Chow down on Italian galore at Toscanini
Editor’s note: This story is reprinted from EAT magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.
With snow slightly falling, skaters of all sizes swirl around the ice rink at Beaver Creek; fire pits are silently dancing and almost every seat rink-side is occupied. If Currier & Ives were making a comeback, they’d start here to capture the lively warmth of togetherness. But even the most closely knit groups must heed the inevitable stomach grumble after a day at play. Fortunately, the cordiality continues at Toscanini with several different opportunities to enjoy la dolce vita.
For those who aren’t quite ready to land (and want a few more turns ‘round the rink), start with an aperitif or cocktail from Toscanini’s umbrella bar. Open from 3-9 p.m. when the weather cooperates, this convenient outpost serves wine, beer and hot beverages (both spiked and saintly). Sip and savor until the thought of a dish of comfort becomes too much to bear — then move inside.
If you play your cards right, you won’t need to abandon your people-watching: The tableau outside might be viewable from your table. After you’re seated, so begins the oh-so-onerous-yet-enjoyable task of narrowing down options. Take a tour of “the boot” with the wine list, which is entirely comprised of Italian wines. For those who are less confident choosing between a Nero d’Avola and a Nebbiolo, Toscanini’s full-time sommelier can help you navigate the more than 200 different wines.
The menu makes it equally difficult to choose: Do you start with calamari or carpaccio? Caesar or carciofo? Everything sounds amazing, so there’s only one options: Order several and share. Italian comfort classics, like the osso bucco, a fall-off-the-bone braised pork shank with baby carrots and whipped potatoes, or the lasagna just like Nonna wished she could make, are perfect for warming up from inside. Toscanini is dedicated to providing comforting Italian favorites for everyone — even those who are sensitive to gluten. There’s no need to pass on pasta or pizza here: Gluten-free penne pasta, made from GMO-free corn flour imported from Italy is available to create dinner options for vegetarians, pescatarians and carnivores. A classic Margherita pizza, as well as pies with more modern options like fig with prosciutto and goat cheese, can be served on a gluten-free crust.
Guaranteeing that guests enjoy each bite is Chef John Zavoral’s goal with each dish. “Seeing the look of enjoyment on people’s faces when they taste our food and the pleasure they express following the meal is what inspires me,” says Chef Zavoral. “We strive to ensure they feel that way about every dish on the menu.”
If dessert seems an unattainable addition, take a few turns on the ice rink to make some space then return for a piece of tiramisu or torta, a warm, dark chocolate molten cake with caramel corn for crunch and salted caramel gelato for just a hint of savory with the sweet. It’s the perfect end to a print-perfect day in the snow.