Food and memories go together. How many times have tasted something that transports you back in time to when you were a child? Or, back to a vacation where you tried a food for the first time? This isn’t just a coincidence, or intense deja-vu experience. It is an established scientific fact that memory and taste are linked. One study found a “functional link between the brain region responsible for taste memory and the area responsible for encoding the time and place we experienced the taste.” In simple terms, this proves that it’s important to eat good, flavorful food when we travel. This will forge even stronger and more meaningful memories when you look back at your adventures. Thankfully, there are many great restaurants in Vail that will be a memorable experience for years to come. Here are the 5 best restaurants in Vail, according to the locals.
The 5 Best Restaurants in Vail to Visit During Your Vacation (according to the locals)
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to figure out where the locals eat. They are the ones who know where the really good spots are. Locals don’t go to the tourist traps. They don’t go to the overly-priced restaurants. Instead, they know where to find the best food for the best price. Here are the 5 best restaurants we’ve found over the years:
Yellowbelly is tucked away in a strip mall. This means that tourists aren’t likely to find it. It’s a local favorite that serves “fun, healthful & delicious food to our friends and families.” The best thing about Yellowbelly (besides the incredible flavor, of course) is that they use premier ingredients and source non-GMO and organic products when possible. This healthy fast food option is great after a day spent on the slopes – hiking or skiing, making it one of the best restaurants in Vail and the surrounding area.
2. La Bottega
La Bottega has been a local favorite since opening in 1997. Their name translates to “Celebrate life,” and their menu and atmosphere reflect this. They have great lunch and dinner offerings, with some of the favorites including the T.E.D. sandwich (Thanksgiving Every Day), subs, paninis (goat cheese and Portobello mushroom – who doesn’t want a bite of that?), Truffle Gnocchi, Kobe “Wagyu” and Black Truffle Ravioli with Wild and Truffle Mushroom Sauce.
3. Boxcar Restaurant
This fantastic restaurant has great après-ski offerings, but without many people knowing about it. They’re best known for their “Modern Pub Cuisine.” Boxcar Restaurant uses the freshest seasonal ingredients that are perfect for sharing, or keeping all to yourself. Try the Buttermile Fried Chicken with Vadouvan Yogurt, Fried Kale, Harrisa Honey Glaze, the Boxcar Popcorn (made with brewer’s yeast and sweet jalapeno), and finish up with Warm Blueberry Crisp with a Lemon Mascarpone Ice Cream. Their menu changes seasonally, which means you’ll always try something new, each time you visit.
4. Route 6 Café
This local spot has been in operation for 13 years. Well-known for serving breakfast all day, they recently expanded to better serve customers. Before their move, Route 6 Café used to be operated out of a gas station just down the street from their current location. They offer great pub fare, but also offer finer dining options. Try their Tuna Wonton (with avocado, sweet soy sauce, daikon sprouts, and spicy red chili sauce), the Route 6 Original Hot Wings, or their Buffalo Meat Loaf (made with Colorado buffalo meat). This is truly a place that the locals know.
While Tacorico isn’t technically located in Vail (it’s in Edwards, CO), it’s only a short distance from Vail itself. And, it’s well worth venturing out of town. This is a great spot for families, as they create fancy, made-to-order street tacos with supremely fresh ingredients that will fit everyone’s preferences. Choose from a wide array of ingredients to fashion your favorite taco. As well as offering delicious tacos, Tacorico makes tasty cocktails the adults will enjoy. Try the Ai Yi Yi Yi, wich I made with mescal, muddled pineapple, and cinnamon, or order the Jalapeno Situation, which is made with exotico blanco, prickly pear, and jalapeno. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed by this little gem!
Eat Good Food and Make Long-Lasting Memories
Don’t underestimate the importance of good food while you vacation. The tastes you experience will come flooding back when you recall your trip. These are our favorite restaurants in Vail (and Edwards). Do you have any you would add to the list?