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Aspen, CO advice?

eating out Jan 19, 2006 10:15 AM

Hello Hounds,

I'm going to Aspen in March for a few days, for the first time. I've heard about the $$$ grub, so if it's going to be expensive, I want it to be worth it. I'm interested in bkfast/lunch/dinner spots, from the easy/reasonable to the fantastic blow-out. Also, some fun apres-ski spots would be appreciated as well. Does anyone have any ideas?

I imagine I'd go to a must-go place despite the price, for one night most likely. The others nights I'd hope to be a little more sensible.

Thanks everyone.


  1. e
    eating out Jan 20, 2006 11:36 AM

    I've searched this board and others for Aspen recs, and it seems there is a pattern - little to no response... Is this because nobody's been? Or that the people that do go don't frequent these boards? Strange. Anyway I thought I'd give it a try here on Chowhound. Thanks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eating out
      Chimayo Joe Jan 20, 2006 04:52 PM

      Dunno why Aspen doesn't get a lot of talk here. Maybe it's because it's a pretty small place even though it's well known. I pass through Aspen from time to time on day trips, usually during the summer, but I've never eaten there. Quite a few results showed up with the search engine though. Don't know if they're very useful, but you might browse through them

      Link: http://chowhound.com/cgi-htdig/htsear...

    2. d
      Dick Davis Jan 20, 2006 08:56 PM

      Well, I waited around and nobody else seems to have anything at all to say, so I'll just refer you to my post 12/27/05 in response to another query. I don't get over to Aspen much, but the two places I mentioned below, Mezzaluna and the Little Nell, are consistently good. Mezzaluna is moderately priced. Little Nell isn't. Good luck. If you come up with some good results, share them on this board.

      1. r
        Ruth Feb 18, 2006 03:38 PM

        I go to Aspen with 6 of my women friends every year. We have a variety of tastes and budgets. The places that have proven worthy year after year are Rustique, a good french bistro that can satisfy those with smaller budgets with salads and appetizers and those who want more with hearty wonderfully fresh food. Have also enjoyed Jimmy's for American food. Mezzaluna is good but REALLy noisy and crowded at dinner. There is a new restaurant called D19 that is northern italian and has gotten great reviews. I am planning to try it next week when we are there. For a burger, the bar at the Hotel Jerome always gets good marks from my girlfriends. Mexican is good and filling and cheap at La Cantina. Great margaritas. The Pine Creek Cook house is fun if you want to take a sled out or cross country ski. The only problem is that it is too early for our group. There is a good Japanese restaurant but it is REALLY pricey. It is owned by the same folks as NoBu in new york city. I think it is Matsuhisha. Cache Cache is very good but extremely pricey. There are really no bargain places to eat here. Perhaps the locals eat at a place called The Red Onion. Good soups. We tend to splurge for dinner. Enjoy!

        1. t
          TreeTopWillie Dec 5, 2006 02:07 AM

          Lived there for 3 years, worked at Little Nell. It's been a while but I'd recommend that place any day. I second the burgers at J-bar, they used to have a burger and beer lunch special. I think Su Casa had a better rep for mexican than Cantina and not as cheesy (my favorite La Cocina is closed unfortunately). Plus there is a great tap and single malt room across the courtyard for Fat Tire drafts. Haven't tried the newer mexican places like Blue Maize. Pine Creek Cookhouse is a great touristy outing with awesome views of the valley. Woody Creek Tavern down valley is a funky old burger joint, Hunter Thompson's old hang out and stories of guys riding their horses in that spooked and cleaned the place out. Hotel Lenado for a cool breakfast place or Main Street Cafe for country breakfast. Fresh Lemonade and mini queches at Paradise Bakery for a quick fix. Milk shakes (and burgers) at Boogies Diner. Whiskey Rocks in the old Ritz now St. Regis lounge for the low key opium den scene - the restaurant is supposed to be good too (Todd English's Olives - I lived in Charlestown too - tried it there but not in Aspen). Johnny MaGuire's for big sloppy hot specialty saucy sandwiches on a cramped bar stool or they deliver in a VW Bug with a huge pickle on top. Nothing going on at Snowmass - maybe a cup of soup at the StewPot (maybe). Carbondale has Sopris - good stuff by some Swedish? chef who makes some kick ass bbq and slaw. Heading back in January - I'll post an update. TreeTop

