EAT Directory Vail

Vail’s mighty Flame

Flame just might be the most fun fine dining experience in the valley. No stuffiness here — just amazing food, a cozy atmosphere and, well, amazing food.

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Elway’s Vail scores big flavor points

Trendy and simply stated elegance is the best way to describe Elway’s, the restaurant named after former quarterback and current general manager and vice president of the Denver Broncos.

If you want a truly great steakhouse experience in a perfect setting, do not stop at GO, do not collect $200 — just head straight to the Lodge at Vail and take the lobby steps up to the restaurant. Its trendy bar, gorgeous patio and inside atrium that overlooks the hotel’s colorful garden creates the perfect setting for a truly delicious meal.

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Vail’s Campo de Fiori offers true Italian hospitality

Simone Reatti likes his food simple, with a strong flavor. The Campo de Fiori chef hails from Cortina d’Ampezzo in Northern Italy, but now calls Vail home.

“In Italy, we have the mountain, we have the ocean, we have islands, we have 21 different regions and a half million recipes,” he says. “The climate dictates the food. In the mountain we eat (pasta and gnocci), in the south they eat more tomato, eggplant, olives and veggies.”

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Bol in Vail offers something new

The story of Bol’s hamburgers begins generations ago in Squaw Creek, near modern day Edwards. The Eaton clan — family of Earl Eaton, who would help found Vail Mountain in the 1960s — homesteads in the area, and lays claim to land there. Earl learns of the sport of skiing on homemade planks, at night, down old logging routes. Then he meets Pete Seibert at the Red Onion bar in Aspen and the two find and found Vail Mountain.

Fast forward a few generations. To avoid exorbitant taxes and keep their land from being developed, the Eatons deem their land in Edwards as agricultural and begin raising cattle on it.

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Blu’s in Vail serves up eclectic cuisine

TJ Armstrong, owner of Blu’s Restaurant in East Vail, approaches his menu in the same way he approaches a bottle of wine: without pretentiousness, allowing the diner to ultimately determine what tastes good and what has value.

“What’s historically wrong with wine has been this ridiculous sense of what’s good and what’s not so good and that somehow people aren’t qualified to determine that,” he says. “People are disenfranchised by all the hoopla.”

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Blue Moose Pizza in Vail and Beaver Creek

The white butcher paper and cup of crayons call to me when I take my seat at Blue Moose Pizza. While I know that it was probably provided for the younger guests that flock to the restaurant, I can’t resist sketching a small stick figure waving hello, the extent of my artistic ability. But that’s the bliss of being in Blue Moose: You can come as you are with only one requirement — come hungry.

The restaurant is perfect for families, with plenty of kid-friendly pizza options and plenty of room in the adjacent Vail Square for the little ones to burn off any extra energy before dinner. But it’s also ideal for adults, with a great selection of Colorado craft beers, happy hour specials and grown-up pizza choices, too.

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Vail’s Bistro FOURTEEN

Between the 14-foot mountain peak Bistro Fourteen overlooks from its base location at the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, and the excitement Vail’s adjacent Adventure Ridge creates, Bistro Fourteen sous chef Webster Lee has his work cut out for him to maintain his guests’ attention. Of course, he and pastry chef Anne Armstrong never disappoint; they aim to not only please, but also to surprise.

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Creative cuisine at Vail’s Lord Gore

The passion and creativity of chef de cuisine Eric Berggren is clearly evident at Lord Gore, located at Manor Vail Lodge. And his passion for the food — as well as his exacting standards — comes through in each offering. “We’re using local and organic seasonal ingredients,” says Berggren. “We’re letting those ingredients speak for themselves.”

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Matsuhisa Vail: sushi, sashimi and Latin-Asian influences

Nobu Matsuhisa views his flagship Matsuhisa restaurants — there are just six in the world — as nearer and dearer to his heart than his more prolific Nobu restaurants.

That’s why, when you dine at Matsuhisa Vail, you feel like he could be the one back in the kitchen personally preparing his signature broiled black cod with miso for your table.

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La Tour: great things come in threes

There are three ingredients that La Tour chef-owner Paul Ferzacca wants foodies to pay attention to this summer: truffles, corn and watercress. Summer staples, no doubt, but the longtime Vail chef is inviting guests to try what he calls “one of his newest trilogies” as a new masterpiece on his menu.

The dish features halibut — a filet’s soft layers held between the savory, sweet and earthy angles of each edgy flavor in Ferzacca’s trifecta. Wine director and sommelier Derek Reijmer pours a white burgundy to add a classic splash alongside the chef’s more contemporary canvas.

