Outdoor Dinning View - Ajax Tavern, Aspen, American West

Ajax Tavern

Under the direction of the Little Nell team, this perennial favorite for burgers, truffle fries and some heartier dishes (the veal schnitzel cassoulet has a cult following). Those who care more about the atmosphere than the food are rewarded with a wonderful patio right at the base of Aspen Mountain. People can linger from lunch, through après ski or hike straight on until dinner and watch the sun drop behind the mountains and the stars come out.

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Opened by Aspen native and renowned chef Barclay Dodge, Bosq brings fresh, eclectic gastronomy to the glamorous mountain town. With minimalist interiors and a seasonal alfresco patio, the restaurant offers a menu combining familiar flavors and surprising twists. Dishes reflect inspiration from Dodge’s travels across the globe: beef tartare with shitake mushrooms, red mole tacos, traditional Peking duck and roasted lobster with beet root empanadas. A memorable dinner here is best accompanied by one of the bar’s innovative cocktails.

Brunelleschi’s Pizza

This cheery pizza restaurant, located in the mall behind Louis Vuitton and J. Crew, specializes in thin-crust pizza and is popular with families who can even have the kids partake in pizza making parties. They do deliver as well though A la Car.

Food at Cache Cache, Aspen, American West

Cache Cache

This restaurant consistently serves among the best meals in town on its large patio, a favorite summer gathering spot. The French bistro food is just what you need after a concert or a play, and owner Jodi Larner handles crowds with aplomb. An Aspen classic, Cache-Cache is the place to eat on Friday nights and has been for years.

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Dinning Area at Campo de Fiori, Aspen, American West - Courtesy Hal Williams

Campo de Fiori

A cozy yet hip restaurant serving delicious Italian cuisine. It is very popular with locals and visitors, so is usually packed.

Dinning Area at Casa Tua, Aspen, American West

Casa Tua

Like its sister restaurant of the same name in Miami, this spot offers great Italian cuisine in an elegant setting.

Food at Chef’s Club by Food & Wine, Aspen, American West

Chef’s Club by Food & Wine

When the Chef’s Club opened for Aspen’s 2012 Food & Wine Festival, it changed Aspen from a town of good food to a town of interesting food. The concept, created in partnership with Food & Wine, was to provide a platform for the magazine’s “Best New Chef” winners. They would create menus as well as appear for special Star Series tasting dinners and teach cooking classes. So far, it’s been a success —so much so Chef’s Club expanded to New York in Fall 2014. Book an indoor table near the expansive, open-plan kitchen to watch the chefs at work during the winter. When warm weather arrives, the lovely mountain views from the large patio are a must.

Bar at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, Aspen, American West

Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro

Ski to Aspen Highland’s Cloud Nine around 2 pm on a sunny powder day, and you’ll find a more celebratory lunch experience than the standard mountain fare. Sure, some patrons will be tucked into pots of steaming fondue, but others will be dancing on tabletops as a DJ turns this quaint mountain hut into one of Aspen’s most fun experiences. Thursday evenings, Cloud Nine also offers snowcat dinners, with the Austrian chef serving up elk ragout, osso buco and strudel to candlelit tables. Snowcats depart at 6 p.m., and the dinners are popular so reservations strongly recommended.

Editors' Picks
Bar at Element 47, Aspen, American West

Element 47

Aspenites looking for an urban vibe flock to Element 47, which opened in the Little Nell in December 2012. Designed by the same team as Manhattan’s Craft and 11 Madison, the restaurant has a sleek, modern look that transports diners from Pitkin County to New York City. Element’s menu offers dishes more synonymous with cities than mountain towns as well, with a healthy smattering of foie gras, lobster and truffles. But despite the sophisticated setting and well-pedigreed cooking, Element is anything but pretentious. Ski attire is not only common but totally accepted at lunch, and even Aspen’s toniest dinner crowd can be downright casual. Service is friendly, and there’s a hopping après bar crowd comparing notes on the day’s skiing over local beers and deviled eggs.

Editors' Picks
Exterior View - Ellina, Aspen, American West


Located just next door to the Moncler boutique, Ellina lures a loyal clientele with delicious Italian fare. Ellina is an abbreviation of the Italian valley Valtellina and the menu’s emphasis is on slow food, organic produce and Italian staples like top-quality sausages and cheeses.

Food at Creperie du Village, Aspen, American West

French Alpine Bistro: Creperie du Village

Not your average creperie, this spot serves interesting savory variations including chicken curry crepes and the delicious tiramisu crepe. For dinner, the chalet-inspired restaurant is a popular spot for excellent fondue, raclette and steak.

Coffee at Ink! Coffee,  Aspen, American West

Ink! Coffee

This fabulous coffee shop’s motto is, “Not on every corner,” but skiers are delighted there’s one at the base of the gondola on E. Durant St. A member recently returned with this rave review: “We found the best place for breakfast wraps and coffee, Ink! right by the Little Nell. We cannot recommend it enough. It was the best breakfast we had on our trip and the coffee is so good. That was my favorite find this trip.”

Dinning Area at J-Bar, Aspen, American West


An après-ski staple since 1880, J-Bar is a cozy gathering place located in the handsome Hotel Jerome. With rustic décor and glass chandeliers, the retreat evokes a Wild Western saloon; patrons sip drafts at the bar, which maintains its original wood carvings. Once a local haunt of movie stars and artists, J-Bar is the birthplace of the ‘Aspen Crud,’ a WWII-era drink made with whiskey and vanilla ice cream that is still served there today. The menu features classic bar fare and specialties, including the popular J-Bar Burger.

