What are we missing the most right now about being in the French mountains? The fantastic views, perhaps? The sensational skiing, obviously. The famous ambience we could all do with right now. Then there is the food. The sensational mountainside lunches we enjoy, either sitting out on the terrace soaking up the rays or, if the snow is falling, perhaps snug beside a crackling fire – this winter, all safely socially distanced from our fellow diners, of course.
Here are a few of our favourite Alpine eateries:
L’Antigel, La Rosière
Locals Sandrine and Didier designed and built this popular restaurant in a traditional architectural style 2,000m up. Now they offer a refined cuisine with fresh products, which can be enjoyed in front of the fireplace or under the sun on the terrace with a breathtaking view of Mont Pourri. Foodies will be tempted by the full Savoyard dinner on Thursday evenings – and those in a hurry to get back on the snow can enjoy quality fresh products in ‘snack’ form on the terrace, but with very generous servings.
Le Cap Horn, Courchevel
If you’re looking for a rather different atmosphere in the mountains, how about being reminded of the sea? Located up by the Altiport (so if the weather is good you can sit on the terrace and watch the millionaires fly in on their private jets) Le Cap Horn is dedicated to all things maritime – a rather surreal experience. The restaurant is famed for its enormous buffet meals, fabulous views and great atmosphere thanks to a resident DJ.
La Ravière, Megève
One of the joys of skiing in the French Alps is finding one of those very small, limited-capacity, family-run establishments where the lunch menu changes daily depending on what’s available to the chef, and is sometimes not even written down. You just know it’s going to be fabulous. The tiny rustic La Ravière restaurant, tucked away in the forest near the Croix chairlift on the Mont d’Arbois side of the ski area, is just such a place. Don’t rely on just turning up though – pre-booking is essential.
La Fruitière, Val d’Isère
La Folie Douce is now a well-known brand of phenomenal après-ski cabaret venues across the French Alps, but those who go to drink and dance may miss the fact that the company began with a mountain restaurant. La Fruitière in fact pioneered farm-fresh food on the slopes, offering fantastic food sourced locally and served to a very high standard. Table-service and self-service versions are available.
La Ferme du 23, Val Cenis
Alongside the many mountain restaurants that have built up their reputations up over the years, there are always new ones opening – and this year, there’s a new establishment to try by the long L’Escargot run in Val Cenis. The restaurant concept is all about authenticity, with a simple, locally sourced menu (using only local ingredients) and a quirky atmosphere thanks to a few surprise tenants (two sheep, two goats and two calves).