit.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank AKamenetskiy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
556 reviews
179 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 332 helpful votes
“Worthy of the James Beard Foundation Award”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

I first heard about Rioja when I was still in Afghanistan reading the reviews from recent awards that had been given to different restaurants across the world. I knew that I would be in Denver for a few days, and when I read that Chef Jennifer Jasinski was an up and coming Midwest Chef that had just won the James Beard Award, I added Rioja to my list of places visit. I was not disappointed.

The Amuse course was a Fried Watermelon with a green onion sliver garnish. The first course was there Fresh Bacon, which was a cardamom spiced Kurobuta pork belly with Madras Curry scented garbanzo bean puree. The second course is was a marinated melon salad mixed with Asian greens, cucumber, basil, chives, Balsamic Belgian Endive, and a goat cheese crème. The entree was an artichoke tortelloni, with goat cheese and artichoke mousse stuffed pasta, artichoke broth, truffle essence, queso de mano cheese, and garnished with chervil, followed by a basil gnocchi with roasted chanterelle mushrooms, olive oil poached shallots, Fruition Farm’s sheep milk ricotta, and a lemon-extra virgin olive oil sage garnished with micro basil.
you can read the full review at http://winedineandplay.blogspot.com/2013/08/rioja-restaurant.html.

The second entree course was Colorado Lamb two ways: The first way was grilled T-bone with a house made lamb Merguez Sausage, a common sausage dish from North Africa or the Middle East. Crisp couscous pillowed puff pastry, grilled baby zucchini tomato coulis, and a preserved lemon yogurt.

I was full and could not eat dessert. Job well done Rioja.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Sean O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Traveled from Costa Rica for Rioja!”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

We moved to Costa Rica in October 2011 and before we moved we treated ourselves to the tasting menu at Rioja and had one of the most amazing meals of our lives. We sat at the table overlooking the kitchen and had an unbelievable experience. Fast forward to August 2013 and we are back to Colorado visiting friends and family and of course Rioja. We love living in Costa Rica but desperately miss the excellent food choices in the States! We decided to test luck and see if Rioja could deliver another phenomenal experience for my wife and I. We arrived at the restaurant and I asked if we could sit by the kitchen and there was a spot available. We sat down and the same incredibly awesome waitress who served us two years ago was ironically our waitress again! We decided to go for it again and ordered the tasting menu along with the wine pairings and we were blown away again. The food and wine pairings were incredible. We had a total of seven courses and each one built on the other and were fantastic. The fresh bacon is absolutely mouth-watering (I nearly ordered it again for dessert again). The kitchen learned of our little story and escape to paradise and along with the waitress added little touches to made our night that much more memorable. Rioja is truly a special place in our heart and we want to thank everyone at Rioja for the incredible talents you bring to the kitchen and the front of the house. Great service, knowledgeable wait staff and incredible food. If you want to have a great night of fantastic food and wine go all out and order the tasting menu. If you come to Costa Rica, bring me some fresh bacon please.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kevin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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