Restaurants and Food

Dining in Aspen can be expensive! We recommend stocking your condo with groceries and bringing a lunch if you would like to eat healthfully and save money.

Food on Campus

  • We provide coffee, tea, fruit, and light pastries in the morning.
  • During the summer, there is a lunch truck that comes each weekday (with the exception of holidays) that offers food and snacks for purchase (cash only). They have limited vegetarian options. At the beginning of the week, if you let him know you are vegetarian, he may hold aside options for you. 
  • The Center does not have the facilities for preparing meals other than the light snacks we provide in the morning (there is no cafeteria on campus.)
  • We recommend that participants bring their own lunches, as restaurants in town can be prohibitively expensive.

Grocery & Convenience Stores

  • City Market
    • Aspen’s general grocery store.
  • Clark’s Market
    • Another general grocery store, can be more expensive than City Market. Has locations in both Aspen and Snowmass Village.
  • Carl’s Pharmacy
    • Pharmacy and general store with medicines, cosmetics, art supplies, a children’s floor with toys and games, and a snack shop.
  • Saturday Market (mid-June to early October)
    • Colorado produce, stalls of fruits, vegetables, breads, and more. Popcorn, ice cream, and food trucks. Art stands, retail pop-ups, music performances, and more. Great for families.

Restaurants & Cafes

The following is in no way a comprehensive list of all the restaurants in Aspen. If a restaurant is not on this list, it’s either because none of our staff has eaten there, or we do not choose to endorse it. Ask at the front desk if there is a specific type of cuisine you are after and we may have more information! Restaurants also turn over very quickly in Aspen, so always check the website before you go!

Affordable Lunch Recommendations

  • Gas Station, “Local’s Corner”
    • The convenience store inside the Exxon gas station at the corner of Galena and Main St. offers lots of grab and go food items. They also have fresh tacos made daily between 11am-1pm for $3 each. They are an excellent cheap place to pick up lunch if you want something cheap and fast. They also have some grab and go salads, fruit, sandwiches, burgers, etc. This is the most equivalent thing we have to “fast food.” $
  • Big Wrap
    • Wraps, salads, smoothies. Inexpensive, large portions. There is usually a long line at lunchtime so it is best to order by phone & pick up. There is extremely limited inside seating. (6 or so bar stools.) $
  • Grateful Deli
    • Deli sandwiches, inexpensive but occasionally a very long wait. 15 minute walk from the Center. No inside seating, this is a “pick up and go” place. $
  • Silverpeak Grill
    • Burgers, burritos. They do have inside seating available. $
  • Bangkok Happy Bowl
    • Thai restaurant, somewhat affordable lunch specials (prices have gone up in recent years.)
    • Can walk there from the Center in 15-20 minutes.
    • Sister restaurant “Phatt & Pho” just opened next door with noodle bowls & sushi. $$
  • Harper & Hudson
    • Nice to call ahead. Their website is not great – you have to scroll down halfway through the menu page to get to the PDF of the menu. The food is delcious – the H&H burger on a challah roll is a staff favorite. The philly cheese steak is also popular. They have a nice outside patio. 
    • They have a sister restaurant in Snowmass Village, the Snowmass Tavern, upstairs on the walking mall. $

Best for Large Groups (Dinner)

  • The Lounge at the Limelight
    • New American. There are nice long tables in the back room to the right of the bar, if the front room is crowded or loud. They can only split checks 5 ways, so it’s a good idea to have designated payers, and use venmo/zelle/cash.
    • A good variety of dishes (wood fired pizzas, as well as traditional entrees, and nice shareable apps). $$
  • Mi Chola
    • Mexican. Relatively inexpensive, and has a nice bar menu. Can be a fun atmostphere, perhaps a bit loud. This is one of the largest restaurants in Aspen. $$
  • Mezzaluna
    • Italian. Nice for sharing wood-fired pizzas and traditional Italian dishes (pasta, piccata, etc). $$
  • Jing
    • Pan-Asian. We have been working with them for a long time. They have a fun, if perhaps loud, atmosphere. Delicious dumplings. Their sister restaurant, Little Ollie’s, is delicious Chinese – but doesn’t have a large seating area. $$$
  • Brunelleschi’s 
    • Italian. One of the best places for groups. Also very family-friendly. Try the meatball app! $$
  • Hickory House
    • Barbeque. Walking distance from the Center, and we usually recommend them the Sunday night of Winter conferences. $$
  • Ajax Tavern
    • American. “Indoor/outdoor mountainside tavern nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain, steps away from the Silver Queen Gondola, serving delightful but unpretentious French and American food.” Their burger is an Aspen favorite! $$-$$$

