Rioja

★★★★☆
  • 1431 Larimer St

    Denver, CO 80202

    Map & Directions
  • 303-820-2282

Food

Food
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We have historically had great meals here, but today the food was awful. The kitchen kept burning eggs and the whole restaurant smelled horrible. Everything we had was stale. My daughter couldn't even eat her doughnuts because they were

0
★☆☆☆☆

We have historically had great meals here, but today the food was awful. The kitchen kept burning eggs and the whole restaurant smelled horrible. Everything we had was stale. My daughter couldn't even eat her doughnuts because they were

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A really fun, hip place to go when you're downtown. The artichoke tortelloni are absolutely amazing. We had a chef's table once and that was really a great experience.

4
★★★★☆

A really fun, hip place to go when you're downtown. The artichoke tortelloni are absolutely amazing. We had a chef's table once and that was really a great experience.

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The brunch here was definetely the best I have had in Denver. The crab crepes were mouth watering and the beignets were sinfully delicious. Our meal was fresh, interesting and very, very good. We checked out their dinner menu which looks like it deserves a trip back!

5
★★★★★

The brunch here was definetely the best I have had in Denver. The crab crepes were mouth watering and the beignets were sinfully delicious. Our meal was fresh, interesting and very, very good. We checked out their dinner menu which looks like it deserves a trip back!

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My friend and I were visiting Denver this past weekend and the concierge at our hotel recommened this wonderful restaurant. Chef Jennifer Jasinski is fabulous. We are from Houston and we thought we had good food in Houston, but nothing compares to the experience we had at Rioja. We had lunch there on Friday and we were back for Brunch on Sunday. Our waitress Shannon Austin was wonderful and really took care of us. Will we be back?? You bet!! We will fly to Denver just to eat at Rioja!!! Also, check out their other place Bistro Vendome...we ate there on Saturday for brunch. Both places created the best dining experience we have ever had.

2
★★★★★

My friend and I were visiting Denver this past weekend and the concierge at our hotel recommened this wonderful restaurant. Chef Jennifer Jasinski is fabulous. We are from Houston and we thought we had good food in Houston, but nothing compares to the experience we had at Rioja. We had lunch there on Friday and we were back for Brunch on Sunday. Our waitress Shannon Austin was wonderful and really took care of us. Will we be back?? You bet!! We will fly to Denver just to eat at Rioja!!! Also, check out their other place Bistro Vendome...we ate there on Saturday for brunch. Both places created the best dining experience we have ever had.

Pros: Service, Food, Atmosphere

Cons: Non

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We've always liked Rioja. Great food. Good service. Etc. My wife and I went for a special occasion. To make a long story short: Our server had an attitude and was incompetent. One of many issues: We had made clear we wanted to order a bottle of wine with our main course, after having a glass beforehand. As soon as we were done with our first course they brought our main course. We'd never gotten a chance to order our wine. We had to ask another server to bring it ASAP. I could go on with the problems ... but I will mention our first course and fig tart were excellent. However, we won't be going back any time soon.

0
★☆☆☆☆

We've always liked Rioja. Great food. Good service. Etc. My wife and I went for a special occasion. To make a long story short: Our server had an attitude and was incompetent. One of many issues: We had made clear we wanted to order a bottle of wine with our main course, after having a glass beforehand. As soon as we were done with our first course they brought our main course. We'd never gotten a chance to order our wine. We had to ask another server to bring it ASAP. I could go on with the problems ... but I will mention our first course and fig tart were excellent. However, we won't be going back any time soon.

Pros: The picnic platter, fig tart, and woman serving bread

Cons: Horrific server

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The room is pretty with mood lighting. The food is excellent. The wine menu is ample. The location is prime. Only complaint is that it can get loud. Go during the week if you want to be able to hear your dinner companions. Highly recommend it even though it is loud because the food/ambiance is wonderful.

4
★★★★☆

The room is pretty with mood lighting. The food is excellent. The wine menu is ample. The location is prime. Only complaint is that it can get loud. Go during the week if you want to be able to hear your dinner companions. Highly recommend it even though it is loud because the food/ambiance is wonderful.

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Dining at Rioja was wonderful, with just a few drawbacks.

Pros:
? Inventive breads: orange fennel and lavender sourdough bread.
? Tuna tartar appetizer: though tiny, it was fresh with well-balanced flavors.
? Scallops: perfectly cooked.
? Pork belly & prawns: was a mixed success. The pork belly, salad, and gastrique were excellent. However, the prawns were fishy and the peanut sauce was much like eating peanut butter puree with pork.

Cons:
? Dessert: was a let-down. The sliver of angel food cake was completely soaked by the accompanying 'consomme' (aka juice), which ruins the lovely texture of angel food. It was also overwhelmed by the sorbet. Orange brandy 'cannoli' was fine but boring.
?? Lack of seasonal/summer ingredients. July & August are prime time for pastry chefs, with choices such as berries, peaches, cherries. The dessert menu was void of these lovely summer choices, with one strawberry dish as the only seasonal option.
? Crowded seating: a few of the tables (including ours) are simply too crowded. Denver's fine dining restaurants seem to have a problem with crowding the tables (undoubtedly with extra revenue in mind). It can be frustrating to constantly filter out the conversation of others.

2
★★★★☆

Dining at Rioja was wonderful, with just a few drawbacks.

Pros:
? Inventive breads: orange fennel and lavender sourdough bread.
? Tuna tartar appetizer: though tiny, it was fresh with well-balanced flavors.
? Scallops: perfectly cooked.
? Pork belly & prawns: was a mixed success. The pork belly, salad, and gastrique were excellent. However, the prawns were fishy and the peanut sauce was much like eating peanut butter puree with pork.

Cons:
? Dessert: was a let-down. The sliver of angel food cake was completely soaked by the accompanying 'consomme' (aka juice), which ruins the lovely texture of angel food. It was also overwhelmed by the sorbet. Orange brandy 'cannoli' was fine but boring.
?? Lack of seasonal/summer ingredients. July & August are prime time for pastry chefs, with choices such as berries, peaches, cherries. The dessert menu was void of these lovely summer choices, with one strawberry dish as the only seasonal option.
? Crowded seating: a few of the tables (including ours) are simply too crowded. Denver's fine dining restaurants seem to have a problem with crowding the tables (undoubtedly with extra revenue in mind). It can be frustrating to constantly filter out the conversation of others.

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Having been dining here since they opened. Great food and staff - fun place to go before a concert or show.

2
★★★★☆

Having been dining here since they opened. Great food and staff - fun place to go before a concert or show.

Pros: yummy food

Cons: to crowded to get table at last minute

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We throughly enjoy Riojas and have been dining there for years. Their food is outstanding and very innovative and the menu offers so many wonderful options. We've never been disappointed with food, ambience, or their courteous helpful staff. Our one complaint is that the last couple months or so, they are watering down their mixed drinks. No excuse for that! If alcohol prices are increasing, charge an extra 50 cents!

2
★★★★★

We throughly enjoy Riojas and have been dining there for years. Their food is outstanding and very innovative and the menu offers so many wonderful options. We've never been disappointed with food, ambience, or their courteous helpful staff. Our one complaint is that the last couple months or so, they are watering down their mixed drinks. No excuse for that! If alcohol prices are increasing, charge an extra 50 cents!

Pros: Food, atmosphere, service.

Cons: Water-downed drinks.

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My wife and I went to Rioja for dinner and had great time. The food was very well cooked. The service was attentive and at the same time was very friendly. It was weekend but the restaurant was full. The portion of the food was just right that you can finish the appetizer and the main course and still have room for dessert. I ordered their lemon gnocchi for appetizer which was really good. It was full of flavor. My wife ordered duck but it was a little undercook. At first she didn't want to say anything but our server noticed right away and offered to bring it back into the kitchen. For dessert, We ordered their version of smore. The chocolate wasn't too sweet, just the way I would love to have it. We would rate the food 4 stars and service 5 stars. One little nitpick was we felt the tables were a little too close but overall it was great and we will definitely come back.

2
★★★★★

My wife and I went to Rioja for dinner and had great time. The food was very well cooked. The service was attentive and at the same time was very friendly. It was weekend but the restaurant was full. The portion of the food was just right that you can finish the appetizer and the main course and still have room for dessert. I ordered their lemon gnocchi for appetizer which was really good. It was full of flavor. My wife ordered duck but it was a little undercook. At first she didn't want to say anything but our server noticed right away and offered to bring it back into the kitchen. For dessert, We ordered their version of smore. The chocolate wasn't too sweet, just the way I would love to have it. We would rate the food 4 stars and service 5 stars. One little nitpick was we felt the tables were a little too close but overall it was great and we will definitely come back.

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I was recently on vacation in Denver and went to Rioja for brunch. It was delicious! I highly recommend this trendy restaurant in a trendy area of Denver!

4
★★★★☆

I was recently on vacation in Denver and went to Rioja for brunch. It was delicious! I highly recommend this trendy restaurant in a trendy area of Denver!

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I went on a Tuesday night to celebrate an anniversary with my girlfriend, and had book my table through OpenTable . com which was great as well. I had a request for no prices on her menu, and mentioned an anniversary, but that was it. They called the day before to confirm the reservations plus that there were no prices on the menu. We got there and the service was amazing, the food can't even be described it was so incredible, and the atmosphere was fantastic. There was absolutely nothing about this dining experience that I would not want to experience again! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

2
★★★★★

I went on a Tuesday night to celebrate an anniversary with my girlfriend, and had book my table through OpenTable . com which was great as well. I had a request for no prices on her menu, and mentioned an anniversary, but that was it. They called the day before to confirm the reservations plus that there were no prices on the menu. We got there and the service was amazing, the food can't even be described it was so incredible, and the atmosphere was fantastic. There was absolutely nothing about this dining experience that I would not want to experience again! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Pros: Food, service, and atmosphere were the best I've ever experienced!

Cons: I can't afford to eat there every day

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My wife and I don't have a ton of money, and we get to go to high-caliber restaurants like this about once per year at most. Still, we've made it to a lot of the top rated spots in the Denver area, and all I can say about Rioja is that it is, to date, the single best dining experience we have ever had. The food was fantastic, the service was literally flawless, and the atmosphere was wonderfully intimate.

2
★★★★★

My wife and I don't have a ton of money, and we get to go to high-caliber restaurants like this about once per year at most. Still, we've made it to a lot of the top rated spots in the Denver area, and all I can say about Rioja is that it is, to date, the single best dining experience we have ever had. The food was fantastic, the service was literally flawless, and the atmosphere was wonderfully intimate.

Pros: Everything

Cons: Nothing

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Please pay no mind to the vindictive reviews from dining ?newbies? who have not been to Rioja more than once and who probably think the average McChain restaurant is innovative. As someone who has been going to Rioja since their opening, I can assure you that this is one of the best restaurants in town and they just keep getting better. Not only is the food sublime, but the staffers are consistently friendly, efficient, and work together well as a team. For one diner?s claim that the removal of artichokes from the artichoke tortelloni dish was a ?slight augmentation,? please know that this request is as ridiculous as ordering a Whopper and asking for them to remove the beef. Those of us who have eaten this luscious culinary marvel for years know that it is pasta stuffed with artichokes and served in an artichoke broth with braised artichokes and artichoke chips. As for the claim that there is only one veggie option on the menu, this is patently false. Further, believe it or not, restaurants are not required to cater to everyone's narrow preferences based on their food phobias and ideological beliefs. It is impossible to craft a menu to please every person in the world. If people would just open their minds a little and trust the chef, they would find that talented kitchens can turn seemingly-ordinary ingredients that your Aunt Melba may have ruined into a symphony of textures and flavors. I've ordered items here that I did not necessarily expect to enjoy based on my own preconceived notions yet ended up dazzled. For those of you who seem to constantly post about receiving ?rude? service around town, realize that the common denominator in this equation is YOU. If you are truly respectful, polite, and communicate well with your servers instead of being selfish and demanding, you may find that your dining experiences improve immeasurably.

