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Rioja - Houston, TX - Reviews page 1 - Judysbook


11920 Westheimer Rd (at Kirkwood Drive)
Houston, TX 77077
(713) 249-1727
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Rioja - Houston, TX


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I have been to Mi Luna, Tintos, and Andalucia in Houston and all have disappointed. Riojas is the best place for tapas in Houston. After spending a summer in Spain, this is the o...


I visited the restaurant with my family and at first the experience was good. The tapas were fine. We ordered sangria just to realize it was from a bottle rather than freshly prep...

Editorial review from Citysearch 9/25/2013

I spoke with the owner to place a catering order for 10 people for my father's birthday dinner. Over the phone I was told the price for the Paella Mixta (Valencia Saffron Rice, Prawns, Shrimp, Mussels, Calamari, chicken and home-made chorizo) is $18.95 per person, but he would give it to me for $16. I thought I was getting a decent deal, until I looked at their catering prices online and it showed $17.95 per person, plus a 20% discount on orders of 10 or more. I decided I would bring it up when I picked up my order.\r \r I arrived at the restaurant at the agreed time, only to be told that they forgot my order. The staff member who was helping me said she had a lot on her mind, and she knows she has that order somewhere. I repeated my order to her, and I was told it would be right out. I brought up the issue of the pricing, and she refused to honor it. Instead she gave me a $3.00 discount for my trouble. I waited over 30 minutes, and finally my order was ready. Had this been any other occasion I would have walked right out, but my father's birthday guests were waiting.\r \r At the dinner party, I discovered that the Paella had ZERO chicken, and barely enough shrimp to cover 1 per person! Not only was I made to wait for my over-priced order, it did not have all the components listed on their menu. I will be contacting the owner regarding my experience. more

Best Tapas in Houston by far! 11/28/2010

I have been to Mi Luna, Tintos, and Andalucia in Houston and all have disappointed. Riojas is the best place for tapas in Houston. After spending a summer in Spain, this is the only place in Houston that I have tried that serves genuine Spanish cuisine. Great sangria too – not the water downed sangria they serve at the other places. Great place to celebrate with a large party, I had a table of 12 and the staff was very attentive and helpful more

WOW tapas! 4/9/2010

The lunch tapas selection is great! the wine selection incredible, and I have yet to experience brunch here. Check out pictures of the patio on Facebook-""Around the World in 80 Restaurants"". \r Great for families. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Pros: Beautiful patio more

Welcome to Spain. The Best Dining in Houston 1/24/2010

I received celebrity treatment from the moment I stepped into the door all the way until I left. Bravo! I had the brunch which was superb! I have never had such an elegant brunch as such a reasonable price. A bonus was the FREE bottomless mimosas and sangria. I was in heaven. I have never received such great service. The waitresses were a great team, and you could tell that they genuinely liked working there. They had a great family vibe, but still maintained prestige and elegance. This restaraunt deserves its 5 stars. I was blown away at the delicious food and its beautiful presentation. The owner of this establishment should be very proud. I can not say enough good things. I will be back, this time for dinner. Do not pass up this place! You will regret it. Everyone needs a getaway to Spain at reasonable prices (and without motion sickness!) This is it! It is my understanding that they do caterings as well. If there catering is anything like the dining experience, then count me in! This food would awe any critic and please any crowd. Rioja, wow. Pros: Awesome Food, Better Service! Spectacular Wine List Cons: The parking.. if I was being nit-picky more

Nice night out in the West of Houston 11/14/2009

Went on a Saturday night with my father. We shared 3 tapas and an entree, the paella. The food was really good, though the paella was a bit heavy on the chorizo. The house wine was only $15 per bottle and only $5 for takeout! I had both the white and the red and they were both great. My dad bought a mixed case!\r It was a beautiful evening so we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful patio. Check it out... Pros: That house wine will keep you happy...for little money Cons: The Paella had too much chorizo...but that's a small price.. more

Great Girls Night Out 2/28/2009

I called same day for a party of 15, after some confusion with another restauarant.\r The owner was attentive and helpful, and my wife and her friends had a great time.\r The Tapas were delicious and they loved the atmosphere and attentive service.\r \r I'm the wife and had a whale of a time!!! Myself and my friends.\r We were in a lovely room off to ourselves which was probably just as well for everyone else as we were not quiet!! Although we did have a few other diners popping their heads in to say hello and try to join the party.\r The tapas were yummy, varied and plentiful and the wine was excellent. Great place for a group but I noticed lots of smaller tables too so next time when we return it may be with a few less appetities.\r Thank You very much for a wonderful 40th celebration. You all gave us a glorious meal in great atmosphere and made me feel quite quite fabulous!!\r \r We'll be back soon! Pros: great food and service Cons: need another location in Cypress!! more

