clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Diners and skiers on a patio beside a ski lift, with skiers coming down the hill behind
The patio at Ajax Tavern

The 21 Essential Aspen Restaurants

Where to find wagyu burgers, hot pepper prawns, uni risotto, and flaming chocolate skulls in Colorado’s fanciest ski town

View as Map
The patio at Ajax Tavern

“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 mystical draw of this Rocky Mountain town persisted, even as Aspen became increasingly popular — and expensive.

Today, a certain freak power remains, thanks to Aspen’s offbeat, longtime local residents, amplified by the energy from visiting international jetsetters. Surrounded by the towering Elk Mountains, when walking a few short blocks within the bustling 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 happiest winter destinations in the world, here are the restaurants to provide all the fancy, hearty, and classically Aspen sustenance to keep you fueled for every outdoor adventure in the snow.

Update December 2021: Despite its fame, Aspen is a small ski town where the majority of locals rely on tourism. The tight-knit community is still up against plenty of pandemic-induced challenges, but the dining scene remains as vibrant as ever. A handful of new big-city names are opening for the 2021-2022 ski season, and longstanding staples are offering new winter menus too. Across the area, restaurants and diners are especially excited this year, as Aspen Snowmass marks its 75th anniversary with a full schedule of festivities. The following is a fresh take on Aspen’s essential restaurants to try, highlighting both the hot spots and enduring classics — all of which should be applauded (and amply tipped) for making it through the past two years. Here’s to a celebratory (and safe) ski season.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Katie Shapiro is a freelance cannabis, style, 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 columnist for the Aspen Times, with other work appearing in the Denver Post, Modern Luxury, Curbed, Thrillist, and more.

Read More
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Woody Creek Tavern

Copy Link

The famed hangout of the late Hunter S. Thompson is under new proprietors, who revealed a revamped dining room over the summer; the leopard carpeting might be gone, but the Polaroid pics decorating the space and vintage kitsch are intact. Now operated by the locally owned CP Restaurant Group (Steakhouse No. 316, the Monarch, the Wild Fig, CP Burger), the restaurant earns the required 20-minute trek out of town with an elevated menu of comfort food. There are oysters on the half shell, salsa verde nachos, Buffalo wings, burgers, and chicken enchiladas — all paired best with the WCT’s original spicy margarita. Bonus: They take reservations and credit cards now.

An animal skull on a bar wall covered with polaroid pictures, string lights, and other decorations
A decorated wall at Woody Creek
Woody Creek Tavern/Facebook

Mawa's Kitchen

Copy Link

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, naturally), “the queen” welcomes diners right into her kitchen, where together with new partner and executive chef Robert McCormick, the team prepares healthy yet gourmet breakfasts, brunches, and lunches. Returning from a second off-season interior renovation this year (state-of-the-art ventilation and UV light systems were also installed), the dining room and full bar addition deliver dinner just a short drive away from downtown. Her Crepe Shack in nearby Snowmass (with another location slated to open in Aspen in February) sells one $148 caviar crepe, because, as she puts it, “Why the fuck not?”

A bright green bar with floral wallpaper behind the bottles, orb pendant lights, and brown leather bar seats
Inside Mawa’s Kitchen
Craig Turpin

Plato's Restaurant

Copy Link

Enjoy one of the best views in all of Aspen from the Bauhaus-inspired dining room or 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 personally forages for in the area, shines through on her elevated yet approachable seasonal menus. This season’s standout is the Colorado striped bass with uni risotto, winter citrus, and fennel and the pastry chef’s signature hot chocolate bomb for dessert. The outdoor igloos have also returned (reservations required), which are decked out with cozy, faux fur-lined seating, heaters, and candles for groups of six.

A fairy light-lit outdoor dining igloo with a table set for dinner and chairs covered in thick fur rugs
Igloo at Plato’s Restaurant
Dan Bayer

Prospect

Copy Link

With a new executive chef, the Hotel Jerome’s fine dining restaurant, Prospect, is serving an all-new winter menu. Classically trained with a focus on French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Japanese cuisines, chef Marlon Rambaran presents new courses from canapes like smoked salmon on blini with creme fraiche to amuse bouche like uni toast on sourdough with yuzu shoyu to mains like black cod with roasted scallions and caviar. Rambaran is also putting his touch on additional hideouts within the historic compound — the Living Room, J-Bar, and Bad Harriet — where you’ll also find the just-opened Aspen outpost of Felix Roasting Co., perfect for a morning warm-up (the hickory-smoked s’mores latte is a must).

