Samplings (Frisco, Colorado)
The name says it all at this casual neighborhood bistro on Frisco’s quaint main drag, a few miles from Breckenridge and Copper. Mix and match Chef Michael Weist’s global small-plate cuisine with more than 220 international wines by the glass, bottle or flight. On the menu, try the duck confit ravioli, Tasmanian salmon and smoked buffalo flank steak. Best seat: at the 20-person community table or the chef’s table by the kitchen.
Rickshaw (Ketchum, Idaho)
The aromas wafting from the sizzling woks will whet your appetite for Asian tapas at this tiny, intimate restaurant—six tables plus a bar—down the road from Sun Valley’s slopes. Owner/chef Andreas Heaphy’s fondness for Asian street food inspires dishes including organic pork potstickers with a sweet chili sauce and Thai beef salad made with organic flat-iron steak. Tip: no reservations accepted. Just write your name on the chalkboard and sip a sake mojito while you wait.
Bite (Incline Village, California)
Pile your plate high with Chef Bryn Herrlein’s bite-size ahi tuna sliders on fat little buns minutes from the slopes of Diamond Peak and Alpine Meadows. Bite specializes in small plates. Among the best are their tequila-garlic prawns, cheese-steak sliders, five-spice baby backs, and all their mini desserts. The Double the Devil’s Foodcake or coconut crème bites make for a fine finish. Local secret: Bite has two daily happy hours, from 5–6 p.m. and 10–midnight, featuring food and drink specials.
Elements Urban Tapas Parlour (Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.)
Regionally inspired and creatively prepared tapas are the stars at this fun restaurant featuring an open kitchen and a buzzing cocktail bar in Whistler Village’s Summit Lodge & Spa. Mingle over grilled chorizo with honey-onion relish, Pacific salmon “lollipops” with papaya-mango salsa and two-toned frites with chipotle aioli. Perfect pair: fruit-infused martinis with sticky toffee pudding or espresso crème brulee.