The mountaintop restaurants of luxury ski resorts – and how to find them
Forget overpriced hot chocolates and underwhelming buffet spreads on crowded piste-side terraces. The ski resorts of the French Alps hide some of the country’s finest gourmet restaurants. From mountaintop lookouts to hideaway chalets, here are just five worth hopping off your skis...
1. Chalet de la Marine, Val Thorens
At 2,500 metres up in the mountains, Chalet de la Marine is the highest restaurant in Val Thorens. Diners ski in for lunch or take a snowmobile excursion up from the village for an evening meal. If you’re with friends or family, book one of the private, cosy Mongolian yurts to have your dinner prepared in front of you on a vintage stove. And if you’re still feeling energetic after a day on the slopes, take the guided, torchlight ski descent back down to your hotel.
2. Domaine de la Sasse, Megève
As the go-to luxury ski resort for discerning Parisians, it’s no surprise that Megève is home to a galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Take the Mont d’Arbois road from Megève, passing through Planay hamlet, and look out for the sign to Domaine de la Sasse. Park up and from there you’re on foot facing a steep climb to patron Dominique Meridol’s private restaurant. It’s worth it though. Meridol lives on Mont Joly, where he cares for the land and his herd of bison – which feature prominently on the menu. Meals are made to order for a given day and time, and there’s helicopter access, if you want to skip the hill.
3. Edelweiss, Val D’Isere
Seasoned skiers chasing black runs may forget the simple pleasures of meandering down the gentler slopes. And the blue Mangard run in Val D’Isère also has the benefit of a cosy chalet restaurant halfway down: L’Edelweiss. Overlooked by skiers on the hunt for the tell-tale red deckchairs of bigger chalets, L’Edelweiss’s more modest terrace and homey interior promise mountain specialities and reach-for-the-camera views. Make sure to book a spot for lunch – and take it easy afterwards.
4. Baumaniere at Hotel Le Strato , Courchevel
Courchevel resort is perhaps the glamorous gourmet capital of the French Alps. Restaurants here range from pizzas on the terrace to haute cuisine in a storybook castle dripping with silk and chandeliers. For more understated fine dining, jump on the cable car up to Courchevel 1850 to reach Hôtel Le Strato. Chef Jean-Andre Charial brings the flavours and finesse of his restaurant in Provence, L’Ousteau de Baumaniere, to the mountains – and holds one Michelin star.
5. L’Ancolie Nancroix, Les Arcs / La Plagne
For a gourmet lunch with a side of adventure, L’Ancolie Nancroix fits the bill. Reaching this out-of-the-way chalet means carving your own path over fresh powder on an off-piste route from La Plagne. Even if you’re a pro, the directions on the restaurant website are a little rudimentary, so it pays to hire an experienced guide to take you there. For evening meals, come by road, or even by shuttle service from Peisey Vallandry. Of course, this is an option during the day too – but where would be the fun in that?