Home to celebrity chefs, award-winning restaurants and local favorites, Vail, Colorado, is not just a major ski destination — it’s also become a top spot for foodies looking to relax and refuel after a long day on the slopes.
Whether you’re looking for high end or casual, here are some of the best restaurants for foodies in Vail:
Listed by Zagat as one of Vail’s top restaurants, Sweet Basil opened in the ’70s, but has retained its popularity by continually reinventing itself. The menu puts its own touches on such familiar dishes as roasted tomato soup (with smoked mussels, arugula pistou, and caraway croutons) and Colorado lamb (with Moroccan roasted carrots, creamy garlic labneh — think Greek yogurt with a slightly thicker texture — sweet peppers and coriander). Reservations are a must during peak ski season.
One of the acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake outposts, Matsuhisa serves upscale Japanese fusion and sushi in the heart of Vail Village. Expansive windows and an oversized patio for people watching over the fire pit set the tone for a relaxed yet refined dining experience. Signature dishes include black miso cod and truffle sea bass, but if you’re having a tough time choosing, simply order the “omakase,” or chef’s choice.
Claiming to be the only restaurant in the Valley to cook over an open wood fire, Mountain Standard is a hip gastropub that serves elevated comfort food. Launched by the same team as Sweet Basil, Mountain Standard is the perfect spot to warm up after a long day on the slopes. Appetizers like the playfully named Martin’s Soon to Be Famous Green Chili and Southern-style pimento cheese dip are a tasty way to get a meal started, while the corned pork shank and crispy pork belly will really fill you up.
A private club and mountain chalet by day, Game Creek transforms into an intimate dining experience come nighttime. Its hidden location, accessible only by gondola and Snowcat in the winter or by hiking and 4×4 in the summer, is part of its charm. You can choose between a four-course, prix-fixe tasting menu, or five-course progressive chef’s dinner for the ultimate splurge meal. Sample menu items might include bison tartare, crab gazpacho and filet of beef in a shallot Burgundy sauce.
Offering European-style ambience in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Almresi draws inspiration from the Bavarian fare in the Alps. German, Austrian and Swiss dishes like cheese and chocolate fondue are sharable table favorites while entrees like truffle gnocchi and spätzle short ribs are guaranteed après-ski pleasers. Almresi’s signature dish is the Hutessen, which translates to “Eat Your Hat,” a family-style, cook-at-the-table meal of sizzling meat served with salad, soup and dipping sauces.
At La Nonna Ristorante, the hearty dishes draw their inspiration from chef/owner Simone Reatti’s heritage growing up in the Italian Dolomites. Reatti has more than 20 years of history in the Vail location, as he was the chef for the previous restaurant in the space. Under his guidance, La Nonna serves only house-made pastas, complemented by such traditional favorites as bruschetta pomodoro, beef carpaccio and calamari fritti.
After working up an appetite on the slopes or the trails, you can end your day in Vail with a great meal at any one of these spots, all perfect for foodies.