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Help with Vail restaurants

Will be going to Vail with 5 friends and looking for three good restaurants - all cuisines considered. Looking for somewhat of a scene, with great food and great ambiance but doesn't have to be fancy! Thanks

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  1. On our recent trip we went to:

    La Bottega- Italian- good for lunch, not sure about dinner atmosphere
    Kelly Liken- very inventive, but super expensive for the amount of food you get
    Vendetta's- pizza place, the food was good but the atmosphere was very simple

    We stayed at the Sonnenalp and sampled the food at Ludwig's, Bully Ranch, and the Swiss Chalet. Each restaurant was VERY busy. The atmosphere was lively in the Swiss Chalet.

    We also went to the Frost bar in the Sebastian. They had a small plate menu that was interesting. Their beer selection and specialty drinks were quite good too.

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    Bully Ranch Restaurant
    20 Vail Rd, Vail, CO 81657

    Kelly Liken
    12 Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657

    La Bottega
    100 E Meadow Dr Ste 37, Vail, CO 81657

    9 Replies
    1. re: jenn2083

      Jenn,
      Good feedback. What I like about Vendetta's is the local feel about 6pm when the workers coming off the mountain stop for a beer, not the food. We are still waiting for more opinions about the 4Seasons, the place looks great, how's the food and prices.

      We had a great time a couple of weeks ago at the Larkspur Bar doing apps and really good Cote d'Or wines.

      Did you get to try any place "down" Valley?

      1. re: BlueOx

        Sadly, we did not eat anywhere considered "down" Valley. We did eat at a few places in Denver though.

        I originally had reservations for Larkspur. When I mentioned it to our snowshoe guide she said she found it to be the most overhyped restaurant in the area. So we decided to dine at Kelly Liken instead. We ate at their bar, but the bartender seemed annoyed that we just wanted appetizers. They were good though!

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        Kelly Liken
        12 Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657

        1. re: jenn2083

          I respectfully disagree with your snowshoe guide. I haven't noticed that Larkspur is "hyped" at all. Larkspur is, in my opinion, simply the best restaurant in the valley. Sorry you missed it.

          1. re: ddavis

            I agree w/ ddavis. Kelly Liken is very good. Too bad the bartender had an attitude but hope that it didn't spoil your experience.

            -----
            Kelly Liken
            12 Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657

            1. re: ddavis

              ITA too! Larkspur is one of my favorite restaurants ANYWHERE...

              1. re: ddavis

                Recently ate at Larkspur. Great meal. The ribeye was the best steak I have ever had.

          2. re: jenn2083

            Went to Kelly Liken last night after reading about her being on Iron Chef, having a James Beard nomination, and some positive reviews on Chowhound.

            We were very disappointed with the meal for several reasons. First and foremost, it was generally bland. Bland like they forgot to season it. We ordered the elk carpaccio, a lamb entree and an extra side. There were components of the meal that were tasty (i.e. , the watermelon gazpacho amuse bouche, the garnish on the carpaccio, and the four or five gnocchi served with the lamb) but in general the meal was not successful. Secondly, the meal was WAY overpriced. We spent $170 for two for a split starter, a split entree, an extra side , a split dessert, and a 1/2 bottle of wine. We've spent less at some of the best restaurants in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, etc., and are by no means unaccustomed to fine dining. To top it off, our waitress (Ana) came across as stuck up and wasn't helpful in terms of selecting a wine.

            Anyways, to sum it up... bland, overpriced food with jarring service. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

            -----
            Kelly Liken
            12 Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657

            1. re: trekster

              Trekster, I think you nailed it, sorry. Please don't think the whole "Valley" is anything like that. The other night while having dinner at my favorite place in Vail, the conversation got around to other places to try and KL came up, one of the other folk mentioned that last time they were there the patrons stood up and applauded when KL walked into the room...PLEASE.

              Kind of new news, Thomas got himself out of the Westin in Avon and turned it over to an "upscale" Mexican food group from Denver. Thomas has been quoted as saying he's going back into the kitchen at Larkspur.

              And Elway's is taking over the operation at the Lodge at Vail. Why couldn't have been Bradford Heap?

              1. re: BlueOx

                "stood up and applauded when KL walked into the room" ??????

                Give me a break!

                She has certainly done well and her accomplishments are to be admired, but she is not a candidate for the pantheon.