Farm Fresh

  • Meat and Cheese
    • “Farm to Table” Lunch & dinner, cross-cultural and sustainable food, craft cocktails. Small high-end market/grocery store located inside. $$
  • Spring Cafe
    • Breakfast & lunch, organic food and juice bar. If you are vegetarian, the cheapest vegetarian lunch in town is here. It’s the “Baby Buddha Bowl” from the kids menu, and it’s a lot of steamed veggies, tofu or tempeh, quinoa or rice and a tahini sauce, for ~$10. $$
  • Rooftop Cafe at Aspen Art Museum
    • Rooftop restaurant and cafe. Farm fresh ingredients. Not inexpensive but great quality, always delicious, can’t beat the views! Breakfast and lunch only. Lattes from 10-12 are $4! $$-$$$
  • Mawa’s Kitchen
    • Seasonal menu of Afro-Mediterranean, French-American cuisine. Located at the AABC but worth the drive! $$ (Breakfast) $$$ (Lunch/Dinner)
  • Bosq
    • Very expensive, but was the first Aspen restaurant to receive a Michelin star (a big deal.) $250+ per person. They specializing in forgaging, sourcing from local farms, and fermenting interesting ingredients. $$$$$


  • Campo de Fiori
    • Italian, higher quality than Brunelleschi’s and Mezzaluna but not exorbitantly expensive. Easy to get in, and a wide range of dishes. Good vegetarian options. $$$
  • Mezzaluna
    • Lunch & dinner, well-known Italian restaurant. Good for large groups. $$
  • Brunelleschi’s
    • Good for families and large groups. Staff favorite menu item: The Flatiron Pizza $$
  • Acquolina
    • On Main Street. Larger portions than you might expect, Good wood-fired pizza, pasta, and mains. Upscale. $$$


  • Kenichi
    • Sushi & yummy Japanese apps (like boar gyoza, pork belly buns, etc.) Great bar menu with discounted items if you sit in the bar area. (Half off a “special” roll each day!) There is also a Kenichi in Snowmass Village. $$$
  • Matsuhisa
    • A “Nobu” restaurant. Very upscale, on main street. The most excellent sushi, but definitely a splurge! Reservations recommended. $$$$
  • Jing
    • More “pan-asian” – a long history of serving physicists during winter conferences. Expensive as well, but OK for large-ish groups. Can have a noisy/loud atmosphere.  $$$
  • Little Ollie’s
    • Chinese restaurant. Staff opinions vary on this one – Emily loves it, and recommends the Dan Dan noodles if you like spicy! The soup dumplings are expensive but wonderful. Same owners as Jing. A smaller restaurant space, not great for large groups. $$ – $$$

Closest to the Center

  • Hickory House
    • Ribs and BBQ. Closest restaurant to Center other than West End Social (at the Meadows). Mid-range. Good breakfast. Limited vegetarian options (vegan black bean burger). $$
  • West End Social (formerly Plato’s)
    • The closest restaurant to the Center, located inside the Aspen Meadows resort. Inventive and creative meals, expensive. Recently rebranded and reopened as “West End Social”. $$$

Worth the Hike/Drive

  • Mawa’s Kitchen
    • Seasonal menu of Afro-Mediterranean, French-American cuisine. Located at the ABC but worth the drive (or free bus ride!) Mawa’s Kitchen just received a recommendation from the Michelin guide, and Chef Mawa McQueen was nominated for a Beard award in 2022. $$-$$$
  • Pine Creek Cookhouse
    • Lunch & dinner, local alpine foods at the base of the Elk Mountains, up the Castle Creek Valley. Great location for a day trip. Ride your bike in the summer and cross-country ski in the winter. $$$
  • Home Team
    • Located at the base of Buttermilk Mountain inside the Inn at Aspen, this is the place to go for barbeque, amazing sides (mac and cheese, collard greens, slaw, etc.). They have award-winning smoked chicken wings. We are also big fans of their fresh “green salad”. $$

Snowmass Village Faves

See Snowmass Villages’ website guide to dining in Snowmass here.