Excellent food, the best wine menu, great service and relaxing amotsphere 1/16/2009

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! Even my ten year old son now craves Riojas' steak and Asparagus! Excellent food, great service and relaxing amotsphere. I wish I had a Rioja in my home town! Pros: excellent food and wine menu Cons: sometimes hard to find parking space more

San Francisco Treat 12/15/2008

Crab Empanadas = Flavorless Grease\r Custard/Creme Brulee = sugarwater with blowtorch\r Paella = Rice -A -Roni with a bucket of seawater on top \r Sangria =welch's grape juice with water and a splash of box wine Pros: It made me laugh Cons: Seafood Microwave Meals, Not Good more

I've had better. 12/14/2008

:( \r \r \r \r Cons: Food more

Mediocre Food ... Services as Average 11/22/2008

After watching Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow travel through Spain, we had major cravings for tapas. So of to Rioja we went on a Friday night. We were greeted with a ""Do you have a reservation?"" Little mifffed, but I let it go. We were offered a drink and chose a sangria. After we were seated, it took a few minutes for the staff to bring a menu. We ordered a bottle of wine, an asparagus appetizer, the chorizo and something else I can't remember. The asparagus was CANNED (ie soft) asparagus topped with MAYONAISE. The chorizo was lukewarm, and definitly not homemade. In order words ... we were totally disappointed ! Don't plan on going back at all. Mi Luna certainly has better tapas, and I'm willing to put up with their non-existent parking. more

Great Customer Service 10/5/2008

Excellent Service, casual dress, great atmosphere. The gazpacho was really amazing; it was a great mixture of several fantastic flavors. The mushrooms cooked in garlic and red peppers were another really wonderful treat. The grilled Angus beef was a culinary delight, the knife went through the beef like butter and the taste was just astounding. This is a place I would definitely return to over and over again.\r \r Pros: Ambience, Service, Right Amount of Food, more


First Of All, Let me say that Rioja has the best service. Their waitstaff was friendly and attentive. Also, I was promptly seated. The wine list was extraordinary. I went on a Sunday, and they have brunch, BOTTOMLESS Sangria and Mimosas. I sat on the patio, which was well kept, quiet and clean. I ate the award winning paella. It was excellent. I indulged in a chocolate tart for desert. This is one of the most incredible restaraunt experiences that I have had in Houston (It was like dining in Spain!) I frequent 4 and 5 star restaraunts, and I am so impressed with this place in comparison to the other places I've had dinner. I am recommending it to all of my friends and family. You must go. Pros: the brunch and mimosas were definately a bonus. The service was stellar. I got celebrity-like treatment. Cons: They could have had a more extensive dessert menu. more

Terrible mix or seafood paella to go. 9/21/2008

Their seafood or mix paella is the worst paella I have purchased to go in my live. I took to the restaurant my own ""paellera"" and they placed in this just the cooked rice. They provided 2 more containers, one of them with steamed moussels, calamary and shrimps and the second once with pieces of fish and ""chorizos"" (sausages). \r Finally, we have to mix all together in order to show something like a ""paella"" to our friends.\r more

SPAIN GETAWAY !! 8/21/2008

Rioja is the first place that comes to my mind when I want authentic spaniard food. Rioja's is an all around great place to dine with a prime location, wonderful menu, friendly staff, great wine list, wonderful sangria,and who can forget the paella and tapas. TWO THUMBS WAY UP !!! more

Tasty Tapas 6/13/2008

This restaurant so charmed me on a first visit with some ladies who lunch this spring, that I returned 4 more times over the next few weeks with my husband who agrees it is a great place for tapas. I'm not a big fan of paella, and previously hadn't found a tapas restaurant in Houston that I would return to. I mean, boiled new potatoes topped with mayo and plates like that. Here at Rioja, I love the garlic soup with a poached egg, the really flavorful, fresh grilled sardines (which were deboned at the table for my husband, but not for us girls...I guess we looked capable), and the baguette topped with serrano ham and drizzled with good quality olive oil, which nearly gave me the vapors. I did, in fact, swoon the evening I ordered the grilled baby lamb chops. And then there was the lunch when I ordered the grilled sushi grade salmon from column 3, which was quickly grilled and served quite rightly as still sushi internally, and stifled a moan since I was in polite company. Choose 3 tapas from 3 columns at lunch for $13.95. Overall about 30 choices. With the complementary bread, you will not go hungry. Lunch at Rioja for my husband and I precludes dinner that day. Some dishes we were not so fond of include the camelized egg yolk dessert, which had little flavor and the cod stuffed piquililo peppers. Being anglophiles and cheese hounds we liked the cheese plate (offered as an appetizer), and the broiled goat cheese and Romesco dip. I haven't tried the french baguette sandwiches, because I can't get past the tapas. I will try again today and persist until I reach that goal. Meantime, Viva Spain!! Viva Rioja! Pros: Fresh, exciting combinations at value prices Cons: Closed Saturday for Lunch - Boo! more

