Call us on +44 (0)20 7801 1080
mountain dining in the alps

Best Mountain Dining in the Alps

| | Gastronomy

Before the age of 30, I wasn’t very interested in the best mountain dining in the Alps – as far as I was concerned the mountains were for skiing on and lunches were for wimps. What was the point of queuing at a crowded cafeteria and then eating expensive, lukewarm spaghetti bolognese (of dubious quality) when one could be out on the mountain skiing instead? Eventually, my attitude towards mountain dining began to change a little. Skiing with a rucksack now meant that a sandwich could be made up in the morning and then squeezed in somewhere amongst the safety kit. Serious amounts of food joy were to be found after a hard morning of touring and backcountry skiing. After finding a sunny rock to sit on, nothing quite hits the spot like one of those baguettes – when you are tired and hungry, a simple sandwich of French bread, Parma ham and cornichon is very hard to beat. As I have gotten older, there has been a definite change in the way that I look at a ski holiday. I still enjoy challenging myself on the mountain and I am quite prepared to hike for my thrills, but I have learned to appreciate the other side of a ski holiday – the on-mountain dining!

After many years of thoroughly enjoying my lunch on the mountain, I have collected a list of my favourite mountain restaurants. These are the ones that have stuck in my mind as having the best food and experience the Alps have to offer.

La Bouitte

Hameau de St Marcel, Three Valleys, France

Much has been written about this extraordinary restaurant over the years, but then again how many 2-star Michelin restaurants can there be in the world where guests dine in their ski boots? This is the kind of place where lunch becomes an event. There is absolutely no rush – the staff there if you need them but otherwise seemingly not there at all. As a result, lunch here will last several hours – every mouthful of delicious food and wine can be savoured. Whilst a meal here doesn’t come cheap, but when an average plate of chicken and chips in Courchevel 1850 costs pretty much the same you can start to appreciate the true value of La Bouitte.

La Marmite

St Moritz, Switzerland

This has been a long-standing favourite with St Moritz regulars. With commanding south-facing views, the main terrace and the dining room seem to be filled with sparkling mountain light on a sunny day (probably helped by the reflections from all the diamonds on display!). The meal to enjoy here is tagliatelle with truffles and truffle oil: one of their signature dishes. La Marmite is voted as one of the ‘The World’s Ten Best Mountain Restaurants’ by The Telegraph.

La Perla Hotel

Corvara, Austria

The Dolomites and the Sella Ronda ski area, in particular, must have more fantastic restaurants per square mile than anywhere else on the planet! The region is full of truly great mountain dining – San Cassiano, a small village just over the hill from Corvara, has three separate Michelin-starred restaurants on its own. The Hotel La Perla in Corvara is one of those romantic hotels you stay in when you have left the children back home with their grandparents. The main hotel dining rooms (shown below) are actually a series of interconnected small and very cosy, wood-panelled rooms. The atmosphere is intimate and charming. There is also a Michelin starred a-la-carte dining room which is decorated and furnished in much the same theme, although is more discreet and formal. The hotel and the food should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Chez Vrony

Zermatt, Switzerland

This majestic Swiss resort is, without doubt, the ‘foodie capital’ of the Alps. Between Cervinia on the Italian side of the border, and Zermatt on the Swiss side there are at least 10 world-class restaurants to choose from. Franz & Heidi’s, Zum See, Stafelalp and Furri are all delightful but my personal favourite is Chez Vrony. When you are relaxing on one of their sheepskin recliners, cool drink in hand and enjoying the fantastic views of the iconic Matterhorn then you know you are in one of the world’s special places.

Chez Merie

Le Miroir, Ste Foy Tarentaise, France

I was lucky enough to eat here last March. Drinks are enjoyed before dinner on the squishy shabby-chic sofas around the roaring open firet. The main dining room is all wooden beams and low ceilings and the atmosphere is cosy and cosseting. Steaks are the mainstay of the menu and these are simply seared on long iron spits and forks which are set up over the open fireplace. Washed down with some good claret, these steaks are simple but delicious.

Hotel Weisses

Bergun, St Moritz

The Hotel Weisses is accessed via the 6kms Preda to Bergun toboggan run. To get to there, you need to take the 30-minute train ride from St Moritz to Preda and hire old-fashioned wooden toboggans from the railway station toboggan store. The run starts directly from the train station at Preda and over the course of 4 miles descends 400 vertical metres through the beautiful forests of the Albula Valley. The gradient of the toboggan run varies over the course of the four-mile ride and in some sections, it can get truly challenging! However, the knack to steering an old-style toboggan is soon learnt and crashes should be kept to a minimum.

The toboggan trail takes you eventually down to the charming mountain village of Bergun where, in the centre, you’ll find the Hotel Weisses. The dining room is warm, wood-panelled and Swiss-mountain authentic. The cheese fondues, in particular, are delicious. After dinner, take the train from Bergun back to St Moritz where you can drop off your toboggan at the station there. The Preda to Bergun moonlit toboggan run followed by dinner at the Hotel Weisses is a truly fantastic experience!

These days I view the quality of mountain dining as being as important as the quality of the skiing. Of course, these long lunches mean that I get fewer turns on the hill than before. However, if I can enjoy my skiing and eat well then, this is surely the same thing as having my cake and eating it.

To discuss any of the restaurants above or how to book a holiday in any of the resorts, please do not hesitate to contact Alpine Answers on 020 7801 1080.