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Vail, Colorado, is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. Although this mountain town is best known for skiing and snowboarding, Vail is also lovely in the spring, summer, and fall for relaxing, nature appreciation, outdoor exploration, shopping, and more.
Vail is a relatively new town; it was incorporated in 1966, just a decade after I-70 was completed. The interstate passes right by Vail, allowing very easy access for travelers. It just grew and grew from there.
In just over half a century, not only has it become the site of the second-largest ski resort in Colorado, but it has also become the year-round home to nearly 5,000 people, a destination for 1.3 million visitors per year, and the site of nearly 100 restaurants to try.
Many of the restaurants in Vail Valley are top-notch, and they rival in quality those in major cities around the nation and the world. A wide variety of cuisines are represented in Vail, and there is truly something for everyone among the restaurants in this mountain destination.
Here, we present you with our list of the very best restaurants in Vail. Armed with this list, you can focus your time and energy on hitting the slopes or exploring the area while knowing fully that when you’re done adventuring, there will be a guaranteed excellent meal waiting for you in town.
Read on to learn about the best of the best Vail restaurants, and get ready for a memorable trip that is satisfying in every possible way.
Best Restaurants in Vail, Colorado
1. Montauk Seafood Grill
Address: 549 E Lionshead Circle, Vail, CO 81657
Colorado is as landlocked as landlocked can be, so it might be surprising to some that one of the very best places to eat in Vail is a seafood grill. The Montauk Seafood Grill, named after the town at the eastern tip of Long Island, has been serving fresh fish, oysters, scallops, crab, and steak to the people of Vail for over 30 years.
It’s open for dinner nightly. The prices are reasonable, the plating is beautiful, and the servings are robust.
This place is an equally good spot to take a date or to relax with friends after a long day of skiing, snowboarding, or hiking. Walk-ins are welcome at Montauk Seafood Grill, but if you’re visiting during the busy season, it would be very wise to make a reservation in advance.
See Related: Things to Do in Breckenridge, Colorado
2. La Tour Restaurant
Address: 122 E Meadow Drive, Vail, CO 81657
La Tour Restaurant is located in Vail Village in the middle of all the action. It’s surrounded by a number of other restaurants within a stone’s throw, but this one stands out as the best place to enjoy fine French cuisine in town.
Its dishes are creative and elegant and are designed by La Tour’s chef-owner Paul Ferzacca, who opened this restaurant over 20 years ago. It often wins awards for its fantastic food and delicious wines, including a food rating of “Extraordinary” from Zagat’s and a “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator.
The menu at La Tour features year-round staples like steak, chicken, fish, and roasted duck breast, but Chef Paul also designs and offers incredible rotating seasonal menu items as well. It’s worth going back to see what he has cooking each season.
La Tour is open for dinner every night, and reservations are recommended. Conveniently, it’s located adjacent to the Vail Village public parking structure, making it easily accessible to all.
See Related: Things to Do in Vail, Colorado
3. Slope Room
Address: 352 E Meadow Drive, Vail, CO 81657
Slope Room is another inviting and impressive restaurant in Vail Village. The ambiance and vibe in this spot are striking as soon as you enter the door. Its blue velveteen, yellow leather, and blonde wood accents make you feel like you’ve stepped into a James Bond film.
But the beauty of this place certainly doesn’t stop there – the food is spectacular too, and Slope Room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, thereby giving you plenty of opportunities to try it all while you’re in town. If you’re in a hurry, the wine bar at Slope Room is a nice place to stop in for a drink, too.
Breakfast at Slope Room is a perfect way to start your day in Vail; we recommend the breakfast burrito accompanied by one of four of the restaurant’s fresh and bright smoothies. Lunch can be your choice of any of Slope Room’s “lighter fare” offerings like avocado toast or Hawaiian poke, or perhaps the Short Rib Burger if you’ve worked up an appetite.
The dinner menu also offers a number of delicious and delectable offerings like the 24-Hour Beef Short Rib or the Mountain View Pork Chop. Your kiddos will be more than happy to choose from several kid-focused entrees offered for each of the three meals, too.