          1. f
            foodiemahoodie Feb 12, 2008 02:27 AM

            Aspen. I know it well, have had a house there for 20 years. For a blow out for serious foodies, I'd suggest Montagna at the Little Nell. They're open for lunch and dinner and have a great (and remarkably pricey) wine list. Todd English has one of his Olives at the St. Regis. It's pretty good and you can usually get in. Matsuhisa in Aspen isn't quite as good as in New York (where it's Nobu) or LA, but still very good. And pricey. Kenichi is good Japanese (not as good as Matsuhisa, but still pretty good).

            Ajax Tavern is pretty good too. Not sure if they're open for dinner. Great truffle fries.

            In the medium expensive range, there are an abundance of pretty good Italian restaurants in town. Campo Di Fiore is usually pretty good (but the last meal I had there - Dec 2007 -sucked. Same owners and similar in quality to Gusto. I prefer L'Hostaria, but they're all pretty good. Cache Cache is never bad for french/ mediterranean food.

            I've been to D19 twice and thought it was very good. Very hip and hard to get into - book ahead.

            Jimmy's is well regarded but between you and me - it sucks. It is a slightly above average steakhouse at best. You can usually get in though and they're open late. So if you're starving...

            For good values - Brunelleschis - best thin crust pizza in town. Hickory House for ribs - great ribs - the place is funky and popular with locals and tourists alike. Jeromes (the hotel) for lunch.

            A new

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiemahoodie
              ClaireWalter Feb 12, 2008 04:37 AM

              Someone mentioned Red Onion, but I'm not sure whether anyone else pointed out that the Red Onion is no more. For inexpensive, casual but chef-designed fare, try Topper's: An American Cafe near Clark's Market and also Zele's Cafe on Galena. I also like the Main Street Bakery for breakfast, coffee. lunch. The cafe at Explore Bookstore has good, reasonably priced vegetarian fare. On the higher-priced end of the scale, Wild Fig is good, and the owners have a second restaurant whose name escapes me. I've heard good things about DishAspen but have not eaten there myself.

            2. d
              Denver08 Feb 12, 2008 06:05 PM

              I went in August 2007 and had dinner at Olives one night. I thought it was good, but it was surprisingly empty. I think there were only three or four other tables there that Saturday night. I'm sure it is busier during ski season. They serve complimentary foie gras tastes while you wait for your entree. The mussels appetizer was wonderful and I even tried to recreate it when I got home.

              I also loved the Main Street Bakery for lunch. It was a refreshing price point after a long weekend of expensive meals. I think our total for two people was about $20. The pumpkin soup was very good.

              We did eat one dinner at the Cantina Mexican restaurant on Main Street, but it was nothing to write home about. It was pretty pricey for sub-par Mexican food. But I think that's where a lot of the young people hang out and have a drink after getting off work at other restaurants.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Denver08
                rlm Feb 13, 2008 06:11 AM

                I had a helluva St. Regis Bloody Mary at Olives for breakfast last fall (nice synergy with the name, huh?), but the food was not memorable (and it was deserted when we were there too). I realize that because they’re in a hotel they’re forced to serve more than just dinner and it might not be representative of their establishment, but I figure they’re close enough to Denver that they might want to have Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja/Bistro Vendome drop by and show their line how to make a tasty eggs benedict worth spending $16 on. My better half had a $6.50 orange juice (sans bubbly) and standard-issue coffee for two was $5.00/each. Cantina is edible Texy-Mexy, but definitely not sexy. I haven’t been there in a long time, but Mezzaluna didn’t blow me away (there’s also one in Vail). Kenichi is a small chain (I ate at one in Dallas--$17 for a rainbow roll if that gives you an idea). I am a Burgundy Slut, so I love the Little Nell’s wine list. They certainly have plenty of bottles that deep-pocketed celebs can have Betts uncork, but there are more affordable options too (including half-bottles). You can get the Betts & Scholl Dr. Dre tributes the o.g. and The Chronique for $39 and $59, respectively, and they’re luscious even if you don’t have dubs on your vehicle. The food was solid but didn’t take us to quite the same heights, except for an amazing, aromatic, fresh tomato soup. Food and Wine still has an article from 2006 up on their site where Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca in Boulder lists his Aspen recommendations (Montagna, D19, Hotel Jerome, Double Dog Pub, and The Wine Spot):
                If you want to cross-reference it to his Denver picks for comparative purposes, in the Taste of the NFL guide this year, he listed Barolo Grill, Potager, Proto’s, Table 6, and Z Cuisine. Methinks he knows good food.

