Aspen dining is a unique experience. The food is delicious and the atmosphere at every restaurant gives each an accent that compliments their cuisine. Be sure to try many different restaurants during your visit to get a glimpse of how the atmospheres accompany the food and service. You won’t be disappointed!
Eight K at Viceroy Snowmass
Casually hip, minus even an ounce of pretense, this fine-dining spot in the Viceroy Snowmass provides a showcase for NOLA-raised executive chef Will Nolan’s cooking. His Southern roots show in tasty bites like shrimp in his family-recipe Creole sauce, rabbit pot pie, crawfish étoufee, half-chicken fricassee, and a seriously fresh, perfectly-fried blue crab boulette (essentially, a fritter) with sauce remoulade. Other French and Rocky Mountain-inflected morsels not to be missed are the foie gras torchon with a hazelnut cracker and a plate-licking-worthy rhubarb jelly, and smoked elk rack. Book a seat against the picture windows to further Coloradify your experience.
130 Wood Road, Snowmass Village, CO 81615 :: (970) 923-8000
New Belgium Ranger Station
This casual Snowmass slopeside eatery opened last fall, and along with the “Hub” at Denver International Airport, it remains the only New Belgium bar in existence (although it’s independently owned and operated from the Ft. Collins mothership brewery). Tucked beneath the Westin, this is the place to be for killer, casual eats like variations on grilled cheese, Bavarian pretzel rolls with dipping sauces, tomato soup, buffalo chili, and grilled chicken- all served up on quarter-sheet pans. Bring the kids- who will adore the S’mores and Belgian dark chocolate hot chocolate. Note that happy hour and apres ski are seriously happening.
100 Elbert Lane #115, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 236-6277
Since 1889, the hotel has been one of Aspen’s most prominent social locales (during Prohibition, it served up the “Aspen Crud,” a spiked milkshake still on the menu)- it’s still a fave amongst celebs, but the scene is laid-back and the décor one of original Old West trappings- check out the ornately-carved backbar, Chinoiserie Chippendale bar, stamped ceiling, and intricate crown moldings. The best burger in town is a juicy, dauntingly tall hunk of 7x Beef Wagyu with all the fixings; the hearty salads (kale Caesar, bbq chicken), and starters like the famous spinach and artichoke dip are other great ways to fortify yourself. Order up a whiskey neat and enjoy the scene.
330 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 925-3721
Main Street Bakery and Cafe
This weathered old house on Main Street is always crowded at breakfast and lunch for a reason- the food is good, plentiful, and reasonably priced. The breakfast bagel, stuffed with scrambled eggs, country ham or bacon, and oozing cheese is a surefire hangover helper, but there’s no shortage of other egg dishes, sandwiches, salads, and specials to choose from. If you’re in a hurry, grab some pastry to go (although given the variety, it may take some time to choose), or ask to sit at a communal table.
201 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 925-6446
The second Colorado outpost (the other is in Vail) of sushi god Nobu Matsuhisa’s empire is situated in a most unassuming spot: a historic, bluebell-hued Victorian on the corner of Main and North Monarch. Be prepared to drop serious bank, no matter how puny your appetite, but the experience will leave you all the richer. Stand-outs other than the sushi bar include the broiled black cod with miso, and lobster tacos; the Omakase menu, starting at $100/per person, is a pretty stellar deal for Aspen.
303 East Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (303) 362-4678
Owner/mixologist Jimmy Yeager is legendary for his namesake restaurant/bar. Located in a swanky upstairs spot off of Mill Street, Jimmy’s is a study in Aspen-cool. Picture windows have stellar views of Ajax, and though there’s a separate dining room, bar seating is the most coveted (there’s also a back patio). If your name happens to be Jimmy, too, then grab a Sharpie and sign the famous autograph wall. More important, however, is the bar program, which focuses on classic and house cocktails and premium spirits, done right. Jimmy’s is as renown as its ice program as anything- he makes his own 300-pound blocks and turns them into two-inch, signature BFIC’s (that’s Big Fucking Ice Cube, fyi) used in special drinks. It’s not just a gimmickry- a larger cube means less dilution of your beverage, and the purified water keeps your cocktail stank- and off-flavor-free. The skilled staff are every bit as charming as their host, and did we mention the grub’s not too shabby, either? Tuck into comforting classics like steak, meatloaf, buffalo burgers, or bbq chicken. That’s right- line your stomach. It’s going to be a long one.
