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Need to refuel between skiing? We’ve scaled peaks, braved slopes and gone off-piste to find Michelin-starred restaurants, brunch spots with great views and the fondue loved by locals.
A gourmet guide to the world’s best après-ski restaurants
Whether you’re trialling a new resort or you’ve been visiting for 20 years, finding somewhere for a bite between pistes can be a minefield. The best restaurants are often found on the highest peaks and local favourites occupy nooks and crannies hidden from an outsider’s eye – throw new openings into the mix and you’ll probably decide it’s easier to stockpile bread rolls from breakfast. But whether you’re seeking Michelin-starred restaurants that won’t break the bank (or will), an all-day brunch spot with killer views or a good old fondue, we’ve got you covered.
1. Morzine, France
Despite Morzine’s highest peak reaching a meek 1000m, what the resort lacks in height it more than makes up for in chocolate-box, chalet-style restaurants. Start your day with a trip to La Bonbonniere, an independent bakery and patisserie in the town centre. After a day’s skiing, enjoy a well-earned evening of Savoyarde fine dining and relaxation at Le Mas de la Coutettaz (The Farmhouse Restaurant). Arrive early to admire the traditional decor and stay late to enjoy the candlelit banquet room, complete with brick walls and wooden beams.
2. Troll Peninsula, Iceland
Work up an appetite as you hike or ski your away around the sweeping valleys, glacial fjords and titanic mountains of the Troll Peninsula. In a trip that guarantees dramatic scenery and endless exploration, it comes as an added bonus that the area’s culinary heritage is centred around homely, hearty fare. Head to Kaffi Rauðka in the little fishing village of Siglufjordur for excellent Icelandic food; the restaurant serves everything from hashed fish to barbecued baby-back ribs in a delightful red house on the marina. If you have a sweet tooth, pop into local artist Fríða Gylfadóttir’s studio-cum-chocolate shop. Warm up with a cup of coffee and some artisanal chocolate while admiring handmade furniture and delicate artwork adorning the gallery walls.
3. St Moritz, Switzerland
This UNESCO World Heritage Site and two-time host city for the Winter Olympics is known for its elegance and class, both of which are reflected in the area’s oh-so haute cuisine. The resort’s gastronomy blends Italian and French influences with its own classic twists (think fondue, raclette and salsiz – a traditional cured sausage). For lunch, head to Hatecke to sample a range of Swiss meats; follow with a trip to El Paradiso for puff pastries and meringues. For après-ski, stop by the Hotel Waldhaus am See to sip on a dram or two from the world’s largest whisky bar, Devil’s Place. If you visit in January, don’t miss the St Moritz Gourmet Festival. Held every winter, chefs from around the globe demonstrate their culinary finesse in the town’s most opulent hotels.
4. Megève, France
With cobbled streets, a medieval square and alpine architecture, this haute-Savoie resort upholds extravagant charm without (too much) pretension. Choose from one of three Michelin-starred restaurants – three-starred Flocons de Sel, where chef Emmanuel Renaut plates up refined and elevated mountain gastronomy, is the one for a blow out. If you’d rather something more low-key you’ll find affordable local cuisine at mountainside Chalet le Radaz, a restored wooden building offering traditional meals on a terrace overlooking the piste. Spaggiari, a gangster-themed pizza bar is also a surprising winner. Don’t miss the farmer’s market every Friday, when the village square is filled with speciality stalls selling local produce, deli goods and pastries.
5. Sölden, Austria
The “Big Three Rally” is this resort’s main selling point, enticing competitive snowboarders and high-level skiers looking to test their skill on Sölden’s three main peaks every season. Restaurants cater to the resort’s wide variety of clientele, offering both high-end gastronomy and self-service cafeterias. Known for being James Bond’s favourite resort, guests seeking to emulate the secret-agent suaveness should head to Ice Q, a glass-walled oasis sitting 3,048m above sea level. Less enchanted by cosmopolitan style, thrill-seeking snowboarders can refuel at the Goldegg Alm. Try the goulaschsuppe (goulash soup) or kaiserchmarren (sliced pancakes) for a traditional Austrian meal.
6. Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
Between France and Italy lies six resorts that make up the Via Lattea (Milky Way). Notorious for its raucous nightlife, Sauze d’Oulx may be nicknamed the “Benidorm of The Alps”, but don’t let that put you off. Charming family-run restaurants fill the village’s cobbled streets – the best of which can be found in the resort’s old town. La Griglia is a local favourite, known for its extensive menu of wood-fired pizzas and intimate cove-like setting completed by stone ceilings. For an elegant mid-ski meal, book a table at Michelin-starred Naskira and pair your gourmet lunch with a glass of Piedmontese wine and views of the Dolomites.
7. Courchevel, France
One of the Three Valleys that make up the world’s largest connected ski areas, Courchevel is as famous for its fine dining as it is for its 150km of immaculate pistes. Hosting a total of 11 Michelin-starred restaurants, the culinary offering reflects Courche’s clientele: expensive. Treat yourself to an evening meal at Chabichou, a family-run hotel and restaurant that has become a landmark here. Keeping up sophisticated appearances, pop into La Saulire to get stuck into their extensive wine and champagne collection under the guise of research for you cellar (read: wine rack) back home. In the morning, give your sore legs and woozy head a break with the all-day breakfast at La Boulotte.
8. Whistler, Canada
The wide choice of eateries in this Canadian resort means ample choice for the two million who visit each year. Start simple and begin your day with a local favourite at Purebread – a family-run bakery specialising in delicious pastries and cakes. Order the sour-cherry chocolate French toast or, if you’re in the mood for something savoury, a grilled cheese toastie with cheddar jalapeno should do the trick. After a morning on the piste, enjoy a light lunch at Christine’s on Blackcomb. If you’re feeling flush, opt for the wine flight and try a selection of local and international bottles.
9. Courmayeur, Italy
Come Friday afternoon in high season, hordes of wealthy Milanese arrive at this Alpine resort at the foot of Mont Blanc. (Its proximity to both Geneva and Turin airports make it an increasingly popular destination for weekenders from the UK and neighbouring countries too.) While stylish Courmayeur’s ski area is relatively small, its off-piste, lively nightlife and string of moreish restaurants more than compensate. Food is taken seriously here; so much so in fact that second to hitting the slopes, eating is the activity of choice. Regulars to Courmayeur should check out chef Tom Kerridge’s Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience at the resort this year.
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