clock menu more-arrow no yes
A charred piece of crusted salmon on a plate with sauce and vegetable fixings
Pyramid Bistro
Pyramid Bistro [Official]

The 21 Essential Aspen Restaurants

From see-and-be-seen sushi to a burger at Hunter S. Thompson’s go-to spot, here’s where to eat in Colorado’s fanciest ski town

View as Map
Pyramid Bistro
| Pyramid Bistro [Official]

“Freak Power in the Rockies” is how Hunter S. Thompson described his planned takeover of Aspen and Pitkin County, Colorado. There, in 1970, he decided to run for sheriff, and while his plan never panned out, the strange power of this Rocky Mountain town persisted, even as Aspen became increasingly expensive.

Today, a certain freak power remains, thanks to Aspen’s offbeat, longtime local residents, amplified by the energy from visiting international jet-setters. Surrounded by the majestic Elk Mountains, when walking a few short blocks within the downtown core, you’ll pass the poshest pot shop ever, a world-class art museum, and likely some celebs. There are escapes to be found, too, atop said museum, inside hotel lobbies, and always down staircases (skip the stilettos, ladies). Should you find yourself in one of the most iconic outdoor playgrounds in the world this season, here are the restaurants to provide all the freaky, fancy, and classically Aspen sustenance to keep you fueled for your own adventure.

Update June 2021: Despite its fame, Aspen is still a small ski town where the majority of locals rely on tourism. When the pandemic hit, it hit hard. But by the time the 2020/21 ski season kicked off last November, Aspen Snowmass bounced back thanks to stringent travel guidelines and operational protocols that kept visitors safe and lifts spinning. As the town heads into summer, Aspen is bracing itself for what’s expected to be the one of the busiest seasons ever. After reaching the milestone of green-level restrictions in May, restaurants are coming back at full capacity from a well-deserved, off-season break.

The following is an updated take on Aspen’s dining scene, highlighting the “see and be seen” hot spots and enduring staples — all of which should be applauded (and amply tipped) for surviving the devastating effects of the pandemic over the past year.

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Aspen website or official state resources.

Katie Shapiro is a freelance cannabis and travel journalist who lives life at its highest and writes about it from her home base in Aspen. She is a senior contributor for Forbes and High Country columnist for the Aspen Times, with other work appearing in the Denver Post, Modern Luxury, Curbed, Thrillist, and more.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mawa's Kitchen

Copy Link
305 Aspen Airport Business Center F
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 544-4862
Visit Website

Mawa McQueen’s cooking journey took her from Ivory Coast to France, England, Maine, and finally Colorado. At the home base of her restaurant group and catering company (private jet service included, natch), “the queen” welcomes diners right into her kitchen, where she prepares healthy breakfasts, brunches, and lunches — think smoked salmon plates, lobster deviled eggs, and smashed avocado curries. Returning from an off-season interior renovation (state-of-the-art ventilation and UV light systems included), the dining room and full bar addition deliver dinner that’s worth the short drive away from downtown. Her Crepe Shack in nearby Snowmass (reopening for the season on June 21, 2021) sells one $120 caviar crepe, because, as she puts it, “Why the fuck not?”

Mawa’s Kitchen [official]

2. Francesca’s Pasta Market & Empanadas

Copy Link
81611 300 Aspen Airport, Suite A
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 274-9011
Visit Website

Near Mawa’s in the Airport Business Center, chef and owner Martin Meineri cranks out handmade empanadas (each stamped with an aspen leaf logo), fresh egg pasta, seven varieties of ravioli, and five heavenly sauces. A native of Argentina, Meineri attended culinary school in Italy, and today he blends both backgrounds into his personal passion project of a shop.

A chef leans over a pasta cutter laying down strips of finished noodles
Preparing pasta
Craig Turpin

3. Home Team BBQ

Copy Link
38750 CO-82
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 236-2040
Visit Website

Chef Chris Lanter, of the notable upscale French American restaurant Cache Cache, doubled down in Aspen four years ago, bringing this South Carolina-based barbecue joint to the base of Buttermilk Mountain. With the lively Lanter presiding as Colorado pitmaster, smoked meats are the clear highlight here. Order them on a family-style board with a choice of sides and a signature frozen Game Changer — a rum-based fruit cocktail sure to make you forget your worries. Then park yourself in front of a TV for whatever game is on. Catering, bulk order, and party platter menus are also available.