2
★★★★★

Please pay no mind to the vindictive reviews from dining ?newbies? who have not been to Rioja more than once and who probably think the average McChain restaurant is innovative. As someone who has been going to Rioja since their opening, I can assure you that this is one of the best restaurants in town and they just keep getting better. Not only is the food sublime, but the staffers are consistently friendly, efficient, and work together well as a team. For one diner?s claim that the removal of artichokes from the artichoke tortelloni dish was a ?slight augmentation,? please know that this request is as ridiculous as ordering a Whopper and asking for them to remove the beef. Those of us who have eaten this luscious culinary marvel for years know that it is pasta stuffed with artichokes and served in an artichoke broth with braised artichokes and artichoke chips. As for the claim that there is only one veggie option on the menu, this is patently false. Further, believe it or not, restaurants are not required to cater to everyone's narrow preferences based on their food phobias and ideological beliefs. It is impossible to craft a menu to please every person in the world. If people would just open their minds a little and trust the chef, they would find that talented kitchens can turn seemingly-ordinary ingredients that your Aunt Melba may have ruined into a symphony of textures and flavors. I've ordered items here that I did not necessarily expect to enjoy based on my own preconceived notions yet ended up dazzled. For those of you who seem to constantly post about receiving ?rude? service around town, realize that the common denominator in this equation is YOU. If you are truly respectful, polite, and communicate well with your servers instead of being selfish and demanding, you may find that your dining experiences improve immeasurably.

Pros: Fantastic all of the time, but weekend brunch is one of the best in town

Cons: This restaurant is not in my neighborhood :)

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Last night I went to Rioja in a group and it was a complete disappointment. My girlfriend and I are both vegetarians, and there was only one thing on the menu for us to eat. It came out in under ten minutes, clearly pre-prepared and reheated. We didn't even eat it and the waiters didn't offer to get something else. Also, our waiter was extremely rude and unappreciative of us as customers; when I asked her if she could slightly augment a dish by not putting artichokes in it she refused. It wasn't only me who was frustrated with the food, the other people [who actually had more than one option seeing as they ate meat] also didn't think the food was up to par. Overall, it was a very expensive night with unsatisfactory service and food. I would not recommend Rioja to anyone.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Last night I went to Rioja in a group and it was a complete disappointment. My girlfriend and I are both vegetarians, and there was only one thing on the menu for us to eat. It came out in under ten minutes, clearly pre-prepared and reheated. We didn't even eat it and the waiters didn't offer to get something else. Also, our waiter was extremely rude and unappreciative of us as customers; when I asked her if she could slightly augment a dish by not putting artichokes in it she refused. It wasn't only me who was frustrated with the food, the other people [who actually had more than one option seeing as they ate meat] also didn't think the food was up to par. Overall, it was a very expensive night with unsatisfactory service and food. I would not recommend Rioja to anyone.

Pros: Somewhat enjoyable environment

Cons: Poor service and food

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My husband and I went to Rioja on a gift certificate. Thank goodness, because we would have never wanted to pay for the food we got.

Every piece of meat was overcooked. Everything was really oversalted. It was just a terrible disappointment.

The service was good, however.

1
★★☆☆☆

My husband and I went to Rioja on a gift certificate. Thank goodness, because we would have never wanted to pay for the food we got.

Every piece of meat was overcooked. Everything was really oversalted. It was just a terrible disappointment.

The service was good, however.

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Don't get me wrong, Rioja has good food... but it definitely did not live up to the hype. Our waiter was courteous and patient. My fiancee started with some sangria which she found to be nothing special. I played it safe with a Pellegrino. Took a while for the bread to arrive. When it did, it was nice to be able to select from a unique assortment.

For appetizers we ordered the fig, goat cheese, polenta tart and the pancetta-wrapped mozzerella. Both were good. I preferred the tart but my fiancee seemed to go the other way. Neither were Earth-shattering, however.

For entrees we ordered the leg of lamb and the seared tuna special. The lamb was nothing special. Actually, I would rate it below average. It was rather flavorless. My fiancee's tuna was cooked nicely but the celery root risotto, that the server raved about, was really not that great. I will admit, however, that the risotto was much better when eating it along with a bite of tuna rather than by itself.

I wouldn't be opposed to visiting Rioja again but if I was picking up the bill I would definitely suggest somewhere else like Mizuna or Cap Grille.

1
★★★☆☆

Don't get me wrong, Rioja has good food... but it definitely did not live up to the hype. Our waiter was courteous and patient. My fiancee started with some sangria which she found to be nothing special. I played it safe with a Pellegrino. Took a while for the bread to arrive. When it did, it was nice to be able to select from a unique assortment.

For appetizers we ordered the fig, goat cheese, polenta tart and the pancetta-wrapped mozzerella. Both were good. I preferred the tart but my fiancee seemed to go the other way. Neither were Earth-shattering, however.

For entrees we ordered the leg of lamb and the seared tuna special. The lamb was nothing special. Actually, I would rate it below average. It was rather flavorless. My fiancee's tuna was cooked nicely but the celery root risotto, that the server raved about, was really not that great. I will admit, however, that the risotto was much better when eating it along with a bite of tuna rather than by itself.

I wouldn't be opposed to visiting Rioja again but if I was picking up the bill I would definitely suggest somewhere else like Mizuna or Cap Grille.

Pros: Nice selection, good service, bread choices

Cons: Doesn't live up to the hype, food is nothing special

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I was impressed with the selection of items on the menu. There was really good desserts too. Not the greatest place for kids, as we got some "looks" from the hipsters everytime one made a peep, but the food was some of the best I've had in a long time.

2
★★★★☆

I was impressed with the selection of items on the menu. There was really good desserts too. Not the greatest place for kids, as we got some "looks" from the hipsters everytime one made a peep, but the food was some of the best I've had in a long time.

