Published on 5280.com
I don’t have an Italian nonna to cook homemade pasta and Sunday gravy for me, but if I did, I imagine she’d also load the table with heaping plates of antipasti, crispy calamari, and the like. There’d be ink-colored bottles of Nebbiolo, chilled shots of her homemade limoncello, and delicate tiramisu sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings and cocoa powder. Luckily, at La Nonna Ristorante, I can enjoy such a feast—and it comes with incredible views of Vail Mountain, too.
La Nonna is the new iteration of Campo de Fiori, a stalwart that anchored Vail Village’s culinary scene for two decades. When “Campo,” as it was affectionately called, shuttered last April, the restaurant’s longtime executive chef, Simone Reatti, and general manager Mira Hozzova announced plans to open their own restaurant in the same space. They christened the new venture, which opened in December, La Nonna Ristorante—a tribute to the authentic Italian cooking that Reatti, a native of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, learned from his own late nonna, as well as the family feel led by Hozzova’s gregarious front-of-house presence.
The pair designed their restaurant with the idea of a rustic Italian country home in mind. They also added elegant touches, such as the glassed-in wine cellar, which you can view as you ascend the stairs from the coat check to the main dining room. There’s also a newly designed bar that seats 14 people in a crimson-colored nook, and enlarged south-facing windows that overlook the slopes.
The upgrades reinvigorate the space, but the food is the real draw at La Nonna. Start with shared plates of thinly sliced prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella ($32) and lightly battered calamari ($17) before working your way to menu staples, like “ravioli tre funghi” ($26), a delicate dumpling stuffed with three types of mushrooms in a light cream sauce with white truffle oil.
Reatti makes all of La Nonna’s pasta in-house using imported Italian flour; he rolls the dough so thin you can read a newspaper through it—just like his nonna taught him. The Gnocchetti Sardi alla Genovese ($24) was our table’s favorite dish: the miniature gnocchi shells, historically pressed with a wicker basket for a ribbed appearance, were topped with an impeccably light basil pesto, pine nuts, and pecorino cheese.
As for the limoncello, La Nonna’s house-made version ($9) of that bright, citrusy Italian liqueur is a must for toasting at the end of a delicious night.
If you go: La Nonna Ristorante is open for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. daily. Reservations are a must, although you can grab a first-come-first-served seat in the bar or on the patio in the summer.