                1. re: rlm
                  rlm May 29, 2008 07:07 PM

                  If you are in Aspen, I recommend a trip to D19, if only for one of their appetizers, the Savory Prosciutto di Parma Zeppole. This is a magical plate of warm rosemary doughnuts blanketed completely by strips of heavenly prosciutto and topped with fluffy, shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. The meat and cheese completely obscure the fritter surprise underneath. There is a hint of truffle flavor (which the menu lists as Urbani Truffle Oil), but I thankfully didn't detect an over-abundance of oiliness. There is a bit of comedy that ensues when it arrives at a table. Everyone looks at it with lust but then they raise their knives and forks hesitantly as they try to figure out the best way to attack the Magical Meat Pillow.

                  The tomato soup was served in an earthen-ware bowl and didn't knock our socks off as much as the lovely version served up last year by Chef Ryan Hardy nearby at the Little Nell (or even as much as the stand-by from The Kitchen in Boulder). The warm crusty bread with paprika-infused olive oil was a nice accompaniment as we continued to plow through a bottle of Scarpetta.

                  For the mains, we both devoured the Osso Buco with salsa verde and whipped potatoes. The salsa verde did not resemble the kind which you would happily spoon over a plate of tamales or costillas. It was a rich, flavorful gravy but was a bit too sweet and...intense. We probably should have split one order.

                  The one thing that marred the evening was a diner seated next to us who arrived at the restaurant after apparently falling into a vat of Chanel No. 5.

                  We had a quick drink at Dish Aspen. There was a bartender working who apparently was a new hire. She was coached through making a blood orange mojito (from muddling the mint to mixing in the simple syrup, blood orange puree, and rum). My better half perused the cocktail menu and pronounced that he would like one but whispered in my ear that "it's too painful watching her try to make them." So he went with a fail-safe option of a glass of domestic Mumm. (And yes, the bartender had her "coach" open the bottle for her.) Must be hard finding help in such an expensive little burg, especially in the weird in-between seasons.

                  Olives in the St. Regis was deserted during lunch service. We popped in for a bloody mary since they were so good and spicy on our last stay. This round was clearly a half-assed effort consisting of whatever was left over from breakfast service that was sitting in a pitcher in the cooler. It was garnished solely with a lime wedge and was not spicy at all.

              2. f
                foodiemahoodie Feb 18, 2008 10:39 PM

                I apologize for my somewhat irritatingly redudanct writing style (could I say very good one more time)- it was late and I was running on fumes from a very nice meal.

                I didn't know George Mahaffey was over at the Jerome's formal dining room. And apparently he's been there a few years. It should be great. He was previously exec chef at Montagna, and at the short-runned but terrific (and now closed) Conundrum.

                Locals will insist Pinions is the best restaurant in town. I disagree, but I have no problem eating there. Some restaurants I dread.

                Caribou Club is usually disappointing, but never terrible. Never great. They have a pretty good cellar (and the sommelier is great).

                R Cuisine is new and has Barclay Dodge at the helm. I haven't tried it - but he had Mogador (now closed) which was by far Aspen's most ambitious restaurant. (probably too ambitious - he would've done much better in LA, NY, SF or Chicago) The tasting menu at the chef's table in the back of the kitchen was the place to be - where you'd have a very impressive and pretty unique (to Aspen at least) 10 course meal. Dodge is very serious about food and spent some time at the Church of Molecular Gastronomy AKA El Bulli and he brought a lot of that sensibility to Mogador. He's one one of those chefs who is absolutely determined to grab the top ring. Knowing this chef's drive and ambition, this might very well be the best restaurant in town.

                One thing to know about Aspen - you can't bring wine into any of the restaurants (I think its illegal). Which, if you're clever, presents a wonderful opportunity to sneak in something and drink under the radar.

