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Concierge.com

Colorado Restaurants

8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill
136 East Thomas Place
Beaver Creek , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 827 6600
www.hyatt.com/gallery/beave8100/#

With a prime location at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, inside the Park Hyatt, 8100 Mountain Grille is needling to be your new favorite aprés-ski hot spot. Settle into the lounge around the outdoor firepit for small plates of house-made buffalo meatballs and corn fritters with truffle-horseradish aioli. Pair them with a pint of Hops of Prey, an IPA brewed especially for 8100 by Vail Valley's Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, then sit and watch the alpenglow blaze across the peaks. The dinner menu spotlights chef Christian Apetz's farm-to-table mentality, where the freshest of local ingredients are the stars of the plate.—Samantha Berman

Allred's Restaurant
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 7474
tellurideskiresort.com/TellSki/info/allreds.aspx

Allred's has no street address—it isn't anywhere near a street. Rather, it's inside the San Sophia gondola station at 10,550 feet. With that on-high view of town, no other restaurant comes close in the scenery department. Then again, you can get the same view just by riding the gondola, so Allred's better deliver the epicurean goods, and it does: Delectables include seasonal dishes like poached apricot–vanilla Maine lobster tail, or the free–range Canadian veal chop with potato-chanterelle hash. Alone up there on an alpine ridge, Allred's has plenty of space, so the chairs are cushier and the tables more private than in town.

Open daily 3 to 10 pm.

Alpino Vino
Located off the See Forever trail
Telluride , Colorado
Tel: 888 605 2578
tellurideskiresort.com

To reach this European-style mountain hut at 12,000 feet, diners take a Snow-Coach ride up the slope. This tiny outpost in a European-style mountain hut nearly hangs off the slopes at the top of Gold Hill and has dizzying views of the craggy San Juans. If you are on the mountain for lunch, stop by for superior antipasti and prosciutto panini. Dinner guests take a Snow-Coach 12,000 feet up the slope for a five-course Italian menu with pairings from the stellar wine list.—Samantha Berman

Baked in Telluride
127 S. Fir Street
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 4775

Telluride's oldest restaurant (opened in 1975) attracts the town's youngest clientele. For calories per dollar, the chocolate doughnuts and ham-and-cheese empanadas at this downtown bakery have no rival. And the Thursday night special—turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce—doles out a little Thanksgiving hominess to the dreadlocked and often transient folks who help the establishment live up to its name.

Open daily 5:30 am to 10 pm.

Bart & Yeti's
551 E. Lionshead Circle
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 476 2754

A local dive that's consistently voted "Best Burger" by Vail's faithful denizens, Bart & Yeti's—named after two dearly departed dogs who served as establishment mascots—is also the place to go for chili, baby back ribs, steak, and fried chicken. You'll probably run into your kid's ski instructor and the boisterous ski patrol crew chilling at the end of the day.

BBs Kitchen
525 East Cooper Avenue
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 429 8284
www.bbskitchen.com

This spot is Aspen's de facto living room, attracting locals and visitors to the historic Aspen Grove building on Main Street. Almost everything is made in-house—they even smoke with their own fish and bake their own breads. The main menu leans toward creative comfort food (scallops and grits, truffle mac and cheese). Stop by during happy hour, from 3 pm to 6 pm daily, when you can pair $5 glasses of wine and $2 beers with items from the lounge menu, like the house-made charcuterie plate.—by Samantha Berman

The Butcher and the Baker
217 East Colorado
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 2899
butcherandbakercafe.com

A hit with the locals since opening in 2010, this down-to-earth deli plates up fresh sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastries in a friendly downtown location. Pop in for a quick breakfast sandwich en route to the slopes or pick up a late lunch on the way back.—Samantha Berman

Cache Cache
205 S. Mill Street
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 3835
cachecache.com

Sitting down at one of Cache Cache's white-clothed tables is one of the more relaxing dining experiences in Aspen. But it's not the warm mustard-yellow walls or the genuine service that eases you into your chair—it's opening a menu without “fusion” elements. Pork tenderloin with an apple reduction over mashed potatoes, roast chicken with French fries, or an osso bucco so tried and true it's been on the menu for 20 years. Cache Cache is one of Aspen's longest-running dining establishments, with food and wine designed to be sophisticated and classic, but not fussy. Chef Christopher Lanter brings his years of experience working in France, and sommelier Alex Harvier crafts wine lists that offer a wide range of options in every category—with bottles from $18 to $1,800. The diverse clientele, from ski bums to celebrities, is testament to Cache Cache's approachable atmosphere.

Opens nightly at 5:30 pm.

Campo de Fiori
100 E. Meadow Drive
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 476 8994
www.campodefiori.net

It is a good sign that both the owner and head chef of this Northern Italian restaurant, which has a sister establishment in Aspen, are Italian. Their food is as authentic as they are. Try the Ravioli all' Odore di Funghi—homemade ricotta ravioli in a Champagne mushroom cream sauce and finished with white truffle oil—and the worth-every-calorie tiramisu.

Dinner only.

Centre V
The Arrabelle at Vail Square
675 Lionshead Place
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 754 7777
arrabelle.rockresorts.com/info/din.centrev.asp

Hunkering under the towering Bavarian architecture of the Arrabelle in Lionshead, this French bistro evokes the Old World romance of a Parisian brasserie. The handcrafted mosaic tile floor glitters; wineglasses stand at the ready on top of antique cabinets; heavy red drapes dress the arched windows and doorways; and the soft leather chairs invite you to settle in for a pleasant evening. Centre V synthesizes sophistication with comfort by serving unfussy, hearty fare. Mull over the menu with a signature hot apple-cinnamon martini and a sizzling cast-iron skillet of Râclette with fingerling potatoes and garlic toast points, or succulent fruits de mer. Can't decide between the steak-frites with Roquefort crust or the gnocchi à la Parisienne? You can't go wrong with the traditional plat du jour, such as sole à la meunière, boeuf bourguignon, or coq au vin. Follow up with a coffee (served in a French press, of course) and warm chocolate soufflé laced with vanilla-bean custard sauce. Centre V is also heating up Lionhead's once-sleepy après-ski scene; ask for a table on the Great Room terrace.

Open daily 7 am to 10 pm, November through March; Tuesdays through Sundays 3 to 10 pm, April through October.

Cima
126 Riverfront Lane
Avon , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 790 5500
www.westinriverfrontbeavercreek.com/Cima

At Cima, star chef Richard Sandoval aims to combine Rocky Mountain ingredients with Latin American flair. Sandoval looks for the freshest ingredients from local farms and ranches, and sources sustainable seafood. Standouts on the menu include the brightly flavored ceviches and rack of lamb with chorizo meatballs and pomegranate–mint salsa. The hand-muddled cocktails combine pisco, cachaça, and, of course, tequila.—Samantha Berman

Cosmopolitan
300 West San Juan Avenue
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 1292
cosmotelluride.com

A hip date-night spot popular with both locals and tourists, Cosmo excels at true fusion—the menu reflect the flavors of the Pacific Rim, parts of Europe, down South, and the American West. New this season: a small plates selection at the Cosmo bar paired with a fun cocktail menu.—Samantha Berman

Foxnut Asian Fusion and Sushi
The Plaza
Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 845 0700
www.bcfoxnut.com

With hot-pink walls, whimsical chandeliers, and cutesy menu items like "sushitini," Foxnut (oh, yeah—and that name!) is not what you'd expect in luxurious Beaver Creek. But it's a welcome change from the usual Western-themed, "casual elegant" joints. Come straight from the slopes for happy hour, when everything from sushi to sake to Sapporo beer is half-price. Some of the rolls on the menu are suspect (the NYC Big Apple with cream cheese, apple, and eel?), but the portions are huge and the fish is delivered fresh daily from Denver. Some of the fusion offerings, such as pot stickers, moo-shu duck, and glazed pork ribs, are comfortingly familiar. The staff is friendly to a fault. This is a nice place to take off your ski boots and kick back.

Honga's Lotus Petal
133 S. Oak Street
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 5134
www.hongaslotuspetal.com

Telluride's toughest reservation is an Asian-fusion bistro specializing in organic Thai and Japanese cuisine. Tokyo-trained sushi chef Shige Shibuya slices and dices a variety of sashimi-grade fish to create specialties like the Caterpillar roll: avocado, eel, and flying-fish roe. Hot dishes include red and green curries with shrimp or tofu. Beware of Honga's mojitos: The restaurant goes through more Bacardi rum than any other establishment in Colorado and has ruined many a powder morning.

