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Vail + Beaver Creek Restaurants

8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill
136 East Thomas Place
Beaver Creek , Colorado
Tel: 970 827 6600

With a prime location at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, inside the Park Hyatt, 8100 Mountain Grille is needling to be your new favorite aprés-ski hot spot. Settle into the lounge around the outdoor firepit for small plates of house-made buffalo meatballs and corn fritters with truffle-horseradish aioli. Pair them with a pint of Hops of Prey, an IPA brewed especially for 8100 by Vail Valley's Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, then sit and watch the alpenglow blaze across the peaks. The dinner menu spotlights chef Christian Apetz's farm-to-table mentality, where the freshest of local ingredients are the stars of the plate.—Samantha Berman

Bart & Yeti's
551 E. Lionshead Circle
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 476 2754

A local dive that's consistently voted "Best Burger" by Vail's faithful denizens, Bart & Yeti's—named after two dearly departed dogs who served as establishment mascots—is also the place to go for chili, baby back ribs, steak, and fried chicken. You'll probably run into your kid's ski instructor and the boisterous ski patrol crew chilling at the end of the day.

Campo de Fiori
100 E. Meadow Drive
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 476 8994

It is a good sign that both the owner and head chef of this Northern Italian restaurant, which has a sister establishment in Aspen, are Italian. Their food is as authentic as they are. Try the Ravioli all' Odore di Funghi—homemade ricotta ravioli in a Champagne mushroom cream sauce and finished with white truffle oil—and the worth-every-calorie tiramisu.

Dinner only.

Centre V
The Arrabelle at Vail Square
675 Lionshead Place
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 754 7777

Hunkering under the towering Bavarian architecture of the Arrabelle in Lionshead, this French bistro evokes the Old World romance of a Parisian brasserie. The handcrafted mosaic tile floor glitters; wineglasses stand at the ready on top of antique cabinets; heavy red drapes dress the arched windows and doorways; and the soft leather chairs invite you to settle in for a pleasant evening. Centre V synthesizes sophistication with comfort by serving unfussy, hearty fare. Mull over the menu with a signature hot apple-cinnamon martini and a sizzling cast-iron skillet of Râclette with fingerling potatoes and garlic toast points, or succulent fruits de mer. Can't decide between the steak-frites with Roquefort crust or the gnocchi à la Parisienne? You can't go wrong with the traditional plat du jour, such as sole à la meunière, boeuf bourguignon, or coq au vin. Follow up with a coffee (served in a French press, of course) and warm chocolate soufflé laced with vanilla-bean custard sauce. Centre V is also heating up Lionhead's once-sleepy après-ski scene; ask for a table on the Great Room terrace.

Open daily 7 am to 10 pm, November through March; Tuesdays through Sundays 3 to 10 pm, April through October.

126 Riverfront Lane
Avon , Colorado
Tel: 970 790 5500

At Cima, star chef Richard Sandoval aims to combine Rocky Mountain ingredients with Latin American flair. Sandoval looks for the freshest ingredients from local farms and ranches, and sources sustainable seafood. Standouts on the menu include the brightly flavored ceviches and rack of lamb with chorizo meatballs and pomegranate–mint salsa. The hand-muddled cocktails combine pisco, cachaça, and, of course, tequila.—Samantha Berman

Foxnut Asian Fusion and Sushi
The Plaza
Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek , Colorado
Tel: 970 845 0700

With hot-pink walls, whimsical chandeliers, and cutesy menu items like "sushitini," Foxnut (oh, yeah—and that name!) is not what you'd expect in luxurious Beaver Creek. But it's a welcome change from the usual Western-themed, "casual elegant" joints. Come straight from the slopes for happy hour, when everything from sushi to sake to Sapporo beer is half-price. Some of the rolls on the menu are suspect (the NYC Big Apple with cream cheese, apple, and eel?), but the portions are huge and the fish is delivered fresh daily from Denver. Some of the fusion offerings, such as pot stickers, moo-shu duck, and glazed pork ribs, are comfortingly familiar. The staff is friendly to a fault. This is a nice place to take off your ski boots and kick back.

Kelly Liken
12 Vail Road, Suite 100
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 479 0175

Still one of Vail's hottest reservations, so book, like, yesterday—this atmospheric eatery is named for its chef, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. You'll find a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses clientele enjoys Liken's creative takes on grilled rack of lamb au poivre (garnished leeks, wild mushrooms, and chèvre popovers) or her signature potato-crusted trout filet with caramelized Brussels sprouts, golden raisins, pecans, and watercress.