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This week was my third visit to Rioja. My two other visits were in 2006, and I walked out feeling very satisfied with my meal and overall dining experience. This time I was very disappointed. I hope this was just an off night and not a sign that the staff of Rioja are letting their usually outstanding cuisine slide downhill. The food was just okay and the service was also less than I expect. At this point in time, I would not recommend Rioja until they get their act together.

1
★★★☆☆

This week was my third visit to Rioja. My two other visits were in 2006, and I walked out feeling very satisfied with my meal and overall dining experience. This time I was very disappointed. I hope this was just an off night and not a sign that the staff of Rioja are letting their usually outstanding cuisine slide downhill. The food was just okay and the service was also less than I expect. At this point in time, I would not recommend Rioja until they get their act together.

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My fiance and I went to Rioja for a romantic dinner. We were seated immediately, and our server was very attentive. I ordered the horseradish and potato-crusted salmon, and it was absolutely delicious, as the salmon was perfectly cooked and the flavors well-developed and creatively combined. My fiance ordered the artichoke tortelloni, but he was less impressed than I - his plate barely contained enough pasta to feed a five year old, let alone a grown man. My plate also contained a little less food than I would have liked, especially for $20 a plate. We both agreed that the food was wonderful, however. Definitely a great place to go if you want to impress!

2
★★★★☆

My fiance and I went to Rioja for a romantic dinner. We were seated immediately, and our server was very attentive. I ordered the horseradish and potato-crusted salmon, and it was absolutely delicious, as the salmon was perfectly cooked and the flavors well-developed and creatively combined. My fiance ordered the artichoke tortelloni, but he was less impressed than I - his plate barely contained enough pasta to feed a five year old, let alone a grown man. My plate also contained a little less food than I would have liked, especially for $20 a plate. We both agreed that the food was wonderful, however. Definitely a great place to go if you want to impress!

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I had heard good things about Rioja, so I booked it for our first anniversary dinner on New Year's Eve 2006. Everything at Rioja was better than I hoped for. We had a reservation, and we were seated immediately. The restaurant was full, but the tables are spread out so it was not overwhelmingly packed. the atmosphere is nice while also hip and urban. We had complimentary glasses of champagne and appetizers brought to our table as a special anniversary treat! Our waiter was very attentive, and the menu has a great variety. We both ordered soup to start, and I had the gnocchi while my husband had pork. We also ordered a bottle of Spanish red wine (they have a great selection with good wines at reasonable prices as well as higher-end pricey wines). We had a great time, and the bill at the end of the night was less than it might have been at other downtown restaurants! We also stopped at the bar at Corridor 44 before dinner (right next door) for champagne cocktails. I definitely recommend both places!

2
★★★★★

I had heard good things about Rioja, so I booked it for our first anniversary dinner on New Year's Eve 2006. Everything at Rioja was better than I hoped for. We had a reservation, and we were seated immediately. The restaurant was full, but the tables are spread out so it was not overwhelmingly packed. the atmosphere is nice while also hip and urban. We had complimentary glasses of champagne and appetizers brought to our table as a special anniversary treat! Our waiter was very attentive, and the menu has a great variety. We both ordered soup to start, and I had the gnocchi while my husband had pork. We also ordered a bottle of Spanish red wine (they have a great selection with good wines at reasonable prices as well as higher-end pricey wines). We had a great time, and the bill at the end of the night was less than it might have been at other downtown restaurants! We also stopped at the bar at Corridor 44 before dinner (right next door) for champagne cocktails. I definitely recommend both places!

Pros: Great service, Romantic, Food was Delicious, Fun Upscale Atmosphere for Young Crowd

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We moved to CO 6 months ago so as "foodies" we are trying all the restaurants - Loved their other restaurant (Bistro Vendome - everything is great) so looked forward to Rioja - I could go into detail but it easier to say that everything was mediocre. Nothing really bad just very average.

1
★★★☆☆

We moved to CO 6 months ago so as "foodies" we are trying all the restaurants - Loved their other restaurant (Bistro Vendome - everything is great) so looked forward to Rioja - I could go into detail but it easier to say that everything was mediocre. Nothing really bad just very average.

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After reading these reviews of Rioja, I decided to try it for a birthday celebration. We arrived early, and though they graciously agreed to seat us, they gave us the worst seat in the house (though we did not know this at the time). This was the table nearest to the entrance and bar. The nearby booths - probably good seats - sat empty for about 45 minutes. Why not offer us a better seat? At the time we entered, the noise level was high even though the front room of the restaurant was only half full. By the time we left, that room was full, and the bar crowd was allowed to spill over into the dining area. We had a great view of the rear ends of a loud, noisy group of drinkers. We had to shout to each other and to the waitress, and were forced to leave without dessert.

The service was pleasant (well, as pleasant as it could be considering we had to shout to the waitress and she to us) and the food was all right. The pear flatbread was soggy, in my opinion. Artichoke tortellini were good but the portion was paltry (5 or 6 tortellini). The gnocchi were sort of unremarkable. Wine list was decent and the waitress talked knowledgeably about the wines.

Rioja, you need to decide whether it's worth subjecting the diners in the front room to the loudness of the bar crowd. At a minimum, you need to put some sort of barrier up between those too areas. It might help with the noise too.

Sadly, I can't recommend Rioja, and I won't be going back. YMMV.

1
★★☆☆☆

After reading these reviews of Rioja, I decided to try it for a birthday celebration. We arrived early, and though they graciously agreed to seat us, they gave us the worst seat in the house (though we did not know this at the time). This was the table nearest to the entrance and bar. The nearby booths - probably good seats - sat empty for about 45 minutes. Why not offer us a better seat? At the time we entered, the noise level was high even though the front room of the restaurant was only half full. By the time we left, that room was full, and the bar crowd was allowed to spill over into the dining area. We had a great view of the rear ends of a loud, noisy group of drinkers. We had to shout to each other and to the waitress, and were forced to leave without dessert.

