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Best Dinner for Two for $50 Denver 2005 - Rioja

Rioja

Rioja

1431 Larimer St.

Denver, CO 80202

303-820-2282

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Chef Jennifer Jasinski has hit the triple bull with her powerhouse new eatery in Larimer Square. One, she's got a great location -- smack in the middle of the hottest restaurant neighborhood in town, which she's made even hotter. Two, the space (some of which was once part of Josephina's, some nonexistent) is a great upscale-casual dining room that's fun to hang out in, no matter how much cash you're dropping. And three, both the menu and the kitchen executing it are top-notch, turning out excellent handmade pastas, innovative Mediterranean-Italian big plates, and a peerless consommé with duck raviolini. On top of all that, chef Jen has managed to keep prices well within hollering distance of cheap, so that a party of two (provided they're not drinking heavily) could easily get in and out of the joint for around fifty bucks. Sure, you could spend more if you wanted to (and odds are you will), but no matter how many dead presidents you're dropping here, one thing's guaranteed: You'll leave knowing it was worth every dime.

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