The après-ski restaurant Venga Venga is a vibrant spot with traditional Mexican fare

Created by Richard Sandoval — owner and chef of Toro — Venga Venga is Toro’s cheerful, Mexican accompaniment, offering bright drinks, hip crowds, and a tequila bar that's guaranteed to get the party started.

Filled with ravenous diners hungry after a long day of skiing, Venga Venga is the place to go to eat lunch and stay long enough for happy hour. The industrial space gives way to a light, jovial energy that has this bustling room buzzing when packed with patrons. And the service is delightful, with everything arriving quickly, though there’s little reason to rush once you get settled in. Arriving later for dinner is a whole different vibe, with live music, a remarkable tequila list, and delicious shareable plates; it’s the perfect recipe for a great night.

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Beginning with cocktails, it felt necessary to start the meal off with a margarita, of which the restaurant offers six varieties. We ordered the Venga Venga margarita mixed with a house-made sour and Blanco tequila with an extra twist of passion fruit. The salt rim gently burned the lips while the passion fruit added a kick of acidity. Then there was the Pepino, a serrano-infused reposado tequila complete with a tajin rim; a wickedly spicy cocktail that is as mouthwatering as it is tear-inducing — and the drink is all the more delicious for it.

After quenching our thirst, it was time to trawl the expansive menu offering everything from bacon guacamole and quesadillas to more elevated offerings like tuna ceviche, which is light and tangy and expertly prepared.

Looking for something to warm us up after a long day of skiing, we started with a piping hot Mexican tortilla soup. Hearty with a depth of flavor, the chili offers just the right amount of heat, while the shredded chicken is filling and flavorful. A trio of Baja tacos with fresh flecks of Mahi Mahi, chipotle mayo, and corn underscored the fact that the best dishes are simple food done well. Though it was the pork carnitas — slow-roasted pork shoulder served with pickled red onion and guacamole — that left us wanting more. Fatty, delectable, and indulgent, we toyed with the idea of ordering another round.

But with such generous portions, it was difficult to fit much more in our bellies despite walking into the restaurant famished. However, no matter how full one feels, there’s always room for dessert. After debating between the flan, churros, and tres leches cake, we decided to ignore our fullness and order all three. The churros served with cajeta — a Mexican caramel sauce — and ice cream were crunchy and sweet and difficult not to devour in one fell swoop. The flan was far less traditional, arriving with a side of fruit salsa — more specifically, a strawberry-pineapple pico — which gave levity to the creamy dessert. But is there anything better than a perfectly prepared tres leches cake? At least at Venga Venga there isn’t. Light, moist, and decadent, the cake is a sweet tooth’s idea of heaven, and we haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

If you’re looking for a good time, great food, and service that’ll be the cherry on top of an incredible day in Aspen, then it’s time to go to Venga Venga.