Facebook

4. Plato's Restaurant

Copy Link
845 Meadows Rd
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 544-7824
Visit Website

Enjoy one of the best views in all of Aspen from the Bauhaus-inspired dining room or expansive patio located off the main lobby of the Aspen Meadows Resort on the Aspen Institute campus. Chef de cuisine Rachel Koppelman’s passion for local ingredients, many of which she forages for around the area herself, shines through on her elevated yet approachable seasonal menus. This summer’s staples feature spring asparagus with almond, panisse, preserved lemon, and tahini; cappelletti with braised pork, nettle, feta, and arugula; and an elk striploin with morels, spring onions, pine, and IPA. Reservations are required.

A molecular gastronomy dish made to look like a color blocks
Modernist dining
Aspen Meadows Resort

5. J-Bar

Copy Link
330 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 429-7674
Visit Website

Where Hunter S. Thompson once hunkered down to drink, Aspenites and visitors now convene for cocktails, beers, and burgers. At the Hotel Jerome’s main bar, the burger is a point of pride, served late at night as a rare treat. Next door, in the underground level of the historic former Aspen Times offices, the pricey speakeasy Bad Harriet, is the newest addition to the storied Hotel Jerome compound.

A bar interior, with high wood tables and a bar with leather stools, ornate chandeliers over the bar, and large carved wood mirror on the backbar
Inside J-Bar
Hotel Jerome [Official]

6. Pyramid Bistro

Copy Link
221 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-5338
Visit Website

Head upstairs from the beloved indie retailer Explore Booksellers for self-described “nutritarian” fare that promotes a mission of optimum health. Whether you go for lunch or dinner, eating clean tastes really, really good here, and wine and beer are offered alongside fresh-squeezed juices, kombuchas, coffees, and teas. If you’ve dined here before, look for a new entrance in the back alley to avoid overcrowding the bookstore down below. 

A charred piece of crusted salmon on a plate with sauce and vegetable fixings
Sunflower seed-crusted salmon
Pyramid Bistro [Official]

7. Matsuhisa

Copy Link
303 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
(303) 362-4678
Visit Website

This original Aspen outpost of the LA-based restaurant serves sushi and other staples from its famous Japanese chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant is situated across two floors in a 120-year-old Victorian on Main Street, with an upstairs lounge, patio, and sushi bar that offer more casual options. There are two omakase tasting menus available, but try to get a reservation for one of the super-exclusive “Nobu in Town” nights when the master himself is behind the bar, crafting his signature dishes, schmoozing with guests, and signing cookbooks.

Facebook

8. Jing Aspen

Copy Link
413 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-9988
Visit Website

Chef Frank Lu personally welcomes every guest to Jing with magnetic charm. A longtime favorite haunt among locals (formerly known as Asie), the restaurant brings Shanghai to Aspen through dim sum, along with signature dishes like whole Peking duck with ossetra caviar (best reserved in advance), hot pepper prawns, and crispy whole fish with spicy ginger honey miso sauce. A full-service sushi and raw bar round out the always fun experience. 

Pieces of peking duck beneath crackly skin garnished with a bright pink flower, on a table beside a steamer basket and dipping sauces
Peking Duck
Jing Aspen [Facebook]

9. Acquolina

Copy Link
415 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-8222
Visit Website

This stylish trattoria is a true taste of Roma (co-owner Luigi Giordani’s native city), with an expansive menu covering all the classics: antipasti, insalate, ministre, paste, secondi, and contorni — plus a long list of pizze that are wood-fired to perfection in an imported oven. Roughly translated as “mouthwatering,” Acquolina also has one of the best bars in town (locals call it the “Sistine Chapel of liquor”), with seemingly infinite shelves lined with international spirits.

A bowl of pasta topped with shaved truffles
Pasta with truffles
Acquolina [Official]

10. Steak House No. 316

Copy Link
316 E Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-1893
Visit Website

Originally built in the 1800s as a mining cabin, the leather- and velvet-seated Steakhouse No. 316 feels right for a spendy dinner. Lulu’s kale salad, named for a ghost who supposedly haunts the building, makes for a good start to a meal. What follows next is a display of riches: steaks topped with lobster tail, king crab legs, or bone-marrow butter. 

