MATSUHISA (303 E. Main St., 970-544-6628)
Arrivals are anything but subtle, as visitors to the underground sushi bar are greeted by the cooks behind it with a loud chorus of "Welcome!" in Japanese. A branch of the wildly popular Nobu restaurant in New York, Matsuhisa does its parent proud with pristine yellowtail sashimi ignited with jalapenos, deep-fried crab claw with onion sauce and seabass made fragrant with truffles. Knock a meal back with a bracing sake (the list runs deep), served in tall bamboo cups. House specialties $7-$33.
39 DEGREES (709 E. Durant St., 970-925-6760)
In cold weather, patrons refuel in a hip lounge that includes a blazing hearth. Summer finds most guests outside, arranged around the pool of the aptly named Sky Hotel, with Aspen Mountain as a backdrop. No matter where you try it, the food spells f-u-n. Sushi nachos, for instance, team crisp seaweed chips with glistening tuna tartare. Just as tasty are fried calamari with lemongrass sauce and the meaty half-pound hamburger. Small plates $7-$14.
THE WILD FIG (315 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-5160)
Inviting with red banquettes and a low yellow ceiling, the small dining room of Aspen's newest eatery spills onto a lovely patio that faces the historic Wheeler Opera House. The young servers are quick to declare their favorites, which might include a big, juicy rib-eye steak topped with blue cheese crumbles and bedded on garlicky spinach. But much more -- seafood stew, chicken with couscous -- is Mediterranean in flavor. A cozy bar adds to Fig's charm. Dinner entrees $21.50-$29.75.