Great place to visit on a Sunday 6/1/2008

Sunday seems to be the best day to go. For $26 a head, you each get your choice of any 3 tapas and an entree., as well as bottomless Mimosas or Sangria. The tapas were hardly ""little bites"" There were 4 of us, so we had a pretty good variety of tastes to sample. Though plenitful, the food was a bit bland for our taste. The service was very good, as was the ambiance and they kept the wine flowing.\r The only negative was the waitress also tried to stick us with a 33% tip, but removed it when I complained. That left a sour taste on our tongues, Not to mention she got a smaller tip than she would have gotten without the funny business. Pros: Sunday brunch is a great way to check out a variety of dishes. Cons: They try to stick you with a 30% tip more

Great Birthday Host 5/12/2008

We recently had a large birthday party (25+), and have to say it was a 5 star evening. Luis, co-owner/host, was very accommodating (they allowed us to bring our own B-cake, without a 'corking fee') and flexible. The wait staff was on que, once they got lined out and given expectations and the atmoshpere was appropriate. The band played salsa/latin rythms and provided a brief exibition of a flamenco dance. The food (tapas & paella) was very authentic and the beverage, sangria was refreshing. I would encourage anyone to explore this very nice flavor of Spanish culture. Pros: Food, Service, Atmosphere Cons: None that I can think of more

rioja 7/17/2007

I visited Rioja not sure what to expect, and I was happily surprised. The only tapa I did not like where the sardine tapas. I'm not a fan of sardine, but still gave it a try. I've been to Rioja for lunch with my daughter and for dinner with my husband, and we all loved the food. I had been to other tapas restaurants, but Rioja is so far the best tapas restaurant I have visited. We have tried a bit of everything, and just about all of it was good. The atmosphere is very pleasant. There is one desert I keep ordering at Rioja: the pears. Best wine pears I've had. I'm looking forward to attending a Flamenco night! more

terrible customer service for large parties 7/11/2007

I have heard wonderful things about Rioja's food and have not tried it, so I will not comment on it. However, my mother and I wished to reserve for a large bridal shower and were very rudely spoken to over the phone on three separate phone calls. We will not be using this place for any large or special event! What a shame. more

Bad experience overall. Bad customer service. Pay attention to the check. 6/16/2007

I visited the restaurant with my family and at first the experience was good. The tapas were fine. We ordered sangria just to realize it was from a bottle rather than freshly prepared. Then came the bad part, they brought my son's steak before anybody else's food. It was undercooked. They took it back and fixed it. Then they brought my Bacalao a la Vasca. It was good but they still did not bring anybody else's food. Finally, they brought the two paellas we asked for. The shrimp on top was good but that was as far as it went. The rice was greasy and tasteless, the ingredients were badly prepared. Neither my wife nor my son-in-law could finish it up. Then we ordered 5 flans for dessert. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is the worst flan we have ever tried. Not to mention it was over-priced and under-sized. Neither one of us could finish it...not even my grandchildren. Finally, please pay attention to the check. They arbitrarily added a 30% tip hoping that we did not notice it. Obviously we brought it down to 18% and actually we over-tipped them for very poor service. Overall a bad experience. We do not recommend the restaurant. Pros: Some tapas were good. Cons: Terrible service. Bad main course. more
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Menu for Rioja

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Experience the award-winning cuisine and rich ambiance that has made Rioja Spanish Tapas one of Houston's Premiere destination restaurants.

Owner Message

  • Come to Rioja and experience a wide variety of tapas and fine Spanish wines; we also have the best Paella in Houston. House specialities include baby lamb chops, ribeye steak and seared fresh flounder. We also offer traditional tapas and three-course...


  • In Short
    Whether ordering a selection of tapas to share with friends or individual entrees to eat alone, diners at Rioja appreciate the comfortable surroundings and authentic recipes....

  • 4/13/2005 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Tue-Fri 11am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm Sat 5:30pm-11pm Sun 11am-9pm
  • Payments:

    Master Card, American Express, Visa, Diner's Club, Discover
  • Neighborhoods:

    Westside, Briarforest, Westchase

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