Clark’s Oyster House
517 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen
The recently opened Clark’s is the latest from Austin restaurateurs Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman. It’s quickly becoming the go-to place after a day on the slopes for a burger and a martini. But it’s a good choice in general when you feel like seafood. The lobster roll and a number of raw bar items—like the red snapper ceviche with golden roe and cucumber and the Kumamoto oysters—do not disappoint.
312 S. Mill St., Aspen
Bosq is new to Aspen, but you wouldn’t know it. Chef Barclay Dodge clearly brings his love of travel back to his hometown. You can taste it in his globally influenced menu, which features items as far-ranging as a sweet and sour crispy eggplant, jamón ibérico with lovage and garlic chips, and short rib tacos with lime, pumpkin, and dried chili. But the room itself—a cozy space that seems made entirely of dark wood—is pure Aspen.
EMP Winter House
315 E. Dean St., Aspen
The season’s most hyped opening is the EMP Winter House, chef Daniel Humm’s tribute to his Swiss upbringing. The dinner menu hits all the decadent high notes: beef Stroganoff, cavatelli topped with black truffle, trout toast, and oysters. If the East Hampton iteration is any indication, a reservation will be hard to snag, so plan accordingly. The good news is this pop-up (located at the Chef’s Club in the St. Regis) will be open through April.
Hickory House Ribs
730 W. Main St., Aspen
Still within walking distance of town but slightly removed from Aspen proper, Hickory House barbecues ribs so good that regulars actually have it shipped across the country when they haven't been in town for a while. The inside definitely feels divey, but in the best possible way—no need to dress up for a night out here. This is also a really good takeout option.
665 E. Cooper Ave., Aspen
This spot is beloved around goop HQ for its oatmeal buttermilk pancakes, which are delicious, enormous, and probably the best fuel you can think of for a day on the mountain. The spot was originally founded in 1971, so it's part of the town's classic restaurant lineup. Photo: Gary Dykstra
White House Tavern
302 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen
This outpost from the Hillstone Group occupies one of Hopkins Avenue's historic buildings—an adorable, white Carpenter Gothic house with a signature red door that was first built as a miner's cottage. Inside, you'll find cozy booths and a comfortable bar done in a rustic style, with exposed wood, chandeliers, and subtle western-feeling accents, like rugs and black and white photos of the town's early days. The menu is equally comforting, specializing in old-school sandwiches and classic cocktails. It's perfect for drinks and appetizers after skiing or an easy, laid-back lunch.
105 S. Mill St., Aspen
Piñons has been in downtown Aspen for almost thirty years (and it's a favorite among the town's old guard), but you wouldn't know it from the interior, which always feels fresh thanks to frequent renovations and well-tended upkeep. While nothing is ever excessively fancy in a town that favors cowboy boots over stilettos, Piñons definitely a more upscale choice: Expect white tablecloths, impeccable service, and the price tag to match. As for the menu, it's all western classics, done in a comforting traditional style—we recommend sticking to Colorado meats and fish, food-wise, with dishes like the trout, lamb, or buffalo tenderloin.
Meat & Cheese
319 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen
Aspen's local food scene is surprisingly vibrant, as evidenced by ventures like this relatively new restaurant/market hybrid. Started by the folks behind the locally-beloved Avalanche Cheese Company, the shop features cheese, beer, eggs, and produce from purveyors in the Roaring Fork Valley alongside a full-fledged butcher and fishmonger. The restaurant menu changes frequently to accommodate seasonal produce, but you can always count on their excellent meat, cheese, and bread boards to be a crowd-pleaser year-round.
303 E. Main St., Aspen
Sheer distance from the ocean means it's usually best to steer clear of seafood in a ski town, but not so at Nobu's cozy, if slightly unexpected, outpost in one of Main Street's historic victorians. The dressed up sushi bar is every bit as popular as its big city counterparts: On busy weekends, reservations book out as early as a month in advance. If you do manage to get a table, the menu never disappoints. It's hard to go wrong with any dish, but we're especially partial to classics like the shishito peppers, jalapeño yellowtail, and sashimi. Don't skip dessert—the mochi comes in every flavor imaginable.
Main Street Bakery & Cafe (Closed)
201 E. Main St., Aspen
The hands-down choice for great brunch in town, Main Street Bakery and Cafe is known for comfort foods like bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches, eggs benedict, and (for lunch) a warming chicken noodle soup. Behind the scenes, they also make excellent birthday cakes and other sweets. The quaint, first-come-first-serve spot can get busy on weekends: If the line looks intimidating, opt for a seat at one of the communal tables or grab a coffee and a pastry from the to-go counter. Photo: Ski Town Restaurants
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