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Nov 20, 2006 05:59 AM

Staying in Vail Village with no car -- where can we eat?

We're staying for 8 days with only local transportation. Is there anyplace good with a local vibe nearby? We've already decided that for splurge night we'll go to Sweet Basil or Larkspur (or maybe both) basd on posts on this board. We're looking for suggestions in a more reasonable price range for all kinds of food -- Mexican, Asian, Italian, American, whatever's best!

Please help!


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  1. Have you been to Vail before? The Village of Vail does not allow cars (or very few cars), so getting around is all about either walking or taking the shuttle bus. You'll have easy access to lots of options. I've been to Vail 20 some odd times, but since I haven't been there in the last few years, I'll let others give their opinions on what's good there now. Sweet Basil and Larkspur are great, but I've always enjoyed Pepi's, Campo di Fiori, Pazzo, China Garden as well. There are a lot of people who post about Vail on a regular basis here, so I'd definitely suggest a search for opinions that are more up to date.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kwe730

      Thanks for your suggestions! This will be our first time to the area. Is there anything in particular at China Garden that you recommend or do they have a specialty? Thanks again.

      1. re: JFla

        in the bar at Larkspur--best burger,Left Bank-french,expensive,and for 25 years have never failed me,Mai Palace-very good chinese,La Bottega-italian,excellent(Campo di Fiori notoriously overbooks),Red Lion-sit outside for lunch,best onion rings on the planet.Blu's generally good, Market Place next to Larkspur excellent sandwiches for picnic lunch on mountain.

    2. You will have lots of options in Vail. Everything is in walking distance or, if you wish, the bus runs from one end of the village to the other and everything is within easy walking distance of the bus line. Larkspur is my favorite for dinner, but according to my friend Blue Moose they have a great lunch at the bar. Haven't tried that myself, but if Blue Moose says it, take it to the bank. My favorite for lunch is Sweet Basil, but it's good for dinner also. Only problem with dinner there is that they usually don't have the calamari and rock shrimp appetizer on the menu at night.

      Sapphire at one time seemed to bill itself as the poor man's Sweet Basil, but a recent look at their menu online belies that impression. They have a version of the calamari and rock shrimp and also a version of the parmesan french fries. Not as good as SB in my opinion, but some believe it's a bargain.

      Pepi's is good for something different -- make a reservation for the room with the trophy animals in it unless you are offended by large stuffed animal heads. I think it's called the Antlers Room, but not sure. They have a large Colorado-type menu with some German and Austrian dishes as well.

      Another high-scale place that we have enjoyed is Kelly Liken. Kelly is the chef and she can do a good job. Although we have had some good meals there, it's not, in my opinion, worth the prices she charges when compared to Larkspur. The cocktail menu is said to be stellar.

      Vendetta's does good Italian at reasonable (for Vail) prices. It's a good place for a late dinner if you get caught without reservations.

      La Tour is one of two French restaurants there. I haven't eaten at The Left Bank, the other one. La Tour does good French food, but I'm put off by the snootiness and the prices.

      Blu's is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Very reasonable prices and a huge menu that will satisfy everyone in your group. Right next to it is Up the Creek. It also has a wide variety, but is about twice the price of Blu's and I don't think it's worth it. Both of these, and most of the others, have websites with their menus on them if you want to look before you go.

      Be sure to pick up the Vail Daily and peruse it for restaurant and club advertising. There are lots of specials at certain times of the year and all the restaurants there advertise in Vail Daily. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's a free newspaper that is readily available all over town. Also check out restaurants online. Almost all the ones mentioned above have websites with their menus.

      Hope you have a great time in Vail. Please give us a report when you return home.

      1. I live in Denver and don't eat in Vail that often but I would like to somewhat defend La Tour. It is on the expensive side, but I think the food is some of the best I have had in the mountains. I will admit they were having a special when I was last there (offseason - something like 30% off? So that really helped). I did not seem snooty to me (hopefully that does not make me the snooty one!). I thought the service was very friendly. I look forward to dining their again even without a discount. So, anyway thats my two cents. Have a fun trip!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ColoradoFun

          I also vote in favor of La Tour. We eat there every year and have never been disappointed. The owners are very personable as well. Give it a try, especially if you are in Vail for an entire week.

        2. Hope you also saw the other on-going thread about Vail, which also has a number of recommendations.