Photo by Michelle Bainbridge Constantia South Africa
Photo by Michelle Bainbridge Constantia South Africa
Where's the Wine Blog
Where's the Wine Blog  

Where to Dine in Vail, Colorado

Sharing my favorites over the years – updated for 2019

I have been visiting the ski resort in Vail since 1990 (in fact, it is where I first skied in my lifetime). It has remained my favorite mountain destination for all of these years. So much so, that we purchased a home in 2012 and now live there most of the time. There are so many places on this list that have stood the test of time and remain the top choices. Of course, there are closures and openings each year.

 

The most important tip to increase your enjoyment of this beautiful town is- to respect the elevation. If you fly to Denver or Eagle and arrive in Vail the same day, take it easy. This includes minimum consumption of alcohol, drink more water than you think you need and get a good night’s rest. Continue to drink lots of water throughout your stay. 

I love to cook, and eat out less often because of it. But, without a doubt, dining out and bar hopping are an essential part of the resort experience. As at any resort that attracts guests with money, there are many dining options. If you are visiting during the peak weeks; Winter holidays, President’s weekend, the month of March (spring break around the country), Easter week (holy week for the Latin community), Fourth of July week, the last week of July (before most schools start for the Fall), you really should plan ahead and make reservations. You want to get your first choices of restaurants, right?

 

I have noted the style of dining occasion, which I think is more important than designating a price point. Depending on your mood, wallet or appetite, you may spend a little, or a lot at any dining establishment.

 

In Vail Village (accessed from the transportation center, centered on Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive)

 

  • Russell’s Fine dining, American, dinner only. Known for decadent king crab legs and steaks and an extensive wine list. When I moved to Colorado from Florida, I was sure I would have to give up fresh seafood. Well, thanks to the wonder of air transport, Colorado has a diverse selection seafood
  • The Fall Line Casual to Fine dining, creative international menu, lunch and dinner. Known for ‘60’s ski photos and people watching on Bridge Street, ever-changing menu. Opened in a new restaurant space after extensive renovations to the Bridge Street side of Gorsuch’s. It is still fairly new and has received inconsistent reviews, but I have always had good meals and service.
  • White Bison - Casual to Fine dining, creative American menu, lunch and dinner. Known for a bison burger with perfect French fries. This location has housed a revolving door of concepts, this restaurant has the same owners at The Fall Line. It has a great deck, overlooking the Gore Creek.
  • Elway’s Fine dining, American, dinner only. Known for prime beef and an extensive wine list. Owned by pro football hall-of-famer, John Elway and his restaurant partners. Try the lamb chop fondue for a hearty start, and share a steak for a main course.
  • Lancelot Fine dining, American, dinner only. Known for prime rib.
  • Sweet Basil Fine dining, creative American, serving lunch and dinner. Known for seasonal menus with picturesque presentations, finely crafted cocktails and large selection of wines. Sweet Basil’s is the standard for dining in Vail, it should be on every “must-do” list.
  • Mountain Standard- Casual to fine dining, American wood-fired oven, lunch and dinner. Known for roasted meats, fish and poultry, raw bar. Stick with the menu options as opposed to the specials, they were never as good as the other options on the table.
  • La Tour – Fine dining, creative international menu. Open for dinner only during ski season (other times throughout the year). Known for great appetizers and sides, I often make a meal of them. I always order the brussels sprouts. Local chef/owners Paul and Lordes Ferzacca are at your service.
  • Matsuhisa – Fine dining, creative Japanese cuisine, dinner only. Known for fresh sushi. Created by famed Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Be prepared to drop some “serious coin” here, and leave happy.
  • Almresi and Alpen Rose- Casual to Fine dining, Germain-Austrian cuisine. Almresi open for Apres and dinner, Alpen Rose open for lunch and dinner. Known for comfort food, cute décor. Locally owned by the Thoma family. Try the fondue.
  • La Nonna (formerly Campo de Fiori)- Fine dining, Italian, open for dinner only. Known for Italian Pasta. The chef/owners are local and almost always at your service. Recently remodeled.
  • La Bottega – Casual to Fine dining, Italian, open for lunch and dinner. Known for wood-fired pizza oven. Local owners. Sit at the bar and watch the pizza oven in action.
  • Bully’s Ranch at the Sonenalp- Casual dining, Southwestern/American, open for lunch and dinner. Known for huge burgers, the best in town. 

In Lionshead (accessed by the Lionshead parking structure, centered on Lionshead Circle and Meadows Drive)

  • Moe’s Original Bar B Que – Very casual dining and take-away, Alabama-style BBQ, open for lunch and dinner. Known for BBQ by-the-pound and comfort-food. Call ahead and pick up your dinner for a large group, or belly-up to the bar for a combo plate. Happy hour 3-6 pm.
  • The Chop House Casual to fine dining, family-friendly. American classics with a twist, open for lunch, après and dinner. Known for - Please refer to my earlier, enthusiastic endorsement as my most highly recommended destination for Après. It is the perfect combination of classy-casual with stellar entertainment, well-made cocktails, decent wine and beer selections and well-executed menu. The location at the base of the gondola in Lionshead with a large patio, can’t be beat. Locally owned by Phil Long, the entertainer, and his restaurant partners.
  • Montauk Seafood Grill– Casual to fine dining, Fresh seafood, open for dinner only. Known for- I have not been here since it has been under new ownership. I will update this listing when I have more first-hand information.
  • The Game Creek Restaurant- Fine dining, top-notch gourmet menu, open to the public for dinner only. You do not just dine at the Game Creek Club, you have an adventure. Located remotely, off the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola. From Eagle’s Nest, you are transported by snow cat to the lodge. You will be presented a prix-fix menu of beauty and precision. Allow the sommelier to choose your wine pairings for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Read all about it here.

 

Other articles you may enjoy-

Additional resources of information for your visit-

https://everythingvailvalley.com/

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