What is Vail’s dining scene like?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Larry Olmsted

Unlike most western ski towns which evolved from mining or Old West towns, Vail was purpose-built for skiing, and so was neighboring sibling Beaver Creek. Vail was created by returning World War II vets and patterned after the resorts they saw in the Alps, especially Switzerland’s charming Zermatt. The original part of the town has a strong Alpine flair still represented in the cosine, with German, Swiss and Austrian eateries offering huge steins of beer, along with every kind of wurst and schnitzel. Vail has always been international in feel but this has ranged farther and farther from the Alps, and today it has excellent global cuisine, from Asian fusion at Matsuhisa to Italian at La Bottega to fine French at La Tour and the Left Bank and even traditional southern slow smoked barbecue at Moe’s. More recently, Vail has been swept up in high-end dry aged steaks, at Flame and Elway’s steak houses, and by Rocky Mountain cuisine such as elk and buffalo, found all over town. It is a mountain resort town, so even the fanciest restaurants tend to have a casual air, and jackets and ties are rare while snow boots and jeans are not, but Vail does have some of the more sophisticated eateries in skiing, complete with deep wine list and elaborate cocktail menus – they just don’t always act that way.

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