Going to dinner with your parents and taking them to all the great places in a city you love is one of the most enjoyable experiences of moving to a new town. But as much as you love having family visit, it can be stressful planning meals. Food allergies and dietary preferences often make cooking at home more trouble than it’s worth. And sometimes you just want to treat your family to a nice dinner out, without taking them to a burger joint or big chain restaurant.
So where should you go? You probably have your favorite three to four restaurants that you frequent, but it’s good to expand your food horizons, especially in a town as foodie as Boulder. So we’ve compiled a list of our favorite restaurants to take your parents and family, sorted by price point.
The Med, 1002 Walnut St. ($15-30)
The Med is a classic Mediterranean restaurant that offers a tapas menu (discounted during happy hour) that is perfect if you have a big family that loves to share. With classics like falafel, hummus and tzatziki, you can try some of everything for a reasonable price.
Sharing food not your thing? We get it. When you find something delicious, you want it all for yourself. Don’t worry. It’s fine. The Med offers a full dinner menu featuring pizzas, pasta, paella and more. We’ve never tried something here that we didn’t like. Dive in and enjoy a little of everything.
Fate Brewing Co., 1600 38th St. ($15-30)
Fate Brewing is a great, casual place to take the family if an all-out fine dining evening isn’t your thing. It offers classic American dishes that are simple and delicious. Fate is also a brewery, so this is a great place to get a taste for Colorado beer. We recommend trying one of their Drink-for-Good brews, from which a portion of each purchase goes to a good cause. Eat, drink and contribute. What’s not to love about that?
Leaf, 2010 16th St. ($15-30)
Leaf is great choice for anyone with a vegetarian or vegan family member. But your meat-eating relatives will love it, too (we promise). Leaf serves a range of dishes, from burgers and enchiladas to salads and noodles. Our favorite: the buffalo cauliflower tacos. Blanched, baked and then fried to perfection, the cauliflower makes them the best meat-free tacos you’ll ever try.
The Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St. ($30-60+)
One of the best steakhouses in Boulder, this is definitely a place to try for the meat lovers in the family. But steak isn’t all the Cork has to offer. Prime rib, lamb and seafood are some of its other specialties. We recommend starting with the Maine lobster ravioli. It’s a creamy, deliciously perfect way to start your meal. Cork also offers a kids’ menu, making this a family-friendly place for a nice evening out.
Black Cat, 1964 13th St. ($30-60+)
A true farm-to-table experience, chef Eric Skokan changes the menu daily, depending on what was harvested at the farm that day. That means there’s always something new and exciting to try at Black Cat. Try the chef’s tasting menu. You’ll be able to choose from chef-picked options for a three-course meal. We have never been disappointed with what Chef Eric presents.
Mateo, 1837 Pearl St. ($30-60+)
With dishes inspired by the Provence region in Southeastern France, Mateo is a place to try something new. It has a seasonally rotating menu that features local and organically grown produce and meats. The Mateo Burger Aux Champignons et Truffes is our favorite lunch option but is available for dinner, as well. The freshness of the beef is obvious, and the locally foraged mushrooms give it a distinctly Boulder flare.
Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road ($60+)
Flagstaff House is definitely a place to take your parents if you want to impress. With a business-casual dress code, this is not a restaurant we’d recommend taking young, antsy kids. (But for well-behaved kids, the restaurant’s new children’s menu is a hit and includes an ice cream sundae.) The view is worth it. Located up Flagstaff Mountain and overlooking Boulder, the scenery is simply breathtaking. And with a menu that is changed daily, the food is just as impressive. Sample entrees may include Colorado lamb rack, duo of Maine day boat lobster and even a vegetable tasting entrée.
At the Flagstaff House, you can choose between two menus: a three-course meal, where you can pick from various options, and a five-course pre-set meal. Make it extra special and request wine pairings with each course. Flagstaff’s wine knowledge is second to none in Boulder, and the pairings are precise.
Frasca Food & Wine, 1738 Pearl St. ($60+)
Frasca offers menus featuring cuisine inspired by Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region in northeast Italy. It offers a four-course and a traditional tasting menu, which gives you the option to try a variety of the unique and impressive dishes. On Mondays, Frasca offers a set four-course menu with wine pairings. At a significantly cheaper price point than the normal four-course dinner (but still far from cheap), Monday’s set menu is a great way to go if you want to save money and aren’t picky about what you eat.