There’s an old-world charm about Aspen, Colorado, that is unparalleled in North America. Cobblestone streets, cafes, and a vibrant ski culture combine to make Aspen feel like a European mountain town. There’s Chamonix in France, Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy, Zermatt in Switzerland, and St. Anton in Austria—they’re classics. And in that mold, Aspen oozes an authentically Euro-mountain-town vibe. A storied skiing community and world-class resort that drops skiers directly into bustling downtown Aspen–Ajax is our town’s crown jewel and plays a major role in Aspen’s European atmosphere.
The dinning scene, complete with tiny cafes tucked into downtown’s nooks and crannies, adds to Aspen’s European feel. Aspen boasts bakeries, coffee shops, and subterranean restaurants that visitors might stroll past without knowing what they’re missing. So, we decided to guide you through a Euro-inspired food tour of Aspen.
For a taste of Europe, check out these often overlooked local spots that bake, dish, and brew the types of food and coffee you would find on a trip in the Alps, Dolomites, and Tyrol. Here are four (plus a few extras) hole-in-the-wall hot spots that add to Aspen’s European flavor.
111 G, AABC, Aspen CO
Unless a longtime local clued you in to this secret spot, you would never know that you’re oblivious to Aspen’s best taste of Europe. (You’re welcome!) Nestled into a small spot in the Aspen Airport Business Center, across from Sardy Field Airport, this little French pastry shop and café is an absolute gem. Croque monsieurs, French baguettes, delicious brioches, and more greet patrons who make the trek out of downtown Aspen to Franck Thirion’s storefront. Trust us, it’s worth the trip!
Jour de Fete
710 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, CO
Adjacent to City Market at the foot of Aspen Mountain on Durant Street is a quintessential French breakfast and lunch café, Jour de Fete. Here, coffees are pressed the way Parisians expect; croissants are steaming and served straight from the oven; Quiche Lorraine and daily specials are all served at this local favorite. Ski racing or soccer is usually on the television and Olivier, Jour de Fete’s proprietor, loves talking about his home country in a charming French accent.
Meat and Cheese Restaurant & Farm Shop
319 East Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, Colorado
The newest addition to Aspen’s dining scene, Meat and Cheese has quickly become one of our go-to spots in town. Artisan cheeses, authentic charcuterie, curated dry goods, fresh baked breads, and perfect wines for pairing are on-hand at Meat and Cheese. While the tastes are reminiscent of Europe, most ingredients are locally sourced—it’s the best of both worlds.
620 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO
It’s a local favorite, and for good reason. This subterranean Italian restaurant is equal parts authentic food and fun night out. The menu makes diners feel like they’re actually in a quaint café in Northern Italy. Carpaccio and bresaola, antipasti and primi entrees, and Italian wines and homemade limoncello are just a few must-tries at “L’Host” (as locals call it). The white-tablecloth dining room is great for special occasions, but the bar scene, bartenders, and bar menu (best dinner deal in Aspen) ensure that the bar is busy seven nights a week. Fabricio is the charismatic manager at L’Hostaria who loves talking Ajax skiing and elk hunting as much as Italia and food.
Like those? Check out Rustique Bistro for French cuisine, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro for the best view in the world coupled with on-mountain raclette and an unforgettable après-ski party, Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop for Friday’s cronuts and soft pretzels, and Creperie du Village for crepes, fondue, and more!