We were in Vail over New Years' so to avoid the crowds, we cooked at our condo a decent amount, but we did have a few meals out (other than apres ski snacks), that I thought were worth commenting on:
La Bottega -- what a pleasant space with such wonderful cuisine at affordable prices. We went for a LATE lunch (3:30) after most places had stopped serving on New Years' Eve. We had a delightful meal of panini. The staff was so nice, the wines by the glass were also nice. They also have slightly more expensive pasta options, but still not expensive by Vail standards.
Kelly Liken -- we were VERY disappointed with this place. My chile short ribs lacked flavor and certainly weren't spicy. My husband's lamb was tough -- a rarity for a top Vail restaurant. The wine list was beyond overpriced. However, their specialty cocktails were pretty good, as was the dessert -- but avoid the cheese plate as it doesn't seem to contain any interesting cheeses. (The selection rotates, but this sounded good and it sure wasn't.) This place was more expensive than most restaurants we eat at in NEW YORK and was nowhere near as good. We thought it might be because it was New Years' Day, but we saw the owner-chef out on the floor and in the kitchen and we also talked to her husband for a while. My father-in-law and his girlfriend loved the place, but I'd say there are A LOT better options. (I personally am partial to Sweet Basil, having had a very bizarre experience at Larkspur a few years ago. Not that the food isn't good at Larkspur -- it is -- but Sweet Basil is a much better overall service/food combination)