A foodie's guide to Aspen
Skiing isn't the only reason to visit Aspen — for foodies, these six restaurants are reasons in themselves to make the trek.
While the dining room is popular, Afar Magazine says “the bar menu is the best value in town. [It] gives you an option of two courses: one appetizer and one entrée for $35. If you splurge for my favorite entrée, the Pan-seared Buffalo Tenderloin in huckleberry sauce, it is $44.” What could be better?
“His recipes and techniques are unmistakable,” says Fodor’s. The menu at Matsuhisa is a fusion of Japanese, Peruvian, and Argentinian cuisine. Entrees range between $30-$40. Travel + Leisure recommends the “black cod marinated in sweet miso and Chilean sea bass with black truffles.
The Little Nell, Aspen’s slope side luxury hotel, has a spectacular signature restaurant, Element 47. Most impressive: “the fine-dining restaurant’s wine collection is outstanding: 20,000 bottles are on hand for discerning diners,” according to Forbes Travel Guide. At dinner, a main course will be anywhere from $30-$60.
The second Japanese restaurant on our guide, Gayot calls it a “hip Aspen hangout where locals and tourists mingle at the lively bar or hide away in private tatami rooms.” As for food, “fusion-inspired Japanese cuisine is its forte: imagine wild boar pot stickers, tuna sashimi with blue cheese in a truffled miso sauce or Wagyu filet with dashi au poivre. Even the sushi flaunts some twists --- think blackened yellowtail maki with pineapple and serrano chiles.” Expect to pay $30-$50 for an entrée, and make sure to check out the extensive sake list, which also features cocktails with an Asian flavor.
The Italian restaurant offers a festive Mediterranean flair for its visitors. The food consists of “authentic Italian fare like fettucine bolognese, shrimp and zucchini risotto, and fusilli pesto, plus steaks and seafood with similar preparations. A bar menu offers smaller and less expensive variations of these dishes,” says Frommer’s. Over 20 years old, Campo di Fiori is closed during the spring and fall, but always filled with locals and tourists during the summer and winter months. Entrees here are between $28-$44.
Afar Magazine calls this Mediterranean brasserie a “hidden gem” in Aspen. Wild Fig is opposite the Wheeler Opera House in downtown Aspen. It does a nightly risotto, a grilled-octopus salad and a fig-glazed pork chop. However, Lonely Planet says “its small plates are also worth considering – we loved the marinated figs with pancetta, the pan-seared scallops and the fire-roasted clams with chorizo.” Expect to pay $22-$38 for dinner here.