205 S. Mill Street, Aspen #2, CO, 81611 :: (970) 925-6020
The Wild Fig
This is the baby of longtime Aspen restaurateurs Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce, but the Fig is a favorite amongst locals and visitors, who enjoy the Mediterranean menu and decor, and vibe of intimate dining on a patio overlooking the Wheeler Opera House. Stand-outs include soups (try the mussel curry-coconut), salads (like the Rocket, with wild mushrooms, arugula, goat cheese croquette), and cavatelli pasta with Italian sausage, basil, and pink tomato sauce.
315 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 925-5160
The White House Tavern
Since opening last year, the Tavern, located in a tidy little Victorian on East Hopkins, has made a name for itself for its “seriously awesome” crispy chicken sandwich and burgers, and large portions. The menu, while brief, covers all the bases- kale salad, “Macho Salad,” (roasted chicken, mixed greens, avocado, dates, goat cheese, toasted almonds, fresh corn), chicken meatballs, hand-cut fries, iron-skillet beans. The wine and cocktails lists have some nice offerings, and the blonde-wood-paneled walls and stylish trappings made this rustic-mod space a pleasant, kinda sexy place to hang for a casual lunch or dinner.
302 E. Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, CO, 81611 :: (970) 925-1007
Hickory House Ribs
Hickory House is located in the heart of Aspen. Their signiture dish is their famous ribs, which they claim to have the best in the state. This is a family friendly restaurant that everyone can enjoy for lunch or dinner.
730 W. Main Street, Aspen, CO, 81611 :: (970) 925-2313
Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, Ajax tavern is the place to go for casual fine dining. They offer a variety of options of beer, wine, and food. The atmosphere is unbeatable as is sits right next to the Silver Queen Gondola. This is a must visit restaurant is Aspen.
The Little Nell, 685 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO, 81611 :: (970) 920-6334
Since opening over Memorial Day weekend, HOPS Culture has been…hopping. Aspen’s long-awaited “craft beer-focused restaurant” on the Hyman Ave. pedestrian mall is the new place to be when you’re craving a cold one. With 30 beers on tap and 200 by the bottle (including limited releases and everything from dubels to rye), 15 wines, and 12 craft spirits (Moscow Mules are the house special, and come in six different variations), it’s easy to see why beer aficionados flock here. The food is simple, upscale pub grub: salads, roast half-chicken, tasty “melts” (think tomato jam and sharp cheddar on country white, to pulled pork with ham, Mojo mustard, Swiss, and pickles on a sweet potato bun) and variations on mac & cheese. Start off with the popular “little piggies,” pretzel-wrapped “hot dogs” made from Emma Farms Wagyu beef, served with house spicy ketchup and whole-grain mustard. The downstairs bar space is industrial-cool, but the 11-bench beer garden in the mall’s park-like center strip has already established itself as the place to be on a summer’s day.
414 East Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 925-4677
Peach’s Corner Cafe
Like many places in Aspen, this casual, Ikea-ish coffee house/café is perennially packed. Locals and tourists come for the delish baked goods (some made in house, like the hefty Morning Glory muffins, others from Louis’ Swiss Bakery, near the airport), healthy salads (the quinoa bowl is a fave), sandwiches, and daily soup, breakfast, and lunch specials. Prices are high, and portions tend to be small, but you’ll leave feeling energized, not gut-bombed. Note that service is polite, but painfully slow, even during rare slow periods- this is not the place to go if you’re in a rush.
121 South Galena Street, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 544-9866