Jeremy Swanson/Steakhouse No. 316

11. Meat & Cheese

Copy Link
317 E Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 710-7120
Visit Website

Championing all things local, Meat & Cheese offers a little bit of everything, from rustic comfort cuisine and perfect charcuterie platters, to craft beers, an eclectic wine list, and fresh juices. Patrons can buy cured meats, seafood, cheeses, and artisan breads from the adjacent gourmet grocer, too. At night, head downstairs to the mood-lit Hooch for a CBD-infused gin and tonic and an abbreviated prix fixe menu.

Meat & Cheese/Facebook

12. French Alpine Bistro

Copy Link
400 E Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-1566

Formerly Crêperie du Village, the name is the only thing that’s changed at Aspen’s most European dining experience. Tucked inside a wood- and fur-cloaked room that serves dinner by candlelight, feast on French Alps-inspired favorites like foie gras, escargots en brioche, cheese fondue, and crepes. It’s sure to inspire your next getaway to Aspen’s sister city, Chamonix.

A restaurant window, in a snowy street scene, with the restaurant’s name in bright lettering
Outside French Alpine Bistro
Craig Turpin

13. Bear Den Aspen

Copy Link
301 E Hopkins Ave Unit #101
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 922-9218
Visit Website

Nestled in a quaint, chalet-style cottage, Bear Den functions as a classic coffee shop during the day, a homey supper club at night, and a Thai-inspired lunch spot in between. No matter the time of day, this place is always bustling. Try the Mine Fri, homemade fried noodles with sauteed peppers, onions, scallions, and bok choy with chile crunch, or one of the many ravioli options, also made in-house. A full bar is available morning, noon, and night, too.

A snow-covered red brick building with a front porch and empty tables outside
Outside Bear Den
Craig Turpin

14. Cache Cache

Copy Link
205 S Mill St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-3835
Visit Website

Cache Cache opened its doors in 1987, and executive chef and owner Chris Lanter has been at the helm for more than two decades. This fine dining outpost of French American cuisine is known for its always-happening, blue-light bar and a seasonally driven menu featuring local ingredients. Fixtures include a frisee salad with Tender Belly bacon, garlic, shallot, balsamic dressing, and a duck egg, escargots a la bourguignon, house-made cacio e pepe, and crispy trout alla Milanese. Pro tip: The subterranean courtyard patio is one of the toughest summer reservations to get, so plan ahead.

From above, a patio seating area, with tables full of people, servers moving about, and white umbrellas
Prize patio seating
Cache Cache [Official]

15. Ellina

Copy Link
430 East Hyman Avenue Downstairs
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-2976
Visit Website

Hailing from an Italian family in NYC, owner and sommelier Jill Carnevale is known for the award-winning global wine list (2,000 bottles and counting) she’s built since opening Ellina in 2009. Chef Miguel Diaz’s new Italian American contemporary cuisine deserves attention as well. Braised artichoke heart crostini, calamari fritti, black pepper fettuccine, and chicken Milanese are among the menu staples. The lower-level, rock-walled space feels like a wine cellar. Try snagging a seat at the horseshoe-shaped bar, or make a reservation for the patio, where the people-watching is prime.

A salad of lettuce, tomato, cheese on top of breaded chicken, with a set table blurred behind
Chicken Milanese
Ellina [Official]

16. Nakazawa Aspen

Copy Link
305 S Mill St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-1797
Visit Website

When Daisuke Nakazawa’s plans for an LA outpost of his Michelin-starred restaurants were put on hold due to COVID-19, he decided on a pandemic pop-up in Aspen instead. A ski season success, it’s returning for summer. Expect the same attention to detail the Tokyo-born master sushi chef puts into his other two locations in Manhattan’s West Village and Washington, D.C. In addition to the signature omakase ($185 tasting menu at tables; $250 at the sushi bar), this hot spot offers a slightly more accessible a la carte menu. Reservations are highly recommended, especially if you want to snag a seat at the chef’s counter.

