The newly vamped Rioja in Glasgow’s iconic Finnieston strip has shaken off its previously dark, edgy interior and blossomed into a Balearic inspired, bright, beachy eatery.
Voted the hippest place to live in the UK in a Times poll, Finnieston – Glasgow’s trendiest region – is wall to wall with buzzing restaurants and bars.
Nestled right in the middle of the action on bustling Argyle Street is Spanish tapas restaurant, Rioja. It’s a perfect location to enjoy this one restaurant, and to make an evening of it at a number of the area’s bars.
Replacing its previous black exterior with a peachy new front, Rioja is at once equally welcoming and noticeable from outside.
On entering, the new mezannine seating area draws your eye upwards and the airy, beachside vibe transports you to a Spanish coast. Huge rattan lampshades and turquoise blue and white tones throughout continue the Mediterranean vibe.
The staff are friendly, attentive and polite, making sure we know exactly what is being served and how to best enjoy it.
Created by Chef Miguel Angel Mayor, the new menu is a symbiosis of Spanish cuisine within the heart of Scotland.
He said: “Our food reflects the evolution of taste. Scotland, its people, its produce, and its history have always piqued my interest.
“Our menu at Rioja links the high quality of Scottish produce to the history of Spanish cuisine.
“A menu that constantly evolves and has no borders – a one-of-a-kind celebration of food, with flavours that showcase innovative techniques and Spanish gastronomy.”
Each course was an explosion of flavour, from the Canape de Pollo Pulpo (crispy chicken skin, fresh Galician octopus, parsley gel and baby shard) to the Venison Tartar de Cerdo Ahumado (home smoked venison tartare, raw quail egg and radish).
The menu was carefully considered, exciting and experimental, with a combination of flavours and textures expected from a fine dining experience.
Bright, airy, cool and laid back. We were seated in the mezzanine seating area, which gave us a great view of the restaurant – which now seats 60 – and our own little cosy nook.
The prices are around what you would expect to pay for high quality tapas in this area of Glasgow. From £6.50 for smaller plates to £15 more substantial dishes.
Clean and bright. Unisex downstairs with a closed disabled toilet on the ground floor.
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