                1. k
                  krs828 Mar 26, 2008 01:30 PM

                  Sadly, IMHO Aspen does not have any good (at least consistently good) restaurants. I live in Carbondale and go there frequently, especially during summer & winter. I have eaten at Montanga several times. Twice it was fresh, simple and well prepared. Check the menu first if you do not like trendy food-- they are known for edgy (at least for a cow town) dishes. The last dinner I had there was a cassoulet dish and it was so salty I sent it back -- and I like salt. Pinions if nice and just remodeled. Portions are huge and menu is not innovative but solid. Sit at the bar for a great $38 prix fixe. Mezzaluna was bad -- I have had better pizza at Pizza Hut. One shining star is Cloud Nine in Aspen Highlands, on the mountain. I ate lunch there two weeks ago and had gnocchi. It was the best little pillows of love I have tasted in a long time. Not too heavy, not greasy -- just perfection. I wish I could make them like that. Mine turn into heavy lumps. Dish Aspen tries hard but I found it very uneven. I had a Lamb stew there and it was overcooked and tasteless. The Tavern at the Little Nell does a decent lunch -- I have had the pricey cheeseburger and it was good as were the truffle fries. Seen and be seen crowd there, especially four weeks ago during the celebrity downhill. I like the cheeseburgers at Coopers Street Pier. The Ribs at Hickory House are Oprah's favorite and mine as well but I am no connoisseur when it comes to ribs. I have eaten there a number of times and it’s always good. The spicy sauce is not really that spicey. The menu at Explore Booksellers looks good -- vegetarian. Have not tried it. /Kathy

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: krs828
                    jeremysimon Apr 5, 2008 03:21 PM

                    Perhaps Aspen queries gets fewer replies than one would expect because it doesn't have any 'classics.' Sure, Montagna is great if you're rich, and Campo/Jimmy's are fine for upscale but not insanely pricey scene, and J-Bar Hick House are OK for... not exactly cheap, but informal burger/rib stuff. But restaurants seems to change themes every few seasons, and come and go unmemorably.
                    Actually, Taster's Pizza is now in Aspen and is pretty good.
                    I agree with the suggestion to venture downvalley a bit. You'll find plenty of raves on this board for Six89 and/or Phat Thai in Carbondale. I would also recommend Tempranillo in Basalt, Smoke in the new Willits development, and Ella in Carbondale, each of which offer a homier vibe, lower prices, and--yes--better food than much of Aspen's fare.

                    1. re: jeremysimon
                      denverfoodie Jul 13, 2008 05:30 PM

                      Just in Carbondale and Snowmass for a long weekend and must second jeremysimon - Phat Thai was EXCELLENT, reasonable and the cocktails are to die for.

                  2. a
                    Aspen Bean Apr 18, 2008 01:37 PM

                    Aspen is a funny little place. I am a local in Aspen and there are a few places that are off the path or just not that well known about.
                    Zane's; it used to be McStorli's Pub. Zane's has philly cheese steaks, Sessions beer, burgers, sandwiches, and deep fried Mac and Cheese Wedges (do't knock it till you try it!)
                    Su Casa; Great Mexican with reasonable prices and the best magarhittas in town; Boogies; old fashioned Diner type food
                    Bruno's; Wood oven pizza and calzones
                    J-Bar; Bar food and then some more interesting items like truffled fries (Over truffled if you ask me)
                    Weinerstube; Great breakfast with a german type flair
                    Poppy Cocks; Breakfast and Lunch; Grand Marnier French Toast!

                    Pricier resturants with fairly priced bar menus:
                    Cache Cache; You can get a Couq au Vin for $15 and you will not be able to eat it all.
                    Social (used to be Range/ R) Great Tapas Bar menu and Fondu
                    L'hostaria; Italian with fabulous deserts
                    Sky Bar (in the Sky Hotel); great bar menu with sandwiches, burgers, etc. Get the John Daily to drink
                    Jimmy's; Great american food and a great bar menu

                    Hope this helps!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Aspen Bean
                      mdietrich Apr 20, 2008 07:10 AM

                      Aspen Restaurants = overpriced, overrated, poor service, mediocre food at best, bad attitude.

                      1. re: Aspen Bean
                        ddavis Apr 20, 2008 01:04 PM

                        Thanks for the local's insight, Aspen Bean. This is the most extensive list of Aspen eateries I have seen. Your post is appreciated. I apologize for the unnecessary and unhelpful response you previously received. Some people's kids!