Six slices of bold, vibrant nigiri sushi on a black background
Nigiri from Nakazawa
Nakazawa Aspen

17. Bosq

Copy Link
312 S Mill St
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 710-7299
Visit Website

This intimate gem of a restaurant puts out some of the most creative cuisine in Aspen. Chef-owner and native Aspenite Barclay Dodge focuses on locally grown ingredients, some of which he even forages himself. Lobster grilled on juniper branches with Jerusalem artichoke, buttermilk, and dill is a summer favorite, with other standouts including smoked salmon crackers with black chili, summer pea, and flowers; duck liver mousse with golden beets, sea buckthorn, and crispy moss pebbles (flash-fried micro edible moss); and halibut with Swiss chard, tomatillo, and lovage.

A vibrant green cocktail with spicy salted rim and an herbal garnish sitting on a table with a pot of flowers blurred in the back
A cocktail at Bosq
Craig Turpin

18. Clark's Oyster Bar

Copy Link
517 E Hyman Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 710-2546
Visit Website

This Austin transplant fits in just fine with its mountainside chalet digs at the former home of the historic Little Annie’s Eating House. An impressive selection of East and West Coast oysters with fresh-shaved horseradish are always highlights, but the happy hour menu here also includes a burger that is arguably the best deal in town, alongside half-priced martinis and oyster shooters. A special caviar, roe, and Champagne menu is also available.

From above, oysters arranged around a circular bed of ice with a set of spoons, slice of lemon, and two dipping sauces
Oysters in all their glory
Craig Turpin

19. Betula Aspen

Copy Link
525 E Cooper Ave #201
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 429-8683
Visit Website

Chef Laurent Cantineaux and architect/restaurateur Juan Carlos Pérez Febres started their restaurant partnership in St. Barths before expanding to Aspen in 2018. The duo created Betula, an upper-story, sparkling-white speakeasy (with indoor-outdoor seating in the summer), serving “French pan-American” cuisine. Dishes include ceviche bonito, duck foie gras, and pan-seared jumbo sea scallops. Beyond the impressive, inventive dishes, the bar program, interior design, and chic vibe are worth the splurge.

Josie Sexton/Eater

20. Element 47

Copy Link
675 E Durant Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-4600
Visit Website

This restaurant tucked inside the five-star mountainside Little Nell hotel is one of the most coveted dinner reservations in Aspen (or anywhere). The kitchen has its own private wagyu supplier (Emma Farms in Olathe), while the restaurant boasts a 24,000-bottle collection of wines that has received the Wine Spectator Grand Award for more than 20 years running (for a very special treat, ask for the cellar tour with wine director Chris Dunaway). If you’re looking to have a perfect patio lunch, book a table outside or head across the building for the famed truffle fries and bottle of rosé at Little Nell’s casual Ajax Tavern.

Chris Council and Emily Chaplin/C2 Photography

21. Pine Creek Cookhouse

Copy Link
11399 Castle Creek Rd
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-1044
Visit Website

For when Aspen is just too Aspen, head out for a hike or horseback ride in the nearby ghost town of Ashcroft (about a 30-minute drive from the downtown core), with a post-adventure, celebratory lunch to remember at Pine Creek Cookhouse (seats at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday). On a patio with some of the most jaw-dropping views in the world, indulge in a prix fixe menu ($45 per person) featuring dishes like smoked trout, grilled Caesar salad, and Rocky Mountain elk bratwurst. Reservations are required.

Pine Creek Cookhouse/Facebook

1. Mawa's Kitchen

305 Aspen Airport Business Center F, Aspen, CO 81611
Mawa’s Kitchen [official]

Mawa McQueen’s cooking journey took her from Ivory Coast to France, England, Maine, and finally Colorado. At the home base of her restaurant group and catering company (private jet service included, natch), “the queen” welcomes diners right into her kitchen, where she prepares healthy breakfasts, brunches, and lunches — think smoked salmon plates, lobster deviled eggs, and smashed avocado curries. Returning from an off-season interior renovation (state-of-the-art ventilation and UV light systems included), the dining room and full bar addition deliver dinner that’s worth the short drive away from downtown. Her Crepe Shack in nearby Snowmass (reopening for the season on June 21, 2021) sells one $120 caviar crepe, because, as she puts it, “Why the fuck not?”

