Due to COVID-19, some of the information below may be temporarily different as restaurants navigate these uncharted times. Please visit each establishment's website for their most up to date information, how they are responding to COVID-19, and short term changes in services offered. Thank you for supporting our community!
Hooked – Hooked has quickly become both a local and guests favorite. This seafood house serves sushi, hot and cold fish, as well as Colorado 7x steak, chicken, and additional items for landlubbers. Colorado is not exactly known for its yellowfin tuna swimming our rivers, so fresh fish flown is flown in daily, featuring a rotating selection of the market’s best selection. Hooked is known for pushing the boundaries of creativity with flavors and experimenting with the culinary arts. I highly suggest trying the Crimpster (one of my favorite things on their menu!) which is what I like to consider the turducken of the sea!
Matsuhisa – Nobu Matsuhisa is known for infusing traditional Japanese cuisine with South American and Western flavors. His extensive menu highlights his culinary journey, with dishes inspired from his tenure as a chef in Japan, Alaska, Peru, and California oftentimes marrying them together for favorites like Black Cod Miso and Whitefish Tiradito. While dining at Matsuhisa, expand your expectations and try some of his offerings from the land—the lamb chops are absolutely incredible! If you’re feeling adventurous, try chef’s Omakase menu. And every time I’m there, I always make sure to have a delicious Matsu-tini!
Osaki’s – At Osaki’s, the finest Japanese cuisine can only come from the finest ingredients, which is why they hand-select their fish daily, use a blend of Tamanishiki and Sasanishiki rice, and make Chef Takeshi’s family recipe for soy sauce. Chef Takeshi follows in his family’s footsteps as a master sushi chef, with his grandfather’s restaurant opening in Osaka, Japan in 1948, bringing traditional and delicious sushi to our mountain home.
Sato – Sato is a unique concept, with Cafe 163 occupying the space and menu for breakfast and lunch, and Sato Sushi serving dinner. Since both restaurants have the same owner, with no culinary overlap, it was a concept worth trying for both wildly successful restaurants. The sushi is fresh and the rolls creative, named after local areas like Arrowhead and Eagle. One of my favorite rolls is the Green Eggs & Hamachi roll (and not just for the fantastic name!). Their entrees are also delicious if you’re in the mood for cuisine other than sushi, and their cocktail list is innovative and inspired.
Yama – Nestled in the heart of the Vail Village, Yama is a boutique sushi spot with a sophisticated menu. The atmosphere is modern and chic, feeling more like a hidden urban gem than a high country eatery. Fresh fish is flown in from around the world for their creative dishes. Don’t forget to save room for mochi for dessert!
By now I’m guessing you’ve looked through enough different restaurant options to know we are lucky to have many locally owned and operated, small businesses to support and reservations are highly recommended. This is especially true for sushi. These establishments tend to be on the much smaller side and because they have fresh fish flown in to the middle of the Rocky Mountains, they are popular for a reason!
For Hooked, they will accept reservations pretty much any time as long as they are open (keep in mind they have seasonal closures in the autumn and spring). Matsuhisa accepts reservations 30 days to the date in advance – this gets tricky with dates like March 29th because you’d have to wait for March 1st to book it rather than February 28th even though it’s technically within 30 days. Osaki’s only makes reservations the day prior to your reservation request. Sato only accepts reservations by phone. Lastly, Yama only has a limited amount of online reservations available and the rest have to be made by phone. Whew!
If you can’t get your preferred reservation time, don’t give up. Ask to have your name placed on a cancellation list (it happens! Sometimes flights get cancelled or Vail Pass gets shut down and people have to forego their reservations) and know you can always try and walk in. Matsuhisa’s bar and sushi bar are walk in only, for example. You can also try dining at Hooked for lunch instead of dinner, since their full menu is served alongside the lunch specials. Creativity is your friend.