Campo de Fiori
Vail, CO Colorado
When Giuseppe Bosco speaks with patrons at Campo de Fiori, he seems lost in earnest conversation. His eyes light up while he gestures with his hands, but as soon as the phone rings or a table of people gets up to leave, he excuses himself to tend to hellos and goodbyes. The manager is as crucial to the restaurant’s spirit as the food. “It’s my little baby,” says Bosco, a phrase I hear again from the chef, Simone Reatti. The duo has worked side-by-side for years, imbuing Campo with authentic Italian hospitality and cuisine.
Tucked up on the second floor overlooking Meadow Drive and Vail Mountain, the high ceilings echo back conversations at the tables, giving the room a constant jolt of energy and noise. Diners are as apt to speak to people across the room as they are to those at their own table. “You don’t have to dress up to come here,” says Bosco. “You can come in your pajamas if you want, as long as you come to have fun.”
The menu changes drastically in the summer and winter, and is constantly tweaked throughout the season as new ingredients become available or disappear ” like the little half moons of pasta filled with ricotta and hand-gathered wild watercress, nearing the end of its Rocky Mountain season. The frutti de mare alla griglia will always be on the menu. Giant prawns, calamari, crab claws, mussels and clams are cooked on the flat-top grill. “It makes them crispy and light,” says Reatti. “It really has a lot of flavor, and a good texture.” Lightly marinated in olive oil, the seafood speaks for itself. The occasional bits with a heat-blackened crust give the whole dish a vaguely smoky taste. It is marvelous.
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The pasta runs the gamut from the simple capellini with fresh tomatoes and arugula to the more involved mushroom ravioli ” one of those decadent treats that settle into memory with a sense of triumph and longing. Stuffed with wild mushrooms, the pillows of pasta are dressed in a Champagne cream sauce and a frazzle of more mushrooms. It should be too much but isn’t. Grilled New York strip steak, chicken and a daily fish special round out the entree selections. “We take pride in what we do,” says Bosco, who’s in charge of the wine list. The Italian and domestic selections make a robust list. “Campo is a charming, warm place.”
Campo de Fiori
100 East Meadow Drive, Vail