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Steamboat — Dining

Dining (Area Code: 970)

Steamboat has great variety: more than 100 restaurants and bars, including one or more Cajun, Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian and Scandinavian. Look for the Steamboat Dining Guide in your hotel or condo—it has menus and prices.

On mountain

Without a doubt, the most impressive evening in Steamboat starts at Gondola Square at the Gondola terminal. Here, you set off on a journey into the stars to Hazie’s (871-5150; reservations required for dinner, available Friday through Sunday and holidays; $$$; right) at the top of Thunderhead. Hazie’s serves a special continental dinner with unbeatable views. Cost is $70 for adults, $54 for teens 13–18, and $36 for children 6–12; not appropriate for children 5 and younger. Cost includes gondola ride. You can also have lunch (reservations recommended) daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Choose from an assortment of soups and salads, entrees and burgers.

For elegant dining, it’s hard to beat The Cabin (871-5550; $$$) on the lobby level of the Steamboat Grand. It features contemporary Colorado cuisine for breakfast and dinner and specializes in native Colorado wild game and “jet-fresh” seafood.

Ragnar’s (871-5150; reservations required for dinner and suggested for lunch; $$–$$$) at Rendezvous Saddle halfway down the High Noon ski run features Scandinavian and continental cuisine. Start with the gravlax with mustard dill sauce. Or, perhaps, try the excellent Norwegian salad with proscuitto or the traditional Norwegian seafood chowder. Entrees include daily specials. Three nights a week (Friday through Sunday) Ragnar’s offers a fixed-price Scandinavian menu at $98 for adults, $86 for teens 13–18, and $62 for children 6–12; not appropriate for children 5 and younger. The evening starts at Gondola Square, but once off the gondola at the top of Thunderhead, you climb into a snowcat-drawn sleigh to continue your journey to Rendezvous Saddle. Price includes gondola and sleigh ride. We recommend a mug of hot spiced glögg before relaxing to music and enjoying your meal.

Western BBQ (871-5150; reservations required; $$$) Friday through Sunday, features live country-western entertainment, dancing, an all-you-can-eat buffet and a full cash bar, all on the third floor of the Thunderhead Building at the top of the gondola. Cost is $47 for adults, $35 for teens 13–18, $24 for children 6–12, and free for ages 5 and younger.

The Rendezvous Saddle building, halfway down the High Noon ski run, is newly renovated for the 2006/07 season and will feature an updated cafeteria. Stoker Bar (871-5150; $–$$) on the first floor of the Thunderhead Building (at the top of the Gondola) has full-service lunch of soups, chile, sandwiches, micro beers and specialty drinks. The Bear River Bar & Grill, at the base across from the Gondola bay entrance, is a very popular gathering spot. Gondola Joe’s is a full-service coffee shop and cafe in Gondola Square.

Saketumi (870-1019), pronounced “sock-it-to-me,” is a hip spot on the mountain for sushi and Asian fusion cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner.

In town

For Steamboat’s pinnacle of French dining, try Harwigs & L’Apogee (911 Lincoln Ave., 879-1919; $$$). While the food cannot be too highly praised, it is the wine list that is truly impressive. There are more than 500 wines, ranging from $12 to $1,000 a bottle, all maintained in three temperature-controlled cellars. L’Apogee also features Steamboat’s only cruvinet system, serving more than 30 wines and ports by the glass.

Another fine-dining choice is Antares (57-1/2 Eighth St., 879-9939; $$$). Not coincidentally, all the principals are alums from L’Apogee. Serving new American cuisine, this restaurant—named for a star in the Scorpio constellation—is housed in the historic Rehder building built in the early 1900s. Open daily 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

For more than Mex, don’t miss La Montaña, (879-5800, 2500 Village Dr.; $$–$$$). The inventive menu goes way beyond tacos and fajitas. Their guacamole sauce is the house special and the bartender shakes up more than 20 varieties of margaritas.

Cottonwood Grill (701 Yampa Ave., 879-2229; $$–$$$) downtown on the Yampa River, is owned by Chefs Peter Lautner and Michael Fragola (formerly of La Montaña) and features vibrant Pacific Rim cuisine blending American and Asian flavors with traditional favorites.

A popular seafood restaurant is the Steamboat Yacht Club (811 Yampa Ave., 879-4774; $$; left). The dining room overlooking the river is perfect for watching night skiing or Wednesday night ski jumping on Howelsen Hill. Its menu is designed to mix and match fish, cooking techniques and sauces to suit your tastes. The Yacht Club also serves meat and poultry and is one of the best restaurants for the price in town.

The Steamboat Smokehouse (912 Lincoln Ave.; $–$$) has a no-credit card, no-reservations, no-nonsense atmosphere with some of Colorado’s best Texas-style hickory-smoked barbecued anything—you name it—brisket, sausage, turkey, chicken, ham and more. We love that we can toss our peanut shells on the floor and that the beer mugs are iced. Ten beer taps fill these mugs.

Dos Amigos (879-4270; $$) serves Tex-Mex food and sandwiches and is part of the infamous “Steamboat Triangle” apres-ski circuit along with Tugboat Grill & Pub ($–$$ and Slopeside ($$). Cafe Diva (871-0508; $$) is a wine bar in the Torian Plum Plaza that serves eclectic cuisine.

Family recipes are shared at Mambo Italiano (870-0500; $$), an inexpensive but excellent family-style diner with 19 different pastas. If you’re lucky, the pizza chef will sing for you. Johnny B. Good’s Diner (870-8400; $), a fifties-style soda fountain, is best known for its chocolate milkshakes and quick service. Also great for breakfast.

Old West Steakhouse (879-1441; $$) has packed in the crowds for years with its generous portions of steak and seafood. You easily could make a meal out of the appetizers.

Giovanni’s (879-4141; $$) has not only Italian fare, but also what may be the largest collection of Brooklyn memorabilia this side of the borough. For upscale Italian, head to Riggio’s (879-9010; $$) on Lincoln. Seafood and veal are especially good and be sure to leave room for their homemade desserts. Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill (879-3773; $–$$), Steamboat’s only brew pub, has great brews and decent pub grub. But the wait can be long.

If you’re in town for breakfast or lunch, try the Creekside Cafe and Grill (879-4925; $). Homemade soup, sandwiches and salads are served along with soothing classical music. For some quiet-time and a light lunch (sandwiches, homemade pasta salads and soups) head to Off The Beaten Path bookstore and coffeehouse (879-6830; $) across from the Harbor Hotel. We like the bookstore (especially because it stocks Ski Snowboard America & Canada), the great gourmet coffees and the linger-as-long-as-you-want attitude.

Other good downtown breakfast spots are Winona’s, where the lines form early and often (try the cinnamon buns!) or The Shack Cafe. The Tugboat Grill & Pub at the base area is also good. And of course there’s a Starbucks in the Sheraton at the base. Avid skiers can board the gondola at 8 a.m. (as part of First Tracks) and have breakfast at The Stoker afterwards.


Dining Legend: $$$$–Entrees $30+; $$$–$20+; $$–$10–$20; $–less than $10