The service was pleasant (well, as pleasant as it could be considering we had to shout to the waitress and she to us) and the food was all right. The pear flatbread was soggy, in my opinion. Artichoke tortellini were good but the portion was paltry (5 or 6 tortellini). The gnocchi were sort of unremarkable. Wine list was decent and the waitress talked knowledgeably about the wines.

Rioja, you need to decide whether it's worth subjecting the diners in the front room to the loudness of the bar crowd. At a minimum, you need to put some sort of barrier up between those too areas. It might help with the noise too.

Sadly, I can't recommend Rioja, and I won't be going back. YMMV.

Pros: Wine list, service

Cons: WAY too much noise

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i am a definite fan of rioja. everytime i have been there i have thought the service was excellent. they have THE BEST appetizer in denver (the pork belly). this bacon dish simply dissolves in your mouth. ( i would never think to order this, but it came highly recommended by the kitchen staff) the specialty pastas are also very good (artichoke pasta being the best). every single time we've visited we've had personal table visits by chef jen and the sous chef merlin. lunch leaves something to be desired. go at dinner, and try for brunch.

2
★★★★★

i am a definite fan of rioja. everytime i have been there i have thought the service was excellent. they have THE BEST appetizer in denver (the pork belly). this bacon dish simply dissolves in your mouth. ( i would never think to order this, but it came highly recommended by the kitchen staff) the specialty pastas are also very good (artichoke pasta being the best). every single time we've visited we've had personal table visits by chef jen and the sous chef merlin. lunch leaves something to be desired. go at dinner, and try for brunch.

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everything is perfect--location, ambience and food. Rioja is a wonderful addition to the Denver dining scene. It is a place to see and be seen. The food is simply better than anything else you will find downtown. It is unique and it is Denver's and our alone. Love it.

2
★★★★★

everything is perfect--location, ambience and food. Rioja is a wonderful addition to the Denver dining scene. It is a place to see and be seen. The food is simply better than anything else you will find downtown. It is unique and it is Denver's and our alone. Love it.

Pros: best spot in denver

Cons: none

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I'm in Denver at least twice a year and I always go to Rioja, usually with a fairly large group. The staff somehow remembers me, and we are always pleased with the food. On this most recent visit, the salad with 25 year old Balsamic vinegar was a standout, as was the ribeye that one of my companions had. The service was, however, extremely disappointing. For example, I asked that our party of 7 be brought some champagne as soon as we arrived, and it took them over 20 minutes to round up the necessary number of champagne glasses and get it to the table. The rest of the meal showed that our server was just not familiar with how to pace and course a fine dining meal. I will definitely return, but will specify that I'd like an experienced server.

2
★★★★★

I'm in Denver at least twice a year and I always go to Rioja, usually with a fairly large group. The staff somehow remembers me, and we are always pleased with the food. On this most recent visit, the salad with 25 year old Balsamic vinegar was a standout, as was the ribeye that one of my companions had. The service was, however, extremely disappointing. For example, I asked that our party of 7 be brought some champagne as soon as we arrived, and it took them over 20 minutes to round up the necessary number of champagne glasses and get it to the table. The rest of the meal showed that our server was just not familiar with how to pace and course a fine dining meal. I will definitely return, but will specify that I'd like an experienced server.

Pros: Good Food, outdoor seating, friendly bar

Cons: Slow, inexperienced service

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We just happened to run into this place while exploring the neighborhood for a interesting lunch spot. The patio seating was very quaint, and our service was amazing. I've read a few reviews which rated the service as so-so, but I was extremely impressed by how well we were taken care of, and how perfectly timed the service was. Equally impressive was the food. The presentation was gorgeous, and the flavors were amazing. I highly recommend "the picnic". Our pastas were both so perfectly prepared. The chefs obviously take a great deal of pride in what they do. I am enamored with Rioja, and will happily and enthusiasticly recommend it to anyone!

2
★★★★☆

We just happened to run into this place while exploring the neighborhood for a interesting lunch spot. The patio seating was very quaint, and our service was amazing. I've read a few reviews which rated the service as so-so, but I was extremely impressed by how well we were taken care of, and how perfectly timed the service was. Equally impressive was the food. The presentation was gorgeous, and the flavors were amazing. I highly recommend "the picnic". Our pastas were both so perfectly prepared. The chefs obviously take a great deal of pride in what they do. I am enamored with Rioja, and will happily and enthusiasticly recommend it to anyone!

Pros: Service, menu diversity, food quality

Cons: slightly higher prices for lunch, but still a great value for the quality!

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We entertained clients on a Monday night and the restaurant was packed. I had the scallops which were wonderful. Cooked to perfection. The heirloom tomato salad was a touch of heaven. Portions are reasonable. The menu has an interesting selection which would satisfy red meat eaters, persons watching there diet or seafood lovers. Fascinating wine selection and the sommelier didn't push us into wildly expensive picks. The service was below average and we were interrupted several times when the waitress came by at inopportune moments. The staff was oblivious to what was happening at the table. It's my own pet peeve. If we are in a discussion we feel the staff can come back by rather than interrupting. I know this may not be an easy task.

Atmosphere was nice but it's way too loud. Reminiscent of Del Frisco. I would not recommend this as a date spot. With all this said, I do recommend you try Rioja, but we probably won't be back. Too many other places to try. In most cases we prefer a leisurely dinning experience.

1
★★★☆☆

We entertained clients on a Monday night and the restaurant was packed. I had the scallops which were wonderful. Cooked to perfection. The heirloom tomato salad was a touch of heaven. Portions are reasonable. The menu has an interesting selection which would satisfy red meat eaters, persons watching there diet or seafood lovers. Fascinating wine selection and the sommelier didn't push us into wildly expensive picks. The service was below average and we were interrupted several times when the waitress came by at inopportune moments. The staff was oblivious to what was happening at the table. It's my own pet peeve. If we are in a discussion we feel the staff can come back by rather than interrupting. I know this may not be an easy task.