                        1. re: Aspen Bean
                          Dr.Jimbob Jun 23, 2008 10:00 PM

                          My wife and I were in Aspen for the past few days for a conference, and we did our restaurant picking based largely on the contents of this thread. I normally lurk on the Boston board, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts:

                          For breakfast, we had heard about the Main Street Bakery & Café, went on the first day and kept going back. This was probably the one place that had a genuine feel of down-to-earth locals and tourists mixing in equal numbers. We loved the vibe, we loved the hired help, we loved the coffee, and we loved (most of) the food. OK, they tend to overcook their eggs in general (the poached eggs were a bit too solid for my taste, though my wife feels otherwise) and the hash brown potatoes were a trifle bland and underseasoned, but pretty much everything else ranged from very good to memorable. The croissants were nice and buttery, tender and flaky, albeit a bit bigger than standard issue. They offer a smoked salmon-and-bagel platter and a salmon benedict which were both reliably quite good. The buttermilk pancakes had a tasty caramelized char on the outside, but light and fluffy on the inside, quite good (and I'm picky about my pancakes). But the star of the show has to be the berry wrap, a batch of different berries mixed with yogurt, wrapped in an egg-dipped fried tortilla, covered with a little granola and topped with whipped cream. Man, was that good.

                          I was fed lunch at my conference, my wife tried out a few places. She went to Mezzaluna for a late lunch of pasta pommodoro -- generous portions, good flavor, nice service, worth the price of admission. She tried Poppycocks, and got a lox/bagel plate which was serviceable, though Main Street was better. We also went to the Woody Creek Tavern in the midst of a bike ride down the Rio Grande trail. Cash only over there, but satisfying even though they're the only business in town in those parts. Good, solid burger and a memorable salad with molten delicious avocado slices, bits of hard boiled egg, and dressing discreetly put on the side. Would have had beer and dessert too if it wasn't for the 7.5 mile ride back to town.

                          Dinner was a bit more variable. At the bottom end was Cache Cache. We went for the bar and the bar menu. I was shocked to see wine prices marked up by 400-500%. We were trying not to have a blow-out meal (hence sitting at the bar, as opposed to blowing $50 per entree at a table), and got the cold shoulder from the wait staff, who fawned instead on a group ordering their third bottle of hideously overpriced wine. My dish was a chicken pasta with a truffle jus, which was serviceable enough, though the only memorable element in the flavor palette was the truffles (seemed like a mediocre dish was being made fancy with the truffles, and I'm not sure it would have been so great without them). My wife got the coq au vin, and was puzzled by the presentation -- a mini cast iron pot with bone-in whole chicken parts which were challenging to cut up, and presumably expected to be transferred to a wide-mouthed plate with a lump of the oddest mashed potatoes that we have had in a while (she thought it tasted like it came out of a box). The place struck me as having all the elements of Boston's South End that I despise -- clientele with apparently more money than taste, waitstaff ranging from snooty to flat-out rude, appalliing mark-ups on everything, trendy and conceptual cooking styles, and not a single thing that seemed heart-felt or genuine. I would never set foot in this place again.

                          On the opposite end, Little Annie's Eating House fared middlingly. A seared mahi tuna sandwich delivered tuna that was overcooked to the point of cat food. The burger was decent enough, and Annie's homemade apple crisp was a disappointing gooey mush of apples and pure-sugar topping. I'd stick to beer, burgers, and basics in this place (the salads looked passable, and heapingly gigantic).

                          We tried Explore Bistro, which is an all-vegetarian joint in the top floor of a bookstore. This was also a little hit-and-miss; my wife's Tuscan bean soup (in June?) was nice, if a tad underseasoned. My coconut-encrusted tofu was a clever concept, but in the end seemed to be more about the crust and the tzaziki-like topping, while the tofu remained rather bland. However, I'd walk 500 miles to have another helping of the Kashmiri rice, which was incredibly rich and had a balanced bouquet of cashew, raisins, and a batch of other stuff that I can only guess at.