A dining room with tall-backed leather chairs, tables set for dinner, antique-looking pendant lights, a large still-life of pears on one wall and photos covering another
The Prospect dining room
Hotel Jerome/Auberge Resorts Collection

Matsuhisa

Copy Link

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 over two floors in a 120-year-old Victorian on Main Street, with a grand dining room downstairs and a main-level lounge and sushi bar. 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

Jing Aspen

Copy Link

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 Beijing roast duck with osetra caviar (reserve yours 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]

Acquolina

Copy Link

This stylish trattoria — whose name roughly translates to “mouthwatering” — is a true taste of Roma (former owner Luigi Giordani’s native city). The in-depth menu covers 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. Though the restaurant was recently acquired by Aspen Hospitality Group (led by longtime local sommelier Carlos Solorzano-Smith), the new culinary director, chef Jason Franey, aims to keep Acquolina true to its roots. The restaurant 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]

Meat & Cheese

Copy Link

 Championing all things local, Meat & Cheese offers a little bit of everything, from rustic comfort cuisine, fresh salads, and perfect charcuterie platters to craft beers, an eclectic wine list, and natural 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

French Alpine Bistro

Copy Link

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

Bear Den Aspen

Copy Link

Nestled in a quaint, chalet-style cottage, Bear Den functions as a classic, always-buzzing coffee shop during the day (with a Decadent Breakfast menu), a homey dinner hideout at night, and a French-inspired bistro in between. From the all-day menu (11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.), try the grilled cheese with roasted tomato bisque, pesto, caramelized onions; mussels with saffron, fennel, garlic, shallots, and rouille with house-baked sourdough; and frisee salad with an organic poached egg and lardons. A full bar is available morning, noon, and night, too.

From above, a bowl of tomato soup beside a sliced grilled cheese
Grilled cheese
lexis Ahrling

Cache Cache

Copy Link

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 French American fine dining outpost is known for its always-happening, blue-light bar and a seasonally driven menu featuring local ingredients. Fixtures are 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.

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

Catch Steak

Copy Link

After expanding their New York staple, Catch Steak, to Playa del Carmen, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, Aspen was the next destination for Catch Hospitality Group’s expansion tear. Situated in a second-floor space (formerly home to the Aspen Kitchen), the 10,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor venue boasts sweeping views from Aspen Mountain to Red Mountain and heated patio seating open year-round. Taking inspiration from the original Meatpacking District location in Manhattan, Catch Steak aims to tilt the traditional steakhouse model through a lighter, brighter, and fresher menu featuring shareable plates, a curated selection of American cuts, and a focused selection of Japanese wagyu (including renowned Snow Beef from Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture, often called the “holy grail of wagyu”). For herbivores, there’s also a thoughtful selection of vegetarian and vegan options like a vegetarian chicken parm (a plant-based cutlet with old-school red sauce) and wild dover sole with a lemon-caper emulsion, spicy gigli, and aged pecorino.

From above, a table covered with various dishes, including steak, sushi, and salads
A full spread at Catch
Catch Restaurants

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 most-beloved menu items. The lower-level, rock-walled dining room feels like a wine cellar, but try snagging a seat at the horseshoe-shaped bar to befriend a local.

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

Nakazawa Aspen

Copy Link

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. Now heading into its second winter, 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. This season, Nakazawa Aspen is only serving its signature omakase ($250 for 20 courses) and reservations are highly recommended, especially if you want to snag a seat at the chef’s counter.

A dollop of caviar topped with gold flakes on a mound of sushi rice, presented in a gilded shell
Caviar amuse bouche
Nakazawa Aspen

7908 Aspen

Copy Link

With executive chef Byron Gomez (Top Chef season 18 contestant) at the helm, this sexy, subterranean supper club presents modern global cuisine inspired by his time cooking at two of the best restaurants in the U.S. (Café Boulud and Eleven Madison Park). The new seasonal menu offers wood-fired chicken with aji verde sauce, fresh herbs, and pickled Fresno chiles; steak tartare with dijonnaise, parsley, chive, fresh horseradish, and egg yolk; octopus with achiote guajillo mole, ham furikake, and Brussels sprouts; and a 21-day dry-aged rib-eye for two. Plus, there’s a global wine list by master sommelier Jonathan Pullis, an interactive, theatrical cocktail program by bar director Matt Corbin, and an adjacent dance floor where the party continues with a rotating roster of guest DJs late into the night.