Jimmy's
205 S. Mill Street
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 6020
www.jimmysaspen.com

Jimmy's is known as a place that folks like to linger. It's got a heavy curtain over the door, cozy tables lining the windows, and a dining room in the back. It's also known for its Chesapeake Bay blue-crab cakes and certified Angus steaks, sold à la carte with comfort-classic sides such as mashed sweet potatoes with roasted marshmallows and creamed spinach. (In summer, get a table on the patio, and get your fill of watching glitterati parading down the sidewalk.) After dinner, migrate back out to the bar area, which is filled nightly with Aspen's liveliest locals. If the atmosphere doesn't entice you to pull up a bar stool, the tequila certainly will: Jimmy's boasts what may be the largest selection in the country.

Open daily 5:30 to 11:30 pm.

Kelly Liken
12 Vail Road, Suite 100
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 479 0175
www.kellyliken.com

Still one of Vail's hottest reservations, so book, like, yesterday—this atmospheric eatery is named for its chef, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. You'll find a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses clientele enjoys Liken's creative takes on grilled rack of lamb au poivre (garnished leeks, wild mushrooms, and chèvre popovers) or her signature potato-crusted trout filet with caramelized Brussels sprouts, golden raisins, pecans, and watercress.

La Cocina de Luz
123 E. Colorado Avenue
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 9355
www.lacocinatelluride.com

Mexican restaurants in ski towns can get away with greasy tacos served with tasteless refried-bean mush. Indeed, there's such a place just across the street from Cocina de Luz. But here—the name translates to "kitchen of light"—organic meats and vegetables are flavored with 12 varieties of chilies and wrapped in handmade tortillas. Try the poblano chile relleno, a roasted chili pepper that's batter-fried and cheese-filled. Bask on Telluride's sunniest patio (there are only three tiny tables inside) and keep an eye out for loyal customer Daryl Hannah.

Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.

La Marmotte
150 San Juan Avenue
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 6232
lamarmotte.com

La Marmotte may be the most romantic place to dine in Telluride. Situated in a century-old wood-and-brick building, which originated as Telluride's icehouse, its atmosphere is warm and inviting. But you're likely to come for the eats, such as the duck breast with reduction sauce and prosciutto-wrapped scallops, followed by a molten chocolate cake and espresso ice cream for dessert. Or try the $40 three-course prix fixe menu, a favorite of the local gourmands. In August, chef Mark Reggiannini—a former sous-chef for Jean-Georges Vongerichten—picks wild morels in the morning and sautés them at night.

Open daily from 5:30 pm.

Larkspur
Golden Peaks Lodge
458 Vail Valley Drive
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 479 8050
Fax: 970 479 8052
www.larkspurvail.com

Chef Thomas Salamunovich has a résumé that spans from San Francisco to France, but it's his time in Northern California that really shows. His dishes, like Petaluma organic free-range chicken with shaved Brussels sprouts and whipped potatoes, are a case in point. The space itself is lovely, located at the foot of Vail Mountain's Golden Peak lift. Check out the massive glassed-in wine cellar, too, with more than 7,500 mostly New World bottles.

Little Annie's Eating House
517 East Hyman Avenue
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 1098
www.littleannies.com

Voted by locals for the last 13 years in a row to have the best burger in town, Little Annie's has been the Aspen mainstay for more than a quarter century. With red-and-white checked tablecloths and a classic brass bar, it's down-home casual here, and the service is friendly in that no-frills, whaddya-want kind of way. Other than a hunk of juicy beef, specialties include local trout, prime rib, and spaghetti. Try to get the table tucked in the storefront window, where you can fuel hours of people-watching with the bartender's special: a shot and a beer for $3. Mainstay, indeed.

Open daily 11:30 am to 10 pm.

