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It’s a known fact that ski towns aren’t always a bounty for fabulous food. Sure, there are a lot of wings and pretzel knots (some very good!), but when you want something more than standard fare, where to go? Breckenridge bustles with restaurant options and for the top spots, we follow the locals’ lead.
There’s no better way to rest those ski legs than over a fine dinner. These spots are all on the nicer end, but kids are welcome too—just go early.
Fine dining is chef-owner Matt Vawter’s wheelhouse. Before returning home to the mountains in 2020, Vawter spent nearly two decades cooking at two of Denver’s best: Fruition Restaurant and Mercantile Dining & Provision. Rootstalk, which sits in a gracious 1889 Victorian, calls on all the touchpoints of white-tablecloth dining without any of the stuffiness. Seasonal dishes like delicate cavatelli with foraged mushrooms and ricotta and roasted duck breast with butternut squash are just a few of the many highlights.
Don’t miss: Diners craving a chef-counter experience should request one of the coveted seats when making a reservation.
Rootstalk was such a hit that Vawter opened Radicato, a more Italian and casual take on fine dining, this past June. The restaurant sits upstairs (come back in the summer for one of Breck’s best decks) and has all the energy of a well-loved gathering spot. We love sitting at the nine-seat bar and people-watching over bites of carpaccio, the homemade pasta (order the lobster bucatini with crusty bread crumbs if you see it), and any of the thoughtful veggie sides.
Don’t miss: Radicato bakes its own focaccia and allows you to choose how you want to top it—with pesto and burrata, with chicken liver mousse and stewed fruit, with pine nut tapenade and anchovies, and the list goes on.
It’s almost inconceivable that a restaurant this size could offer three different dining experiences—at the bar, in the bar area, and in the dining room. And at Aurum, which means gold in Latin, there’s no wrong choice. The eclectic menu runs from crowd-pleasing crispy curried cauliflower with hazelnut dukkah and spaghetti squash fritters to braised pork osso buco and housemade pastas. For our money, we like sitting in the bar area and ordering a collection of shared plates, plus the never-fail Aurum Manhattan gussied up with Green Chartreuse.
Don’t miss: Happy hour means Aurum’s greatest hits (cue the French onion burger and the Korean fried chicken) are nearly half off and the deals on drinks are just as good.
When the Breck Distillery branched out from hard spirits into food a few years ago, the restaurant (which sits just outside of town on Airport Road) was immediately mobbed. And that hasn’t changed—not when cocktail wiz Billie Kiethly’s drinks are perfect every time and the chicken and grits and udon cacio e pepe satisfy in the way only comfort food can.
Don’t miss: The flame-grilled baguette comes warm and toasty and bathed with horseradish garlic butter. Order two.
Whether you’re strolling through town or taking a break from the slopes, one’s still gotta eat.
Anyone who speaks Italian will know that the English translation for piante is plant. So goes this very busy, 100% plant-based pizza spot. The blistered-crust pies are excellent (even the carnivores agree!), and the menu reads like most any other pizzerias: margarita, pepperoni, buffalo. In other words, the plant-based cheeses and meat substitutes stand in beautifully.
Don’t miss: Top your pizza with the cloud-like housemade cashew ricotta.
It’s a fact: You will never not see a line in front of Crêpes a la Cart. No matter the weather or the temperature, the queue for crêpes folded around fillings like melty Nutella or savory pesto and chicken stretches down the sidewalk. Psst, if you don’t want to wait forever for that treat, pop into the alley for the tiny brick-and-mortar, or hit the Silverthorne location (inside Bluebird Market) as you’re passing through.
Don’t miss: Why gild the lily? A crêpe showered in nothing but butter and sugar is perfection.
French-inspired sandwiches, which are built on lengths of chewy ficelle, mean you always have an excuse to picnic—even if it’s in the snow. The Cheese Shop’s ham with strawberry jam, butter, and greens is our pick, but the Southside’s mortadella, salami, aged provolone, and spicy giardiniera combo is a very close second.
Don’t miss: The jams, crackers, tinned fish, and other foodstuffs on the shelves make terrific last-minute hostess gifts.
Don’t forget the most important meal of the day.
Located on Breck’s bustling main drag, Semplice Cafe’s unassuming spot is easy to walk right past. But take a minute to slow down and you’ll find a selection of breakfast burritos, a.m. paninis, toasts, and smoothies. The menu is predominantly vegan and vegetarian, though a few exceptions are made for bacon and chorizo.
Don’t miss: Hit the slopes with a J Wook breakfast burrito (scrambled eggs, tomato, quinoa, sweet potato, black bean, spinach, and green chile) in your pocket and you won’t need to eat again until dinner.
If you want to dish on powder stashes while sipping hot coffee and chowing on an egg sandwich, The Crown is your spot. The locals’ hangout serves breakfast until 11:30 a.m. and the menu will fill you up with choices like Texas toast topped with goat cheese, avocado, and tomatoes. The price is right too—that toast will cost you a mere $6.50.
Don’t miss: The boozy beverages: bloody marys, mimosas, spiked hot chocolate, and more.
Rather than immediately rushing off in the direction of the lifts, there are days when you need to slow it down. For those mornings, head to La Française French Bakery and ogle the stocked pastry case. Our go-tos are a strong black coffee and a flaky almond croissant or a slice of the decadent, need-to-share-it quiche du jour. Gather your goods and stay a while.
Don’t miss: Throw in a pinwheeled raisin brioche pastry for good measure.
Where to refuel if you didn’t pack a pocket PB&J.
With five peaks and nearly 3,000 skiable acres, Breckenridge Ski Resort is big. But no matter where we’re skiing, we always make our way back to Robbie’s Tavern for lunch or après. The restaurant is located at the base of Peak 8, in the middle-ish of the mountain, with easy access to blues and blacks—and fare that’s more nuanced than what the cafeterias serve. The soups—pork green chile, red chili con carne, and pot roast stew—are staples, even on sunny days.
Don’t miss: Robbie’s slopeside deck offers unobstructed views of the mountain and three fire tables keep you toasty warm.