Ski resorts are known for many things, champagne powder, cozy lodges, bonfires, and of course, skiers galore. But often times fine dining and gourmet food aren’t the first things that pops into your head. Yet, some of the most luxurious restaurants and fancy food reside at or near many ski resorts. If you’re in the market for a fancy ski trip, or just a nice romantic dinner on a long ski weekend, check out the list below for some of the best of the best, with the best ratings and reputation in the business. Don’t forget to pick your favorite Christmas resorts for a reservation this holiday season.
221 South Oak, Telluride CO
221 South Oak restaurant opens for the winter 2017 season on December 15th, but they’re already taking reservations, and it’s easy to see why. This gourmet eatery is tucked into a rustic refurbished home mere steps away from the gondola at Telluride. The word on the street is that their food and their service are second to none. They offer amazingly unique dishes such as elk t-bone steaks with goji berry walnut jam, octopus with squash gel and fired lentils, and buttermilk fried quail with spicy honey. For all you vegetarians out there, don’t fret. 221 South Oak offers one of the most robust gourmet vegetarian menus available, featuring items like chickpea cakes with sunchokes, black rice with blood orange and pomegranate gastrique, and cashew cream poached hearts of palm. Next time you’re in Telluride, throw on your favorite fashionable casual jacket, and head out for a dinner that can’t be beat.
Little Nell Element 47, Aspen CO
The Little Nell is a five star hotel that sits comfortably right on Aspen mountain, with doors that lead right out to city on one side, and the mountain on the other. If you’re looking for the top of the line lodgings, pack your bags, and head right to this luxurious hotel. And if you’re looking for a casual yet gourmet experience for dining, look no further than Element 47. This restaurant has been called the place to “wine, dine, and unwind,” and not without merit. Element 47 has received 5 stars and 5 diamond rankings for years now. There is no dress code at this cozy little corner of the hotel, so just pop out of your skis for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and settle in for an amazing experience. For a festive holiday drink, try their oakheart eggnog, or the best way to warm up after a long day of skiing go for the Little Nell hot toddy. For dinner, check out their lamb loin with barely, parsnip, and espresso jus, or maitake with truffle risotto, and Cipollini onion. And for dessert, you have to try their earl gray crème brulee, it’s like getting a dessert and a cup of tea, all in one.
Sweet Basil, Vail CO
This establishment makes their food taste just as good as it looks, and the works of art that Sweet Basil lays out are nothing short of magnificent. Located in the heart of Vail Village, this restaurant has been an establishment for over 40 years, offering up the best fine dining in all of Vail. The have a knack for innovations, first steps in the industry, and staying ahead of the curve, which earns them awards and accolades year after year. Just a few examples of this passion and commitment comes through in their dishes like loch duart salmon with crushed avocado, winter citrus, toasted sunflower, pickled onion, guajillo chili salt, or their Saffron Linguine (1989) scallops, shrimp, san marzano tomatoes, and lobster shallot cream. Whether it be lunch, dinner, wine, or cocktails, Sweet Basil is the place to be for fine gourmet dining.
Manzanita, Lake Tahoe CA
The first thing to know about Manzantia in Lake Tahoe, CA is that it is located inside the Ritz Carlton hotel. Their atmosphere fits right in with the California ski scene, with an option for outdoor seating with a backyard BBQ style setting. But don’t let the causal sound fool you, the luxury and art of this place is in their simplicity. They take classic techniques and change them up with a modern flare to offer food that’s unique but comforting. Their take on fine dining incorporates the best seasonal ingredients to create diverse flavor profiles, and they take pride in their locally sourced ingredients. Dishes to check out are their braised short rib with sweet potato, maple glazed brussel sprouts, and truffle-beef tongue hash, and their fritto misto with cuttlefish, BBQ eel, artichoke, padron pepper, tomato jam, and lemon curd. They also offer a class in the art of mixology, a perfect date night activity and experience that lets you and your significant other learn how modern cocktails are created. If you’re in the area, book a reservation today, they fill up fast and it’s worth the experience!
Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler BC
This Canadian eatery is renown for their use of local ingredients to create worldly and international tastes. If you want to get off on your fine dining experience with a bang, we suggest taking part in their champagne sabering, which is exactly what it sounds like, check it out. They also offer dining in the cellar for a vintage experience, front row seat at the chef’s table, chill out in the Kettle One vodka tasting room (the coldest vodka tasting experience you can find, in an actual ice room), and check out the after hours experience in the champagne room. Right now, they have amazing offerings such as west coast rockfish with reserved tomato, rose harissa, grilled octopus, chickpeas, confit fennel and braised lamb ravioli with lamb bacon (it tastes just as good as it sounds), roasted cauliflower, brussel sprouts, pumpkin seed, and vadouvan. But their menu changes with each coming season, so be sure to check out their latest offerings here. We also recommend keeping an eye out for their events, where the Bearfoot Bistro goes all out for celebrations like New Year’s Eve.
Mariposa, Deer Valley UT
When you hear the words Deer Valley, you know luxury, glamour, and class are going to be involved. And that’s where Mariposa comes in. Situated at Deer Valley’s famous Silver Lake Village, which is conveniently located mid mountain, Mariposa offer the perfect option for ski-in ski-out fine dining. Just pop out of your favorite pair of skis, grab a seat, and enjoy the rustic elegance this restaurant has to offer. The Mariposa has been rated number 1 in the Zagat Restaurant Guide for Utah, and they also offer inclusive options fort everyone with gluten-free and vegetarian specialties. They are also known for their award winning wine list, so don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation with your dinner. Some of their amazing offerings include bison fillet with Saint Andre triple cream brie, yam-yukon potato gratin, zinfandel jus, and rainbow chard or their Guinea hen saltimbocca with house cured prosciutto, miso braised kale, roasted mushrooms, and a cabernet reduction. One thing to remember about this gourmet eatery is that it’s closed on Mondays, so pop in Tuesday through Sunday for an unforgettable experience.
Everyone deserves a fancy treat after a long day on the slopes, and these fine dining establishments are the perfect way to relax, unwind, and treat yourself. Just remember to call ahead, book a time, and throw on your best apres outfit before you hit the town.