Food at Jour de Fête, Aspen, American West

Jour de Fête

The product of a French owner and El Salvadorian chef, Jour de Fête offers a tasty selection of sandwiches, salads and breakfast dishes. With a quaint dining room and outdoor patio, the family-run eatery is perfect for a quick lunch.

Dinning Area at Kenichi, Aspen, American West


Kenichi is now considered the rock’n’roll sushi spot in Aspen with its hip redesign, larger space and, of course, the Tanuki’s Magic Daigino Sake. Reservations recommended.

Food at Matsuhisa, Aspen, American West


Nobu Matsuhisa brings his notable sushi cuisine to Aspen in this basement restaurant. But why hide downstairs when there’s now patio dining right on Main Street, complete with space heaters to keep you comfortable even in cooler temperatures.

Editors' Picks
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Meat & Cheese

Offering farm-to-table cuisine and a well-priced wine list, meat and Cheese was opened in 2014 by an artisan cheese monger to be a part gourmet grocer, part rustic eatery. The ‘farm shop’ sells local produce, cured meats, fresh bread and seafood, plus an impressive variety of local and imported cheeses. While the relaxed restaurant serves seasonal fare including local rotisserie chicken and a porchetta board, the menu also offers kids’ meals that come with crudités and a popsicle.

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Mezzaluna Aspen

No relation to the restaurants of the same name in Manhattan, Mezzaluna Aspen has been a town standby for Italian food and delicious wood-fired pizzas for more than two decades.

Exterior View : Oasis Pop-Up Champagne Bar, Aspen, American West

Oasis Pop-Up Champagne Bar

When Aspen’s weather warms to outdoor dining levels, one of the mountain’s most fun new traditions begins. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the Little Nell hosts a champagne bar that pops up at various locations around the mountain. Follow the Nell (@thelittlenell) on Twitter to find where to schedule a drink, or look for the colorful Veuve Clicquot umbrellas. Lounge chairs and a solar-powered sound system make the Oasis the ultimate midslope stop. Weekends only, beginning after Presidents’ Day Weekend.

Editors' Picks
Food at Paradise Bakery, Aspen, American West

Paradise Bakery

Stop in to Paradise Bakery and pick up some of the best cookies you’ll ever have. The best part is the gooey center, so don’t waste your time with the mini-cookies, which can be more crunchy than chewy.

Poppycock's Café

This greasy spoon diner is especially great for breakfast (try the oatmeal pancakes).

Interiors at Prospect, Aspen, American West


While every Auberge Resort property has a distinct look, there’s one string that ties them all together – the food. Prospect, the fine dining restaurant at the Hotel Jerome, is no different. There are few restaurants I’d dine at for multiple meals, but this is one place I’ll return again and again. Breakfast included the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever tasted, while dinner was a more sophisticated menu with standout options such as a juicy pork loin and the chef’s take on mom’s meatballs over polenta with a rich gravy.

Although Prospect has rapidly gained a reputation as one of Aspen’s top tables, it manages to feel upscale without steering towards stuffy. Convivial groups kick back in hand-stitched leather arm chairs, couples cozy up in corner booths and even families can grab a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows to chow down on Chef’s kids’ menu while watching a winter snow fall.

Red Onion

The historic red tavern, which first opened to serve miners in 1892, still features its old Victorian details with brick walls, wood floors and antique lanterns, and yes, the carved wooden bar, but it has been spruced up by brother-and-sister team Jennifer and Thomas Colosi. They are serving updated tavern fare, so expect the kind of food that whole families enjoy like tucking into after an active outdoor day: burgers, meatballs, fried chicken and awesome fries as well as the Mexican specialties from Blue Maize like lobster rellenos and tacos.

Food at Steakhouse No. 316, Aspen, American West

Steakhouse No. 316

Proof that steakhouses can be sexy sits in a tiny A-frame cottage in the center of Aspen. It’s called Steakhouse No. 316. Diners cozy up in the curvy red leather banquettes, slicing into locally raised beef beneath the exposed beam ceilings. A wide, marble bar with high-backed chairs offers the ideal perch for a solo martini, although the buzzy atmosphere usually means singles rarely drink alone for long. The menu, created by the same team behind Wild Fig, features steakhouse standards as well as lighter fare for ski bunnies watching their waistlines. Vegetarians, don’t be scared off: Lulu’s kale salad, a popular carryover from the space’s previous occupant, is off-the-charts good.

Ambience - The Wild Fig, Aspen, American West

The Wild Fig

In summer, this tiny eatery opposite the Wheeler Opera House has a very pretty covered patio set just above sidewalk level for ultimate people-viewing pleasure. The food is Mediterranean/American: hummus, fresh seafood and pasta. I like to go here before or after an event at the Wheeler or when the sunshine beckons me to lunch outdoors.

Editors' Picks
Exterior View - Woody Creek Tavern, Aspen, American West

Woody Creek Tavern

The former watering hole of literary great Hunter S. Thompson and his cronies makes a great stop along the Rio Grande hiking and biking trail, but it’s also a popular destination in its own right for great food and a low-key, locals atmsophere.

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