  • Grub Thai
    • On the walking mall. Yummy authentic thai food. Not too expensive. Great ramen too! Can order online for pickup or dine-in. $$
  • Taster’s Pizza
    • The best pizza in the valley. At the Snowmass “Center” near Clark’s market. $$
  • The Daly Diner
    • Next to Taster’s – Great value for brunch, and they serve breakfast all day! Also good for easy cheap burgers/sandwiches.  $$
  • Kenichi
    • At base village. Delicious sushi. Somewhat high-end, but worth it. Try the gyoza! Seasonally (during off seasons and summer) they have a cheaper bar menu if you sit at the bar – make sure to ask about that! The serrano yellowtail sashimi melts in your mouth. Staff favorite roll: Greentail. $$$
  • Venga Venga
    • On the walking mall. Higher-end mexican food. Great “at the table” guacamole. Also great tacos and margaritas. Plenty of heated outside seating. $$-$$$
  • Stew Pot
    • On the walking mall. A local’s favorite. The oldest restaurant in Snowmass Village! Sandwiches, Salads, Soups. $$
  • Fuel
    • On the walking mall. Mid-level coffee shop. Great if you want a breakfast burrito or bagel. $

Other places in the Downtown Core of Aspen

  • Clark’s Oyster Bar
    • Great seafood, pastas, raw bar. Portions are fairly large. Good service, good quality. Staff recommends the á la carte item “Shells & Cheese with Lump Crab” for $16.  $$$
  • Jüs
    • Breakfast & lunch, fresh-squeezed juice, smoothies, sandwiches and salads. Grab & Go options available. There is a little lobby to sit in once you order/receive your food – but no table service here. $$
  • Ellina
    • Very nice atmosphere, and a little bit of everything on the menu. (Ranging from $13 gourmet tacos to tuna tartare to beautiful homemade pastas) GF and Vegetarian options. Reservations Recommended. $$$
  • CP Burger
    • Burgers, milkshakes, salads. There is a mini golf course next to it, great for families. $
  • White House Tavern
    • Sandwiches, burgers, drinks in an old miner’s cottage. Known for fast service and consistently good food. Popular dishes include the kale salad and chicken sandwich. $$$
  • Las Montañas
    • This is very expensive Mexican food – however, some portions are large. We’ve heard it’s great to split the fajitas – two people can go and easily split one order. It comes with unlimited chips and salsa, and rice and beans. However, it’s generally very expensive. $$$
  • French Alpine Bistro
    • Crêperie & Fondue, high-end excellent French food. Serving both lunch (listed 30% off on website) and dinner, in the middle of downtown. Pleasant serving staff. $$$$
  • Element 47
    • Upscale breakfast, lunch, or dinner experience with delicious food, next to the gondola, inside “The Little Nell” hotel. $$$
  • Ajax Tavern
    • At the base of the Gondola. Expensive, but an amazing porch on the mountain and large portions. Emily’s favorite Salmon Niçoise salad in town. Also famous for their smashed cheeseburger and truffle fries. (Beware – an order of truffle fries to split is $17!) $$$
  • Prospect at Hotel Jerome
    • Pleasant atmosphere, but very expensive for what it is. However, it is to be noted that it recently received a recommendation from the Michelin Guide. Uses seasonal ingredients. $$$$

Breakfast, Dessert & Cafés

  • Jour De Fête
    • Relatively inexpensive. Eclectic mix. Very relaxed, outdoor seating. The owner Olivier has been friends with physicists for decades. Across the street from Chateau Chaumont and Chateau Dumont. $$
  • San Ambroeus
    • The newest café in Aspen. Excellent coffee. Amazing variety of pastries, sandwiches, and lovely atmosphere. Great couches inside and plenty of shaded tables outside. $$
  • Poppycocks Cafe
    • Breakfast & lunch, known for their oatmeal pancakes. Old-style “diner” feel. $$
  • Ink Coffee
    • Mid-level coffee shop with basic grab & go breakfast items. $
  • Paradise Bakery 
    • Popular local ice cream shop, with live Aspen Music Festival performances in the summer. Close to Wagner Park, great for children. Serving: Ice cream, cookies, pastries, hot cocoa, coffee, etc $
  • The Snowy Pineapple   (summer)
    • Shaved ice cart downtown $
  • The Crêpe Shack 
    • Sweet and savory crêpes next to Wagner Park – the same owners as Mawa’s kitchen. High-quality ingredients. $$