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4. Sweet Basil
Address: 193 Gore Creek Drive, Vail, CO 81657
If you ask locals or regular visitors for a list of their favorite restaurants in Vail, almost everyone will mention Sweet Basil among them – and that right there is reason enough that you should check this place out. It’s trendy, fancy, and you may have to make a reservation several weeks in advance to get a table, but it’s absolutely worth it.
This place has been open since 1977 and the hype hasn’t died down at all. And Sweet Basil deserves it.
Sweet Basil is open every night for dinner and also serves lunch five days a week. No matter when you go, be prepared to be blown away both by how the food here looks and how it tastes. Neither meal will be inexpensive, but you get what you pay for.
Excellent lunch options include Sweet Basil’s Sea Scallop & Bone Marrow Pho or Tiger Prawns a la Plancha. For dinner, you might want to try the Seafood Tagliolini, which puts Maine lobster and scallops on a pedestal, or the Colorado Lamb T-Bones with brioche gnocchi di pane. Be sure to save room for dessert, as they’re next level at Sweet Basil, too.
Address: 141 E Meadow Drive, Vail, CO 81657
There are a lot of Vail restaurants where you can have an amazing dinner, but Matsuhisa is one that’s a step above many of the others. After much success in Aspen, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa opened his second location here in Vail Valley in 2011. It’s right in the middle of Vail Village on the ground-level floor of the Solaris building.
The ambiance is lovely; there’s a big stone fireplace, outdoor fire pits, custom woodwork, stone pillars, and huge windows with epic views of Vail Mountain. In the warmer months, the front of the restaurant opens up, offering an open-air dining experience.
Chef Matsuhisa hails from Tokyo, but he also studied in Argentina and Peru, so here you can expect Japanese dishes with international flair. This is high-end, fresh sushi at its very best, folks. Every bite will melt in your mouth and may even elevate you to a level of transcendence that you’ve never before experienced.
Everything is great at Matsuhisa, from the spicy tuna roll to the Miyazaki Waygu beef to the lamb chop entree. You can’t go wrong with anything here, and as soon as you leave, you’ll want to come back for more fresh sushi and more.
Matsuhisa is open nightly for dinner and reservations are highly recommended. Be sure to take advantage of the restaurant’s complimentary valet service if you’re driving.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Breckenridge, Colorado
6. Deca + Bol
Address: 141 E Meadow Dr #113, Vail, CO 81657
Deca + Bol is one of the most unique restaurants in Vail, CO, for several reasons, but the one you’ll remember first is the fact that it has a bowling alley inside. This isn’t your dirty, seedy, hometown bowling alley, though.
The bowling alley here is classy, cool, and inviting. Located in the Solaris building right next to Matsuhisa, this hip and trendy spot is known not only for bowling, but also for classic cocktails, craft beer, fine sandwiches, exciting small plates, and elevated, globally-inspired entrees.
However, keep in mind that the prices here won’t match those of your bowling alley back home, either, so be ready for a fairly expensive bill at the end of the evening. The food, drinks, and experience are worth it, though, and you’ll never forget your night of bowling at Deca + Bol in Vail.
7. Bully Ranch
Address: 20 Vail Road, Vail, CO 81657
Bully Ranch is one of several restaurants inside the Sonnenalp Hotel. It’s quite a bit more casual and family-friendly than many of the restaurants mentioned above and it’s a perfect spot to enjoy a meal with a small or large group of people you love. This is casual dining at its very best.
Although the menu items are simple and relatively commonplace, they are created with love and plated with great care. At Bully Ranch you’ll find soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, flatbreads, steaks, fish, and more. The kids’ menu offers more choices than most places in the area, and people of all ages love Bully Ranch’s famous truffle tater tots.
Bully Ranch is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and it’s a place that the whole family can enjoy. The seating area is rather large here, but reservations are still recommended.
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Address: 100 E Meadow Drive #25, Vail, CO 81657
Many people compare this part of the Rocky Mountains to the French Alps, and numerous buildings in town were clearly designed to reflect the architecture of a traditional Swiss chalet. But only at Alpenrose can you imagine yourself deep in Bavaria while in Vail.