Ludwig's
Sonnenalp Resort
20 Vail Road
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 479 5461
www.sonnenalp.com/dining/ludwigs.html

Ludwig's, at the Sonnenalp, is divided into three parts: The stüberl (small dining room) and the sunroom are both cozy nooks replete with Bavarian antiques, but opt instead for the aptly named winter garden. Eating in this glassed-in atrium perched above Gore Creek is like dining outdoors—only you can do it year-round. The sparse decor (basically high-end patio furniture and wrought-iron chandeliers) leaves the limelight on the surrounding aspens, falling snow, and constellations overhead. Specialties of the chef's classically influenced contemporary American cuisine include Dover sole in a lemon caper emulsion, and rack of Colorado lamb dressed with caviar and garlic jus. Try the berries flambé with frangipani- and rosemary-infused gelato, then sit back and enjoy the scenery. It doesn't get any more beautiful than this.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 7 to 11 am and 5 to 10 pm, Sundays 7 am to 1 pm and 5 to 10 pm.

Main Street Bakery Café
201 E. Main Street
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 6446

There are many times and places for high-end restaurants, but breakfast isn't one of them. The Main Street Bakery is a down-home haunt where you can tuck into a good, honest meal. An 1890s building with blue gingham curtains, original wood floors, and one of the best summer patios in town, the Bakery is where locals and visitors alike come to warm their hands around a cup of perfectly brewed coffee. Service is as friendly as it gets (“Tourists treated same as home folks,” reads the sign above the doorway), and the food is simple and delicious, with no pomp or garnish. Don't miss the huevos rancheros, or, if you're in a hurry to get on the slopes, grab an egg-bagel sandwich or any one of the baked confections beckoning through the glass display case at the front.

Open daily 7 am to 4 pm.

Mamie's Mountain Grill
Top of Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek Resort
Beaver Creek , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 754 5591
www.beavercreek.com/diningdetail/BC+-+Mamies.axd

For all those skiers who have reluctantly settled for overcooked burgers at slope-side cafeterias, Mamie's Mountain Grill has the answer: Do it yourself. Located at the top of Beaver Creek's Bachelor Gulch Express, this lunchtime eatery offers burgers, Euro-style hot dogs, kebabs, and steaks that you can grill yourself (if you wish), along with stews, soups, and panini. You'll be sitting outside (or inside a rustic yurt, when it's dumping), but the views of Grouse Mountain and the microbrews and Glòhwein will stave off even the fiercest Colorado chill.—Sarah Tuff

Open daily 11 am to 3 pm during ski season.

Matsuhisa Upstairs
303 E. Main Street
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 544 6628
www.matsuhisaaspen.com

This is Nobu's extension of Matsuhisa Aspen. Upstairs, in this case, is street level, and, just like Next Door Nobu in New York, it's more casual and less pricey than the original, and takes no reservations. Comprising lounge and restaurant, bar, and patio, the place provides great people-watching as well as fine eating, the miso-glazed black cod being the de rigueur order.

Mezzaluna
624 E. Cooper Avenue
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 5882
www.mezzalunaaspen.com

A cheery, dependable, easy-to-love Mediterranean place that provides welcome relief from the culinary fireworks and heavy checks that abound in these parts. Big salads, pastas, and wood-fired pizzas are the simple staples, and they are all reliable, fresh, and served without attitude. The place itself has Italian-ish frescoes painted on the white walls, and the ceiling is painted to look like a cloudy sky. In summertime, we suggest taking advantage of the cute patio.

Minturn Saloon
146 N. Main Street
Minturn , Colorado
81645
Tel: 970 827 5954
www.minturnsaloon.com

You can drive to the Minturn Saloon if you want to, but for hard-core backcountry powder hounds, it's way more fun to ride the lifts at Vail and swoosh down the misnamed Minturn Mile—a three-mile run through the wilderness that plunges nearly 3,100 feet and ends at this restaurant. Open since 1901, the Minturn Saloon has a memorabilia-decked bar, fireplace, and red-check tablecloths, making it an informal and iconic end to an outdoorsy Colorado day. The mostly Mexican fare is fit for fresh-air appetites: Go for the broiled quail and a liter margarita made with organic agave nectar and freshly squeezed lime. Just make sure you have a designated driver—or a pair of skis with climbing skins—to ferry you away at the night's end.—Sarah Tuff

Note: The Minturn Mile is an unpatrolled area outside of resort boundaries; ski at your own risk. See the Minturn Salon Web site and Vail's safety guidelines for more information.

Open daily 5 to 9:30 pm (winter), 5:30 to 9:30 pm (summer).

