By Kiefer Thomas, Examiner.com
Every town has its restaurants that one should probably stay away from and of course, restaurants that rise above all expectations of food, service, quality and atmosphere. Every establishment will excel in certain areas, run a mediocre coarse in some and hopefully, not always, falter from time to time. A good, well established restaurant is very similar to a living organism. The overall impression and features that give it its character will always be the same but depending on the time of the day, week, who’s working etc. the mood can change frequently making for a wonderful experience or slighting the impression.
Vail has plenty of quality restaurants that more then hold their own on the world stage of gourmet dining. Many are chef-owned like a decent, high-end establishment will be and a few others are directed by the resort that they reside in. In either case, service, food and quality are rarely if ever, compromised.
The following list though certainly NOT exhaustive is indicative to what Vail has to offer. In each case, the food is superior, service is generally remarkable and quality is an orchestration of multiple reviews and opinions and no matter what selection one makes, there is no wrong choice in pleasing the palate.
The first place that comes to mind and has been voted Vail’s best restaurant for four years running is the contemporary French-American hide-away, La Tour. La Tour is directed by chef and sommelier, Paul Ferzacca. The dining room is open nightly at 5:30pm and reservations are generally recommended during high-season. La Tour is known for their impeccable service and as far as the cuisine goes, the Veal Sweetbreads, Pan-Roasted Duck and the Crème Brulée Flambée are exceptional. La Tour is located in Vail Village along E. Meadow Drive.
Lancelot’s (favorite!) has a considerably more relaxed and less pretentious atmosphere. The overall feel is casual comfortable although blue-jeans would not be recommended and suit & tie would be over-doing it. In business since 1969, there’s one reason to dine at Lancelot’s, Prime Rib. They offer three varieties: the Knight’s Cut, the thicker King Arthur’s Cut and the ubiquitous, Surf & Turf. In terms of Prime Rib, one absolutely cannot do any better anywhere in the Vail Valley. Lancelot’s is located in Vail Village next to the Children’s fountain.
Located inside the Lodge at Vail is the Italian restaurant, Cucina Rustica. The atmosphere is absolutely wonderful and downright romantic. The dining area retains a warm and tranquil feel of home. The Buffalo Carpaccio and Spit-Roasted Bronzino Puttanesco are standout dishes.
For further exquisite choices, the following will leave you smiling:
- Billy’s Island Grill (Lionshead- favorite!)
- The Left Bank (Vail Village)
- Mirabelle (Beaver Creek- favorite!)
- Sweet Basil (Vail Village)
- Russell’s (Vail Village)