By Linda Hayes | November 21, 2014 | Food & Drink
L’Hostaria's oh-so-savvy Italian fare keeps an equally savvy mix of patrons coming back for more.
For nearly two decades, Aspenites have been drawn to L’Hostaria’s cozy atmosphere and classic Mediterranean food, like chef Gortan’s signature tiramisu.
When Tiziano Gortan opened L’Hostaria in 1996, he wanted it to be a favorite gathering place for locals and visitors alike. “L’Hostaria means ‘the old tavern,’” the chef explains. “A place where you go out for a glass of wine and be comfortable. We wanted to create that feeling here.” And so he did.
These days, once the doors open at 5:30 PM, the place quickly fills with an eclectic mix of regulars ready to share a drink and a bite in the bar (where “it’s always happy, no matter what the hour,” and racing bikes from the restaurant’s team of riders hang from the ceiling), or to simply enjoy a meal in the elegant, understated dining room. Visiting diners (celebs, globe-trotters, trendsetters) in-the-know slip in as well, and one of the pleasures of the place is that it’s often hard to tell who’s who.
“We’re family here,” says bartender Scotty Gibsone, who is just as adept at shaking up an espresso martini as pouring a glass of Barbera d’Alba from L’Hostaria’s impressive, Italian-heavy wine list. “We make everyone feel like a local.” As the Aspen landmark approaches its 20th year, Gibsone and sommelier Carlos Valenzuela are getting a helping hand: Gortan hired Valentina Angeli, a wine expert from the chef’s native Udine, in Northeast Italy, to bolster the Italian-centric drinks program.
Whether you’re in for some quick sustenance or to linger over a multicourse repast, Gortan’s menu inspires grand appetites. You can make an entire meal of carpaccio—bresaola with arugula and Parmesan or coffee-marinated salmon with asparagus and brioche. Antipasti range from stewed cuttlefish to burrata crostini to calamari fritti. Follow that with homemade tagliatelle with sautéed shrimp or spinach fettuccine alla Bolognese. Buon appetito! 620 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-9022
PHOTOGRAPHY BY C2 PHOTOGRAPHY