As an international vacation destination with over 5,300 snow-covered acres (plus plenty of trails and rivers to explore off-season), Vail draws visitors of all types. Whether you need to refuel (or party) after a day of hitting the slopes, or prefer to relax with good company and a fine meal, we’ve got restaurant recommendations for you. From local fare to international delicacies, the restaurants in this charming resort will delight just about anyone.
Here are ten of our Vail Restaurant Favorites:
Blü Cow Café
The famous Swiss Hot Dog (a “simply awesome” blend of pork and veal) has been a Vail fixture for over 40 years. Hot dogs aren’t Blü Cow’s only specialty worth a visit, though — their homemade chicken noodle soup is crafted with 23 spices; the owners insist on using fresh ingredients to create complex and well-balanced flavor profiles. They’ve also got beer and a full bar, so get ready to sit and stay awhile — their location (just steps away from Gondola One) makes this a pleasurably convenient stop.
Located at Vail’s Four Seasons, Flame’s chef specializes in farm-to-table cuisine, considering both seasonality and sustainability while supporting local farms. Farm-to-table may be trendy, but at Flame, it’s also FUN. Try lightly battered elk corn dog pops, goat cheese grits, or gouda and dill macaroni and cheese along with your custom steak. Don’t miss the delightful maple bacon doughnuts for dessert — paired with Flame’s exclusive bourbon, if you so choose.
Game Creek Club
While it’s a private club during the daytime, an evening ride up the gondola to Game Creek Club (plus a short snowcat ride) will reward you with one of two prix fixe options with a view of Game Creek Bowl at 10,300 feet — perhaps even during sunset. While it’s definitely fine dining, no fancy get-ups are necessary; you’ll be perfectly at home in clean jeans. Enjoy upscale dishes like bison tartare and local rack of lamb.
For over 20 years, Chef Paul Ferzacca has been cooking up classic — yet creative — French-American dishes in Vail. Look for the cute yellow awning with the bicycle to find this charmer. La Tour serves only the best organic, natural, sustainable dishes, and outdoor dining is available during the warmer months. If you’re dining inside, you’ll be charmed by the chime of “Edelweiss” at the top of each hour, echoing from the dining room’s belltower.
The Little Diner
Vail’s most popular old-fashioned diner is an obvious choice for lively and filling breakfast fare, any time of day. Known for their “savvy attitude” and scrumptious food, take a seat at the diner counter or in a cozy window booth (or wait for a text from the hostess when seats open up). Enjoy delicious breakfast staples such as breakfast burritos, crepes, german pancakes, eggs Benedict, florentine omelettes, and more.
Enjoy the creekside patio during the warmer months at popular gastropub Mountain Standard, where most of the food is cooked over an open fire — a unique and notable Vail dining experience which has earned a Diner’s Choice Award from OpenTable. Enjoy unique Southern takes on mountain fare, from a spicy wagyu meatloaf sandwich with housemade mozzarella to buttermilk sea-salt-sprinkled biscuits with country ham and pepper jelly. Depending on what’s in-season, you may enjoy trying bone marrow and steak tartare, wood-fired mushrooms, lemongrass pork sausage or rocky mountain trout. The handmade cocktails are also divine.
A Vail classic, Pepi’s has offered its visitors rich Austrian cuisine since 1964. Enjoy live music outside on the patio while digging into Austrian classics such as schnitzel and käsespätzle, or visit the Antlers Room to sample wild game with tableside service. Pepi’s won’t be difficult to find, with interior and exterior decor that celebrates its European alpine roots. Pepi’s is an iconic Vail restaurant where you can enjoy a unique night on the town.
Root & Flower
Find Root & Flower on Bridge Street, in the center of Vail’s pedestrian village; Root & Flower is Vail Valley’s first wine bar. With a full gourmet kitchen and over 50 wines by the glass, you’ll be in taste bud heaven while surrounded by colorful, abstract murals painted by local artists. You’ll also often find events taking place in the backroom in this bustling establishment.
The Stüberl at Ludwig’s
To experience the Sonnenalp Resort’s famous breakfast or enjoy an intimate dinner with top-notch service, visit the elegant Stüberl inside Ludwig’s Terrace. The entire restaurant has been paneled with wood from the barn at the original Sonnenalp in Germany, along with some original antiques from that hotel. Each table will receive a complimentary dessert of spun sugar, macarons and candies, including tufts of cotton candy draped from tree branches. On Friday nights, you’ll get to choose your fare from a special (and Vail-famous) lobster menu.
The oldest restaurant in town, Sweet Basil opened in 1977 and continues to be a local favorite. So much a favorite, in fact, that reservations are a good idea. With its upscale and creative internationally-influenced American cuisine and a wine list of over 500 labels in the heart of Vail, Sweet Basil delights guests with its variety and approachability. Try the king crab spring rolls, octopus with Meyer lemons, or saffron seafood linguine. The New York Times has complimented Sweet Basil on the quality of its midday meals.
More Local Tips
Whether you’re in Vail for a summer or winter vacation, or simply stopping through to enjoy delicious food in novel places, Vail’s restaurant scene won’t disappoint. Reach out to the Ron Byrne team for additional local tips and insider information; we’re always happy to help.