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Mastuhisa Vail

A Foodie's Guide To Vail

Jan. 8th, 2020

When people talk about culinary trends in the United States, the foodie meccas of San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are destinations that typically make the roster. Recent years, however, have given rise to a number of exciting food destinations, one of which is the perennially tony ski town of Vail, Colorado. While the posh winter playground has long attracted ski buffs, Vail has recently begun to lure discerning foodies to its slopes by reinventing a few culinary classics and delivering a dose of international flair to the mountain hamlet. We topped our list with 3 sensational standouts that are sure to impress even the most progressive of palates this winter. 

Matsuhisa Vail

MATSUHISA VAIL

With locations in Beverly Hills, Aspen, Mykonos and Athens, Nobu Matsuhisa’s Vail outpost brings an unmistakable air of international flair to the all-American mountain ski village. Complete with soaring ceilings, expansive windows, a stone fireplace and outdoor fire pits, Matsuhisa Vail is a spectacular setting for taking in the panoramic views of Vail Mountain while feasting on world-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature style of Japanese and Peruvian fusion. Influenced by his traditional training in Tokyo and culinary work in South America, Chef Nobu’s creations are defined by a juxtaposition of flavors and ingredients from both continents. At Matsuhisa Vail the “Nobu Style” is best experienced through several menu favorites, including the Yellowtail with Jalapeño, grilled Colorado Lamb and Tiradito-Style Sashimi, and of course Matsuhisa’s famous miso-marinated broiled Black Cod. Sushi connoisseurs will appreciate the restaurant’s expansive white oak sushi bar where diners can choose from a wide-range of classic nigiri, sushi, and unique starters including, Tuna TatakiToro Tartar, and oysters with a selection of Nobu salsas.

Loch Duart Salmon

MOUNTAIN STANDARD

Ask a savvy local to name their favorite restaurant and town, and there is a very good chance that you will be enthusiastically pointed in the direction of Mountain Standard. Located on the banks of Gore Creek, this centrally located bistro is a Vail social hub and a great place to experience some local flavor. Floor to ceiling windows and a glass-enclosed kitchen make Mountain Standard a casual yet elevated alternative to some of Vail’s more traditional aprés-ski options. If a long day on-piste necessitates a bit of aprés comfort, Mountain Standard has you covered. The signature dishes are inventive yet approachable, with locally sourced ingredients served up in innovative ways. With an ever-expanding menu that skews toward the heartier side, Mountain Standard boasts an impressive offering of protein-based dishes that include local lamb and fish and premium grass-fed steaks. Not to be dismissed, Mountain Standard’s side dishes and appetizers are particularly memorable, including a Southern Pimento Cheese with bacon cider jam that earns its place among the menu’s best options. The Corned Pork Shank with gruyere potato puree, served with cabbage, green apple and a caraway vinaigrette is not to be missed.. A close second is the Rocky Mountain Trout with cauliflower, honey poached cranberries, and spiced almonds with a brown butter vinaigrette.

Sweet Basil

SWEET BASIL

Another one of Vail’s best restaurants is longtime local favorite, Sweet Basil. Located in the heart of Vail Village, Sweet Basil’s dining room overlooks Gore Creek and is the perfect place to take in the sunset or keep cozy on a snowy evening. Originally opened in 1977, this white-tablecloth eatery is a casual Vail institution that has earned its loyal following by always keeping things interesting with an experimental menu that changes monthly and is comprised of bold flavors that make the most of seasonal ingredients. Winter dishes such as Loch Duart Salmon  with sweet & sour beets, red wine cabbage puree, pistachio gremolata and pomegranate are offered alongside Duck a la Plancha with sweet potato puree, roasted carrots, date agrodolce, chipotle rice cracker. Vegetarians will savor the Root Vegetable Bolognese with whipped parmesan, preserved tomato, sweet basil and Pappardelle, a particularly comforting cold-weather favorite. Wine lovers will immediately notice the expansive glass-walled cellar where hundreds of Sweet Basil’s best wines are prominently displayed. The restaurant’s expert pairings are a must and a fantastic way to experience the unexpected flavor combinations of Chefs Paul Anders and Martin Woods.

