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“Stick with the tapas, skip the paella”
Review of Rioja Restaurant - CLOSED

Rioja Restaurant
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Spanish
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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.
Reviewed March 30, 2012

Rioja's touts itself as having the best paella in Houston, however we didn't find that to be the case. The dish had an overwhelming flavor of past-its-prime chicken broth and was too salty and too soupy. I suspected we were eating leftovers from the night before rather than a freshly prepared meal. Perhaps we would have had a different experience had we dined there on a weekend evening rather than a mid-week lunch? If you want an enjoyable meal, it's better to choose from the restaurant's excellent assortment of a la carte tapas. The "Pick Three" tapas lunch special portions are generously proportioned. The crispy potatoes, grilled asparagus with aioli, and the warm, baked-on-premise bread with garlic dipping sauce were delicious. There were several meatless tapas choices so vegetarians would enjoy it as well. The Spanish guitar music quietly playing in the background and the Spanish decor created a pleasant atmosphere. If you are looking for something a little different, give it a try.

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1  Thank Txadmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (32)
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21 - 25 of 32 reviews

Reviewed March 30, 2012

The goat cheese and tomato bisque was absolutely divine. I've never been a tomato soup fan but the marrying of these two flavors created an unexpected pleasure. They offer a 'Choose any 3 items - one from each column" for $13.95 for lunch. I can't wait to go back and discover a new fav. Don't let the shopping center location scare you off. They've created a wonderful atmosphere in an unbelievably small space making the dining experience cozy and intimate. I think I saw a private room for two if you're interested in that very special dining experience. Enjoy!

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Thank TrishNHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2011

I've been here several times, now, and the last visit prompted the need for a review.

The last visit was a family "going away" party for my folks since my wife, son, daughter, and I wouldn't see them for a couple of months. My father loves the restaurant, but this time he asked the waiter to "bring us whatever he wanted." That can be dangerous (in the end, the bill wasn't too bad, actually) but it helped us open our palates to some new tapas.

Of the 6-10 dishes the waiter brought, I'd say 65% were "very good," 10% were "meh/ok" and the remaining 25% were "outstanding."

I have traveled throughout Spain and the authenticity was there at Rioja.

Even the "house wine" was a very good value play.

Definitely worth a visit, especially if the weather is nice enough for some time on their patio.

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1  Thank Weeb32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2011

Great tapas restaurant on the west side of town, a little off the beaten path but definitely worth the trip. Luis (owner) runs a great place, the tapas are always fantastic -- tons of variety -- and there's live music and dancing on the weekends. Also good for business lunch during the week.

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Thank Pfreakingk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2010

Food is always good or very good. They have a nice selection of Spanish tapas and wines. Sardines, Callos, gazpacho and ali oli are always excellent. Good variety of bottles of wines on the 30’s and 40’s. We miss Mahou , cocido Madrileño and Cabrito (maybe Nacho read this review)

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Thank mariotejas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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