                          We tried the chocolate guinness goodness at Lulu Wilson for dessert. This was another fairly fancy-looking place, with well-heeled clientele, but there was nothing of the obnoxious attitude that we got from Cache Cache; we were ushered into a lounge area in back, received plenty of friendly attention from the host and the waitress, had two lovely glasses of dessert wine and dessert. I don't think this was actually mousse (pace Cookanddog), but rather a coffee-chocolate caramel topped with Guinness foam. Really satisfying, and it sure was a good thing we earned this dessert with the aforementioned 17 mile bike ride!

                          We were happiest during our stay with the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome. Very nice and accommodating wait staff, decent selection of beers (though I found it generally weird that there weren't a large number of Colorado brews on draft), very nice sweet potato fries, and a fine, fine burger. The burger can be served up with a side caesar salad which was another thing of beauty in of itself -- old-school style, with whole Romaine leaves and a judicious amount of dressing.

                          Most dinners ranged somewhere from $40 to $90 for two people, typically with a modest amount of booze. In a very limited sample, Aspen did seem distinctly overpriced, though I have found a few places that I can live with, if there are conferences here in my future.

                        2. Cookanddog May 29, 2008 10:59 PM

                          Just a quick note on Aspen eating, after living there for 2 years and working in restaurants:

                          Upscale places to enjoy a good meal for money: there are a lot of these but I would highly recommend cache cache, l'hosteria, D19, and Matsuhisa. A trick for any of these places is to eat at the bar, much better prices and a lot more fun. Plus, hop over for desserts at Lulu Wilson. Their chocolate guinness mousse is the best mousse I have ever had. I second the comment about D19 and their magical fried dough balls and prociutto. This is my all time favorite dish. Deena (chef at d19) is a great chef and her menu reflects it.

                          Lower key: Stop by sky bar and have a burger while staring up at th emountain and bring your bathing suit! hop in the hot tub after and drink a cold beer. It's a great place to hang out apres ski. also, saturday and sunday at bentley's they have a bloody mary bar where you get a glass of ice with vodka and everything you would ever want to put into a bloody mary. Then you make your own concoction. Be careful it can be dangerous!

                          have fun, this has made me miss the place.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Cookanddog
                            rlm Jun 7, 2008 04:27 AM

                            You mentioned the desserts, but what about dinner at Lulu Wilson? We almost booked there, but D19 pulled us in on this trip.

                            If you'd like to visit the Little Nell and still have Richard Betts personally select a stunning Burgundy for your table, you'd better do it before June 16th. He is stepping down as sommelier per the Aspen Times. http://www.aspentimes.com/article/200...

                            1. re: rlm
                              Cookanddog Jun 8, 2008 05:37 PM

                              The dinner was good, nothing spectacular, there are better options in the area. Also, check out the new restaurant Social above elevation, good small bites, interesting flavors.

                          2. f
                            foodiemahoodie Jul 24, 2008 01:19 PM

                            I tried SOCIAL upstairs for a quick bite before a movie. A curried chicken lettuce wrap was pretty bad, a hint of curry, but the salt dominated. I would have to say it was the worst curry I've ever had. Ever. The tuna tartar was okay at best. Disappointing considered the chef spent time at El Bulli.

                            Jimmy's is open late and that's the best thing you can say about them. It isn't awful, but very, very, very average. About what you would expect from the best steakhouse in a small town. A very small town in a state not know for their food.

                            Lulu Wilson has a lot of buzz, but three times I've been there and I don't get it. The kale salad pops out. I tried a shrimp main course and the shrimp was mealy. A rack of lamb was underwhelming. I can go down to my market, pick up a rack, put some fresh rosemary and garlic on it, salt, pepper - and it would be much better. The way I see it if you call yourself a chef, you better cook better than me or you're a bit of fraud.

                            I haven't tried the Jerome, but the chef has done very good work at other venues in this city

                            1. g
                              gumbosally May 31, 2010 09:48 AM

                              before i moved to austin, i spent a fair amount of time in aspen. i found annie's and jimmy's (bar menu) to be affordable and pretty darn good. hickory house isn't bad either, just don't expect the same quality ribs you find in texas! sorry i didn't see this sooner. BTW, there is a new argentenian eatery in aspen called el burghes. it serves good, fresh food at very reasonable prices. i know because my daughter works there!

