Vail Valley affordable dining

By Kiefer Thomas,

Vail needs no introduction. As ski resorts go, it more than holds its own on the world stage and as a holiday destination. The ski mountain and town provides ample outlets for entertainment for all ages, income brackets and preferences.

Of the various and myriad avenues that Vail offers in terms of recreation and pleasure, it cannot be argued that dining ranks as one of the top draws. After all, world class skiing segues world class dining.

The choices that are available to satisfy the culinary palate are as diverse and copious as the numerous ski runs. To state what would be fairly obvious to most, dining in downtown Vail will set you back the most in terms of dollars. However, that’s not to say that restaurants don’t exist in the center of the action that won’t require half a paycheck.

Within the confines of Vail Village, two places come immediately to mind: Los Amigos and La Cantina. As their names suggest, both are Mexican fare and quite reasonably priced with La Cantina having better food and Los Amigos having a far superior view. The Red Lion is known locally as having some of the best burgers in town. Another restaurant in Vail Village to look at is Vendetta’s. Unfortunately, most of the menu in this Italian eatery is expensive, however, the pizza is quite good and your wallet won’t take a beating as long as you stay fixed on pie.

Lionshead has fewer options due primarily to it being smaller in scale. Ironically, this is where the main gondola and ski school is located. For budget restaurants in Lionshead, check out two local favorites, Bart & Yeti’s and Garfinkle’s. Both are more or less bar environments with Garfinkle’s having the best view of the gondola and the lower mountain. Moe’s Bar-B-Que, located up the steps in West Lionshead serves a mean pulled pork platter at very reasonable prices and JB’s Old Forge Pizza has what has to be the valley’s best pizza bar none. It’s cooked on seasoned focaccia bread.

If you’re fortunate enough to have hired a car or driven yourself vs. using the local shuttle service (CME), then the expanse of the Vail Valley is open for dining choices. Running the gamut from West Vail to Avon to Edwards, some standouts include: Pazzo’s Pizzeria,Westside Cafe, Fiesta Jalisco, May Palace and Paddy’s to name a few. Everything listed is Italian, Mexican, Chinese/Oriental, American and Eclectic. The Westside Cafe also functions as a great place to have breakfast and is usually packed solid from 8:00am to 10:30am.

A  holiday at Vail may not be the cheapest way to spend ones leisure time but it certainly shouldn’t leave you second-guessing yourself as to what’s affordable a few days into your vacation. Eating and dining smart can provide that extra monetary comfort to get you by until, unfortunately, it’s time to head back to reality.