It’s a classic component of a date night for a reason. Sharing fine food and drink, served in the right atmosphere, can be romantic, intimate and memorable.
OpenTable released its annual list of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, and two locally owned Boulder restaurants made the cut: Black Cat, in downtown, and the Flagstaff House, perched atop the hill overlooking town.
The OpenTable ranking came from more than 12 million verified diner reviews of more than 28,000 restaurants in every state in the country.
If you’re looking to plan the perfect dinner date in Boulder, here’s where you want to go — and why.
Black Cat, 1964 13th St.
OpenTable recognized this restaurant (founded by a couple, chef Eric Skokan and his wife, Jill) for its daily pairing menus with food picked fresh from Black Cat’s own organic farm. Black Cat has an impressive wine list, with more than 400 different types, plus hand-crafted, seasonal cocktails made by talented mixologists.
The vibe here is lively and warm. The most romantic seat in the house is in the back of the dining room in a private nook. The large, U-shaped table is tucked away from the excitement, but you can still peer out to watch the action in the open kitchen if you like to see your food prepared.
Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road
Views for days make this restaurant ultra dreamy, and OpenTable acknowledged that in its honor. The Flagstaff House is perched at 6,000 feet above Boulder. By night, the glowing lights of the city blend with the twinkling stars in the sky. Request a table by the window and toast with some of Boulder’s top wine service. Enjoy the multi-course tasting menu or a three-course a la carte menu (we recommend the full spread, plus drink pairings, for the true Flagstaff experience). This restaurant has more awards than you can imagine. It’s where to go for the most impressive date: a proposal, an anniversary, a honeymoon dinner. After your meal, head out to the patio under the sky. It’ll make you want to drop to one knee.
Brasserie Ten Ten, 1101 Walnut St., Suite 100
There’s something about French food that is so romantic, and Brasserie Ten Ten serves some of Boulder’s best. Although service is great, this place tends to be pretty busy. It’s where to go for a fun date in a more exciting environment, perhaps with less pressure to carry an intimate conversation and dress to the nines, without sacrificing the food quality.
The best spot is outside on the small sidewalk patio in the summer, surrounded by colorful, fresh flowers. It’s right in downtown but just off the mall, so it’s a bit quieter than Pearl Street, but still energetic. Inside tends to be a bit dark and cozy, but it can be hard to hear your date on a busy night. If that turns you off, try Brasserie for lunch, and make sure you book a reservation in advance.
Corrida, 1023 Walnut St.
This restaurant has sexy down. If you want a hip, sophisticated, hot date, request a table outside on Corrida’s large patio in the summer. Order a cocktail from the gin and tonic cart and sip it by the fire pit. Take a couple’s selfie with the Flatirons in the background. Everything on the menu is tasty, but we love to order a variety of small plates and appetizers to share with that special someone.
Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl St.
If you want to impress your date, you’re darn near guaranteed to sweep them off their feet at Frasca, a refined, high-end Northern Italian restaurant in downtown. This restaurant boasts some of the most prestigious awards, including two James Beard wins. One of those is for its wine service. So if you’re looking for the best wine night out in town, this is your spot. Frasca is elegant and gourmet and famous for its impressive service.
The Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St.
The Cork is a Boulder institution and has been wooing lovers for ages. It’s fun for visitors because it has a local, maybe even slightly Western flair, but its large wine selection is sure to impress even the pickiest of dates. The atmosphere really tops off the Cork. It’s warm yet refined, quiet, relaxing and comfortable. It’s easy to hold a conversation because it’s not too loud or trendy. Expect great service and locally-sourced American food. Request a seat in the dining room behind the bar for more intimacy. A table by the crackling fireplace is always the best seat in the house.
Via Perla, 901 Pearl St.
If romance means warmth, comfort and an unrushed, homemade dining experience, head to Via Perla. This restaurant serves Italian comfort food, made with authentic recipes and quality ingredients. The wine list is lengthy, the service is great and the prices are reasonable, for a polished night out. Best of all, the restaurant encourages you to eat, linger and stay a while. So you won’t feel rushed and will have plenty of time (and wine) (and cheese) to make some new sweet memories.
Greenbriar Inn, 8735 N. Foothills Highway
You’ll have to venture just outside of city limits for this dining experience, but the sweeping mountain views and open space add to the ambiance. The Greenbriar is a stunning restaurant set inside a historic house, built at the base of the foothills and the canyon. Start your date with a walk through the 20 acres, past multiple ponds, trees, gardens and flowers. You might even see some wildlife.
Inside, enjoy American food with 900 types of wine to pick from. The vibe is quiet and intimate, perfect for a romantic night of sipping wine and sharing stories. On a nice night, you can request a table outside on the patio. Because it’s in an old house, tables are situated in various different rooms, so you can request more privacy if you want it.
The fancy, white-tablecloth Sunday brunch is also a highlight, although it tends to be a bit busy. Even so, it’s still incredible. Champagne, oysters and chocolate-covered strawberries, anyone?