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A Vegetarian’s Guide to High-Altitude Dining – Discovering the Peaks and Flavors of Telluride

Telluride, CO, is a hidden gem, the town’s high altitude adds to its allure, making it a unique destination for outdoor enthusiasts. After a day of exploring, visitors can enjoy a delicious vegetarian dinner at one of the charming restaurants.

The United States is home to many stunning destinations. Tucked in the picturesque San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, Telluride is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and food lovers in North America. With its soaring peaks reaching 12,000 to 14,000 feet, the town’s elevation is 8,750 feet above sea level. 

Discover this hidden gem nestled among Colorado’s breathtaking rugged peaks, where you’ll be treated to unmatched natural beauty. Nowhere else in the country, or perhaps the world, can you find such a captivating place. My favorite part is feeling calm and at peace, with no care in the world, a very different atmosphere from New York City. In recent years, this tiny mountain village of Telluride, Colorado, tripled in size each Labor Day weekend for its film festivals.

Step into a world of Victorian-era homes, beveled storefronts, and quaint boutiques in Telluride, CO. Discover vibrant art galleries and savor the culinary delights of gourmet restaurants. What sets the town of Telluride apart is its citizens’ unwavering dedication to preserving the town’s historic hotels, architecture, open space, and traditional design elements. The stunning views of the surrounding peaks and the unique gondola transportation system make downtown Telluride a truly inspiring place to explore.

Dear foodies, this charming mountain town has many delicious and satisfying options to fuel your adventures. Here are a few you must check out!

Telluride’s Breakfast and Lunch Options

  1. Siam Talay Grille: Located at the Inn at Lost Creek, this restaurant offers many nutritious and satisfying food options. Additionally, nearly the entire menu can be tailored to suit a vegan diet. The hardest part is deciding what to order because everything looks irresistible.
  2. Brown Dog Pizza: After a morning on the ski slopes, ski down into town and head to Colorado Avenue for delicious Detroit-style pies. Their veggie-loaded pizzas are the perfect fuel for a day of exploring. And they have a ski valet service for your convenience if you’re too full after!
  3. Alpino Vino: This ski-in, ski-out restaurant, right off lift #14, may not take lunch reservations but arrive at 11:30 am, and you’ll be guaranteed a table. Their menu features various vegetarian options, including a delectable Eggplant Parmesan. Check out my version here. A quick traveler’s tip: make dinner reservations and get ready for an unforgettable experience riding the Alpino Vino’s heated snow coach conveniently from the top of the Gondola to the front door! This unique experience, combined with the restaurant’s delicious vegetarian offerings, makes Alpino Vino a must-visit for any vegetarian traveler.
  4. Gorrono Ranch: This historic ranch serves delicious, vegan-friendly lunch fare at a charming and rustic lodge with a large outdoor deck, historic Saloon and Outpost bars, and live music in a picturesque alpine setting. Their menu includes various vegan options, such as vegan chili and vegan burgers, to cater to the needs of vegan travelers. 
Lunch at Alpino Vino

Telluride’s Dinner Options

  1. 221 South Oak: This cozy restaurant is burrowed in a refurbished historic home, featuring Chef Eliza Gavin, a Top Chef contestant on season 10 on Bravo. This gem is located just off the main street, a cornerstone and a favorite place, as it boasts a full vegetarian menu that changes seasonally. In addition, Telluride Ski Resort boasts an expansive list of red wine, white wine, local brews, and other pairings. Soaking up the high alpine ambiance at 221 South Oak’s restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for the most memorable vegetarian dinner experience.
  2. The National Telluride: This popular restaurant serves creative, farm-to-table cuisine with seasonal ingredients. While not entirely vegetarian, it offers a variety of vegan options and small plates that are sure to satisfy, and it makes its pasta in-house. Don’t leave before trying this must-have drink, the Flatliner, a smooth, creamy combination of vodka, Baileys, Kahlúa, and espresso; let me know what you think!
  3. Black Iron Kitchen: A stylish, contemporary restaurant and bar serving New American cuisine at the Madeline Hotel, Black Iron Kitchen offers an elegant dining room that is the perfect choice for a date night. Provides a fine dining menu of healthy and satisfying vegetarian dinner options, like its scrumptious vegan burgers.
  4. The Cosmopolitan: Chef Chad Scothorn brought his culinary vision to Telluride at The Cosmopolitan. He was recognized in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Nation’s Restaurant News and is now at one of Telluride’s favorite restaurants. This fine-dining restaurant offers generous portions and, whenever possible, locally sourced ingredients. It also provides an innovative vegetarian menu with various vegan options, like the Thai Coconut Vegetable Stew, that will impress even the most discerning vegan palates. Check out my Thai Red Curry rendition here.
Thai Red Curry at Cosmopolitan,

Tips and Tricks

  • If you want to eat at a vegetarian restaurant, check out any of these menus, as they cater to everyone. Definitely make a reservation if they allow it because they fill up quickly.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water and take it easy on your first day in Telluride to allow your body to adjust to the high altitude. Additionally, consider eating potassium-rich foods like bananas to help prevent altitude sickness.
  • Take advantage of the free gondola ride connecting the small town and Mountain Village for easy access to all the best views. Be sure to have your camera ready!
  • For a truly comfortable stay, consider the Madeline Hotel in Mountain Village. Offering a luxury tier to your vacation is like having a private retreat. This Five-Star Resort offers state-of-the-art amenities, great pools, a pool table, a fitness center, excellent trails, mountain biking, hot tubs, and more! It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring the stunning mountain town of Telluride.
  • Getting to Telluride can be a breeze if you fly to Montrose Regional Airport and take a shuttle to Telluride Regional Airport because this local airport is relatively small. Depending on your starting destination, you can get direct flights here. 
  • Other restaurants worth visiting include Tomboy Tavern, Altezza, New Sheridan Chophouse, Bon Vivant, and La Marmotte.

In Telluride, they joke that they live a “gondola life.” With these fantastic vegetarian options, you’ll be living your best life in no time! So go, explore, and indulge in the flavors of this stunning mountain town.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of this picturesque mountain town and treat your taste buds to an array of delectable delights offered by its vibrant culinary scene. I assure you that you will be thoroughly pleased with the experience! I am eagerly anticipating hearing all about your adventure.

Feeling inspired by your trip to Telluride, Colorado? Check out these delicious recipes to prepare your palate for some delicious meals.

Happy Travels!