The Vail Village has recently been named to a very prestigious culinary list by USA Today, as the # 4 location in the country for outdoor dining in the United States. Outdoor dining is an experience in Vail, no matter what time of year. From snow falling in the wintertime, to enjoying spring skiing and après with all of your friends, to summer when the flower boxes are in full bloom and now, autumn when the cooler, shorter days are painted with the glow of aspen leaves.
During off season, outdoor dining is even better than what USA Today could begin to fathom when they researched this top ten list. Autumn is a highlight of the year to experience one of the best kept secrets of the Rocky Mountains and the Vail Valley – outdoor dining and restaurants feature “off season specials” and guests enjoy the ambience of the changing of the aspens to a brilliant gold.
La Tour, in Vail Village is a favorite place for brunch and lunch and is located at the bell tower on Meadow Drive. Begin your culinary journey with a champagne flute of bubbles, a cocktail or a glass of wine from their extensive wine list. With the sunflower colored umbrellas and seasonal flower boxes on the patio, La Tour is an outdoor dining experience well worth losing track of time and taking in the fresh air. Remember, in Colorado, if for some odd chance you don’t finish your bottle of wine, you are allowed to “cork and go.”
Matsuhisa Vail, the world renowned Nobu Matsuhisa sushi restaurant is also located on Meadow Drive on the second floor of the Solaris building. Limited outdoor seating provides a reason to sit at the bar and take in the breathtaking views of Vail Mountain and the changing aspen leaves. As the fall foliage begins its residency in Vail, the view from the bar and the front of the restaurant is breathtaking through the expansive windows! Matsuhisa is not open for lunch. Happy Hour or an early dinner is highly recommended if the changing leaves are your priority, as the sun begins to set earlier, reminding us that old man winter will be visiting us soon.
Pepi’s Deck is an outdoor culinary institution in Vail! At the iconic corners of Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive, this IS the place to see and be seen! Sheika and Pepi Gramshammer, owners of Pepi’s are some of the most hospitable hosts in Vail. The Bavarian themed menu paired with a tall Paulaner beer is a great way to spend your day, no matter what time of year. During the summer months, the flower boxes are stunning with exquisite arrangements and the iconic orange sun umbrellas adorned with white polka dots adds a bit of whimsy. Mid September, Okotberfest arrives in Vail, stop by, enjoy the deck and the Autumn views.
If Italian food is on your itinerary, La Bottega on the corner of Meadow Drive and Vail Road is another location to enjoy a Josephine Salad, pizza and glass of wine a beautiful corner patio to watch the world go by.
Venture over to Lionshead via the free in town bus or a leisurely walk to front row dining and views of Vail Mountain and fall colors. The Vail Chophouse located at the base of Lionshead Gondola and Chair 8 has a new owner, musician Phil Long, formerly of The Red Lion. The Chophouse patio is well worth the short venture out of Vail Village to see Phil Long playing all of our favorite après songs in his own bar.
A final favorite deck scene for quality bar food is Garfinkels in Lionshead. The enormous deck is sun drenched all day long.
Remember while dining el fresco in Vail, you are at 8000 feet above sea level, even in the fall months, wear your sunscreen, bring your sunglasses, camera and an appetite. Dining outdoors in Vail will be an adventure with a view you’ll want to share via photos on social media.