The inspired idea to take an excellent restaurant and deposit it in a rustic yet elegant log cabin in the middle of the ski slopes was hatched here at Beaver Creek, and the resort has spent years refining and expanding on the theme. Today, both Beano’s Cabin and Zach’s Cabin (private clubs at lunch, open to the public for dinner in winter, and Beano’s in summer as well) offer a unique, truly memorable evening in the mountains for both kids and adults. Half the fun is getting to the cabins; in winter, you arrive in an open sleigh pulled by a Snowcat. Beano’s is reached during the summer via shuttle vans and for more adventurous types, on horseback. No matter how you go, the views of the distant mountains and star-studded skies are spectacular. Beano’s features a five-course prix-fixe menu with lots of options, while Zach’s is à la carte. Both offer very good food, especially considering the settings, and both boast wine lists that have earned Wine Spectator magazine’s Best of Award of Excellence. Reservations are required.
Grouse Mountain Grill
Grouse Mountain Grill is a long-time Beaver Creek favorite, and a thorough dining room remodel last spring has only added to the allure. It now evokes a contemporary restaurant in Tuscany, with stacked stone walls and forged iron light fixtures. At night, the place absolutely glows with warmth. Chef David Gutowski strikes a fine balance between mountain-rustic and more contemporary dishes; coffee-braised beef short rib lettuce wraps, for example, make a fine starter. Signature entrées include pretzel-crusted pork chops with Swiss chard from their own garden, and Iowa rabbit with carrot risotto. Excellent wine list, too.
From coffee and breakfast burritos to late-night tapas and excellent wines, Metropolitan is a fine casual alternative when you need a quick bite right in the center of the village. Groups of locals often gather at the high-top tables to nosh on bacon-wrapped dates and stuffed piquillo peppers while sipping glasses of wine from the Enomatic dispenser—everything from Denver’s Infinite Monkey Theorem rosé to Opus One (for a cool $92 per glass). Soups, charcuterie, flatbreads, and desserts are also available.
Back in the late 1980s, Shearson-Lehman built Saddle Ridge as a private corporate retreat, and in the process, hired Naomi Leff, Ralph Lauren’s legendary interior designer, to create the lobby, lounge, and dining room, among other spaces. Leff was directed to gather the finest collection of Western and Native American artifacts she could find, with money being no object. The result, in addition to spectacular post and beam architecture and what looks like a million board feet of hand-rubbed butternut woodwork, the treasures inside includes Buffalo Bill’s writing desk, General Custer’s hat and canteen, assorted photos by Edward Curtis, and enough other artifacts to make any museum envious. The front desk hands out a three-page tour guide to the collection. Oh, and the steaks in the dining room are pretty good, too.
Splendido has been living up to its name for nearly 20 years now, 17 of them under the leadership of chef David Walford. Today it remains arguably the finest restaurant in Beaver Creek, especially if you happen to believe that great food tastes even better when served in an atmosphere of ivory tablecloths, thick carpeting, and light so flattering that every diner instantly looks 20 years younger. Although the waiters are perfectly prepared to bone your whole Dover sole tableside, many of the main courses feature hearty cuts of meat—buffalo, elk, lamb, rabbit—prepared with a light, sophisticated touch. In season, many dishes deploy various wild mushrooms to wonderful effect. For dessert, soufflés are a must; lemon-blueberry and chocolate fudge were recent standouts.