Sweet Basil is a Vail institution. Originally opened in 1977 and located in the heart of Vail Village, the restaurant has long been a hit with locals and visiting skiers and outdoor enthusiasts. In the summer, diners can eat at tables overlooking Gore Creek, while in the winter, the low-lit dining room and bar feel welcoming and cozy. The seasonal, locally inspired food has always been good, but in 2014 it went from good to great thanks to the creativity and talent of chefs Blake Edmunds and Chris Schmidt. Alums of Denver's popular Squeaky Bean, the duo have brought bolder flavors to the menu and smart twists to some of Sweet Basil's signature dishes.
A recent winter menu featured dishes such as crispy veal sweetbreads with roasted brussels sprouts, basil, and truffle vinaigrette and quail a la plancha with date puree, pomegranate, chestnuts, sage, and pickled quail egg. The popular pan-roasted duck breast is still on the entree list, alongside newer dishes such as a seed-crusted monkfish with charred octopus escabeche, baby carrot, radish, and mole Coloradito (pictured). Save room for dessert: The crowd-pleasing hot sticky toffee pudding is now even better with the addition of peanut brittle and ice cream.