Every June, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen has foodie fanatics and celebrities flocking to this dreamy mountain town. But for many travelers and locals, this picturesque destination offers world-class food year round. Known for being more high-end, these restaurants have modern-yet-cozy interiors with chefs that source fresh, local ingredients for their dishes. So whether you’re in town for the Classic, enjoying a summertime concert, or tackling some hiking, this round-up is your tip sheet for where to dine in Aspen in this summer — or any season, really.
Inside the picturesque Bauhaus-style Aspen Meadows Resort is a very recently renovated restaurant with panoramic views of the peaks. The new three-to-five course, prix-fixe menu and its theme will rotate every week to focus on a different region of food. Food & Wine Classic guests may miss out on the first service, as it starts on June 19th, but it’s worth a peek inside to see the elegant decor, brand new kitchen, and incredible vistas. Make a reservation at Plato’s.
Aspen’s premier restaurant is located squarely in the center of downtown next to lush Wagner Park. The alpine wood tones, grey-washed walls, and Nordic-furnished interior bring the feeling of Aspen to life. After globetrotting all over the world, the city’s only dual owner and chef, Barclay Dodge, settled back in his hometown to open up Bosq and cook up his favorite dishes from his travels. The space is modest, so if you want to sample their new world cuisine menu or their famous Peking duck, plan ahead. Make a reservation at Bosq.
Owned by world-renowned chef Nobu, this Victorian home off Main Street has been Aspen’s. prime sushi spot since 1998. On the first floor, you’ll find a sweeping sushi bar spanning half the room, bamboo-wrapped ceilings, and a walnut bar. If you walk up to the second level, you can enjoy their signature Adam Roll or yellowfin tuna in a casual indoor setting or on their outdoor patio. If you’re looking to sit downstairs, you’ll want to make a reservation or head upstairs for a more laid-back dining experience. Make a reservation at Matsuhisa Aspen.
Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant and Bar
An Aspen institution, Jimmy’s has been a local stalwart since 1997. The restaurant takes sustainability seriously by composting 90 percent of their waste, offering plant- or paper-based straws upon request, utilizing a digital wine list, converting to LED lights, and more. Besides their green initiatives, they serve American classics such as lobster mac n’ cheese, crab cakes, and meatloaf in a clubby dining room as well as their al fresco seating. Located right next to the famous Wheeler Opera House, this spot is popular among locals and travelers. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant and Bar.
Another Aspen mainstay, Pinons has been cooking seasonal, locally sourced dishes for almost 30 years. The 110-seat dining room has recently been renovated to include tin ceilings, wood accents, and lively colors while showcasing their prime view of Aspen Mountain. Sip on a glass of wine from their extensive list and enjoy a prime-cut steak, Colorado trout, or a variety of caviar. Make a reservation at Pinon’s.
You’ll have to climb a few stairs to visit this second-floor restaurant, but the views of downtown Aspen are worth it. Aspen Kitchen has an impressive open dining room, industrial lighting, modern tapestries, rustic wood tones, and a glamorous outdoor bar area. Choose from a number of modern American dishes from local vendors, including Aspen lamb steam buns and four types of salt brick, dry-aged beef. Make a reservation at Aspen Kitchen.
This contemporary Asian restaurant is popular around town for a few unique amenities. It is the only place in Aspen with a private Tatami room for large parties and one of the largest sake menus in the country. Its vibrant dining room comes with plush “rockstar” booths, colored lighting and a large sushi bar serving classic sashimi and rolls with a few unique items mixed in. The menu also features an assortment of meats seared on a hot stone at 1000 degrees and fresh seafood. Pro tip: Try and snag a booth. Make a reservation at Kenichi.
Jimmy’s Bodega is a quaint local spot at the foot of Aspen Mountain specializing in coastal cuisine and mezcal. Order oysters from their raw bar and sample their extensive wine and tequila menu. If you’d prefer a bottled cocktail, Jimmy’s Bodega has those, too. Come in from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm for one of the best happy hours in town, which includes discounted bubbly, oysters, shrimp, ceviche, and more. It’s open year round, but they only serve dinner during the winter. Go for a seat under the lights in their courtyard patio for added ambience. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s Bodega.
What are your picks for where to dine in Aspen? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Katie Lockhart is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer. When she’s not writing, she’s eating her way around the world and posting it all on her Instagram @findyourhappyplate and blog findyourhappyplate.co.
Photo credits: Anna Stonehouse (Jimmy’s and Jimmy’s Bodega); Hal Williams (Pinon’s).