Golden Peaks Lodge
458 Vail Valley Drive
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 479 8050
Fax: 970 479 8052

Chef Thomas Salamunovich has a résumé that spans from San Francisco to France, but it's his time in Northern California that really shows. His dishes, like Petaluma organic free-range chicken with shaved Brussels sprouts and whipped potatoes, are a case in point. The space itself is lovely, located at the foot of Vail Mountain's Golden Peak lift. Check out the massive glassed-in wine cellar, too, with more than 7,500 mostly New World bottles.

Sonnenalp Resort
20 Vail Road
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 479 5461

Ludwig's, at the Sonnenalp, is divided into three parts: The stüberl (small dining room) and the sunroom are both cozy nooks replete with Bavarian antiques, but opt instead for the aptly named winter garden. Eating in this glassed-in atrium perched above Gore Creek is like dining outdoors—only you can do it year-round. The sparse decor (basically high-end patio furniture and wrought-iron chandeliers) leaves the limelight on the surrounding aspens, falling snow, and constellations overhead. Specialties of the chef's classically influenced contemporary American cuisine include Dover sole in a lemon caper emulsion, and rack of Colorado lamb dressed with caviar and garlic jus. Try the berries flambé with frangipani- and rosemary-infused gelato, then sit back and enjoy the scenery. It doesn't get any more beautiful than this.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 7 to 11 am and 5 to 10 pm, Sundays 7 am to 1 pm and 5 to 10 pm.

Mamie's Mountain Grill
Top of Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek Resort
Beaver Creek , Colorado
Tel: 970 754 5591

For all those skiers who have reluctantly settled for overcooked burgers at slope-side cafeterias, Mamie's Mountain Grill has the answer: Do it yourself. Located at the top of Beaver Creek's Bachelor Gulch Express, this lunchtime eatery offers burgers, Euro-style hot dogs, kebabs, and steaks that you can grill yourself (if you wish), along with stews, soups, and panini. You'll be sitting outside (or inside a rustic yurt, when it's dumping), but the views of Grouse Mountain and the microbrews and Glòhwein will stave off even the fiercest Colorado chill.—Sarah Tuff

Open daily 11 am to 3 pm during ski season.

Minturn Saloon
146 N. Main Street
Minturn , Colorado
Tel: 970 827 5954

You can drive to the Minturn Saloon if you want to, but for hard-core backcountry powder hounds, it's way more fun to ride the lifts at Vail and swoosh down the misnamed Minturn Mile—a three-mile run through the wilderness that plunges nearly 3,100 feet and ends at this restaurant. Open since 1901, the Minturn Saloon has a memorabilia-decked bar, fireplace, and red-check tablecloths, making it an informal and iconic end to an outdoorsy Colorado day. The mostly Mexican fare is fit for fresh-air appetites: Go for the broiled quail and a liter margarita made with organic agave nectar and freshly squeezed lime. Just make sure you have a designated driver—or a pair of skis with climbing skins—to ferry you away at the night's end.—Sarah Tuff

Note: The Minturn Mile is an unpatrolled area outside of resort boundaries; ski at your own risk. See the Minturn Salon Web site and Vail's safety guidelines for more information.

Open daily 5 to 9:30 pm (winter), 5:30 to 9:30 pm (summer).

Gasthof Gramshammer Hotel
231 E. Gore Creek Drive
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 476 4671

Pepi's, which is Austrian down to its lederhosen, is located in the chalet-style Gasthof Gramshammer hotel in Vail Village. Between foamy pints of Spaten Pilsner, sample specialties such as jagerschnitzel (pork or veal medallions lightly floured and pan-fried in a white-mushroom sauce) and sauerbraten (beef loin au jus with a touch of ginger zest). The place strikes just the right vibe for a ski town, as evidenced by the red-cheeked skiers who usually hit Pepi's right off the slopes and hunker down for the evening.

Spago at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
130 Daybreak Ridge
Avon , Colorado
Tel: 970 343 1555

Opened in December 2007, Wolfgang Puck's first ski resort outpost is the area's hottest (and possibly priciest) ticket. Helmed by longtime Puck executive chef Mark Ferguson, the 126-seat restaurant (with an additional three dozen seats in the bar and lounge area) was designed by Tony Chi to mix and match the Ritz-Carlton "ritzy-rustic" local stone and wood themes with playful touches such as faux-cowhide-covered chairs. The mood at night might be casual and playful (trim blondes in jeans, fab furs, and Uggs; tables of children digging into fries), but the food coming out of the big open kitchen is definitely serious. Puck fans will recognize menu classics such as his agnolotti with seasonal fillings (perhaps pumpkin and Mascarpone in sage butter) alongside pan-roasted venison and other ski country favorites. At dinner, you would be remiss if your table didn't sample the spicy tuna tartare in sesame-miso tuile cones, the pan-roasted duck breast, and the grilled Japanese Kobe New York strip, served with an addictive wasabi potato purée.