Grand Hyatt Vail

In order to plan your foodie tour of Vail, you will probably be interested in staying at a luxury property that is as sophisticated as your palate. Vail welcomed the first Grand Hyatt hotel in a U.S. mountain resort location this past July. Formerly know as Hotel Talisa, the rebranded Grand Hyatt Vail is perched at the base of Vail Mountain on the banks of Gore Creek and provides guests with their own ski lift, Chair 20, and 258 ski-in/ski-out chicly designed rooms. The acclaimed design firm LEO A DALY used Vail’s natural setting as inspiration for an extensive, multi-million dollar renovation that was completed in 2018. The elevated mountain retreat décor is displayed with minimalist lines, muted patterns with warm wood, stone and leather materials and artwork that pay homage to The Southern Ute Native American tribe. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to draw the eyes outdoors where nature takes center stage.

After a tough day on the slopes, spa time is essential. Reward yourself with a spa treatment at The Spa at the Grand Hyatt Vail, offering 10 well-appointed therapy rooms featuring treatments inspired by nature. The Spa is adjacent to the resort’s creek-side infinity pool, hot tubs and fire pits. The freestanding 58,000-square foot Aria Club is managed by the Grand Hyatt Vail team and offers a variety of cardio equipment, group fitness classes, and personal training in addition to an outdoor saline pool and sundeck. The Aria Club is the largest fitness facility in all of Vail. Grand Hyatt Vail works with Venture Sports, which operates the ski valet and provides equipment at the hotel for all types of outdoor adventures.

Guest Suite- Grand Hyatt Vail

Grand Hyatt Vail has four dining options for those not wanting to venture off property: Gessner, the property’s signature three-meal restaurant with a menu inspired by the mountain cuisine of the Colorado Rockies; The scenic Fireside Lounge overlooking Gore Creek and Vail Mountain thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows; Gore Creek Terrace for an outdoor après ski vibe; and The Market offering gourmet-to-go meals and snacks for those on the run. Key entrées of note are the local Rocky Mountain Trout with a savory carrot nage, artichoke Provençal and lavender dressing and the comforting Tagliatelle Peselli of English pea, foraged mushroom, and basil cream sauce. The Mango Panna Cotta is a sinful combination of Raspberry Angel Cake, Chocolate crunch, dried pineapple and coconut cream.

Below is a comprehenisve list of where to dine for brunch, lunch, dinner and the ever popular aprés ski when in vail.

Aprés- Ski

Frost- Classy bar with stylish decor offering craft cocktails and light far at The Sebastian Hotel

The Remedy Bar- Hotspot for imbibing and indulging in alpine fair in a mountain-chic setting at The Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail

Sweet Basil- Trendy spot for insired New American cuisine in an alpine setting

Brunch

Vintage- Charming French brasserie serving classic fare in addition to cocktails, beer and wine

Westside Cafe & Market- Cozy restaurant servinf comfort food in a casual dining setting.

Lunch

Mountain Standard- Hip, elevated restaurant offering New American Cuisine

Sweet Basil- See above

Almresi Restaurant- Rustic mountain cottage-style restaurant offering festive German, Austrian and Swiss fare

Dinner

Matsuhisa- Peruvian and Japenese fare from famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa

Almresi Restaurant- See above

Swiss Chalet- Upscale eatery for fondue amd signature Swiss cuisine at the Sonnenalp Hotel

Tavern On The Square- Chic, contemporary restaurant serving New American fare located at The Arrabelle At Square Village

Annapuma- Casual Indian eatery serving curries, meat dishes and vegetarian food

Fire Pit- Grand Hyatt Vail

This article was Co-written with Quentin Smith

Carin von Berg

Carin von Berg lives in Los Angeles and writes about food and wine, luxury travel, beauty, fashion and luxury products. She is the editor-in-chief of Luxlife Magazine and the author of the novel Gucci Girl. In her spare time, she works as a lifestyle model when she isn't traveling to some exotic, luxury destination or dining in the latest hot-spot. ...(Read More)