A rib-eye steak sliced with a clove of roasted garlic and thyme garnish, beside cornbread, mac and cheese, and other sides
Rib-eye
7908 Aspen

This intimate gem of a bistro puts out some of the most creative cuisine in Aspen. Each season chef-owner and native Aspenite Barclay Dodge unveils an inventive menu focused on locally grown ingredients. This winter’s highlights are duck liver mousse with blood orange, fermented carrots, and black bread; black cod cooked over alder wood with potato, black truffles, and creme fraiche; and venison with parsnips, wild mountain berries, and puffed wild rice. A prix fixe menu is also available, ranging from four to seven courses, with wine pairings.

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

Clark's Oyster Bar

Copy Link

After opening in 2018, this Austin transplant is still a hot spot inside its mountainside chalet digs at the former home of the historic Little Annie’s Eating House. Always start with the impressive selection of East and West coast oysters paired with fresh-shaved horseradish, followed by a steaming bowl of cioppino for the main course. The happy hour burger is arguably one of the best in town, especially when served alongside half-priced martinis and oyster shooters. A special caviar, roe, and Champagne menu is also available for a fancy night out.

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

Betula Aspen

Copy Link

Chef Laurent Cantineaux and architect/restaurateur Juan Carlos Pérez Febres started their restaurant partnership in St. Barths before expanding to Aspen in 2018. The resulting concept is Betula, an upper-story, sparkling-white speakeasy serving “French pan-American” cuisine. Dishes include ceviche bonito, foie gras, and pan-seared jumbo sea scallops. Beyond the impressive, inventive cuisine, the bar program, chic vibe, and in-house DJ make it worth the splurge.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Ajax Tavern

Copy Link

This signature restaurant of the Little Nell hotel, a five-star mountainside jewel, might be one of the most see-and-be-seen winter patio parties in Aspen, but the elevated pub fare lives up to the hype (and Instagram posts). The recently reappointed indoor dining room is a welcome warmup and the perfect place to enjoy chef de cuisine Oscar Ribarra’s new dishes for winter: alpine gnocchi with brisket, mushrooms, Mornay, and potato crunch; apple and Brussels sprout salad with peanut butter vinaigrette, peanut granola, and sorghum; and chicken confit with red wine jus, winter vegetable succotash, and spinach. But the classic order remains the famous wagyu double cheeseburger and truffle fries; it’s perfect after a few laps on Aspen Mountain — Ajax is located steps from the Silver Queen Gondola — or while you people-watch over a bottle of bubbles or rosé (the wine list is curated from the Nell’s 24,000-bottle cellar).

A cheeseburger on a plate beside truffle dusted french fries
Burger with truffle fries
Ajax Tavern

The Snow Lodge Supper Club

Copy Link

The winter outpost of the Montauk favorite shifted locations this season from Gondola Plaza to the swanky St. Regis Aspen Resort. As part of its winter-long residency, the Snow Lodge not only operates a cocktail lounge with a live music series (the lineup so far features singer-songwriter Léon and Jake Wesley Rogers), but also introduces the Supper Club. Crafted by Surf Lodge founder and creative director Jayma Cardoso in collaboration with Stephane De Baets of Chefs Club, the restaurant is led by executive chef Mark Connell, who’s preparing seasonal fare. Small plates include olive all’ascolana (fried Castelvetrano olives stuffed with sausage) and burrata with slow-roasted tomato, basil, and toasted bread, while there are hearty mains like roasted branzino with salmoriglio sauce and sauteed broccolini, and house-made tagliolini with black winter truffle. The cocktail program is designed by the award-winning team behind Dante in New York City.

From above, a long plate of baby gem lettuce topped with slices of persimmon, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and chopped herbs
Baby Gem Salad
Nick Tininenko

The Florida and Nevada-based 50 Eggs Hospitality Group has brought the bold flavors of Latin America to altitude in the Residences at the Little Nell through the newly opened Chica by Chef Lorena Garcia. The new spot expands on two existing locations in Miami and Las Vegas, with dramatic food-presentation entertainment to match — think hot embers alongside crispy Peruvian octopus, a steamy unveiling of baby back ribs al pastor, and a flaming chocolate skull lit tableside. Chica delivers a lively vibe, and an expansive patio and outdoor bar for weekend brunch and après ski while watching the action on Aspen Mountain.

A glass bell jar lifts to unleash smoke from a plate of high stacked ribs, beside a glass of wine
Baby back ribs
Chica

Woody Creek Tavern

The famed hangout of the late Hunter S. Thompson is under new proprietors, who revealed a revamped dining room over the summer; the leopard carpeting might be gone, but the Polaroid pics decorating the space and vintage kitsch are intact. Now operated by the locally owned CP Restaurant Group (Steakhouse No. 316, the Monarch, the Wild Fig, CP Burger), the restaurant earns the required 20-minute trek out of town with an elevated menu of comfort food. There are oysters on the half shell, salsa verde nachos, Buffalo wings, burgers, and chicken enchiladas — all paired best with the WCT’s original spicy margarita. Bonus: They take reservations and credit cards now.

