After a long weekend in Aspen (chronicled here) it became apparent that the town is equally driven by skiing as it is by great food and dining. For such a small town that is walkable for the most part, it is chock full of great dining experiences, and getting to all of them became a bit of an adventure. Here’s our guide of where to eat and drink in Aspen:
Where to Eat:
Matsuhisa Aspen: Run by the famed Nobu Matsuhisa, this Japanese and sushi restaurant is one of Aspen’s hardest tables to get. If you’re planning a trip to Aspen, keep an eye on Opentable reservations, or ask your hotel concierge to get you in. The concierge at The Little Nell miraculously got us an 8 p.m. reservation on a Saturday night. We feasted on rock shrimp, scallops and fried rice. It’s on the pricy side, and dressier than most of Aspen, but definitely worth visiting.
Element 47: Located at The Little Nell Hotel, Element 47 is casual fine dining with an impressive wine list. We decided on the deep sea Hawaiian crab cake and the chestnut and mushroom bisque to start. The crab cakes were light and flavorful, and we appreciated it was mostly crab, not filling. The soup was a star, very rich with truffles. Before our starters arrived, we sipped on a delicious glass of Robert Moncuit champagne, which the hotel paired up with Robert to create. Next, we ordered the hanger steak with bordelaise sauce and the roasted venison. Both were delicious and served with a glass of red wine, with both of us getting different blends to pair well with our individual meals. We hardly had room for dessert, but we powered through (and we’re happy we did). I had an assortment of desserts while my friend had the most decadent warm date sticky toffee pudding.
The White House Tavern: If you’re looking for something casual with great food and reasonable price points, head to The White House Tavern. We went here for lunch before our flight and were just delighted by the cute restaurant that turns out awesome food. After ordering two amazing glasses of Frank Family Pinot Noir, we asked the waitress what the restaurant is known for and she told us to order the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Honestly, we should have known that just by looking around, because literally every table had this sandwich). We ordered that and the Macho Chicken Salad and were blown away by how good both were. We’ll definitely be back on the next visit!
Campo de Fiori: What we like about Campo de Fiori is that it is a social restaurant that becomes like a bar after around 9. We arrived around 9 p.m., sat at the bar and ordered food while making friends with other people at the bar who were sipping on Moscow mules and wines. It’s a fun scene and the food is great. We ate baked eggplant with mozzarella and the risotto with two giant glasses of wine.
Where to Apres:
J-Bar: Located at The Hotel Jerome, J-Bar is a fun apres ski spot with great cocktails. We also liked their other bar in The Living Room. Ask bartender Felipe to make you his espresso martini, pictured above. We also loved the Moscow Mules and dirty martinis and picked on salads and other bites.
Ajax Tavern: Located at The Little Nell and at the foot of Aspen Mountain, you can literally ski right up to the bar here and sip on mulled wine or their spicy margaritas. (We’re fans of both). Ajax also has a great wine list that we had a fun time sampling. We were physically incapable of stepping foot inside Ajax without ordering their truffle french fries. Just trust me on this one– order them. We all had the quiche and onion soup, both of which were hearty. It’s a great place to have a few drinks, pick on some food and share ski stories with new friends.
Chair 9: This is The Nell’s answer to the European apres ski scene. Think champagne, a dj and lots of dancing and you’ve got yourself the set up. The day we were there, they held a vintage ski costume party. You’ll get a mix of people right off the slope to girls decked out in furs.
Where to Apres Apres:
Caribou Club: After the party it’s the after party, and this is where Aspen’s most elite do just that. This member’s only club is dimly lit with antler chandeliers throughout. You may bump into a famous property developer or venture capitalist in the cozy club. It’s a fun time and dressier than most Aspen spots — wear heels and fur and prepare to dance.
Jimmy’s: Jimmy’s is a fun spot in town that attract thirty-somethings and is unpretentious. Each night there is a $2 surprise shot of the day, which was delightfully fratty. It’s a high-energy crowd with good music. Get there early as it fills up and it’s best to grab a table.
What to Wear in Aspen: