Vail - La Bottega 4 times in 4 nights, plus one To Go...
Loved this restaurant - actually had 2 dinners & 2 lunches, plus one to go for the plane from here. Resvs for a table are a must, but we always ended up sitting at the pizza bar & enjoyed every moment watching the chefs work (especially Eli - impressive cook & interesting guy...) Arugula, pancetta & pine nut salad excellent, loved the carpacchio with truffle cream & more arugula, good lobster ravioli, excellent thin crust pizzas (had them make a custom with scampi, pesto & kalamata olives - yumm!!, sandwiches all good & tiramisu to die for - and I'm not usually a tiramisu fan, but saw so many people ordering it... so mascarpone cheesy & creamy & huge flakes of chocolate showered over. We were never hungry enough to to try the roast meats - osso bucco, veal, lamb, beef tenderloin, or the huge bowl of mussels, etc that others were raving about. Charming decor, staff, just a wonderful find & so much better than Campo! Was very happy wiith a $35 bottle of Terra di Tufi, but fairly broad wine selection. You can sit in regular bar & order off of pizza & app menu, at the pizza bar or restaurant seating with full menu. Nice wine store around the corner, too!
Had dinner at the bar at Larkspur - we were told no tables until our 8:30 reservation, but that we could reserve seats at the bar earlier. Both were wide open when we arrived at 7:15pm, so chose the bar, as more casual. Interesting & fairly expensive wine list - beware of by the glass prices - the right right ones are for a 3oz pour only. Tasting menu just didn;t sound that appetizing. Chose the gnocchi with truffle oil, arugula, wild mushrooms & parmesan off the tasting menu - absolutely delicious, but tiny portion at a rather steep price. Split the sirloin strip, which was just ok. Sunchoke puree was just plain weird & I wasn't that bowled over by the steak's flavour. I skiied back over for lunch & had the low carb Larkburger (trying to balance off the rest of the food this week, plus I like edaname!) It was ok - should have ordered the regular burger. Sat on a leaf of lettuce instead of being wrapped up like the protein style In N Out burgers I love... Lady next to me was having the lobster, bacon & arugula sandwich, which looked excellent. I'd go back for lunch, but not sure about dinner.
Went to La Bottega my first night in Vail and was unimpressed. Ordered the pizza with artichoke, olives, ham and mushrooms to discover that they just heaped each ingredient on each slice, and I mean heap. It was impossible to eat, and the ham tasted like the stuff from the deli (and not Boar's Head). Besides that, the sauce had no taste and the neither did the crust. Also had the chicken which was overcooked and just did not taste good. Maybe I'm used to the yummy rotisserie chickens I can pick up in the supermarket here in NYC which are always tender and juicy, but this one just did not impress me at all. The only thing I enjoyed was the crab and artichoke appetizer. That was quite tasty. Should have just stuck w/that.
Torta B. thank you for the update on La Bottega. When it closed to move or remodel, it fell off my radar screen. It was a wonderful place to go in the summer and sit outside. And you got my attention when you mentioned they had Terra di Tufi (we call it tooty fruity) on the wine list.
I agree with the point you made about Larkspur, the apps at the bar being minuscule, we complained about it last time.