Oak
250 W. San Juan Avenue
Telluride , Colorado
81435
Tel: 970 728 3985
oaktelluride.com

This barbecue spot is brought to you by the same owners as the now-defunct Fat Alley BBQ, a hugely popular barbecue joint where the meats for brisket and pork shoulder sandwiches were hickory smoked in-house. The good news: Oak is basically the same operation, just in a different location (on the ground floor of the Camel's Garden Hotel). At heart, though, it's an affordable refuge for locals, with the best fries in town.—Samantha Berman

Pepi's
Gasthof Gramshammer Hotel
231 E. Gore Creek Drive
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 476 4671
www.pepis.com

Pepi's, which is Austrian down to its lederhosen, is located in the chalet-style Gasthof Gramshammer hotel in Vail Village. Between foamy pints of Spaten Pilsner, sample specialties such as jagerschnitzel (pork or veal medallions lightly floured and pan-fried in a white-mushroom sauce) and sauerbraten (beef loin au jus with a touch of ginger zest). The place strikes just the right vibe for a ski town, as evidenced by the red-cheeked skiers who usually hit Pepi's right off the slopes and hunker down for the evening.

Red Onion
420 East Cooper Avenue
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 9955
www.redonionaspen.com

This circa-1892 pub right in town closed briefly and reopened in 2010 with new owners, an updated look, and a loyal following happy to have their hangout back. Not much has changed out front, but in the kitchen a new chef is cooking a long menu of pub food like nachos, fajitas, and fish and chips. It's a laid-back scene, though weekly entertainment, from open-mic and trivia nights to karaoke, keeps things interesting.—by Samantha Berman

Spago at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
130 Daybreak Ridge
Avon , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 343 1555
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/bachelorgulch/dining/spago/default.htm

Opened in December 2007, Wolfgang Puck's first ski resort outpost is the area's hottest (and possibly priciest) ticket. Helmed by longtime Puck executive chef Mark Ferguson, the 126-seat restaurant (with an additional three dozen seats in the bar and lounge area) was designed by Tony Chi to mix and match the Ritz-Carlton "ritzy-rustic" local stone and wood themes with playful touches such as faux-cowhide-covered chairs. The mood at night might be casual and playful (trim blondes in jeans, fab furs, and Uggs; tables of children digging into fries), but the food coming out of the big open kitchen is definitely serious. Puck fans will recognize menu classics such as his agnolotti with seasonal fillings (perhaps pumpkin and Mascarpone in sage butter) alongside pan-roasted venison and other ski country favorites. At dinner, you would be remiss if your table didn't sample the spicy tuna tartare in sesame-miso tuile cones, the pan-roasted duck breast, and the grilled Japanese Kobe New York strip, served with an addictive wasabi potato purée.

Open daily 11:30 am to 2 pm and 6 to 10 pm. Closed mid-April to late May

Specialty Foods of Aspen
601 E. Hopkins Avenue
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 544 6656
specialtyfoodsofaspen.com

At last, a deli with stock that's the food equivalent of Aspen's clothing stores—and it isn't all about the 100-plus-variety cheese counter, great though that is. This one-stop picnic shop is also a charcuterie and a café serving wonderful panini. On warmer days, you can occupy one of the handy patio tables.

Closed Sundays.

Splendido
The Chateau
17 Chateau Lane
Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 845 8808
www.splendidobeavercreek.com

Splendido has all the pomp that its name implies—after all, it's located at a collection of private condos known as the "The Chateau"—but it never feels snobby. Servers fuss over guests whether they're wearing Prada or Patagonia. The place to sit is in the short leg of the L-shaped dining room: You're away from the nightly pianist and the bar but can enjoy the view into the open kitchen. The menu favors meats, including a scrumptious wood oven-roasted Colorado rack of lamb and grilled elk loin. But there are French-inspired classics as well, such as Dover sole à la meunière and a break-the-bank caviar starter ($125 to $290). The serious wine list highlights California and the Pacific Northwest—though this being Beaver Creek, you can order a $1,500 Château Margaux 1982 as well. Try the chocolate fudge soufflé with Grand Marnier crème anglaise for dessert.

Sweet Basil
193 E. Gore Creek Drive
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 476 0125
www.sweetbasil-vail.com

A firmly ensconced Vail Village mainstay that's been around since 1977, Sweet Basil serves contemporary American dishes and draws seasoned foodies and common folk alike. The menu has Mediterranean influences with dishes such as pan-seared Colorado lamb T-bone with three-cheese polenta; the Wine Spectator–award-winning wine list keeps up with the food. The decor of dark cherry wood floors, stonewalls, and contemporary art upstages neither the food nor the view of Gore Creek.