305 Aspen Airport Business Center F
Aspen, CO 81611

2. Francesca’s Pasta Market & Empanadas

81611 300 Aspen Airport, Suite A, Aspen, CO 81611
A chef leans over a pasta cutter laying down strips of finished noodles
Preparing pasta
Craig Turpin

Near Mawa’s in the Airport Business Center, chef and owner Martin Meineri cranks out handmade empanadas (each stamped with an aspen leaf logo), fresh egg pasta, seven varieties of ravioli, and five heavenly sauces. A native of Argentina, Meineri attended culinary school in Italy, and today he blends both backgrounds into his personal passion project of a shop.

81611 300 Aspen Airport, Suite A
Aspen, CO 81611

3. Home Team BBQ

38750 CO-82, Aspen, CO 81611
Facebook

Chef Chris Lanter, of the notable upscale French American restaurant Cache Cache, doubled down in Aspen four years ago, bringing this South Carolina-based barbecue joint to the base of Buttermilk Mountain. With the lively Lanter presiding as Colorado pitmaster, smoked meats are the clear highlight here. Order them on a family-style board with a choice of sides and a signature frozen Game Changer — a rum-based fruit cocktail sure to make you forget your worries. Then park yourself in front of a TV for whatever game is on. Catering, bulk order, and party platter menus are also available.

38750 CO-82
Aspen, CO 81611

4. Plato's Restaurant

845 Meadows Rd, Aspen, CO 81611
A molecular gastronomy dish made to look like a color blocks
Modernist dining
Aspen Meadows Resort

Enjoy one of the best views in all of Aspen from the Bauhaus-inspired dining room or expansive patio located off the main lobby of the Aspen Meadows Resort on the Aspen Institute campus. Chef de cuisine Rachel Koppelman’s passion for local ingredients, many of which she forages for around the area herself, shines through on her elevated yet approachable seasonal menus. This summer’s staples feature spring asparagus with almond, panisse, preserved lemon, and tahini; cappelletti with braised pork, nettle, feta, and arugula; and an elk striploin with morels, spring onions, pine, and IPA. Reservations are required.

845 Meadows Rd
Aspen, CO 81611

5. J-Bar

330 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611
A bar interior, with high wood tables and a bar with leather stools, ornate chandeliers over the bar, and large carved wood mirror on the backbar
Inside J-Bar
Hotel Jerome [Official]

Where Hunter S. Thompson once hunkered down to drink, Aspenites and visitors now convene for cocktails, beers, and burgers. At the Hotel Jerome’s main bar, the burger is a point of pride, served late at night as a rare treat. Next door, in the underground level of the historic former Aspen Times offices, the pricey speakeasy Bad Harriet, is the newest addition to the storied Hotel Jerome compound.

330 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611

6. Pyramid Bistro

221 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611
A charred piece of crusted salmon on a plate with sauce and vegetable fixings
Sunflower seed-crusted salmon
Pyramid Bistro [Official]

Head upstairs from the beloved indie retailer Explore Booksellers for self-described “nutritarian” fare that promotes a mission of optimum health. Whether you go for lunch or dinner, eating clean tastes really, really good here, and wine and beer are offered alongside fresh-squeezed juices, kombuchas, coffees, and teas. If you’ve dined here before, look for a new entrance in the back alley to avoid overcrowding the bookstore down below. 

221 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611

7. Matsuhisa

303 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611
Facebook

This original Aspen outpost of the LA-based restaurant serves sushi and other staples from its famous Japanese chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant is situated across two floors in a 120-year-old Victorian on Main Street, with an upstairs lounge, patio, and sushi bar that offer more casual options. There are two omakase tasting menus available, but try to get a reservation for one of the super-exclusive “Nobu in Town” nights when the master himself is behind the bar, crafting his signature dishes, schmoozing with guests, and signing cookbooks.

303 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611

8. Jing Aspen

413 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611
Pieces of peking duck beneath crackly skin garnished with a bright pink flower, on a table beside a steamer basket and dipping sauces
Peking Duck
Jing Aspen [Facebook]

Chef Frank Lu personally welcomes every guest to Jing with magnetic charm. A longtime favorite haunt among locals (formerly known as Asie), the restaurant brings Shanghai to Aspen through dim sum, along with signature dishes like whole Peking duck with ossetra caviar (best reserved in advance), hot pepper prawns, and crispy whole fish with spicy ginger honey miso sauce. A full-service sushi and raw bar round out the always fun experience. 

