Urbanspoon is easily North America’s best resource for restaurants and all things dining. We’ve assessed the Urbanspoon Vail site to see what the audience has to say about their favourite places to eat out. Sure we all have our own favourites that are must-stops whenever we’re in Vail, but what do the locals have to say? What is the average rating of all the eating spots in town – and does it add up? We’ve gone through the list with a description of each restaurant (pros and cons) and put our own subjective interpretation on it so you can be better informed about eating on your vacation. After all, one of the most memorable aspects of a vacation is the food.
How It Works: The exact formula Urbanspoon uses to determine rankings is unknown. However, it does take into account how many reviews each restaurant received from blogs and media. They figure that rating into the percentage of favorable “thumbs up” a user gives compared to “thumbs down”. This is why Sweet Basil is first while Montauk is tenth even though the top spot has a lower percentage of likes. Whatever the algorithm is, the ratings are generally precise and trustworthy. So without further ado, Vail’s Top 10 Restaurants. Don’t forget to let us know what you think and if any restaurants missed the cut that deserve to be on the best of Vail list!
1. Sweet Basil (88%) $$$$
Sweet Basil is always “cookin’ up something special” with imaginative and innovative gourmet-style cuisine. The food is outstanding and unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere with flavour matches that are known to amaze. The service is top notch and surprisingly intuitive and the atmosphere is memorable. Try the Pear and Pecorino Tortellini ($28) or the Crispy Duck Tacos ($17). A Zagat survey also voted Sweet Basil as Colorado’s Most Popular Restaurant, and it is well worth the price. www.sweetbasil-vail.com 193 Gore Creek Dr.
2. Pazzo’s Pizzeria (86%) $
Pazzo’s is probably the best après pizza joint in Vail, with decent prices and a daily happy hour. There’s a good friendly atmosphere and the staff are polite. The servings are huge and the food is so consistently tasty. Pazzo means crazy, and by many accounts it can get quite crazy in there, and it’s open late. While many reviews call it best deep-dish pizza outside of Chicago, others call the food and service mediocre. You be the judge. www.pazzospizza.com 122 E Meadow Drive.
3. Moe’s Original BBQ (92%) $$
Authentic Alabama BBQ, this is the place for your smoked meat fix in Vail. It’s some of the best food in Vail, says the vast majority of reviews, and one of the best deals to boot. The pulled pork is phenomenal and the servings are large. It’s a local’s favourite for a reason, with awesome après ambience and Southern Hospitality service. www.moesoriginalbbq.com 616 W Lionshead Circle.
4. Vendetta’s Italian Restaurant (83%) $$
According to average reviews, this place has great pizza and pasta but the service can leave you wanting. The pizza is New York style and reservations are required on the weekend as it gets packed in this little room. It’s also quite affordable and open late. 291 Bridge Street.
5. Larkspur Restaurant & Market (89%) $$$$
This romantic staple of Vail is some of the best food in the area, and worth every penny (most reviews agree upon). Some portions aren’t very large, as it’s more gourmet dining, but the food is fresh, unique, and flavorful. The servers are extremely attentive and help make the entire experience quite seamless and enjoyable. 458 Vail Valley Drive.
6. Blue Moose Pizza Vail (84%) $$
Blue Moose has an abundance of excellent NY-style pizza pies at this lively Italian eatery, with seating both indoors and on the large patio. The branding is tight, with blue decor and checkered tablecloths, helping to create the whole pleasurable experience. Their gluten-free pizzas are apparently even better than their regular pizzas so if that’s your thing this is your place. While the service may not be the greatest, the pizza just may be. www.bluemoosepizza.com 675 Lionshead Plaza.
7. Osaki’s Sushi & Japanese (85%) $$$$
Welcome to the best sushi joint in Vail, and one of the best in Colorado. Yes it’s quite expensive (they charge you 3$ for fresh wasabi) but it is always amazing. Make reservations because the room is small and many discerning diners in Vail want to experience the phenomenal dining again and again. 100 E Meadow Dr.
8. The Little Diner (87%) $
This funky little diner puts on an excellent breakfast and comes highly recommended. The food is worth the wait at this charming hole in the wall and the staff is friendly. It is a small place as the name suggests, with a bar that wraps around the open kitchen where you watch your meals being cooked. www.thelittlediner.com 616 W Lionshead Circle.
9. La Bottega (84%) $$$
The fourth Italian restaurant on the top ten list makes either great or average food depending on the review. The wood-fired pizza may be world-class and the overall vibe is energetic and upbeat. This is where the chic foodies crowd comes for high quality in addition to view and location. 100 E Meadow Drive.
10. Montauk Seafood Grill (89%) $$$$
“The Best Food In Colorado” writes one bold review while others say excellent food and mediocre service. The seafood is surprisingly fresh, considering Vail’s landlocked status, and the oysters, mussels, and king crab are apparently must-trys. Other reviews say the staff are super friendly and kids love eating here. 549 E Lionshead Circle.