Above the Salt
The team behind the Wild Fig, CP Burger and Steakhouse No. 316 continued their expansion with the opening of Above the Salt in 2012. While locals give the casual Italian eatery mixed reviews, my meal there was spot on, with an excellent pasta, a friendly bartender and a great mix of the festive après crowd and families. Summer should be even more popular, when the doors of the loft-like restaurant are thrown open and the patio becomes the ultimate outdoor dinner venue.
Under the direction of the Little Nell team, this perennial favorite for burgers, truffle fries and some heartier dishes (the veal schnitzel cassoulet has a cult following). Those who care more about the atmosphere than the food are rewarded with a wonderful patio right at the base of Aspen Mountain. People can linger from lunch, through après ski or hike straight on until dinner and watch the sun drop behind the mountains and the stars come out.
From the owners of the Wild Fig and LuLu Wilson, Brexi brings a French bistro feeling and menu to Aspen. There are black-and-white tiled floors just as you would find in a brasserie on the Left Bank and the menu is pure Parisian. In summer red umbrellas are set outside for sidewalk dining. Open for lunch and dinner.
Piñons doesn’t appear on food blogs or on the pages of glossy magazines. But when locals list their favorite spots, this cozy eatery across from the Hotel Jerome pops up repeatedly. A twenty-five-year veteran of the Aspen dining scene, Piñons serves unpretentious American fare with a heavy dose of local sourcing. Racks of Colorado lamb, herb-crusted local trout and free-range chicken with cornbread stuffing provide hearty fare for post-ski dinners with friends. And the well-dressed yet decidedly untrendy crowd is a nice foil for the see-and-be-seen crowd at Casa Tua or the Caribou Club.
This bistro is a popular gathering place for locals thanks to a more casual and affordable menu. It’s packed dusk on with people hanging out at the bar, the street-side lounge and in the dining room. There are pasta dishes like sweet potato eggplant lasagne with pistachios and watercress and the seared ahi tuna with cured tomatoes, olives, orange juice braised red onions and potato gnocchi is a favorite as is the stuffed veal breast with truffled yukon mashed potatoes, pistachios and petite herb salad.
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