Open daily 11:30 am to 2 pm and 6 to 10 pm. Closed mid-April to late May

The Chateau
17 Chateau Lane
Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek , Colorado
Tel: 970 845 8808

Splendido has all the pomp that its name implies—after all, it's located at a collection of private condos known as the "The Chateau"—but it never feels snobby. Servers fuss over guests whether they're wearing Prada or Patagonia. The place to sit is in the short leg of the L-shaped dining room: You're away from the nightly pianist and the bar but can enjoy the view into the open kitchen. The menu favors meats, including a scrumptious wood oven-roasted Colorado rack of lamb and grilled elk loin. But there are French-inspired classics as well, such as Dover sole à la meunière and a break-the-bank caviar starter ($125 to $290). The serious wine list highlights California and the Pacific Northwest—though this being Beaver Creek, you can order a $1,500 Château Margaux 1982 as well. Try the chocolate fudge soufflé with Grand Marnier crème anglaise for dessert.

Sweet Basil
193 E. Gore Creek Drive
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 476 0125

A firmly ensconced Vail Village mainstay that's been around since 1977, Sweet Basil serves contemporary American dishes and draws seasoned foodies and common folk alike. The menu has Mediterranean influences with dishes such as pan-seared Colorado lamb T-bone with three-cheese polenta; the Wine Spectator–award-winning wine list keeps up with the food. The decor of dark cherry wood floors, stonewalls, and contemporary art upstages neither the food nor the view of Gore Creek.

Terra Bistro
Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa
352 E. Meadow Drive
Vail , Colorado
Tel: 970 476 0700

Were it not for the snowy landscape outside, you might think you were in an urban restaurant in a big coastal city. And it's not just the hum of the main dining room: Chef Kevin Nelson's New American menu emphasizes local produce and free-range meats—Colorado lamb chops, Prairie Harvest chicken breasts—and has pan-Asian, Latin, and Italian touches. Few dishes are as comforting after a day on the mountain as the potato-Parmesan soup with Serrano ham and white truffle oil. For an entrée, try the grilled pork chop served with chimichurri sauce and an apple-tomatillo tamale. Request a table near the fireplace in the window-wrapped room off the main dining room.

Breakfast and dinner only.

The Plaza
Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek , Colorado
Tel: 970 845 5590

This is our choice for that first, jet-lagged, altitude-dizzying (Beaver Creek Village sits at over 8,000 feet) night in town. The Italian food is familiar, but with grown-up, bold flavors. No matter what's on the seasonal menu, don't pass up the rich chicken in lemon-caper sauce and homemade pappardelle: The secret of the sauce is in the reduced chicken stock. You can bring the kids here, too—they serve pizza, and the restaurant is right on Beaver Creek's ice rink.

Wildwood Restaurant
Atop Vail Mountain (accessed via Wildwood Express Chairlift)
Vail , Colorado

On-mountain dining is generally dismal. If you're tired of hurrying through a bowl of lukewarm chili with your feet crammed into ski boots, check out Wildwood, a genuine smokehouse located at 11,000 feet and reachable only by chairlift or skis. Everyone will tell you not to pass up the chicken and wild rice soup, and everyone is right. But don't overlook the barbecued meat sandwiches. Worth sacrificing those few extra runs, even on a ski-perfect day.

Lunch only.

Zach's Cabin
Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek , Colorado
Tel: 970 845 6575

This mountainside, members-only club opens its doors to outsiders for dinner during the ski season only. The catch: You can only reach it via a sleigh ride up the mountain attached to a Sno-Cat—about 10 minutes from the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, where these sleighs depart every 15 minutes on the hour after 5 p.m. But it's worth the trek for its big-timber design, mountain views, and warming fireplaces. The food is ambitious—scallop-and-pork-belly sandwich with parsnip purée and hollandaise—but excellent; there's also a kids' menu at the early seating. A popular alternative is Beano's Cabin: It also has the mountain views, the good food, and the fireplaces, but the Sno-Cat ride (from Beaver Creek Village) is more like 20 minutes—a bit long on a cold night (970-949-9090).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.