This one is no secret. The Mediterranean, affectionately dubbed “The Med”, is a Boulder staple — and with good reason.
This would be a ten-page feature article if I could tell you everything I love about this precious gem. But there are three things that I can tell you that make this Pearl Street spot spectacular: the menu, the ambiance, and the happy hour.
Menu – I dine out because I am looking for more options than my refrigerator offers and to expose my palette to new horizons. The Med’s menu is enormous – thirty plus tapas (hot and cold), pasta, paella, meat and seafood entrees, platters, salads and pizza. Mediterranean food is typically eclectic, bringing in flavors from Spain to Turkey. I can visit The Med if I’m craving risotto, if I’m pining for a kabob, or if I’m dying for some traditional Spanish paella. It’s a rotating menu, too. The risotto, namely, changes often, switching out veggies and protein. If I haven’t been to The Med in a few months, I can always count on something new to taste.
Agrigento – horseradish crusted tuna accompanied by grilled portobellas, seared spinach, wasabi pesto and a smoked tomato vinaigrette ($24.95)
Risotto carbonara – black forrest ham, pancetta, prosciutto, green peas and roasted red peppers tossed with a creamy saffron-parmesan risotto ($16.95)
Ambiance – Upon entering this tile-covered restaurant, I feel like I’m in a coastal Mediterranean town. The interior is an indoor version of the vine laced and sun-soaked patio, which is complete with a trickling fountain. It’s my recommendation, though, to not come here if you’re looking for a quiet evening. The clamor from the kitchen, the bar, and the patrons reminds me so much of Spain. The running joke when I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain was that if our host families were screaming at each other it did not necessarily mean they were angry or upset. Passionate but lighthearted commotion is just the common mode of Mediterranean communication. I don’t know how owner Joe Romano managed to replicate that same Mediterranean uproar amongst a bunch of Americans. But every time I dine at The Med, I feel the urge to go home and put on my flip flops and a sundress, and maybe even a flower in my hair. The only element missing is the crashing waves and briny aroma of the Mediterranean Sea…
Happy Hour – As a poor and starving college student, I begged my ‘rents to take me here every time they were in town. Since they live one thousand miles away, I did not cash in on this luxury very often. However, due to the Med’s extensive happy hour, I was still able to get my fix. All of their tapas are offered at a discounted rate from 3-6:30pm, which means they range from $2-5. I can remember many a Friday afternoon after class, sitting on the sunny patio soaking up the rays and ordering at least half of the tapas menu with some girlfriends. The $4 sangria is always a good accompaniment as well.
Baba ghanouj – roasted eggplant spread served with pitas (regular -$3, happy hour $2.75)
Prosciutto & melon – prosciutto wrapped melon topped with Parmigiano Reggiano (regular -$5, happy hour $3.50)
Artichauts – fried artichoke hearts drizzled with aioli (regular -$5, happy hour $3)
Datiles – bacon wrapped dates with garlic sauce (regular-$5, happy hour $3.50)
Mom and Pops are in town this weekend. I’m sure they’re already aware of where we’ll be dining.