If you happen to be of European ancestry, or just a fan of European food, there are several top-notch restaurants to enjoy while on your vacation. After all, Vail is modeled after a Bavarian village – complete with its own clocktower. As such, it would only make sense that you should be served by waitstaff donning Dirndls (German dresses) and Lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders). It’s as if every day is Oktoberfest! After a beautiful day on the slopes with your American Ski Exchange rentals, we recommend that you head to one of these fabulous European restaurants! Enjoy!
Pepi’s Restaurant & Bar: Best for Lunch During A Day of Skiing
Truly a landmark of the Vail Village, Pepi’s is one of my favorite places to stop for lunch during a day of skiing. It is located in an iconic yellow building in the heart of Vail Village. It is just a short walk from Gondola One and has a fabulous deck (half open air, half enclosed). I personally love to sit in the enclosed deck, unbuckle my ski boots, and watch the skiers walk up Bridgestreet towards the gondola. I then proceed to order myself a delicious cappuccino. There are two meals that I would highly recommend on the menu. Most of the time, I enjoy the Jagerschnitzel – pork or veal medallions, wild mushroom sauce, Spätzle, and braised red cabbage. However, their Wiener Schnitzel – 4 oz. breaded veal cutlet, roasted new potatoes, and braised red cabbage – is also delectable. If you are interested in dessert, there are two that I would recommend. After all, I did order both during my birthday luncheon – tried and true choices. I would recommend the Dark Chocolate Mousse and the Pepi’s Apple Strudel with vanilla ice cream. One is sweet, and one is savory. Best of both worlds.
Sonnenalp Swiss Chalet: Best Romantic Meal for Two or Family Bonding
One of the most authentic European experiences. The Swiss Chalet is located inside the Sonnenalp Hotel. The Swiss Chalet is exactly what its name evokes. When you walk in, you are greeted by the smell of fondue and are surrounded by beautiful woodwork and Swiss inspired decor. It is one of my favorite date night spots – because it lends itself to a long, delicious meal in a romantic setting. Because fondue is a longer meal, it is a great time for deep conversation. This also lends itself to a great family vacation meal where the kids can excitedly discuss what they did in ski school that day. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
I would recommend adults to start their meal with the steak tartare (finely chopped angus beef, capers, onions, cornichons, parsley, and toasted bread). It is an appetizer that is not easily found at other establishments, and is delicious. For an appetizer that the kids would enjoy, I recommend the käsespätzle (Homeade Swiss Dumplings, a three cheese blend, diced tomatoes, and fried onions). It was one of my favorites to order as a kid at this restaurant, and still is. What kid doesn’t want pasta after a hard day of skiing on the mountain?
There are lots of choices for the main meal. Since I love fondue, I am going to offer my fondue selections. My recommendation would be to start the main meal with a cheese fondue. There are 3 different types to choose from: Älpler Fondue, Raclette Fondue, or Diabolo Fondue. My favorite is the Älpler fondue, and I always add extra kirsch. I think that it gives it more zing. Then, you can commence dipping your potatoes, vegetables, and baguette bread into the smooth, delectable cheese.
Once you are done with the cheese fondue, I recommend the meat fondue. They offer two kinds: bourguignonne (boiling pot of oil) and chinoise (burgundy infused beef broth). My personal favorite is the chinoise. Each of the meat fondues come with eight ounces of beef tenderloin, potatoes, vegetables, and dipping sauces. What I like about the meat fondue is that you are responsible for how “well done” you want your meat. If you like your steak well done, leave it in the pot for a few minutes. If you are a medium rare girl, like myself, you take the meat out of the broth sooner. Just don’t drop your meat in the pot. If you do, you have to kiss everyone at the table (at least that is my European family’s tradition).
Don’t forget to finish your meal with dessert. If you are a fondue aficionado like myself, you should order the Schokoladen Fondue. You have two choices with the chocolate fondue: Hazelnut Milk Chocolate or Des Alpes Swiss Dark Chocolate. It is served with fresh fruit and sponge cake. You really can’t go wrong with either. If you want to try a different type of dessert, they are also known for their Traditionellar Apfelstrudel (served with vanilla crème). A traditional apple strudel is also sure to tickle your taste buds. Dining at the Swiss Chalet not only guarantees a unique and delicious meal, but also an unparalleled dining experience. It has been a mainstay at the Sonnenalp Hotel since I was a little girl growing up in the valley. It is perfect for a romantic couples evening, or as a fun way to bond with your family after a day of skiing on the slopes.
Almresi/Alpenrose: Best Place for Memorable Life and Family Events
Almresi – http://www.almresi-vail.com
Alpenrose – http://www.alpenrose-vail.com/
Almresi – @almresi_vail
Alpenrose – @alpenrose_vail
Almresi – http://www.almresi-vail.com/menu/
Alpenrose – http://www.alpenrose-vail.com/menu/
Almresi and Alpenrose have the same owner and same great food. Both restaurants are ideal for a fun, family dinner or to celebrate important life events. For example, the owners of American Ski Exchange were engaged at Alpenrose. Fast forward years later, the owners’ son celebrated the rehearsal dinner for his wedding at Almresi. Both establishments have great sentimental value to the American Ski Exchange family.
When you walk in, you will think that you have been transported to a European chalet. The ambiance is incredibly unique. There is beautiful, reclaimed European barn wood paneling from floor to ceiling. The space is also adorned with other authentic European touches from cow bells to furs. To start, I recommend ordering the German pretzel (just don’t forget the Almresi cheese dip!). One of the signature Almresi main dishes is the Original Austrian Hutessen (for two people). This meal includes 4 ounces of beef, potatoes, a mixed salad, and a rustic Almresi bread with several dipping sauces. This authentic Austrian meal involves placing your meat on the hot iron hat and cooking it to your perfection! For dessert, I would recommend the Schokofondue “Herzerl” (for two people). It is chocolate fondue served with fresh fruits.
The Alpenrose has an equally authentic feel to it. It has a lovely patio where you can sit and admire the beautiful mountains. To start, I recommend the Kasefondue – delicious cheese fondue – the perfect group appetizer. If you are more into salads, I would recommend the Schweitzer Bergsalat – a Swiss Mountain salad with lettuce, iceberg, arugula, Swiss cheese, grapes, and walnuts. For the main course, I would recommend the Zartes Kalbsgulasch – delicious veal goulash with spätzle. To end the meal, I recommend the Kaiserschmarrn – a traditional Austrian pancake with cherry compote.
Both Almresi and Alpenrose are authentic European restaurants. We also love them because they are family owned and operated businesses like ourselves! Both establishments hold a special place in our hearts since they have been a part of our family’s milestones. We hope they will be part of yours as well!