This German restaurant has been serving Vail Village and its visitors for almost 50 years. The food served at Alpenrose reflects traditional German cuisine, and the restaurant also makes its own pastries that are out of this world. Of course, there’s plenty of wine and Bavarian beer on hand, too.
You’ll love eating in this restaurant, and its special European atmosphere and all the food is as beautiful as it is tasty. Alpenrose is open for lunch and dinner daily. If you’re looking for something even more unique and different, though, you might consider reserving a private gondola for your party.
Alpenrose’s gondolas were shipped to Vail from South Tyrol, Austria, to be repurposed as dining vessels. You and your companions will enjoy outdoor dining in a small, heated space, with access to a Bluetooth speaker so you can choose your own music. Your meal in the gondola is a three-course prix-fixe menu; you’ll enjoy an appetizer, an entree that you’ll prepare on a raclette grill and fondue combo, and a dessert.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most memorable dining experiences in Vail Valley. If you want to try it, you’ll need to reserve your gondola in advance. As you might imagine, this experience is quite popular with locals and visitors alike.
9. La Nonna Ristorante Vail
Address: 100 E Meadow Drive #24, Vail, CO 81657
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect Italian restaurant in Vail Village, then look no further than La Nonna Ristorante Vail. This is one of the best restaurants in Vail thanks to its fresh pasta and classic Italian dishes that anyone and everyone will love after a busy day in the Rocky Mountains.
The chef and co-owner, Chef Simone Reatti, is a true Italian who grew up in Cortina d’Ampezzo and has been cooking this genre of cuisine for over 20 years. And you can tell. Everything here is mouthwatering and perfect, and you’ll taste the love in every bite.
The classic dishes that you’ll find at La Nonna are not Americanized; this is true, legitimate, traditional Italian food. Whether you choose a pasta-focused meal, a meat-based entree, or a vegetarian dish, you’re sure to be quite pleased and very full when the check comes. La Nonna is also known for its extensive wine list which features wines from all over the world, but focuses on – you guessed it – wines from all over Italy in particular.
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10. The Little Diner
Address: 616 W Lionshead Circle, Vail, CO 81657
Many people who visit Vail arrive with a jam-packed schedule and big plans to do adventurous things all day. And these people all need to start the day with the best breakfast that money can buy to fuel them during all their exciting activities. With this in mind, The Little Diner in the Lionshead section of town is the perfect place to start the day.
Owners and operators Brian and Peggy opened this spot back in 2008 and it’s been a hit ever since. The interior is bright, comfortable, and welcoming just like you want any diner to be, and patrons can watch the dedicated and talented staff prepare everything from scratch in the open kitchen.
The Little Diner opens daily at 7:00 a.m. and stays open until 2:00 p.m. most of the year. Breakfast is served all day and lunch is served after 11:30. Brian and Peggy take pride in their menu and use locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible.
The breakfast menu includes everyone’s favorite breakfast items (don’t miss The Little Diner’s eggs Benedict) plus some with added unique twists. The lunch menu offers a variety of items that will give you the midday boost you need to get back out there for more exploration like burgers, classic sandwiches, and chili. You and your whole family will love The Little Diner.
Address: 250 S Frontage Road W, Vail, CO 81657
It’s possible to travel around the world in Vail, at least from a dining perspective. Above, we’ve already told you about the best French, Italian, Japanese, and German restaurants in Vail, but when it comes to unforgettable Nepali and Indian cuisine in this mountain town, don’t miss Annapurna.
This place is casual, laid back, welcoming, and very, very tasty. It’s located in the Evergreen Lodge in a vast open space that’s great for gathering with friends, family, or colleagues.
This restaurant smells like the fine spices it uses in its dishes as soon as you walk in the door. It’s open for lunch and dinner but closes in between meals, which is important to know if you find yourself hungry in the midafternoon.
You’ll find all the Indian and Nepali dishes you like at Annapurna, and the chefs will prepare them with perfection. Curries, masalas, and kormas await you here that elevate the chicken, lamb, or shrimp you’ve chosen to a whole new level. As with all restaurants that focus on this part of the world, there are also plenty of vegetarian dishes to choose from at Annapurna, too.