An animal skull on a bar wall covered with polaroid pictures, string lights, and other decorations
A decorated wall at Woody Creek
Woody Creek Tavern/Facebook

Mawa's Kitchen

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, naturally), “the queen” welcomes diners right into her kitchen, where together with new partner and executive chef Robert McCormick, the team prepares healthy yet gourmet breakfasts, brunches, and lunches. Returning from a second off-season interior renovation this year (state-of-the-art ventilation and UV light systems were also installed), the dining room and full bar addition deliver dinner just a short drive away from downtown. Her Crepe Shack in nearby Snowmass (with another location slated to open in Aspen in February) sells one $148 caviar crepe, because, as she puts it, “Why the fuck not?”

A bright green bar with floral wallpaper behind the bottles, orb pendant lights, and brown leather bar seats
Inside Mawa’s Kitchen
Craig Turpin

Plato's Restaurant

Enjoy one of the best views in all of Aspen from the Bauhaus-inspired dining room or 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 personally forages for in the area, shines through on her elevated yet approachable seasonal menus. This season’s standout is the Colorado striped bass with uni risotto, winter citrus, and fennel and the pastry chef’s signature hot chocolate bomb for dessert. The outdoor igloos have also returned (reservations required), which are decked out with cozy, faux fur-lined seating, heaters, and candles for groups of six.

A fairy light-lit outdoor dining igloo with a table set for dinner and chairs covered in thick fur rugs
Igloo at Plato’s Restaurant
Dan Bayer

Prospect

With a new executive chef, the Hotel Jerome’s fine dining restaurant, Prospect, is serving an all-new winter menu. Classically trained with a focus on French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Japanese cuisines, chef Marlon Rambaran presents new courses from canapes like smoked salmon on blini with creme fraiche to amuse bouche like uni toast on sourdough with yuzu shoyu to mains like black cod with roasted scallions and caviar. Rambaran is also putting his touch on additional hideouts within the historic compound — the Living Room, J-Bar, and Bad Harriet — where you’ll also find the just-opened Aspen outpost of Felix Roasting Co., perfect for a morning warm-up (the hickory-smoked s’mores latte is a must).

A dining room with tall-backed leather chairs, tables set for dinner, antique-looking pendant lights, a large still-life of pears on one wall and photos covering another
The Prospect dining room
Hotel Jerome/Auberge Resorts Collection

Matsuhisa

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 over two floors in a 120-year-old Victorian on Main Street, with a grand dining room downstairs and a main-level lounge and sushi bar. 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

Jing Aspen

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 Beijing roast duck with osetra caviar (reserve yours 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]

Acquolina

This stylish trattoria — whose name roughly translates to “mouthwatering” — is a true taste of Roma (former owner Luigi Giordani’s native city). The in-depth menu covers 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. Though the restaurant was recently acquired by Aspen Hospitality Group (led by longtime local sommelier Carlos Solorzano-Smith), the new culinary director, chef Jason Franey, aims to keep Acquolina true to its roots. The restaurant 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]

Meat & Cheese

 Championing all things local, Meat & Cheese offers a little bit of everything, from rustic comfort cuisine, fresh salads, and perfect charcuterie platters to craft beers, an eclectic wine list, and natural 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

French Alpine Bistro

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

Bear Den Aspen

Nestled in a quaint, chalet-style cottage, Bear Den functions as a classic, always-buzzing coffee shop during the day (with a Decadent Breakfast menu), a homey dinner hideout at night, and a French-inspired bistro in between. From the all-day menu (11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.), try the grilled cheese with roasted tomato bisque, pesto, caramelized onions; mussels with saffron, fennel, garlic, shallots, and rouille with house-baked sourdough; and frisee salad with an organic poached egg and lardons. A full bar is available morning, noon, and night, too.

From above, a bowl of tomato soup beside a sliced grilled cheese
Grilled cheese
lexis Ahrling

Cache Cache

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 French American fine dining outpost is known for its always-happening, blue-light bar and a seasonally driven menu featuring local ingredients. Fixtures are 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.