Atmosphere was nice but it's way too loud. Reminiscent of Del Frisco. I would not recommend this as a date spot. With all this said, I do recommend you try Rioja, but we probably won't be back. Too many other places to try. In most cases we prefer a leisurely dinning experience.

Pros: Well prepaired food and unique items. Nice reasonably price wines.

Cons: Loud, the staff will not hesitate to interrupt your converstaion and you need reservations.

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Quite possibly one of the best restaurants in Denver. We had amazing appetizers (tuna tartare and prosciutto wrapped mozzarella), great wine and a wonderful entree (salmon special). I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. If you haven't made it to Rioja yet, it's a Denver must!

2
★★★★★

Quite possibly one of the best restaurants in Denver. We had amazing appetizers (tuna tartare and prosciutto wrapped mozzarella), great wine and a wonderful entree (salmon special). I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. If you haven't made it to Rioja yet, it's a Denver must!

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My mom and I went to brunch here on weekend. It was wonderful. We were seated immediatley. I recommend the "Mochakick" in place of coffee. It was delicious and the glass was delightful. During the Brunch hours the resturant was not packed or loud. Our waiter was wonderful and we did not have to ask for anything before it was offered. The bread basket allows you to try 5 different types of bread such as goat cheese and rosemary/thyme. The Brunch desserts are also wonderful. Delicious and not overpriced.

2
★★★★★

My mom and I went to brunch here on weekend. It was wonderful. We were seated immediatley. I recommend the "Mochakick" in place of coffee. It was delicious and the glass was delightful. During the Brunch hours the resturant was not packed or loud. Our waiter was wonderful and we did not have to ask for anything before it was offered. The bread basket allows you to try 5 different types of bread such as goat cheese and rosemary/thyme. The Brunch desserts are also wonderful. Delicious and not overpriced.

Pros: Brunch, Food

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I always thought the first time I'd write a review would be because I was disappointed with a place. Instead, I'm glad to be writing about the wonderful experience my wife and son had tonight at Rioja. The food and the service were unbeatable. Thanks to earlier reviews we tried some of the items mentioned by others. The carmelized pear flatbread was a great way to start. I had a marvelous caulifower and fuji apple soup. My wife swooned over her asparagus salad (which was her entree); my son drooled over his seafood risotto and I couldn't believe how good the artichoke tortellini was. This was one of the best meals I've had in a long time -- anywhere!

2
★★★★★

I always thought the first time I'd write a review would be because I was disappointed with a place. Instead, I'm glad to be writing about the wonderful experience my wife and son had tonight at Rioja. The food and the service were unbeatable. Thanks to earlier reviews we tried some of the items mentioned by others. The carmelized pear flatbread was a great way to start. I had a marvelous caulifower and fuji apple soup. My wife swooned over her asparagus salad (which was her entree); my son drooled over his seafood risotto and I couldn't believe how good the artichoke tortellini was. This was one of the best meals I've had in a long time -- anywhere!

Pros: Service, Food

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Went to Rioja with three other couples to celebrate a big business deal. SO MUCH FUN! The appetizers were excellent - Hubby and I ordered the mozzerella and I'm still dreaming about it. For my main course I had the scallops and loved them. My husband had the veal cheeks because it came highly recommended and they were taking it off the menu after that night (they take a few of the heavier things off for spring/summer and add them back in fall/winter). The veal was unbelievably tender and delicious. For dessert I got the beignets since they were recommended by fellow diners - great stuff! Everyone at the table but me (I'm pregnant) was raving about the various wines, and the red wine I smelled (!) was heavenly! Go treat yourself to a great evening at Rioja, you won't be disappointed.

2
★★★★★

Went to Rioja with three other couples to celebrate a big business deal. SO MUCH FUN! The appetizers were excellent - Hubby and I ordered the mozzerella and I'm still dreaming about it. For my main course I had the scallops and loved them. My husband had the veal cheeks because it came highly recommended and they were taking it off the menu after that night (they take a few of the heavier things off for spring/summer and add them back in fall/winter). The veal was unbelievably tender and delicious. For dessert I got the beignets since they were recommended by fellow diners - great stuff! Everyone at the table but me (I'm pregnant) was raving about the various wines, and the red wine I smelled (!) was heavenly! Go treat yourself to a great evening at Rioja, you won't be disappointed.

Pros: Fast Seating, Wonderful Food, Great Selection

Cons: Loud

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I love this place. I have been there three times, and every time it is wonderful. We had to wait for a table even though we had a reservation, but they were very apologetic. The food was marvelous. We had a party of 12, and they took great care of us an dlet us sit and eat and drink for over 2.5 hours and we never felt rushed. The cheese plate is supurb.

2
★★★★★

I love this place. I have been there three times, and every time it is wonderful. We had to wait for a table even though we had a reservation, but they were very apologetic. The food was marvelous. We had a party of 12, and they took great care of us an dlet us sit and eat and drink for over 2.5 hours and we never felt rushed. The cheese plate is supurb.

Pros: food,, service

Cons: parking

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After reading a couple of so so reviews, I was a bit skeptical. A group of us went and had a great time - the food was incredible. The waiter did not rush us and gave us guidance through the menu. Amongst many things, we had the flatbread with pears and goat (?) cheese - it was to die for. He also suggested the beignets for dessert which didn't sound so good on the menu BUT - they were unbelievable. This is an unbelievable restaurant, I'm trying to figure out how quickly I can get back there!

2
★★★★★

After reading a couple of so so reviews, I was a bit skeptical. A group of us went and had a great time - the food was incredible. The waiter did not rush us and gave us guidance through the menu. Amongst many things, we had the flatbread with pears and goat (?) cheese - it was to die for. He also suggested the beignets for dessert which didn't sound so good on the menu BUT - they were unbelievable. This is an unbelievable restaurant, I'm trying to figure out how quickly I can get back there!

Pros: food, location, fun

Cons: a bit noisy

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Rioja is one of the places I LOVE to eat or dine! I love the homemade mozzarella app., the ambience is great, and so is the service. Great spot for a "date"!

