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“A trip around the world at Ludwig's”

Ludwig's Restaurant
Ranked #12 of 129 Restaurants in Vail
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$50
Cuisines: Austrian, European, Swiss
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: W. Meadow Drive
Transit: Complimentary Vail bus route, Village Inn bus stop.
Description: Ludwig's is pleased to offer European cuisine, featuring a menu of entirely gluten-free dishes artfully crafted by our Executive Chef Florian Schwarz. Every item on the menu, including fresh made pastas, bread and desserts, is gluten free. Fresh ingredients, light and healthy, carefully prepared - this is what you can expect with every visit. Ludwig's boasts an award-winning selection of wine, refined European service and attention to detail. Treat yourself to a Vail tradition.
Reviewed 12 February 2014

Many establishments in Vail Valley claim to be "European style," but truth be told, very few deserve such a description. The grand Sonnenalp hotel is one that does. The moniker applies not just to its appearance, but to its accommodations, ambiance, food and, most of all, service.

The hotel's signature restaurant, Ludwig's, is not only a venue for heavenly à la carte dining experiences, but also for memorable group events such as weddings and special dinners.

My review is not about Ludwig’s à la carte dining, but a group experience.

Recently, we hosted a "Round the World" themed dinner for 39 at Ludwig's. It was a culinary extravaganza Executive Chef Florian Schwarz crafted from his own experiences working across the globe. The setting for the dinner was the glass wintergarten known as "Ludwig's Terrace" off the restaurant. In summer, it is a beautiful way to feel as though you are dining al fresco next to Gore Creek despite the chilly evening mountain air. In winter, with green lights strung on bushes shining beneath a blanket of fresh snow, it is an enchanting experience hard to match anywhere in the valley.

Long rectangular tables were set with stemware for six courses and wine pairings. Given Valentine's Day is coming, the hotel placed centerpieces of beautiful red roses on the tables. Roses also adorned the rest of Ludwig's dining room.

Food & Beverage Director Christoph Kuch and dining room manager Ibrahim Ozerkan deserve huge shoutouts! Christoph helped us organize the dinner and, with Ibrahim, oversaw the impeccable service that proceeded at a pleasant, unhurried pace while plates unobtrusively appeared and disappeared. Sommelier Jarrett Quint perfectly paired each course. Christoph even found a wonderful jazz group that braved horrible winter weather to come up from Denver to perform during dinner.

Since it was such a special menu, I can't help but share it. Anyone considering Sonnenalp for a special event (banquet, wedding, party) should know that the combination of Chef Schwartz and Jarrett Quint can yield imaginative, unique menus. There was no "so so" course. All were over the top in taste, presentation and creativity.

Amuse (Japan): Sushi rolls with tuna, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce paied with Junmai Sake, Hakutsuru, Kobe, JP.

First course (Portugal): Lobster Salpicon - Lobster salad with egg, tomato and onion in the most featherlight, delicate puff pastry I've ever had. It was paired with chardonnay (Sorry, I can't find my notes on the exact one we had).

Second course (Sweden): Mille Feuille from Foie gras. This was an extraordinary combination of three disparate flavors and textures: foie gras, eel and apples that were perfectly layered to create an exquisite taste sensation.

Third course (Spain): Salmorejo of Cordoba. Cold tomato and red bell pepper soup with garlic, sherry vinegar, chorizo and almonds paired with garnacha, Abruzo, Carinena, SP 2012. Who knew such simple ingredients could be blended to create such a delicious soup to pair with this lovely wine? I make romesco sauce often and it contains all these ingredients, except the Chorizo. This soup definitely transcended the sauce.

Fourth course (Colorado/Japan): Akaushi Beef Tenderloin with braised bok choy, celery puree and ginger sake sauce paired with Cabernet Sauvignon, Ladera, "Stile Blocks", Howell Mountain, Napa, CA, 2010. There was a steak knife on the table, but it really was superfluous. My fork cut through the rare beef bathed in the ginger sake sauce as though the fork was hot and the meat was butter. Usually, rare beef is a bit stringy and it's a hard sell to some. Not the case with this meat. Fabulous.

Dessert (Austria): Apple Strudel paired with Moscati d'Asti, Ca' del Re, Piemonte, 2012. This was the second appearance of apples in this meal. Not your granny's apple pie. Way beyond that. Austrian Pastry Chef Bernie Oswald would have made his own granny proud with his incarnation of classic apple streusel. Each plate had a moist slice of streusel carefully placed on the bottom side of a circle of golden spun sugar that resembled a halo for this heavenly dessert. A swirl of creme anglaise with a stream of chocolate through it and a white and dark chocolate cup with whipped cream (I think) and a strawberry finished the confectionary work of art. The moscato was the perfect, light fresh pairing for this last dish.

Sorry for the long review, but I thought both people considering where to part with large chunk of change on a special event as well as diners looking for a great experience, would enjoy reading the details.

Also, I included two pix I shot in the summer on Ludwig's Terrace to show how it looks with the roof open.

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Thank VillaArneis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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136 - 140 of 212 reviews

Reviewed 8 January 2014

We ate at Ludwigs with a couple of friends on Sunday evening. What a relaxing and joyful time. The menu was nicely created with great seafood dishes as well as meat lovers choices. My potato soup was out of this world, as was my John Dory dish, tasty and great with the gnocchi. My husband had the lamb - he told me it was just perfectly done. Our friends really liked the filet and the Sea bass they ordered. The desserts are works of art! The icing on the cake was the mound of homemade cotton candy that was brought to the table at the end of the meal. What a fun ending to the evening, Service was just the right pace and the wine recommendation was perfect. Great atmosphere. Quiet and elegant. This will be the place to spoil ourselves again when we get back to Vail. We will definitely be back!

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Thank fabi22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2013

We ate here in the off season and it was not busy. We had 4 of us. It took forever to get our bottle of wine, ordered app and entrees and it took awhile to get the apps and then a half hour after finishing our apps and sitting there the entrees arrived. Server apologized but did not give reason everything was taking so long. At one point he forgot to bring a drink a person ordered. It then took what seemed another half hour for him to clear plates and offer dessert which we turned down because we were ready to leave. It took 2 1/2 hours for dinner which should have taken half the time. We watched him walked in the hallway back and forth many times but never look in the area of were we were seated to check on our table. Even though there was special pricing on apps/entrees, the portions were very small. So if these are the portion sizes on the regular menu, not worth eating here for the price you pay and for the service one receives. Will not eat here again and this is second Sonnelap restaurant we were disappointed with. Would not recommend.

Thank minichix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jfaessler, Owner at Ludwig's Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 2 January 2014

Dear minichix, we are so sorry you did not enjoy your dining experience at Ludwig's - just at the beginning of our season opening. If you would be so kind as to call me at 970.479.5468 we would like to make it right. This is definitely not the feed back we are getting from our customers and we apologize for your experience. I look forward to speaking with you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2013

The breakfast buffet at Ludwig's is second to none. An incredible amount of choices and everything is out of this world tasty.

Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2013

I was staying at another hotel and this was recommended to us for breakfast. It reminded me of ski lodges in Germany. Obviously thats what they pattern there decor after considering the name. Nice view outside. Great breakfast buffet. Friendly staff.

1  Thank MarcBaschetti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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