                              1. b
                                blythe Jun 21, 2010 04:02 PM

                                For a late night inexpensive snack - need to go to the crepe cart near the street fountain. Good for after dancing and drinking!

                                1. l
                                  lynndela Mar 1, 2011 05:32 PM

                                  Just spent a week in Aspen with my fiance. Here's my report:

                                  - Brexi Brasserie: Might have been the best meal of the week - here or Matsuhisa. Had Colorado Striped Bass and Beef Bourguignonne. Excellent service and beautiful restaurant.

                                  - Matsushisa: Haven't been to any other locations, so can't compare, but we were very happy with our early (6:00 p.m.) meal in the upstairs lounge (there were no reservations available on Open Table a week prior to arriving). Standouts were the yellowtail jalapeno and tai (Japanese snapper) with miso flakes (?), as well as the crunchy tuna roll. Excellent service.

                                  - Pyramid Bistro (inside Explore Booksellers): Organic and vegetarian-focused, though we ordered the two non-veggie entrees. My chicken with farro risotto was very good. My fiance's salmon was okay; I think it was a little overcooked. Attractive dining room. Menu not available online but is posted outside; it all sounded really good.

                                  - The Restaurant at St. Regis: With food and service so good, I thought it was strange that there were only two other parties by the time we finished eating. Started with a tasty amuse bouche of elk. Followed by their lobster salad "cob(b) style"; I'm always happy with lobster. The Colorado striped bass was fine, but the beef stroganoff special was definitely the winner for the evening.

                                  - L'Hostaria: The disappointment of the week, especially after two locals highly recommended it. Ate early in the bar, eager to take advantage of the cheaper but extensive bar menu. Had the portobello e prosciutto salad, which was fine, but nothing special; the proscuitto-wrapped slices of portobello actually had an unappealling appearance. The arugula salad was also fine, but nothing special. Our entrees, Tagliatelle ai Gamberi e Pomodoro and the Pappardelle alla Bolognese both suffered from over-saucing, non-al dente pasta, and just were not what I was expecting from a restaurant supposedly of a high caliber. Wasn't sure if the quick service was efficient or trying to turn tables.

                                  - The Wild Fig: Was good, but I was expecting to be blown away. We were joined by another couple for this meal. Started with the fig salad (a salad with, alas, dried, not fresh, figs) and the french onion soup. Entrees included the risotto of the day, which was mushroom risotto with a salmon filet and a lobster sauce; the dish was a little underseasoned. Also, the whole fish of the day, which was a well-prepared Colorado striped bass; my friend opted for a side of spinach, which was too salty. The fig glazed natural pork chop was, again, good but not great. Finished with beignets with creme anglaise, which were okay, but nothing like your "typical" beignets; these were much denser.

                                  - Bakeries: Happened by Paradise Bakery after dinner one night and sort of pigged out on the plate of free samples; enjoyed a brownie with walnuts, but note that the walnuts were sprinkled on top, rather than baked in. Went to Main Street Bakery based on the many enthusiastic comments on the internet; neither my slice of apple pie nor my biscuit (which was free, maybe because the batch was overbaked) were anything special, so I wasn't too surpised later when a local referred to it as "Lame" Street Bakery.

                                  - On-mountain dining: Ate mostly at unremarkable spots but will give a shout-out to two at Snowmass Village Mall. Goodfellows Pizza had yummy, huge thin-ish crust slices that surprisingly didn't break the bank. And Snowmass Bakery and Cafe had hearty sandwiches on homemade bread; note that sandwiches come with a cookie. Yay!

                                  Main Street Bakery & Cafe
                                  201 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611

                                  Wild Fig
                                  315 East Hyman, Aspen, CO 81611

                                  411 S. Monarch St., Aspen, CO 81611

                                  Snowmass Bakery & Cafe
                                  74 Snowmass Village Mall, Snowmass Village, CO 81615

                                  1. f
                                    foodiemahoodie Apr 7, 2011 08:51 PM

                                    A little update. D19 is no longer.

                                    Syzygy had moved over to "restauran row". Forgot to put them on the original list. (hadn't been there in a while). Ate there recently and it was very good, and perhaps the most formal contemporary room in town. Will have to go more often. Il Mullino should also be on the list - a bit pricey but good. Good upscale scene.

                                    D19 Restaurant & Bar
                                    305 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611

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