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Address: 12 Vail Road #100, Vail, CO 81657
Vintage presents a wide variety of French dishes in some of the most beautiful platings you can imagine. Everything in this small restaurant is worth trying whether you go for dinner or for its famous brunch, and it’s a wine bar and brasserie-style spot that everyone in your party will love.
Brunch is a great way to start your Vintage experience. In fact, this restaurant made it onto OpenTable’s list of the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America in 2021. The fresh squeezed mimosas may have had something to do with that, but dishes like Vintage’s Veggie Smashdown Benedict, Prosciutto Asparagus Galette, and Caramel Apple Belgian Waffle likely played a big part, too.
As for dinner at Vintage, don’t miss the Beef Bourguignon, one of the restaurant’s most well-known signature dishes. If you’d rather have a steak, you can choose from Vintage’s list of steak frites instead: bistro steak, hanger steak, or filet mignon, all cooked to perfection with your choice of béarnaise, au poivre, or soubise sauce.
Craving something from the sea? The Grilled Atlantic Swordfish and the Mussels Frites are also excellent choices. Bring your appetite.
13. Flame Restaurant
Address: 1 Vail Road, Vail, CO 81657
Flame is a carnivore’s dream come true. This Vail, CO, steakhouse, located in the Four Seasons, does steak and does steak right. It also serves trout, salmon, and chicken, and the chefs will even make a custom vegetarian entree if you bring an herbivore along, but you and most of your companions will likely be focused on beef and lots and lots of it.
After an excellent appetizer like Broiled Octopus Kabayaki or Rocky Mountain Elk Corn Dogs, you can choose from Waygu, dry-aged, or beef from the pasture in sizes starting at 8 ounces (a filet mignon) and going all the way up to a 40-ounce ribeye and everything in between. Choose a rub and a sauce and pick something to go over the top like seared foie gras, blue cheese butter, or garlic chili prawns, add a veggie or carb-heavy side, and you’ll have a meal that’s fit for a king or queen.
You’ll walk out so full that you may find that you’re not hungry again for many days to come. Good luck!
See Related: Best Restaurants in Boulder, Colorado
14. Mountain Standard
Address: 193 Gore Creek Dr, Vail, CO 81657
Mountain Standard is another of the Vail restaurants that can’t be missed during your Vail vacation. This place is a Vail institution. It’s owned and operated by the same people who own and operate Sweet Basil and it’s been one of the area’s most popular restaurants since it opened in 2012. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner.
The focus here is food that’s cooked over a live wood fire. This method really brings out the true flavors of the fresh ingredients that the restaurant uses, and this is mountain comfort food at its best.
Try the Smoked Short Rub Char Sui or the Steelhead Trout if you like, but the most popular dish at Mountain Standard is the Corned Pork Shank. It’s served with gruyere potato puree, cabbage, green apple, puffed farro, and caraway vinaigrette; it’s a meal that you won’t soon forget. The desserts are epic here, too, so be sure to save some room.
Located in Vail Village, this restaurant is near the heart of the action and is certainly worth stopping in for a filling meal.
15. Lancelot Restaurant
Address: 201 E Gore Creek Dr, Vail, CO 81657
Although Flame is the place to go for a steak in Vail Valley, Lancelot Restaurant isn’t too shabby in this realm either. And who says you can’t have TWO large servings of cow while you’re in Vail? Nobody.
Lancelot Restaurant is almost as old as Vail itself (it opened in 1969) and that’s reason enough on its own to check it out. It’s been serving mouthwatering, tender prime rib that entire time, and nobody in town does that specific dish better.
You’ll also find fine offerings of chicken, salmon, shrimp, crab, veal, and other beef dishes on the menu if you prefer, and Lancelot Restaurant also has an impressive wine list to pair with it all. This spot closes during the off-season, so make sure to check its website for hours and availability.
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Christy is was born and raised in upstate New York but she has lived in Denver, Colorado for the past decade with her partner, Billy, and their cat, Lucy. Traveling is her favorite thing to do in the whole world, but she also loves writing, reading, being outdoors, seeing live music, cooking, creating art in many mediums, napping, spending time with friends and family, and laughing heartily as often as possible.