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Best Affordable Restaurants In Vail Colorado

Moe's BBQ

Vail Colorado is a ski resort town in the Rocky Mountains that is practically famous for being very expensive.  But despite that reputation, you can actually find a few locals’ favorites serving delicious food for an affordable price.  There is a small but hardy community of locals who tolerate the crazy high rent, but still manage to find affordable places to get food or drinks with friends.  Emily and I lived there for several years and discovered all the best affordable restaurants in Vail.

We collected a small but worthy collection of awesome local spots to get a bite to eat that won’t break the bank.  Plus Vail has a great free bus system that makes it really easy (and free) to get around town.  I will include the appropriate bus route and bus stop for getting to these spots.  Let’s jump into some of our favorite affordable spots to eat in Vail.

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La Cantina

Bus Stop: Vail Transportation Center, or Covered Bridge (In-Town Bus)

La Cantina: best affordable restaurants in Vail.

La Cantina is a low-key Mexican restaurant located at the Vail Village Parking structure and transportation center (bus depot).  They serve pretty good mexican fare (the smothered burritos are a personal favorite of mine).

This spot is a real favorite among locals for their large portions and convenient location.  Anyone taking the free bus to Vail can easily walk downstairs to grab a cheap bite when heading to or from Vail.

Plus it’s counter service, so you save a little extra money versus tipping a waitor/waitress.  And they even provide free chips and salsa with every entree order.  Their home-made salsas are really good.

The ambiance of this place isn’t going to wow anyone because it’s simple counter service with practically food court seating.  But they do have a bar serving good margaritas, beer, and more.

They also serve delicious breakfast burritos that are the perfect thing to take on the go when heading out to ski.

Moe’s Original BBQ

Bus Stop: West Lionshead Plaza (In-Town Bus)

Moe's BBQ: best affordable restaurants in Vail

The barbeque at Moe’s is legit!  It’s one of the best affordable restaurants in Vail.  And actually run by some good folks from Alabama, so they know how to do it right.  Really tender meats smoked to perfection.  Pulled pork, ribs, wings, fried catfish and more, with classic BBQ sides like mac & cheese, cornbread, and baked beans.

I find it funny that they put the calories on the menu, because I wouldn’t recommend coming here if you are trying to watch your calorie intake.  But their delicious (and affordable) BBQ is always a hit with locals and visitors alike.

It’s counter service, so you can save a little money (though tipping is definitely still appreciated).  They have a small indoor space and a nice patio area, and of course cheap beers, especially during 3-6pm Happy Hour.  The $3 PBR Tall Boys are a smokin’ deal.

Yeti’s Grind

Bus Stop: Vail Transportation Center, Solaris (In-Town Bus)

Yeti's Grind Coffee Shop

This coffee shop/cafe is the perfect place to get your caffeine fix and a smaller bite for breakfast or lunch.  They have a delicious variety of pastries, like cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, scones, monkey bread, and gluten-free (but you wouldn’t even know it) breads.  They have small but tasty breakfast burritos, and a few delicious sandwiches that are great to take on the go. 

They have the best tasting drip and espresso in Vail, as well as specialty lattes, matcha, loose-leaf teas, and more.


Bus Stop: Lionshead Eastbound or Westbound (In-Town Bus)

Garfinkel's: best affordable restaurants in Vail.

Garfinkel’s is a large sports bar and pub in Lionshead’s Village.  But it’s probably best known for it’s massive deck overlooking Vail Ski Resort.  It’s a favorite Après spot to watch skiers coming down the mountain. But any time of year, the deck is a huge hit.  

They serve a standard pub fare for reasonable prices.  Our personal favorite is the loaded nachos, they are huge and can probably feed 3-4 people.  But they also have solid burgers, sandwiches, etc.  Their bar serves a wide variety of craft and domestic beers.  And they have good deals on pitchers, which are great for drinking with friends.

And if you are trying to catch a sports game, they have a decent amount of TV’s.

Vendetta’s Pizza

Bus Stop: Vail Transportation Center, or Covered Bridge (In-Town Bus)

Vendetta's Pizza: best affordable restaurants in Vail.

Vendetta’s is an Italian restaurant most well-known for it’s pizza.  It isn’t the most affordable pizza you’ll ever find, but it is delicious.  And at $4-5 per slice, Vendetta’s pizza is worth the price.  The best way to eat affordably at Vendetta’s is to split a larger 12” or 18” pizza with family or friends.

They have excellent crust and sauce, which just makes for a delicious pie, no matter which one you order.  But the Jack Attack and Snow Pig are our favorites.  

The non-pizza menu is kinda pricey and cooked in a separate kitchen than the pizza oven, so that can sometimes cause issues with disjointed service.  The indoor bar has a wide variety of beer, wine, and cocktails.  They have a good amount of indoor seating and a back patio that is great any time of year.  And believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty popular nightlife spot during the winter, getting rather packed on nights and weekends

Big Bear Bistro

Bus Stop: Vail Transportation Center, or Hansen Ranch Rd // Covered Bridge (In-Town Bus)

Big Bear Bistro

This cozy cafe has amazing sandwiches!  If you are looking for a delicious and inventive deli sandwich, Big Bear Bistro is a great little spot for an affordable meal.  But they are only open 8am-5pm, so it’s mostly a breakfast or lunch spot.

I used to get sandwiches here all the time for lunch when I worked nearby.  And I still find myself craving their Masterpiece, Pearson, and The Mo.  But honestly, all the sandwiches are great.

Northside Kitchen Grab & Go

Bus Stop: West Vail Mall (West Vail Green or Red Bus)

This market/restaurant/cafe/bakery has a great range of affordable food and drinks.  The original location, Northside Kitchen, is located one town over in Avon, Colorado and is more of a sit-down restaurant.

The second location, Northside Kitchen Grab & Go is located just off the I-70 West Vail exit, so it’s a convenient place to stop if you are coming to Vail via car.   Full disclosure, I used to cook here.  So I know the menu inside and out.  The prices are super affordable, and they finally added a just few tables after many years of being take-out only.

For breakfast, they have several bacon/sausage egg and cheese sandwiches served on their freshly made ciabatta, biscuits, and bagels.  The breakfast burritos are HUGE, and could basically be your breakfast and lunch.  And they have fresh donuts and pastries every morning. (The chocolate oreo donut is my favorite).

The Angus burgers are a total steal, and the pastrami Reuben sandwich is my absolute favorite.

The George

Bus Stop: Vail Transportation Center, or Covered Bridge (In-Town Bus)

The George is a bit of a hidden gem in Vail, and that’s because the entire place is underground (haha).  But despite the lack of windows, The George is a popular bar and restaurant in Vail.  They have a casual atmosphere with standard pub fare as well as some fancier entrees, like the Filet Mignon and Crab Legs Surf ’n Turf.  But if you are looking for something more affordable, the burgers, cheese steaks, and fish & chips are great (and are all around $12).

They have some great deals on cheap canned beers as well.

The other side of the bar has pool tables, foosball, Big Buck Hunter, and some casual couch seating.  This makes it a popular place for locals to hang out, especially at night, so beware that it gets packed on nights and weekends.

Takeaway | Best Affordable Restaurants In Vail, Colorado

Vail Colorado sometimes feels like just a playground for the rich.  So finding a few affordable restaurants in Vail was so important for us locals.  It’s nice to be able to go out for an affordable meal for après-ski or after coming back from one of Vail’s many great hikes. And if you enjoy some alcoholic beverages, be sure to check out some of these local breweries in Vail. We hope with our insight you can enjoy some great food for a reasonable price next time you visit Vail.

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