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The Left Bank’s new face

The Left Bank has been one of Vail’s renowned restaurants for more than 40 years, and this summer, it debuts its new look and feel, while still maintaining executive chef Jean-Michel Chelain’s classic cuisine and his wife.

The Chelains have blended a contemporary tone into the former vintage French country restaurant. A new floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar graces the dining room, allowing guests to view about a thousand bottles of The Left Bank’s impressive wine list, which runs nine pages long and is comprised of up to 85 percent of French wines.

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Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouse serve great surf and turf

From a window seat at the Vail Chophouse, early June’s rising full moon is as magical as the twinkle lights falling in waves from the roof of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

The wonder finds its way to our table while figures of hospitality and an actual magician make their smooth rounds, eventually settling upon us like the soft light that is still illuminating the Lionshead slopes. The summer beauty is in the simplicity, and the food follows suit.

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Mountaintop dining at Game Creek Restaurant

Riding up a gondola to alpine-lodge dining is a unique experience, but gliding up Vail Mountain’s natural grass-covered runs on a warm night is even more remarkable — and this is how an evening at Game Creek Restaurant begins.

From the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, a comfortable van ushers guests to the Swiss chalet inspired Game Creek Restaurant, located in one of Vail’s renowned bowls. Green valleys, hills and peaks surround the deck, where guests can enjoy cocktails and an extensive appetizer menu from 5:30-7 p.m. Or, arrive on horseback, partaking in a “four course by horse” complete dining experience.

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Vail’s Atwater on Gore Creek

VAIL — In the culinary industry, change is inevitable, whether it’s the ebb and flow of business in a resort area, the rotation of produce as the seasons pass or the constant influx of new faces, both in the kitchen and in service roles. Atwater on Gore Creek in the Vail Cascade Resort has experienced all of these evolutions in its recent history, but a core staff has allowed the restaurant to thrive.

“With change comes opportunity,” said Chris Bates, executive sous chef. “We have a solid base of experienced professionals who are energetic and passionate.”

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Memories full of flavor

Tavern on the Square complements the Old World ambiance of The Arrabelle at Vail Square with its upscale cuisine served in an alpine tavern environment.

Inside, wide arched ceilings anchored by hefty columns welcome diners into a multitude of experiences: Gather with a group of friends in a booth overlooking the square; grab a table and catch a game on high-definition screens; or sip a cask-aged Bulleit muddled with orange, cherry and bitters at the bar and gaze at vertically-rising aspen groves.

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Vail Ale House: Pure Rocky Mountain fun

The tunes are cranking as we step inside to take our place at one of the round riveted leather booths to hunker down for the best view of any of the 14 televisions showcasing the game. The two pool tables are taken, maybe we’ll hold out for the Foosball table instead. The two little boys currently rocking the table look like they’re having a good time and might take awhile.

The oversized black and white historic photograph of what looks like mountain miners in overalls “cheersing” each other sets off the exposed stone walls quarried from Telluride highlighting the high-top tables made of 150-year-old hardwood sporting mason jar décor. The renovations turning the former Sandbar into the now stylishly comfortable Vail Ale House has paid off. The upgrades to the nitrogen cooler that houses their wide selection of Colorado beers and 20-plus taps have also paid off. In fact, that’s why we we’re here.

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Restaurant Kelly Liken: Intimate and inventive

When sommelier Jeremy Campbell returned to Vail last year from Portland, Oregon, he had a number of job prospects in the valley, and it wasn’t his intention to return to his original post at Restaurant Kelly Liken. The culinary world in Vail is wide and distinguished, after all, and he was looking to explore new territory. But when the opportunity to return to his former digs presented itself, he just couldn’t pass it up.

You see, Restaurant Kelly Liken isn’t just a job, or even a career; it’s more like a family, working together to create a dining experience that’s intimate and inventive. The feeling of mutual respect among the staff gives a positive charge to the atmosphere that starts when development coordinator Sarah John greets you at the door and lingers long after the last delectable bite of dessert. And the intensely seasonal nature of the menu — unabashedly American, with Colorado flavors through and through — makes it a dynamic expression of time and place.

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Classic Vail: Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant

There are few experiences less “Vail” than dining on Pepi’s sunny deck in the heart of Vail Village. The classic Vail establishment celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, making it just one year younger than the town itself.

Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer, two of the town’s most storied residents, own the establishment. You might be lucky enough to be greeted by Pepi himself (an Austrian ski racing legend), or dine next to Pepi and Sheika on the patio.

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