DINING Dining and Nightlife

Will you be dining al fresco?

Magnificent mountain views and exceptional dining come together naturally in the Vail Valley. When the days get longer and the weather warms up, you’ll find Vail Valley residents and guests dining outdoors.  Share a bite under an oversized umbrella or enjoy a meal under the stars – it all tastes better outside.

If people watching is on the menu start with Pepi’s, Vail’s original landmark. Serving European fare such as veal, bratwurst and goulash as well American favorites, Pepi’s is in the center of it all. Folks flock to the Ore House for its specialty drinks and tasty appetizers. A prime spot for checking out passersby, local favorite Vendetta’s Italian Restaurant showcases a pizza bar. The Red Lion has a ‘to die for’ patio to sit on and watch the world go as you’re entertained by co-owner Phil Long. Take in the beauty of Vail Mountain and sip a margarita from the Los Amigos deck while keeping an eye on the kids at Pirate Park.

Popular gathering spots for power-lunchers, visitors and locals alike include Sweet Basil, known for its creative, modern American cuisine. Around the corner is Sapphire Restaurant and Oyster Bar, featuring Vail’s only “raw bar.” The delightful Up the Creek offers moderately priced appetizers, salads and fresh fish on a charming patio right on Gore Creek. Steps away, Blu’s serves a varied, eclectic menu and an extensive wine bar to suit all tastes. For years the hanging baskets at Lancelot Restaurant have lured hungry diners with a hankering for steak and prime rib.

Meadow Drive eateries also offer fun people watching and terrific food. La Tour, “where chefs eat,” is renowned for French-American cuisine, using fresh organic, natural and sustainable ingredients. A fixture in Vail for 20 years, Alpenrose features continental food and fine European pastries and bread made daily. Cozy La Bottega serves light Italian fare – choose a panini sandwich or authentic wood-fired pizza. The western themed Bully Ranch, in the Sonnenalp, is a great place to round up friends for house favorites, Bully Burgers and mud slides.

In Lionshead, casual dining and a relaxed atmosphere go hand in hand at Moe’s (famous in these parts for Alabama BBQ), The French Deli (savory homemade soups, sandwiches and pastries) and Bart & Yeti’s, a Vail staple with a comfortable tavern-like ambiance. They’re also kid-friendly without being a free-for-all.

The alpine-inspired Arrabelle is home to singular restaurants: Mediterranean meets mountain cuisine at Centre V; the Chop House of Beaver Creek fame also goes slope side in Vail, with outstanding lunch specials; Tavern on the Square is a delicious spot for organic brews and fresh cocktails that complement any dish on the menu.  Just west of Lionshead, Atwater at Cascade offers American contemporary dining high above Gore Creek.

Montauk Seafood Grill is a Lionshead institution and the place beloved by many for seafood. The bustling village scene and ski run views set the stage for Maine lobster mac ‘n cheese, the raw bar and entrees from the signature Hawaiian Ahi to spaghettini arrabiata with crab and shrimp to organic Scottish salmon. As always, the grill list selections are delivered fresh and are never frozen.

Mexican influenced cooking is found below Beaver Creek at Agave in Avon.  Sip on a Blue Agave Margarita while listening to hot, live music. Taste local game, like elk chili or elk meatloaf, at the old world Golden Eagle Inn on the Beaver Creek Promenade. The chefs at the Hyatt’s 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill utilize regional food producers to create stunning tasting (and looking) dishes.

Farther west, soak up the views at Vista at Arrowhead on the golf course – the food and the flowers are superb. Relax poolside at Balata at the Sonnenalp Golf Course, while dining on light summer fare. Locals and tourists mingle in Edwards at Main St. Grill, where music is served with popular food and drink specials. Feast on wood-fired pizza, home-made pasta and mouth-watering mussels at Zino Ristorante on the Eagle River. Gore Range Brewery has a wide selection of homemade beer, people-pleasing food and two happy hours. Or explore the Valley’s living history at The Gashouse, famous for surf-n-turf. Dogs are welcome and even honored with their very own happy hour.

Up and down the Vail Valley al fresco dining options are plentiful. Ask a local and get to know your concierge – they’ll be pleased to help you find a restaurant to match your mood and pocketbook.  Whatever you choose, the views, people-watching and fresh air are free!