415 E. Main St., Aspen
This is where you head when you're craving Italian comfort food—along with the comfort of an extensive wine list. The menu includes all the classics (bucatini, pomodori, cacio & pepe, and so on), as well as a lengthy list of pizzas. If you're looking for something less carb-loaded, though, opt for the secondi plates—there's something to please everyone, from vegetarians to steak lovers. Acquolina is open year-round—just note that the kitchen closing time varies depending on how busy the night is. They also do private parties and catering.
685 E. Durant Ave., Aspen
Located at the base of Ajax—if you're coming from up the mountain, you can spot the mountainside patio on your ride down—and above The Little Nell resort, this is an Aspen classic for lunch. Warm up with a cup of the tomato soup, which is amazing, as is the French onion. It's also great for après-ski, too, particularly if you're sharing the oysters and truffle fries. The kids menu is also appreciated—it hits the necessary basics (pasta with marinara sauce), but also includes some more sophisticated options (salmon, petite steak, mac-and-cheese with gruyere) for littles with an adventurous palate.
205 S. Mill St., Aspen
Brunelleschi's is a family pizza spot with a focus on gourmet iterations of the classics: gorgonzola with caramelized onions; ham with sun-dried tomatoes; roasted eggplant and red pepper with mushroom, spinach, and goat cheese. And kids tend to be fans of the make-your-own-pizza option. It's admittedly hard to come here and not order a pie (or three)—or the calzone version of one the signatures—but they also serve other Italian staples: eggplant parm, chicken picatta, penne a la vodka, and so on.
205 S. Mill St., Aspen
Cache Cache is an old-school steakhouse that's proven to be a mainstay in Aspen: The restaurant opened back in 1987. The kitchen—under the lead of Chef Chris Lanter, who brings a French culinary background, and Chef Nathan King—focuses on using local ingredients, in fact, Cache Cache invested in local-ish Dog Patch Farm, which is a couple hours away from Aspen, in Paonia. For non-red-meat eaters, there are still plenty of options on the menu: rotisserie chicken, a freaky good mac-and-cheese, excellent salads, mussels, and more. Also take note: the outdoor patio is a nice spot to enjoy a bottle of wine from the expansive wine menu—we haven't counted, but we hear it's 100+ pages long.
Campo de Fiore
205 S. Mill St., Aspen
This Italian restaurant, which also has a Vail location, is a bona fide Aspen classic, best for jovial family dinners. Chef Giuseppe Garofalo—who began his career as a teenager at a local eatery in his hometown village of Torre del Greco, Italy—has been leading Campo's kitchen since 1999. The restaurant is located right below the Cache Cache steakhouse in the Mill Street Plaza courtyard—making it another good spot for al fresco dining in the warmer months.
403 S. Galena St., Aspen
Casa Tua, which also has a restaurant/hotel outpost in Miami Beach, serves upscale Northern Italian fare—think burrata with organic tomatoes, tuna tartare, specialty risottos, grilled branzino, biscotti, and gelato. From the outside, Casa Tua resembles a charming ski lodge or mountain home, particularly when it's lit up at night. And the communal vibe extends to the inside, with a number of great group tables, including the 24-seat "Friends' Table," and a low-key, dimly lit vibe. Casa Tua's private club sits atop the restaurant—members have access to the lounge space as well as a number of other perks.
400 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen
Walking into Creperie feels a bit like tucking into a cozy West Village cafe; it's primarily candle-lit, with rustic barn wood tables and white, blue-striped napkins. The menu here is all about fondues, both of the meat and cheese variety. If you can carve out some space in your stomach after the gluttonous appetizers, order a bottle of Grüner and a dramatically presented raclette for the full experience.
305 S. Mill St., Aspen
Lobster Rolls, Seafood Stew, and Dark N’ Stormy’s are popular favorites at this New England-inspired bar and restaurant (they also have locations in New York and on Nantucket). Seafood is flown in fresh daily, and with the notable exception of Nobu it's one of the only restaurants in town with a menu that exclusively focuses on the sea. It's a lovely change from the steak and red wine that typically dominates mountain menus.
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.
205 S. Mill St. #2, Aspen
Jimmy's is an Aspen institution at this point—one of those places where the ambience and the company are really more important than the food itself. That said, the place is hardly short on great meals: Locals love the crabcakes, the Mad Dog ranch salad, and the shareable mac 'n cheese. Plus, the margaritas are great (Jimmy also has a tequila spot in town). As for the ambience, you'll find everyone from art collectors to ancient ski instructors bellied up to the bar, plus signatures on the walls from other Jimmy's who have come for dinner over the years. Also good to know: The vibe here is exceptionally friendly to the kiddos.
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