413 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611

9. Acquolina

415 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611
A bowl of pasta topped with shaved truffles
Pasta with truffles
Acquolina [Official]

This stylish trattoria is a true taste of Roma (co-owner Luigi Giordani’s native city), with an expansive menu covering all the classics: antipasti, insalate, ministre, paste, secondi, and contorni — plus a long list of pizze that are wood-fired to perfection in an imported oven. Roughly translated as “mouthwatering,” Acquolina also has one of the best bars in town (locals call it the “Sistine Chapel of liquor”), with seemingly infinite shelves lined with international spirits.

415 E Main St
Aspen, CO 81611

10. Steak House No. 316

316 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Jeremy Swanson/Steakhouse No. 316

Originally built in the 1800s as a mining cabin, the leather- and velvet-seated Steakhouse No. 316 feels right for a spendy dinner. Lulu’s kale salad, named for a ghost who supposedly haunts the building, makes for a good start to a meal. What follows next is a display of riches: steaks topped with lobster tail, king crab legs, or bone-marrow butter. 

316 E Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611

11. Meat & Cheese

317 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Meat & Cheese/Facebook

Championing all things local, Meat & Cheese offers a little bit of everything, from rustic comfort cuisine and perfect charcuterie platters, to craft beers, an eclectic wine list, and fresh juices. Patrons can buy cured meats, seafood, cheeses, and artisan breads from the adjacent gourmet grocer, too. At night, head downstairs to the mood-lit Hooch for a CBD-infused gin and tonic and an abbreviated prix fixe menu.

317 E Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611

12. French Alpine Bistro

400 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
A restaurant window, in a snowy street scene, with the restaurant’s name in bright lettering
Outside French Alpine Bistro
Craig Turpin

Formerly Crêperie du Village, the name is the only thing that’s changed at Aspen’s most European dining experience. Tucked inside a wood- and fur-cloaked room that serves dinner by candlelight, feast on French Alps-inspired favorites like foie gras, escargots en brioche, cheese fondue, and crepes. It’s sure to inspire your next getaway to Aspen’s sister city, Chamonix.

400 E Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611

13. Bear Den Aspen

301 E Hopkins Ave Unit #101, Aspen, CO 81611
A snow-covered red brick building with a front porch and empty tables outside
Outside Bear Den
Craig Turpin

Nestled in a quaint, chalet-style cottage, Bear Den functions as a classic coffee shop during the day, a homey supper club at night, and a Thai-inspired lunch spot in between. No matter the time of day, this place is always bustling. Try the Mine Fri, homemade fried noodles with sauteed peppers, onions, scallions, and bok choy with chile crunch, or one of the many ravioli options, also made in-house. A full bar is available morning, noon, and night, too.

301 E Hopkins Ave Unit #101
Aspen, CO 81611

14. Cache Cache

205 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
From above, a patio seating area, with tables full of people, servers moving about, and white umbrellas
Prize patio seating
Cache Cache [Official]

Cache Cache opened its doors in 1987, and executive chef and owner Chris Lanter has been at the helm for more than two decades. This fine dining outpost of French American cuisine is known for its always-happening, blue-light bar and a seasonally driven menu featuring local ingredients. Fixtures include a frisee salad with Tender Belly bacon, garlic, shallot, balsamic dressing, and a duck egg, escargots a la bourguignon, house-made cacio e pepe, and crispy trout alla Milanese. Pro tip: The subterranean courtyard patio is one of the toughest summer reservations to get, so plan ahead.

205 S Mill St
Aspen, CO 81611

15. Ellina

430 East Hyman Avenue Downstairs, Aspen, CO 81611
A salad of lettuce, tomato, cheese on top of breaded chicken, with a set table blurred behind
Chicken Milanese
Ellina [Official]

Hailing from an Italian family in NYC, owner and sommelier Jill Carnevale is known for the award-winning global wine list (2,000 bottles and counting) she’s built since opening Ellina in 2009. Chef Miguel Diaz’s new Italian American contemporary cuisine deserves attention as well. Braised artichoke heart crostini, calamari fritti, black pepper fettuccine, and chicken Milanese are among the menu staples. The lower-level, rock-walled space feels like a wine cellar. Try snagging a seat at the horseshoe-shaped bar, or make a reservation for the patio, where the people-watching is prime.

