What are the best restaurants in Aspen?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Larry Olmsted

A lot of changes have gone on in Aspen’s always lively dining scene. Last year saw the debut of an entirely new concept, Chef’s Club at the St. Regis resort. In a unique partnership with Food + Wine Magazine, every quarter one of the winners of the magazine’s Best New Chefs award takes the helm with his or her own seasonal menu – it’s like a whole new restaurant by a star chef every three months. Snowmass Kitchen, in the new Westin Snowmass resort, also has a heavy seasonal influence and changes menus quarterly, with an emphasis on local produce. Montagna at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Little Nell, long the best restaurant in town, closed and has been replaced by Element 47 – named for silver, the precious metal that put Aspen on the map as a mining boom town. Element 47 continues Montagna’s emphasis on ultra-fresh, local and even homegrown ingredients, but in a more casual way that does not require three hours for dinner. Not every great restaurant in Aspen is new: Eight K in the Viceroy Snowmass has a fun laid back vibe with first rate food and service, and like many of Aspen’s best, showcases regional American cuisine with fresh as can be, meticulously sourced ingredients. For the best burger in town, get a dose of cowboy culture at the historic J Bar in the Hotel Jerome. In nearby sister resort Beaver Creek the dining scene is much more limited, but the standout is Wolfgang Puck’s signature Spago in The Ritz Carlton.

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