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

Catch Steak

After expanding their New York staple, Catch Steak, to Playa del Carmen, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, Aspen was the next destination for Catch Hospitality Group’s expansion tear. Situated in a second-floor space (formerly home to the Aspen Kitchen), the 10,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor venue boasts sweeping views from Aspen Mountain to Red Mountain and heated patio seating open year-round. Taking inspiration from the original Meatpacking District location in Manhattan, Catch Steak aims to tilt the traditional steakhouse model through a lighter, brighter, and fresher menu featuring shareable plates, a curated selection of American cuts, and a focused selection of Japanese wagyu (including renowned Snow Beef from Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture, often called the “holy grail of wagyu”). For herbivores, there’s also a thoughtful selection of vegetarian and vegan options like a vegetarian chicken parm (a plant-based cutlet with old-school red sauce) and wild dover sole with a lemon-caper emulsion, spicy gigli, and aged pecorino.

From above, a table covered with various dishes, including steak, sushi, and salads
A full spread at Catch
Catch Restaurants

Ellina

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 most-beloved menu items. The lower-level, rock-walled dining room feels like a wine cellar, but try snagging a seat at the horseshoe-shaped bar to befriend a local.

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

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. Now heading into its second winter, 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. This season, Nakazawa Aspen is only serving its signature omakase ($250 for 20 courses) and reservations are highly recommended, especially if you want to snag a seat at the chef’s counter.

A dollop of caviar topped with gold flakes on a mound of sushi rice, presented in a gilded shell
Caviar amuse bouche
Nakazawa Aspen

7908 Aspen

With executive chef Byron Gomez (Top Chef season 18 contestant) at the helm, this sexy, subterranean supper club presents modern global cuisine inspired by his time cooking at two of the best restaurants in the U.S. (Café Boulud and Eleven Madison Park). The new seasonal menu offers wood-fired chicken with aji verde sauce, fresh herbs, and pickled Fresno chiles; steak tartare with dijonnaise, parsley, chive, fresh horseradish, and egg yolk; octopus with achiote guajillo mole, ham furikake, and Brussels sprouts; and a 21-day dry-aged rib-eye for two. Plus, there’s a global wine list by master sommelier Jonathan Pullis, an interactive, theatrical cocktail program by bar director Matt Corbin, and an adjacent dance floor where the party continues with a rotating roster of guest DJs late into the night.

A rib-eye steak sliced with a clove of roasted garlic and thyme garnish, beside cornbread, mac and cheese, and other sides
Rib-eye
7908 Aspen

Related Maps

Bosq

This intimate gem of a bistro puts out some of the most creative cuisine in Aspen. Each season chef-owner and native Aspenite Barclay Dodge unveils an inventive menu focused on locally grown ingredients. This winter’s highlights are duck liver mousse with blood orange, fermented carrots, and black bread; black cod cooked over alder wood with potato, black truffles, and creme fraiche; and venison with parsnips, wild mountain berries, and puffed wild rice. A prix fixe menu is also available, ranging from four to seven courses, with wine pairings.

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

Clark's Oyster Bar

After opening in 2018, this Austin transplant is still a hot spot inside its mountainside chalet digs at the former home of the historic Little Annie’s Eating House. Always start with the impressive selection of East and West coast oysters paired with fresh-shaved horseradish, followed by a steaming bowl of cioppino for the main course. The happy hour burger is arguably one of the best in town, especially when served alongside half-priced martinis and oyster shooters. A special caviar, roe, and Champagne menu is also available for a fancy night out.

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

Betula Aspen

Chef Laurent Cantineaux and architect/restaurateur Juan Carlos Pérez Febres started their restaurant partnership in St. Barths before expanding to Aspen in 2018. The resulting concept is Betula, an upper-story, sparkling-white speakeasy serving “French pan-American” cuisine. Dishes include ceviche bonito, foie gras, and pan-seared jumbo sea scallops. Beyond the impressive, inventive cuisine, the bar program, chic vibe, and in-house DJ make it worth the splurge.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Ajax Tavern

This signature restaurant of the Little Nell hotel, a five-star mountainside jewel, might be one of the most see-and-be-seen winter patio parties in Aspen, but the elevated pub fare lives up to the hype (and Instagram posts). The recently reappointed indoor dining room is a welcome warmup and the perfect place to enjoy chef de cuisine Oscar Ribarra’s new dishes for winter: alpine gnocchi with brisket, mushrooms, Mornay, and potato crunch; apple and Brussels sprout salad with peanut butter vinaigrette, peanut granola, and sorghum; and chicken confit with red wine jus, winter vegetable succotash, and spinach. But the classic order remains the famous wagyu double cheeseburger and truffle fries; it’s perfect after a few laps on Aspen Mountain — Ajax is located steps from the Silver Queen Gondola — or while you people-watch over a bottle of bubbles or rosé (the wine list is curated from the Nell’s 24,000-bottle cellar).