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Vail Restaurants

20 September 2008 By: Kevin One Comment | The Fall Line

We kicked off this week with a free breakfast buffet at the Ocotillo restaurant at the Marriott in Lionshead. Ocotillo feels like a Colorado restaurant, with southwestern décor and inviting booths overlooking the Vail ski runs. The breakfast buffet is expansive with everything from French toast with house made bread, to an omelet station where a chef will cook your omelet to order. With the large variety of breakfast items, along with fresh-squeezed orange juice, this was one of the best breakfasts we’ve had the entire trip.

Later in the evening we took a drive off the beaten path, towards Minturn. This small, ex-mining town is just a couple minute drive off the freeway between Vail and Beaver Creek. It has an authentic feel to it, with historic homes and restaurants in old buildings. It was hard to believe a small town like this exists so close to the huge hotels, construction cranes, and shear luxury of Vail and Beaver Creek. We probably won’t include the Minturn restaurants in our Vail Valley dining guide because they are a little out of the way for most tourists, but it’s worth noting there are some hidden local spots like Minturn Saloon and Chili Willy’s that are worth checking out if you have the time.

On Tuesday we visited the Ore House in Vail Village because they have a great 50% off special running during the off season. The Ore House specialized in steaks and seafood and has been a Vail landmark since the 60’s. We started off with a crab cake appetizer that was a little disappointing. It was tasty enough, with fresh lump crab meat, but for $9 we only got one crab cake that was not very large. The roasted red pepper sauce surround the crab cake was definitely the highlight. For entrees, Casey went with the Wild King Salmon with a chipotle raspberry glaze. It came out perfectly cooked and was presented in a home made, traditional American style with a side of rice and steamed veggies. She was pleasantly surprised with the entrée and noted it was a step up from the appetizer. I went with the ½ rack of ribs and barbeque chicken because the steaks that were coming out to tables surrounding us looked a little bland. The ribs were tender and slow cooked, with a smoky and slightly sweet barbeque sauce. Two chicken breasts were also smothered in the sauce, making for a huge entrée. It wasn’t mind blowing BBQ, but I was perfectly satisfied and the price was right ($12 with the discount). Overall, we were glad to only pay half price, and would probably look elsewhere during the winter when the entrees are closer to $30 each.

Another restaurant we checked out this week is a local’s favorite tucked away in Avon called the China Garden. It’s a little hard to find, but owner Sharon has been at the same location for over 18 years now, so she must be doing something right. Sharon treated us to lunch and we went with the Peking Shrimp and General Tsao’s Chicken. All lunch entrees come with soup, wantons, rice, and a very tasty egg role for less than $8. The portions were more meager than places like Szechuan in Park City, but we still left full and satisfied. The food came out quickly and was presented well, with just a small amount of spiciness and tangy flavors. Check out China Garden if you are in Avon, and make sure to avoid Panda City at all costs. We walked out of Panda City before ordering because of bad vibes and the place was pretty dirty. This is saying something because I can’t remember the last time we walked out of a restaurant.

Other notable restaurants in the Vail Valley include Gohan-Ya in West Vail for their noodle bowls, Kelly Liken in Vail for their swanky and modern atmosphere, and Zacca Za! in Avon for a creative Italian menu and a modern twist on 1950’s decor.

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One Comment »

  • Jane said:

    Hi Kevin,
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about West Vail to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)

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