430 East Hyman Avenue Downstairs
Aspen, CO 81611

Related Maps

16. Nakazawa Aspen

305 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
Six slices of bold, vibrant nigiri sushi on a black background
Nigiri from Nakazawa
Nakazawa Aspen

When Daisuke Nakazawa’s plans for an LA outpost of his Michelin-starred restaurants were put on hold due to COVID-19, he decided on a pandemic pop-up in Aspen instead. A ski season success, it’s returning for summer. Expect the same attention to detail the Tokyo-born master sushi chef puts into his other two locations in Manhattan’s West Village and Washington, D.C. In addition to the signature omakase ($185 tasting menu at tables; $250 at the sushi bar), this hot spot offers a slightly more accessible a la carte menu. Reservations are highly recommended, especially if you want to snag a seat at the chef’s counter.

305 S Mill St
Aspen, CO 81611

17. Bosq

312 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611
A vibrant green cocktail with spicy salted rim and an herbal garnish sitting on a table with a pot of flowers blurred in the back
A cocktail at Bosq
Craig Turpin

This intimate gem of a restaurant puts out some of the most creative cuisine in Aspen. Chef-owner and native Aspenite Barclay Dodge focuses on locally grown ingredients, some of which he even forages himself. Lobster grilled on juniper branches with Jerusalem artichoke, buttermilk, and dill is a summer favorite, with other standouts including smoked salmon crackers with black chili, summer pea, and flowers; duck liver mousse with golden beets, sea buckthorn, and crispy moss pebbles (flash-fried micro edible moss); and halibut with Swiss chard, tomatillo, and lovage.

312 S Mill St
Aspen, CO 81611

18. Clark's Oyster Bar

517 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
From above, oysters arranged around a circular bed of ice with a set of spoons, slice of lemon, and two dipping sauces
Oysters in all their glory
Craig Turpin

This Austin transplant fits in just fine with its mountainside chalet digs at the former home of the historic Little Annie’s Eating House. An impressive selection of East and West Coast oysters with fresh-shaved horseradish are always highlights, but the happy hour menu here also includes a burger that is arguably the best deal in town, alongside half-priced martinis and oyster shooters. A special caviar, roe, and Champagne menu is also available.

517 E Hyman Ave
Aspen, CO 81611

19. Betula Aspen

525 E Cooper Ave #201, Aspen, CO 81611
Josie Sexton/Eater

Chef Laurent Cantineaux and architect/restaurateur Juan Carlos Pérez Febres started their restaurant partnership in St. Barths before expanding to Aspen in 2018. The duo created Betula, an upper-story, sparkling-white speakeasy (with indoor-outdoor seating in the summer), serving “French pan-American” cuisine. Dishes include ceviche bonito, duck foie gras, and pan-seared jumbo sea scallops. Beyond the impressive, inventive dishes, the bar program, interior design, and chic vibe are worth the splurge.

525 E Cooper Ave #201
Aspen, CO 81611

20. Element 47

675 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Chris Council and Emily Chaplin/C2 Photography

This restaurant tucked inside the five-star mountainside Little Nell hotel is one of the most coveted dinner reservations in Aspen (or anywhere). The kitchen has its own private wagyu supplier (Emma Farms in Olathe), while the restaurant boasts a 24,000-bottle collection of wines that has received the Wine Spectator Grand Award for more than 20 years running (for a very special treat, ask for the cellar tour with wine director Chris Dunaway). If you’re looking to have a perfect patio lunch, book a table outside or head across the building for the famed truffle fries and bottle of rosé at Little Nell’s casual Ajax Tavern.

675 E Durant Ave
Aspen, CO 81611

21. Pine Creek Cookhouse

11399 Castle Creek Rd, Aspen, CO 81611
Pine Creek Cookhouse/Facebook

For when Aspen is just too Aspen, head out for a hike or horseback ride in the nearby ghost town of Ashcroft (about a 30-minute drive from the downtown core), with a post-adventure, celebratory lunch to remember at Pine Creek Cookhouse (seats at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday). On a patio with some of the most jaw-dropping views in the world, indulge in a prix fixe menu ($45 per person) featuring dishes like smoked trout, grilled Caesar salad, and Rocky Mountain elk bratwurst. Reservations are required.

11399 Castle Creek Rd
Aspen, CO 81611

Related Maps