2
★★★★☆

Rioja is one of the places I LOVE to eat or dine! I love the homemade mozzarella app., the ambience is great, and so is the service. Great spot for a "date"!

Pros: ambience, service, food

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We were sat 40 minutes after our reservation. Very Noisy! Service was spotty, twice we were brought something we didn't order and server often couldn't remember who ordered what when putting the plates down. The menu was very inventive and there were some bright spots, mainly with the appetizers, pastas and desserts. Entrees were mediocre and overpriced for the quality received. A big disapointment based on what we'd heard. Head to Panzano instead!

1
★★★☆☆

We were sat 40 minutes after our reservation. Very Noisy! Service was spotty, twice we were brought something we didn't order and server often couldn't remember who ordered what when putting the plates down. The menu was very inventive and there were some bright spots, mainly with the appetizers, pastas and desserts. Entrees were mediocre and overpriced for the quality received. A big disapointment based on what we'd heard. Head to Panzano instead!

Pros: Appetizers/Desserts, Unique Menu

Cons: Spotty Service, Very Loud, Entrees

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My husband and I dined at Rioja this past week and were sorely disappointed in the entire experience. We felt that the food was highly overrated and overpriced; our appetizer of baked mozzerella wrapped in proscuitto (which sounds wonderful) was rubbery and served with burnt toasts. Our waitress was highly disinterested in our table but fawned over another table right next to us. The entrees (lamb and hanger steak) were good, but for the price, not what you would expect. We will not be so quick as to try out the trendy places after this experience, nor will we return to Rioja.

1
★★★☆☆

My husband and I dined at Rioja this past week and were sorely disappointed in the entire experience. We felt that the food was highly overrated and overpriced; our appetizer of baked mozzerella wrapped in proscuitto (which sounds wonderful) was rubbery and served with burnt toasts. Our waitress was highly disinterested in our table but fawned over another table right next to us. The entrees (lamb and hanger steak) were good, but for the price, not what you would expect. We will not be so quick as to try out the trendy places after this experience, nor will we return to Rioja.

Cons: Overpriced, Disinterested waiters

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We had heard so many good things about Rioja!! Unfortunately we experienced none of them. The restaurant was so noisy that I could not hear my dinner companions unless they yelled. The food was not fabulous as I had expected. It was on the level of an anonymous neighborhood grill or bistro, without the charm and personal attention. Two of the four entrees were just lukewarm. The lamb was good, but the veal cheek was dry. The dessert tasted as if it came from a supermarket bakery counter. The food fell short of a gourmet level (and price) of dining. We dine out often, and have our favorites. We were hoping this would become one of them, but it was disappointing.

1
★★★☆☆

We had heard so many good things about Rioja!! Unfortunately we experienced none of them. The restaurant was so noisy that I could not hear my dinner companions unless they yelled. The food was not fabulous as I had expected. It was on the level of an anonymous neighborhood grill or bistro, without the charm and personal attention. Two of the four entrees were just lukewarm. The lamb was good, but the veal cheek was dry. The dessert tasted as if it came from a supermarket bakery counter. The food fell short of a gourmet level (and price) of dining. We dine out often, and have our favorites. We were hoping this would become one of them, but it was disappointing.

Cons: Noisy

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my experience with this restaurant was very unfavorable. the management does not seem to be able to communicate effeciently with their employees, and also employees don't seem to be able to interact well amongst each other. which makes this place not to be a very good working environment, and because of this makes the dining for its customers awful.

0
★☆☆☆☆

my experience with this restaurant was very unfavorable. the management does not seem to be able to communicate effeciently with their employees, and also employees don't seem to be able to interact well amongst each other. which makes this place not to be a very good working environment, and because of this makes the dining for its customers awful.

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Rioja has rapidly become one of my favorite places to dine. The crowd at Rioja is elegant and exotic. Everyone is there for great food and a great time. The food is wonderful. They have a menu that changes frequently so you never know what you will be trying. Also they have a superb wine list.

2
★★★★★

Rioja has rapidly become one of my favorite places to dine. The crowd at Rioja is elegant and exotic. Everyone is there for great food and a great time. The food is wonderful. They have a menu that changes frequently so you never know what you will be trying. Also they have a superb wine list.

Pros: valet

Cons: loud

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Went here for my birthday and had a spectacular time. Solid winelist and the waiter made a terrific recommendation.
Wes started with the flatbread topped with fresh sturgeon and caviar. It was terrific and came out very quickly.
The waiter available throuhout the night but not constantly "looming."
Entrees were the veal cheek and salmon...both were great and just the right size.
For dessert you can go wrong with any of the options!
It was also nice to see the head chef talking with the diners throughout.
At the end of the night, the bill was shockingly mild (in comparison for what our meals might've cost elsewhere)
Rioja is highly recommended!

2
★★★★★

Went here for my birthday and had a spectacular time. Solid winelist and the waiter made a terrific recommendation.
Wes started with the flatbread topped with fresh sturgeon and caviar. It was terrific and came out very quickly.
The waiter available throuhout the night but not constantly "looming."
Entrees were the veal cheek and salmon...both were great and just the right size.
For dessert you can go wrong with any of the options!
It was also nice to see the head chef talking with the diners throughout.
At the end of the night, the bill was shockingly mild (in comparison for what our meals might've cost elsewhere)
Rioja is highly recommended!

Pros: Service, Food, Wine

Cons: Crowded

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Great Food, Great Service, Great Atmosphere, The open kitchen is so much fun, and a great way to sneak in without a reservation. The staff is so nice and friendly, we are always greeted as if we were old friends. What a great restaurant!!!

2
★★★★★

Great Food, Great Service, Great Atmosphere, The open kitchen is so much fun, and a great way to sneak in without a reservation. The staff is so nice and friendly, we are always greeted as if we were old friends. What a great restaurant!!!

