Vail dining: Living large with authentic Italian food and atmosphere
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – You can take the man out of Italy, but you can’t take Italy out of the man. Executive Chef Simone Reatti and General Manager Giuseppe Bosco may have their futures firmly planted in the New World, but at Campo de Fiori, a Vail restaurant both refer to as “my little baby,” their lives are a celebration of the Old World. The duo has worked side-by-side for years, imbuing Campo with authentic Italian hospitality and cuisine.
“I like people. I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” Bosco says, laughing. “It’s my nature.”
Part of liking people is wanting to take care of them. From the moment they walk through the door, ensuring their happiness seems to be Bosco’s destiny. That might entail letting them practice their Italian, or recommending a nice Barolo, or simply asking them about their day. And if people show up before the restaurant is officially open?
“I don’t like to send people away, telling them to come back in 10 minutes,” he says. “That’s not right. They can come in and have a glass of wine while they wait. And maybe we’re ready early.”
Tucked up on the second floor overlooking Meadow Drive and Vail Mountain, the restaurant’s high ceilings echo back conversations at the tables as the dining room fills up, 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.”
Reatti tends toward Italian ingredients and classic, bold Italian flavors.
He makes gazpacho with Tuscan cantaloupe. “It’s sweeter than a regular melon,” he says.
Mixed with onions and lemongrass, the cold melon soup is served with a scoop of English cucumber sorbet – light, delicate and chillingly refreshing. Another summertime starter is the Insalata Estiva, a watermelon salad which comes on a tangle of greens with a pungent red-wine vinaigrette and impossibly creamy goat cheese.
At the other end of the spectrum are dishes like the grilled ribeye, and garganelli tossed with speck (a spice-cured prosciutto) and asparagus in a creamy saffron sauce. The Spaghetti all’ Aragosta includes lobster that nearly jumps off the plate it’s so fresh. Al dente noodles are sauced with a white wine, brandy and plum tomato reduction. A cooked-to-order lobster is splayed out on the plate, the meat ready for the picking. Nobody leaves Reatti’s restaurant hungry.
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