Photos by Alexis Ahrling

Austrian hospitality, meet French joie de vivre. The French Alpine Bistro is an Aspen must—conceived, designed, and cooked to order by top-notch Austrian-born foodie-proprietor Karin Derly.

Occupying pole position on Aspen’s glittering restaurant row, the glamorous and welcoming haunt is a favorite for locals who lunch, holiday makers on the tear, and some tony corporate bashes thrown by the likes of Chanel and Lamborghini. The Bistro is inspired not only by its owner’s love of superb food and wine – but by a sophisticated understanding for what constitutes a good night out.

Step out of the cold and slip into what feels like a cozy Alpine chalet moored in a backstreet of Paris’ 8th arrondissement. The atmospheric dining room shelters a clutch of candle-lit tables, a bevy of romantic corners, and a small bar flanked by a row of seats that overlook the open kitchen. The rustic-chic wood-paneled walls are a happy hodgepodge of old-world antiques, vintage posters, and overstuffed couches. Here, to the tune of the sultry French Bistro playlist, a lovey couple lean into a fragrant gooey plate of raclette. There, a table of blow-out blondes tucks into rare filets and balloons of ruby-red Bordeaux. Outside, soft sheepskins line comfy chairs on the heated patio where the views look onto the beautiful passersby and magical Aspen mountainscape. When taste mavens such as Aerin Lauder describes an evening here as “cozy and romantic, it is one of my favorite places in town” don’t be surprised when a soft woolen throw appears unbidden and a surprise from the chef arrives to delight.

French Alpine Bistro Aspen
French Alpine Bistro Aspen
French Alpine Bistro Aspen
French Alpine Bistro Aspen

What’s on the menu tonight?

First up, The French Alpine Bistro rightly famous fondues— pleasure pots of unctuous Gruyère, Vacherin, Beaufort and Comté cheeses, elevated with a lash of white wine and touch of Kirschwasser. A clutch of classics follows—from tangy onion soup gratinée with (more!) Gruyère to truffle potato gnocchi seasoned with smoked bacon, rich cream, caramelized onions and (yet more!) Gruyère. Magic is made with closer-to-home classics too: indulge in a burger of Colorado dry aged wagyu beef, a plate of Brittany crêpes served with jambon de Paris, melted Gruyère and Emmentaler, or perhaps the terrine of foie gras flavored with Sauternes, served with toasted brioche and lingonberry compote. cultivating a truly superb experience for each of her guests. “No other restaurant in Aspen provides the same unique ambiance and culinary choices,” she explains. “Passionate skiers and serious foodies from all over the world are captivated by that. I was born and raised in Austria and designed the restaurant myself, so it resembles a truly authentic cozy alpine ski chalet with a French touch. Let’s face it, there is no better way to warm up after a day on the slopes than over a pot of cheese fondue, perhaps topped with fresh black truffles.”

What’s on the menu tonight? First up, The French Alpine Bistro rightly famous fondues— pleasure pots of unctuous Gruyère, Vacherin, Beaufort and Comté cheeses, elevated with a lash of white wine and touch of Kirschwasser. A clutch of classics follows—from tangy onion soup gratinée with (more!) Gruyère to truffle potato gnocchi seasoned with smoked bacon, rich cream, caramelized onions and (yet more!) Gruyère. Magic is made with closer-to-home classics too: indulge in a burger of Colorado dry aged wagyu beef, a plate of Brittany crêpes served with jambon de Paris, melted Gruyère and Emmentaler, or perhaps the terrine of foie gras flavored with Sauternes, served with toasted brioche and lingonberry compote. cultivating a truly superb experience for each of her guests.
French Alpine Bistro Fondue
What’s on the menu tonight? First up, The French Alpine Bistro rightly famous fondues— pleasure pots of unctuous Gruyère, Vacherin, Beaufort and Comté cheeses, elevated with a lash of white wine and touch of Kirschwasser. A clutch of classics follows—from tangy onion soup gratinée with (more!) Gruyère to truffle potato gnocchi seasoned with smoked bacon, rich cream, caramelized onions and (yet more!) Gruyère. Magic is made with closer-to-home classics too: indulge in a burger of Colorado dry aged wagyu beef, a plate of Brittany crêpes served with jambon de Paris, melted Gruyère and Emmentaler, or perhaps the terrine of foie gras flavored with Sauternes, served with toasted brioche and lingonberry compote. cultivating a truly superb experience for each of her guests.
French Alpine Bistro

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