Pros: Food, Service, Atmosphere

Cons: reservations a must, Parking

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We wanted to try something different this weekend for brunch, so decided on Rioja. When we arrived we waited at the hostess stand for quite some time before being acknowledged by anyone. Nobody even looked at us or said "I will be right with you". After being seated the waitstaff was described by my husband as being "abrasive". The food looked beautiful and tasted very good. Suddenly we had the attention of every waiter in the place trying to take away our plates before we were finished. I had to tell 3 people not to take away our plate of french toast. A couple of items were removed without asking and we were not done. The food was great, the atmosphere fine, but will not return because of the service. I am generally an easy going customer and I am really willing to over look alot if people are nice.

1
★★☆☆☆

We wanted to try something different this weekend for brunch, so decided on Rioja. When we arrived we waited at the hostess stand for quite some time before being acknowledged by anyone. Nobody even looked at us or said "I will be right with you". After being seated the waitstaff was described by my husband as being "abrasive". The food looked beautiful and tasted very good. Suddenly we had the attention of every waiter in the place trying to take away our plates before we were finished. I had to tell 3 people not to take away our plate of french toast. A couple of items were removed without asking and we were not done. The food was great, the atmosphere fine, but will not return because of the service. I am generally an easy going customer and I am really willing to over look alot if people are nice.

Pros: Tasty Food

Cons: Horrid Snotty Service

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Myself and a few friends went to dinner here about 7:30 on a Thursday night. The restaurant was busy but we only ended up waiting about 10 minutes for a table. We started out with the baked mozzarella appetizer which was excellent. They brought a bread basket as well which had about three different types of bread....all 3 were good. I had the appetizer portion of the veal and pork toasted cannelloni which was excellent....toasting the cannelloni gave it an interesting texture. Service was excellent as well. My sister has already been back and had a repeat experience and I am definitely looking forward to coming back here as well.

2
★★★★★

Myself and a few friends went to dinner here about 7:30 on a Thursday night. The restaurant was busy but we only ended up waiting about 10 minutes for a table. We started out with the baked mozzarella appetizer which was excellent. They brought a bread basket as well which had about three different types of bread....all 3 were good. I had the appetizer portion of the veal and pork toasted cannelloni which was excellent....toasting the cannelloni gave it an interesting texture. Service was excellent as well. My sister has already been back and had a repeat experience and I am definitely looking forward to coming back here as well.

Pros: interesting flavors, service

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Each experience has been very disappointing. Gummy Risotto, Burnt Fig Pizza and No Bread summarizes my visits. Service was also poor - the waiter even apologized for how bad everything was.

1
★★★☆☆

Each experience has been very disappointing. Gummy Risotto, Burnt Fig Pizza and No Bread summarizes my visits. Service was also poor - the waiter even apologized for how bad everything was.

Pros: Location

Cons: Food Consistency , Service

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The decor is simple but pleasant at this busy establishment. We were seated about 20 minutes after our reservation. We started with two items: the crispy angel hair wrapped shrimp - not sure where the "angle hair" part came in but it was good, and the well presented rioja picnic - consisted of chorizo, air-dried duck breast, shaved Speck, pine nut crusted goat cheese, olives, and almonds - which was plenty to share. For our entrees we tried the roasted duck breast (which was excellent) and the lamb which was also quite good. We found the wine list to be reasonably priced. Had the cheese plate for dessert. It was good but should be served with crustini or bread of some sort. Our server was excellent. Valet parking available for $8.

2
★★★★☆

The decor is simple but pleasant at this busy establishment. We were seated about 20 minutes after our reservation. We started with two items: the crispy angel hair wrapped shrimp - not sure where the "angle hair" part came in but it was good, and the well presented rioja picnic - consisted of chorizo, air-dried duck breast, shaved Speck, pine nut crusted goat cheese, olives, and almonds - which was plenty to share. For our entrees we tried the roasted duck breast (which was excellent) and the lamb which was also quite good. We found the wine list to be reasonably priced. Had the cheese plate for dessert. It was good but should be served with crustini or bread of some sort. Our server was excellent. Valet parking available for $8.

Pros: Inventive dishes, Reasonable wines, Service

Cons: Very busy

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I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday at Rioja. It was busy and we did not get seated until 30 minutes after our reservation time; however we were compensated with a couple appetizers on the house and the staff was very apologetic. We had a party of 6 and everyone had a wonderful time. The food was absolutely amazing. The Gorgonzola Ravioli and Veal and Pork Cannelloni were our favorite appetizers. The Grilled Salmon was cooked to perfection. The service was top notch and very attentive. You must check this restaurant out.

2
★★★★★

I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday at Rioja. It was busy and we did not get seated until 30 minutes after our reservation time; however we were compensated with a couple appetizers on the house and the staff was very apologetic. We had a party of 6 and everyone had a wonderful time. The food was absolutely amazing. The Gorgonzola Ravioli and Veal and Pork Cannelloni were our favorite appetizers. The Grilled Salmon was cooked to perfection. The service was top notch and very attentive. You must check this restaurant out.

Pros: Excellent Menu, Great Ambiance, Terrific Staff

Review Partner
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The chef from Panzano, Jennifer J, has opened her own restaurant in Larimer Square. The decor is beautiful - exposed brick, solid warm colors. The server brought by a basket of many delicious breads to start. The open kitchen was

4
★★★★★

The chef from Panzano, Jennifer J, has opened her own restaurant in Larimer Square. The decor is beautiful - exposed brick, solid warm colors. The server brought by a basket of many delicious breads to start. The open kitchen was

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We were told Rioja is the hot Denver place right now. We live in Boulder (30 minutes from Denver) so when we travel to Denver for dinner, we only want the best.This was the best. The restaurant is medium sized - not too small, but not

5
★★★★★

We were told Rioja is the hot Denver place right now. We live in Boulder (30 minutes from Denver) so when we travel to Denver for dinner, we only want the best.This was the best. The restaurant is medium sized - not too small, but not

Editorial from

The simple decor---crisp white tablecloths, mango-colored walls, exposed brick and warm golden-brown booths---creates a pleasing play of textures. The same is true of the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Each plate that comes out of…

 

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