As one of the world’s largest ski resorts, Vail draws a committed roster of national and international visitors to the slopes from December until March. Visitors can also enjoy great après-ski dining here too. We list the best restaurants to get a taste of this Colorado town.
Located in the middle of Vail Resorts near Chairs 3 and 4 The 10th is a stunning ski-in, ski-out restaurant that offers crackling fires, a cozy bar and sweeping views of the Gorge Range. Open for lunch and dinner, The 10th serves high-end rustic fare that reflects the rich history of French, Swiss, Italian, and Rocky Mountain alpine traditions here. Canoe-cut roasted bone marrow, venison osso bucco and truffle brie bisque illustrate their dedication to unique, modern cuisine. The exquisite location, impeccable service and relaxed, yet elegant, ambience make The 10th a popular dining destination. The restaurant is also accessible by gondola.
Vail’s premiere steakhouse Flame is located within the Four Seasons Resort. In addition to serving traditional steakhouse fare, such as dry-aged wyagu rib eye, they offer modern twists on classics, such as elk corndogs and roasted kimchi Brussel sprouts. Their recently appointed Executive Chef Kevin Erving, who specializes in farm-to-table cuisine by emphasizing seasonality and sustainability. Be sure to try one of their expertly crafted cocktails made with Flame’s exclusive bourbon, but save room for their epic maple bacon doughnut. Flame, 1 Vail Rd, Vail, CO, USA, +1 970 477 8650
The seasonal American cuisine of Kelly Liken is unmatched in the Vail Valley. The simple, innovative menu highlights a commitment to locally sourced fresh ingredients. Rocky Mountain elk Carpaccio, citrus scented butternut squash, and potato crusted trout filet are a few noted items on the menu. With a wine list that offers over 250 selections, feel free to ask the attentive wait staff for pairing recommendations. Chef Liken has been featured in Food & Wine as well as Top Chef and her restaurant’s consistency and commitment to hospitality has earned Kelly Liken an Open Table Diner’s Choice Award.
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Mountain Standard cooks most of its food over an open fire, something that has positioned the restaurant as one of Vail’s most unique dining experiences. Serving lunch, dinner, craft beer, and hand-made cocktails, Mountain Standard is the perfect stop before or after skiing. Start with bone marrow and steak tartare or wood-fired mushrooms before moving on to lemongrass pork sausage or rocky mountain trout. The seasonally changing menu, sourced from local purveyors, promises to surprise and delight throughout the year, something that has earned it an Open Table’s Diner Choice Award.
One of the oldest restaurants in Vail Village, Sweet Basil continues to draw accolades and happy diners. Their innovative, approachable menu even got a New York Times food critic to say their food was his ‘best meal in months’. Noted items include crispy veal sweetbreads with roasted Brussel sprouts, shaved pear, pear butter, and truffle vinaigrette and braised Colorado Lamb T-Bones with roasted mushroom puree, coffee and cocoa crumble, and pine nuts. Sweet Basil’s commitment to presentation, ambience, and service ensures another 40 years of unparalleled dining.
Most bowling alleys are typically associated with pitchers of beer and greasy food. Bōl, Vail’s only bowling/dining experience, offers a contemporary take on this age-old pastime. The sleek, modern interior is punctuated by cheerful noise and banging pins as diners feast on delicious food and drink while bowling with friends and family. With a menu that serves fresh contemporary fare such as tuna tartare, honey glazed ribs and grilled cheese, Bōl is redefining bowling into an elegant experience. Be sure to reserve a lane or table in advance. Bōl, 141 East Meadow Dr. #113, Vail, CO, USA, +1 970 476 5300
Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, American, South American, Contemporary, $$$
Tucked away in the Sonnenalp Hotel, Bully Ranch offers classic mountain dining in a cozy, rustic atmosphere. Frequented by locals and tourists in the know, this charming establishment provides a warm respite after a long day skiing. Warm up with high-end hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and sprinkles, or feast on their renowned burgers and sandwiches. The bully bourbon burger is a classic and comes topped with Jim Beam demi-glace. They even offer truffle tots, a nod to their contemporary take on classic food.
Mornings in the Vail Village are made better by The Little Diner’s reliable and delicious breakfast staples. Small in stature, but big in impact, The Little Diner is a beloved standby that serves breakfast burritos, crepes, pancakes, eggs Benedict and a slew of other American breakfast favorites. With only a dining counter you can expect to wait, but take solace in the fact that the hostess will send a text message or call you when your spot is available. Their savvy attitude, scrumptious food and sustained popularity make The Little Diner an obvious choice for breakfast and lunch.
From Master Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, who brought refined Japanese cuisine to the coasts with his famed restaurant Nobu, comes Matsuhisa. His Vail outpost serves high-end Japanese fare with a contemporary twist at New York City prices. Shishito peppers, wyagu beef tacos, and sea bass tempura are crowd favorites while the omakase, or prix-fixe menu, is great for first time diners looking to sample Matsuhisa’s iconic dishes. Minimalist sleek interiors further add to the establishment’s relaxed ambience.
Partnering with local farms throughout the region to ensure the highest quality ingredients, Terra Bistro has been serving healthy and organic American/Asian fusion cuisine for over 20 years. Try their vitality salad with crispy prosciutto or tempura Maitake mushrooms with coconut green curry, sticky rice, jalapenos and peanuts. The attentive staff, an inventive cocktail menu and delicious dessert list add to the appeal. The restaurant even grows its own quinoa, make its own ginger beer and creates its own barrel-age whiskey too.