Terra Bistro
Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa
352 E. Meadow Drive
Vail , Colorado
81657
Tel: 970 476 0700
www.vailmountainlodge.com/terra-bistro/

Were it not for the snowy landscape outside, you might think you were in an urban restaurant in a big coastal city. And it's not just the hum of the main dining room: Chef Kevin Nelson's New American menu emphasizes local produce and free-range meats—Colorado lamb chops, Prairie Harvest chicken breasts—and has pan-Asian, Latin, and Italian touches. Few dishes are as comforting after a day on the mountain as the potato-Parmesan soup with Serrano ham and white truffle oil. For an entrée, try the grilled pork chop served with chimichurri sauce and an apple-tomatillo tamale. Request a table near the fireplace in the window-wrapped room off the main dining room.

Breakfast and dinner only.

Toscanini
The Plaza
Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 845 5590

This is our choice for that first, jet-lagged, altitude-dizzying (Beaver Creek Village sits at over 8,000 feet) night in town. The Italian food is familiar, but with grown-up, bold flavors. No matter what's on the seasonal menu, don't pass up the rich chicken in lemon-caper sauce and homemade pappardelle: The secret of the sauce is in the reduced chicken stock. You can bring the kids here, too—they serve pizza, and the restaurant is right on Beaver Creek's ice rink.

Venga Venga Mexican Cantina
105 Daly Lane
Snowmass , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 923 7777
www.richardsandoval.com/vengavenga

Celebrity chef and entrepreneur Richard Sandoval's first foray into the mountains opened in 2010 and continues to be a popular alternative to the area's steakhouses. The menu features Mexican tapas and classic dishes from south of the border accompanied by 75 varieties of tequilas and mezcals. The spicy mezcal margarita is a must: Order it alongside the guacamole, prepared tableside and served with crispy, warm tortilla chips, followed by the tacos al pastor, with adobe-marinated pork and grilled pineapple.—by Samantha Berman

Wild Fig
315 E. Hyman Avenue
Aspen , Colorado
81611
Tel: 970 925 5160
www.thewildfig.com

Standing conveniently opposite the Wheeler Opera House (the same Wheeler who brought the Jerome to town), Fig burst on the scene in the 2003 ski season and has been packed ever since—which isn't hard when there are only 50 seats. It's the labor of love of a local couple, Samantha and Craig Cordts-Pearce—together, they've worked in every other Aspen hot spot, and they clearly took the town's pulse accurately. What everyone wants is mixed-Med dishes like clams and chorizo and "fish in the bag" (fish en papillote in a brown paper bag), paired with sampler plates of hummus and baba ghanoush or a self-explanatory "Butcher's Board." Warm, in every sense.

Wildwood Restaurant
Atop Vail Mountain (accessed via Wildwood Express Chairlift)
Vail , Colorado
81658

On-mountain dining is generally dismal. If you're tired of hurrying through a bowl of lukewarm chili with your feet crammed into ski boots, check out Wildwood, a genuine smokehouse located at 11,000 feet and reachable only by chairlift or skis. Everyone will tell you not to pass up the chicken and wild rice soup, and everyone is right. But don't overlook the barbecued meat sandwiches. Worth sacrificing those few extra runs, even on a ski-perfect day.

Lunch only.

Zach's Cabin
Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek , Colorado
81620
Tel: 970 845 6575

This mountainside, members-only club opens its doors to outsiders for dinner during the ski season only. The catch: You can only reach it via a sleigh ride up the mountain attached to a Sno-Cat—about 10 minutes from the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, where these sleighs depart every 15 minutes on the hour after 5 p.m. But it's worth the trek for its big-timber design, mountain views, and warming fireplaces. The food is ambitious—scallop-and-pork-belly sandwich with parsnip purée and hollandaise—but excellent; there's also a kids' menu at the early seating. A popular alternative is Beano's Cabin: It also has the mountain views, the good food, and the fireplaces, but the Sno-Cat ride (from Beaver Creek Village) is more like 20 minutes—a bit long on a cold night (970-949-9090).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.