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Oct 1, 2010 10:35 AM

Vail restaurants for families with teens New year's week

We are 2 families with teens that will be making our first trip to Vail New Year's week, Dec 27 to Jan 3 (8 people in our group). We are staying in a condo in Lionhead's area, so we will be eating in most nights, but would like to take a break a few nights as well.

Our family is a foodie one, but our travelling companions somewhat less so. I'm looking for a good casual Italian restaurant to fill the bill one night, and maybe a good BBQ joint or mexican another night with the teens. The adults will probably do a night by ourselves as well. We will stay away from Thai and Indian, due to some nut allergies in our crowd.

So far, Cucina Rustica looks promising for Italian, but I'm seeing some mixed reviews. Larkspur for the adults? For grocery shopping and wine buying, where should we go? We will have cars.

Thanks so much!

Cucina Rustica
174 E Gore Creek Dr, Vail, CO 81657

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  1. Since you say you will have cars, I recommend you go to Ti Amo in Eagle-Vail. It's probably 4 or 5 miles west of Lionshead. Family owned and a great place for all ages. It should go without saying, especially during that week, which is probably the busiest of the year, but do make a reservation a few days (at least) in advance.

    Larkspur is our favorite in the valley. You can do a search on this board to read several comments by myself and others. Make a reservation at least a month in advance to assure the day and time you want. I note on Open Table that they already are showing some unavailability for those dates.

    In my opinion there is no good BBQ in the Vail area. I like Fiesta's in Edwards for New Mexican, but others will disagree.

    I'll leave the grocery shopping and wine buying to others. We do our shopping for food and wine in Avon.

    If Blue Ox posts in response, pay attention. He lives there is the final word on food in the Eagle Valley.

    Have fun and eat well!

    7 Replies
    1. re: ddavis

      DD, thanks for the endorsement, however, lately I've been going to the same 4 or 5 places and haven't been keeping up. A local property manager has told me that all the high-end properties are pretty much rented for the holiday season this year and I also heard that the Cascade is sold out for the same period. That means we are recovering from a couple of tough years and it may be difficult to get tables at popular restaurants. Consider sitting in the bar/lounge area, if there aren't tables available in the dinning room. If you are creative about times (early is better than later), you can get into places you want.

      I tried to go back to DD's post about all the places that are good but don't get mentioned much on this board, but I couldn't get it to display.

      Food shopping, you best bet is to drive the 30 miles down I70 to Costco near the airport. The liquor store (not Costco owned) in the same building has good wine deals between $10 and $30. Otherwise City Market and Safeway in West Vail are serviceable. If you need specialty meat and fish, try Foods of Vail in Avon or CUT in Edwards.

      Tell the teenagers to be careful trying to get into over 21 bars, they will get caught and you'll have to get them out of the slammer at the Vail PD.

      West Vail has some good local places, but stay out of the Sandbar, unless you are looking for trouble.

      1. re: BlueOx

        Thanks DD and Blue Ox. Of course, I'd love some more detail from your responses.

        I checked out the Ti Amo website, and the menu looks long (sometimes a concern) and the room looks a bit dark (might just be poor photography). I assume my initial reaction is incorrect?

        Larkspur looks like a winner, so I think the adults will go with that one. I was checking out the Six 89 website (looked great!) but that looks like a bit of a haul from Vail.

        DD, if you could remember what was in the post that Blue Ox couldn't find, that would be great.

        We will be coming from the Denver airport, so is the Costco you mentioned near there?

        Any good bakeries in Vail?

        We are staying at the Vail Spa in Lionshead, and would love to get out for a drink some evening. Anything you would recommend in that neighborhood?

        Do you have any on hill dining tips for Vail or Beaver Creek?

        As newbies to the area, we appreciate all your help!

        Six 89 Restaurant
        689 Main Street, Carbondale, CO 81623

        1. re: novascotiafood

          The Costco BlueOx speaks of is the opposite direction, however, there is a Costco with a liquor store in Denver at I-70 and Wadsworth that would be worth a stop if they are open when you're driving by. Honestly, I'd suggest picking up grocery staples for the week in Denver if you can as it will be cheaper.

          Six89 is in Carbondale I believe and yes it would be a haul. Ti Amo is a bit dark, like many comfortable family style Italian restaurants but quite worth it.

          I've had post skiing drinks and apps at the Tavern in Lionshead and it was serviceable.

          On mountain I like Wildwood for their smoked chicken and rice soup and Two Elk for their soups/chilis. Mostly though I pack my own sandwiches and eat those as it is expensive to eat on mountain.

          1. re: RobynS

            I don't eat out much when I am in Eagle County or passing through, but I will say that I have always found that the City Market and Safeway as well as the liquor stores to be fairly reasonable on price. Sure, there's a slight premium, but really not that much. If you can shop on your way up to Vail, great. But if it's too difficult logistically, don't sweat it, and shop after you get settled in. You'll still be fine.

          2. re: novascotiafood

            I can't find the post Blue Ox mentioned. I remember it -- was just a listing of many places in the valley that I would go back to but that don't get much mention here. I've searched the board but can't find the post. Someone apparently deleted it. I can't remember all of the places, but it probably had Blu's, Up the Creek and Sapphire in Vail, Gore Creek Brewery, French Press and Fiesta's in Edwards, Mango's in Red Cliff, Tennessee Pass Restaurant in Leadville, Grouse on the Green at Cordillera, Ella's in Carbondale, etc.

            Yes, Ti Amo is dark and it does have a large menu. I have never had anything there I didn't like, but to narrow it down to favorites, here you go:

            Apps/Salad -- Funghi e Polenta, Carciofo alla Griglia, Insalata all Griglia

            Risotta Del Giorno -- whatever the daily preparation is

            Entrees -- Pollo Scarpariello, Petti di Pollo alle Fragole, Costolette di Maiale

            Desserts -- Tartufo al Chocolate, Tangerine Sorbet (kinda funky, but I like it), Nutella Crepe.

            Six89 in Carbondale is excellent, but an hour and a half drive each way.

            French Press
            34295 Highway 6, Edwards, CO 81632

            Tennessee Pass Cafe
            222 Harrison Ave, Leadville, CO 80461

              1. re: LurkerDan

                Dan, that was one of DD's posts, however, the one we can't find was a list of many place here and a short comment about each.

      2. That's great info everyone - thank you! Food and wine are an important part of the ski vacation, so insider information is very helpful.

        I've made a reservation at Larkspur for the adults, and Ti Amo sounds like a good choice for a night with the families. Any comments on Campo di Fiori? The menu and room look appealing!

        The teens are 16 and 14, and look their age, so hopefully we won't end up visiting the VailPD. The kids were warned though!

        We're scheduled to arrive in Denver at 10:40 am, so we will have a good amount of time to get supplies and get settled away.

        What is the best pizza take out joint that delivers? We prefer thin crust and some options for interesting toppings.

        3 Replies
        1. re: novascotiafood

          If your flight is on time you should be travelling through Idaho Springs about lunch time. There is a good Italian restaurant there called Mangia! Here's a link to it:

          1. re: ddavis

            Mangia Mia looks like a great suggestion, and by looking at the map, we will be starving by then!

            Any thoughts on Campo di Fiori or good take out pizza?

            1. re: novascotiafood

              I have never been to Campo di Fiori. I have heard it is good, but I don't remember who said that, so don't count on it.

              I don't know about pizza. We occasionally order pizza delivered by A La Car, but I don't know where they get it.

              A La Car
              2140 Long Spur, Avon, CO 81620