Founded as a gold mining town in the late 1800s, Telluride remains a gem hidden in Colorado’s remote southwestern mountains. While the town’s striking surroundings offer a sense of the wild and uncharted, Telluride’s culinary scene figures prominently on the map. Styles like Asian fusion, new American and local specialties such as elk and trout characterise some of the most vibrant restaurants in Telluride. Here are our favourite 10.
Interior of Allreds | Courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort
Nestled at the top of Telluride’s gondola ski lift, Allreds promises a satisfying end to a day spent on the snow, or by the fireplace. Telluride’s signature alpine lodge restaurant covers all aspects of new American cuisine, from roasted Alaskan halibut and seared Hawaiian tuna to local Colorado chicken. The meat-heavy main dishes are complimented by flavorful sides and starters like the rich tomato coconut soup, the overflowing mezze platter and hand-cut truffle fries. Allred’s has won acclaim both for its alpine ambiance and its scenic views. A bar offering drink specials all night long ensures that even those who wish to dine elsewhere can take in the Alpenglow from this stunning location.
Housed in the century-old New Sheridan hotel, the Chop House offers some of Telluride’s most refined dining. Boasting a resume spanning Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, France, Germany and Austria, the Chop House’s chef Erich Owen imbues Telluride’s most historic locale with an international standard of dining. A colorful list of starters including elk carpaccio and Thai steamed mussels, a variety of grilled game and a sprawling brunch menu served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. are some of the house’s unmissable specialties. With an extensive wine list and award-winning steak, the Chop House is an undisputable cornerstone of Telluride’s foodscape.
La Marmotte revels in a quaint, rustic atmosphere while providing some of Telluride’s most exquisite fare. The restaurant’s three-course fixed menu transforms nightly to the tune of seasonal ingredients. The house sommelier ensures a choice of wine complimentary to such creative dishes as roasted mahi mahi dusted with bee pollen or duck breast crusted in date and pistachio. The richness of the food is matched by the historical depth of the establishment. La Marmotte is housed in Telluride’s 125-year old Ice House that once provided the town with ice. Now outfitted with sun-drenched patios, a bar, a dining room and a private 12-person chef’s table, La Marmotte ensures a fine dining experience.
Styled quaintly as a European Hütte and perched at the lofty altitude of 11,966 feet (3647 metres), Alpino Vino keeps true to its namesake Alpine ambiance. A five-course Italian-themed dinner menu with optional wine pairing carries the inspiration of Italy’s Dolomite mountains to this old mining retreat in the Rockies. Open to skiers seeking a wine-filled respite from the slopes during the day, nighttime diners are transported up the mountainside in the restaurant’s own enclosed snow coach. Whether for a midday glass of red wine or an intimate dinner of fine cheeses, cured meats and classic Italian dishes, Alpino Vino epitomises Telluride’s mountain dining. This mountain-side classic is unfortunately closed during the summer.
Cosmpolitan sits a few steps away from the base of the gondola lift in Hotel Columbia, ensuring that skiers and mountaineers do not have to venture far to discover Telluride’s most expansive culinary atlas. As the restaurant’s name suggests, Cosmopolitan’s range of dishes can be called nothing less than fusion cuisine with a taste for authenticity, comprising a diverse selection of sushi, seasonal salads and local farm-raised livestock. Alongside the lengthy list of wines, the Cosmo Bar serves a selection of mouthwatering cocktails.
Pioneering ‘Farm-to-Table Colorado Chic Cuisine’, Rev strikes a balance between quality and simplicity. Reasonably priced in comparison to its more lavish competitors, Rev nonetheless boasts fine ingredients and a strong connection to locally sourced ingredients. Rev boasts a close partnership with Tomten Farm, a solar-powered, high altitude farm that grows locally and sustainably, using their own water catchment system to irrigate two massive greenhouses. Snake River Kurobuta braised pork and the Colorado rack of lamb also stand out on the menu as local delicacies. Perched above Telluride in the ski resort’s Mountain Village, Rev calls the Hotel Madeline its home.
A bastion of pan-Asian cuisine in a landscape of predominantly Western dining establishments, Honga’s Lotus Petal brings Telluride’s dining scene back down to earth in terms of price and aesthetics. With dishes spanning Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Polynesian, the Lotus Petal offers an abundance of choices – even more so since dishes are meant to be shared. Honga’s utilises free-range, organic and locally sourced ingredients when possible, fusing exotic tastes and ethical choices. Besides Honga’s main menu of dishes to share, an extensive list of sushi and a wide breadth of cocktails, sakes, wines, beers and soft drinks promises inexhaustible possibilities.
Another outstanding contribution to Telluride’s sophisticated dining scene is the creative, original and partially vegetarian 211 South Oak Bistro. Like Telluride’s other fine dining establishments, the bistro has no shortage of meat dishes, from elk rib-eye doused in hazelnut and red wine jus to grilled lamb heart garnished with pistachio mint pesto and shaved fennel. 211 South Oak Bistro’s standout quality undoubtedly remains its vegetarian menu, something of a rarity in Telluride. Options like braised kale with miso maple squash and grilled cauliflower steak present a leafy alternative to Telluride’s carnivorous signature dishes without compromising on heartiness.
Siam's Talay Grille | Courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort
Siam’s Talay Grille specialises in Asian fusion tapas, with a particular focus on seafood. Housed by the Inn at Lost Creek at the base of the ski slopes, Siam’s second location in Telluride offers an exotic twist on après ski. Siam’s happy hour from 4 until 6 p.m. is an ideal end to a day on the mountain with unbeatable deals on sushi and sake. Siam’s specialty tapas include savory wraps, buns and sushi, while the restaurant’s massive window offers some of the best views from the base of the slopes.
Siam’s Talay Grille Courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort
Palmyra At The Peaks
Palmyra at The Peaks, Mountain Village | Courtesy of Palmyra at the Peaks Resort
Palmyra takes seasonally inspired, locally sourced dining one step further with their summer dining series aptly titled ‘Crave.’ Palmyra’s monthly dining schedule features unmissable events like wine pairings from local vineyards in July, small Spanish-inspired plates in early August followed by a farm-to-fork series later that month, and specially prepared lamb dishes in September. Palmyra’s constantly evolving seasonal specialties can be tracked on their website. For an even more immersive experience of the Colorado seasons, book a room at the Palmyra’s home establishment, The Peaks Resort and Spa.