One of the joys of a dayís skiing is a well deserved lunch at a restaurant on the mountain. Usually youíve built up a good appetite and are ready for a re-fuelling stop. Iíve very rarely been disappointed but obviously some establishments are better than others. Here are six of my favourites.
Established in 1973 and made possible by the construction of the Fornet cable car, at 2330 meters above sea level, the building used to be a refuge. Brigitte, the patron, since 1999 has developed Le Signal into the standout venue it is today. Thanks to a complete renovation in 2006, Le Signal took on a new lease of life. Le Signal has been voted “Best Mountain Restaurant” at the European Snow Awards by the Telegraph, an accolade it has scooped twice, in 2008 and again in 2015. In 2015 Le Signal was voted best mountain restaurant in the World Snow Awards 2015. The restaurant is located on the 1st floor and offers dishes cooked with local products. Thereís a self service area offering traditional products from the Savoie region. The self service is famous for its wide range of fresh soups.
The Signal Room on the rooftop is a fabulous place to take in panoramic 360į views of Val d’IsŤre. The Signal Rooftop Room offers afternoon live DJ sets throughout the season. You can also organize your birthday or wedding events here, itís worth it for the novelty alone. At the new outdoor kiosk you can try out a selection of 25 beers from all over the world and crepes are served all the afternoon. If you would prefer to eat on the terrace you can do so, the views are immense.
My first experience of Chez Vrony was quite memorable, Iíd already heard the buzz about the place in town as a must do venue. As I made my way down the piste from Sunnegga, I was with a friend and we decided to stop for lunch. We found a spot on the terrace which was very busy and immediately I was charmed by the location and the vibe and made a mental note to visit again. The sun was shining, I removed my ski jacket and perused the menu. We ordered a bottle of red and a selection from the menu. The service was great, very friendly, the food was even better.I was definitely going to come back again, it was a no brainer. And return I have, on many occasions, with friends, with guests, who Iíve been ski guiding and on my own. Iíve never been disappointed, the standards have never dropped and I never tire of the stunning location and the warm reception I receive from the owners and the attentive staff, not to mention the quality of the cuisine.
Chez Vrony was once a small, rustic farmhouse and it encapsulates the history of the past 100 years, chronicling the fortunes of the Julen family, Vrony and Max Cotting-Julen who are the current owners, life in Findeln, and Zermattís meteoric rise from remote mountain village to world famous tourist destination. From those humble beginnings Veronyís has grown into a world renowned mountain restaurant. I knew I was on to something when I first stumbled onto the terrace in my ski boots six years ago.
The location of Bel Air is superb, situated next to the Bel Air cable car station, the restaurant can be reached on foot or by ski. Non skiers can get the bubble from 1650 and then walk 10m to the restaurant. I always choose to sit outside on the south-facing terrace as there is a most beautiful panorama. I have on one occasion dined inside due to bad weather and I must say I liked the restaurant room which is very bright thanks to large bay-windows, itís also facing the stunning scenery but I would always prefer to be outside.Be warned, this place is popular and always busy, it pays to book beforehand to avoid disappointment.
The food and the service here is top class, with a great variety on the extensive menu. The turn round was quick and efficient and very friendly on the occasions Iíve paid a visit. The last time I called I had a delicious tartiflette and salad served efficiently, the food arrived promptly. Even though the restaurant was busy there was no air of being rushed. You must visit Bel Air if you ski in Courchevel, highly recommended!
One of my favourite days skiing is over the border into Italy from Zermatt and down into Cervinia for a stop at Chalet Etoile. Iíve done this many times. I always offer the guests that I happen to be ski guiding the opportunity to take this trip. And to a man, they love it. Itís a great day out on the mountain with a top class food stop to break the day. Chalet Etoile was opened in 1974 and itís gone from strength to strength and attracts a star studded guest list. Chalet Etoile is a family affair, as many of the best mountain restaurants are.
Cesare Frassy and his Swedish wife Ulla are ably assisted by his son and daughter, Kalle and Caroline. They are hands on and make sure their guests are well fed and well looked after. The food is high quality and the menu is innovative and original.I usually take my place on the sun terrace and catch the rays while I tuck into the delicious offerings. On the many occasions Iíve dined here Iíve never been disappointed and neither have any of my guests. If you happen to take your ski vacation in Zermatt I urge you to take a day out to ski over here, youíll love it. Highly recommended.
The Hospiz Alm is tastefully decorated and is a lovely place to visit if youíre in St Anton or Lech. The atmosphere is buzzing and friendly and itís a very popular restaurant. They must have the most spectacular wine list in the World. Itís legendary, that fact must be beyond dispute, a trip to the wine cellar will convince you. A majority of the best vintages from around the world are available and the selection is unbelievable. The food is extremely good with excellent service and a good atmosphere in sophisticated surroundings. The village and exterior are very picturesque and the restaurant cosy.Cosy fireside tables on snowy days and a huge sun terrace when the blue breaks through.
I spent a few days in St Anton and dined here three times over the course of the week and I had an excellent experience every time and was impressed with the varied menu and quality. The food is best in class, the menu all encompassing, including lobster and fish cooked to perfection, fresh and top notch. The sister hotel is extremely good and classically understated. The wine cellar and slide to the basement are worth checking out as well as the photo gallery of famous visitors, including the Pope! A warning for non smokers, you can and will be encouraged to smoke big Havanas bar side. Definitely worth a visit!
This is a lovely, cosy little restaurant, in a beautiful location with stunning views, should you choose to sit on the covered terrace. Venture inside and youíll be charmed by the warm and welcoming ambience. One of my favourite restaurants in Zermatt. Iíve been here many times, perhaps my most visited restaurant in the whole of the Alps. The food is spectacular and is always delicious and satisfying. The wine list is pretty extensive too, for a mountain restaurant.
Good honest fare and a very friendly and attentive service, whatís not to like?Should you decide to walk here, itís downhill all the way but the return is obviously the exact opposite, a mission after a bottle of wine or two. Unless you have a lift pass and then itís a short walk down to the chair lift, sorted! I canít speak highly enough of this lovely restaurant. A must, if you ski in Zermatt.
Rebecca Taylor is Director at†SkiBoutique.