Top 10 perfect mountain spots for lunch in Espace Killy

You’ve been pounding the pistes since the first lifts and you’re ready for a scrumptious lunch to replenish the reserves in time for the afternoon session. Meanwhile you need a spot that suits every member of your party, some of whom aren’t skiers. Where to choose? Having skied in Val d’Isere all my life and with the benefit of daily feedback from our discerning guests, you’ll be pleased to know I can save you the pain of an overpriced, disappointing meal in Espace Killy just by following my top picks (in no particular order of preference) here below:

1. Tete de Solaise

As its name suggests, you’ll find this gem of a restaurant at the top of the Solaise chairlift. Like most restaurants on the mountain you have two options, self-service and table service. I would highly recommend the table service and the a la carte menu. This year they have a young and exceptionally talented chef serving up delights such as carpaccio of scallops, mille feuille de foie gras poele (layers of foie gras, apple and crisp filo pastry) and an alternative take on the traditional steak hache introducing basil, parmesan and pine nuts. Personally I could work my way through the entrees and die a happy man! There’s an appealing sun deck with champagne bar and rumour has it they’ll be adding live jazz to the mix.

Tete de Solaise

2. Le Panoramic

At the top of the Grande Motte, you’ll find Le Panaromic, which has been newly refurbished this year. There’s an oyster and Champagne bar while the Alpine ambiance is completed with fur lined seats and incredible views. Situated at 3023m it’s the highest restaurant on the mountain and has had great reviews from our guests with treats such as lobster spring rolls and tartine de truffles while the oysters are a must. The only downside (and it’s minor) is that everyone from the funicular walks past the restaurant and there’s inevitably a little gawping. With a menu like this – who wouldn’t?

3. Bar L’Ouillette Plage

Tucked away over the Solaise, at the bottom of the glacier lift, Bar L’Ouillette is a bit different from your average mountain restaurant. Think sassy pink and lime green parasols, palm trees and the occasional Buddha. The ambiance is refreshingly funky while the cuisine is surprisingly traditional – fresh, locally sourced, home cooked quiches, farmhouse pies and salads. It is self-service though so you need to time it right to avoid the rush. In Spring, they do a fantastic BBQ – kebabs, ambient tunes and the white stuff – the perfect combination.

4. La Fruitiere

Attached to the Folie Douce, this rustic style restaurant prides itself on high quality, fresh ingredients that are choppered in every day. La Fruitiere houses an ancient dairy with farmhouse cheeses and family recipes are a staple on the menu. While it can get rather busy, our guest feedback is always pretty good and if you time it right, you can go straight to the Folie Douce VIP area, ready to dance off the calories. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more intimate dining experience, you can opt for private dining in the cellar where the wines and cheeses are stored. Either way, don’t forget to book in advance or you will be disappointed!

5. Le Signal

With a colourful and convivial setting, Le Signal boasts delightful views over Val d’Isere and the Vanoise National park, while downstairs inside, the more casual dining area is cosy with a regularly stoked log fire to match the welcoming service. A personal favourite of my father (service is his absolute bugbear) you’ll get a good carbonara or lasagne downstairs or a finer dining experience upstairs. You’ll find Le Signal at the top of the cable car at Le Fornet so it’s another good location if members of your party are on foot.

6. La Peau de Vache

Not for the faint-hearted, this restaurant is a welcome reward for he or she who is confident enough to tackle La Face. Half way down the piste, La Peau de Vache offers savoyarde cuisine and good burgers as you might anticipate from a restaurant named ‘cow hide’ – I suspect there may be a subtext for being thick skinned too! It receives good reports in terms of service and is a favourite with the kids. NB: you can actually access it from the Bellevarde Express chair in Val but you could always keep friends guessing…

7. Le Triffolet

Just below La Fruitiere, Le Triffolet isn’t so much a fine dining experience but I defy anyone to find a better burger on the mountain, served with an all important egg! Outside is an absolute sun trap and the service is super friendly. It’s certainly intimate in size and offers great value for money, especially as it’s also waiter service. So if you’re fed up of shelling out on the hill, Le Triffolet is a great option.

8. Restaurant L’Armailly

The beauty of this restaurant (apart from the cuisine) is the ski to get there. Situated right at the bottom of Tignes Les Brevieres 1550, access is offered by a truly sensational black, La Sache, which must be one of the largest descents in the whole of Espace Killy. A gentle blue, meanwhile, offers a tree lined alternative via Tignes Les Boisses. Once you arrive, the menu offers all the traditional favourites (frogs legs, snails, foie-gras etc) with generous portions. It’s also one of the few places you can sample ‘chamois’, the local delicacy of goat and it has a great wine cellar too.

9. Les Tufs

Down in La Daille, Les Tufs is a delightful little spot, with the river Isere on one side and the mountain on the other. The food is good with well priced pizzas, pasta and salads – a good alternative to the rich dining experience in some other restaurants.

10. L’Edelweiss

This restaurant is possibly one of the most romantic spots on the mountain in the Le Fornet forest. Just off Le Mangard piste, the food is excellent and if you’re lucky enough to get a table outside, the views are lovely, although it’s only fair to say that the service isn’t always as friendly as it could be. However, the food more than makes up for this. Unfortunately you can’t book a table in advance, so my advice is to get there early to secure a table.

That just about rounds up my review of Espace Killy’s best mountain eateries, most of which are accessible on foot. Never fear, if lunchtime disappoints, there’s always the evening meal to make up for it and if you choose your accommodation wisely, you won’t be let down!

Jamie Rennie is Director at Le Chardon Mountain Lodges, Val d’Isere.

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