The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

Peak plates – the best ski resorts for foodies

Food’s a big part of the ski holiday experience, with classics like fondue, tartiflette, Wiener schnitzel and pizza headlining mountain menus. But there’s also so much more to discover, from historical family recipes to gourmet meals. If you’re a foodie looking to hit the slopes, feast your eyes on these top resorts.

Best for Michelin-starred meals: Courchevel, France

Of the 70 or so restaurants in Courchevel, seven have won Michelin stars – in fact, they’ve clocked up 12 stars in total between them – so this is a go-to resort for top-class dining.

Aerial view of Courchevel

Leading the pack is Le 1947 in Courchevel 1850, which is the only 3-star restaurant and is a must-try for a special night out. It’s got super modern white and grey décor and just a handful of tables around an open kitchen, so you can watch the chefs at work while you eat. The menu here puts a modern spin on traditional French dishes – think tartiflette upgraded with black truffle.

Looking for a gourmet lunch instead? Don’t miss Le Chabichou, a luxury farmhouse in 1850 that’s held two Michelin stars since 1984. Book ahead and ski to the door for a 2 or 3-course set menu that focuses on pure flavours, from shellfish bisque to braised oxtail.

Down in Le Praz, Azimut is the stand-out. It’s got one Michelin star and a more relaxed feel, so you can really unwind as you enjoy unusual twists like pineapple carpaccio and Génépi parfait (made with a traditional herbal liqueur that’s popular across the Alps).

Best for indulgent Swiss cuisine: Zermatt, Switzerland

Swiss food is all about indulgence, whether you’re sharing a bubbling pot of fondue or tucking into a crisp rosti topped with a fried egg. And some of the very best can be found in Zermatt, where there are over 100 restaurants ranging from Michelin-starred places to rustic little huts. We recommend popping into the tourist office and grabbing a directory to help you plan your meals out.

For lunch on the mountain, you can’t beat Chez Vrony up at 2,100m. It’s one of the few restaurants around that uses its own organic produce, and the homemade sausages, dry-cured meats and cheeses are made with recipes that have been passed down for generations. Book a table on the terrace if you can, to soak up amazing views of the Matterhorn while you eat.

Chez Vrony restaurant in Zermatt
Chez Vrony

Fancy fondue? Look no further than Saycheese! at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof in the centre of town. It’s got a modern, intimate vibe and a menu that’s all about that staple Swiss food. A popular pick is their speciality fondue, flavoured with things like Champagne, truffles and mushrooms. And you can follow it up with a chocolate version for dessert.

Or for a more refined meal, head to After Seven. It’s easy to spot in town, with its top-to-bottom glass front, and the inside is just as unusual – look out for the chandelier made out of violins and trumpets. It’s known for creative flair in the kitchen too, so you’ll choose from a list of ingredients instead of dishes and then let the chefs work their magic. The unique set-up’s earned it one Michelin star and 17 points from Gault & Millau (a French restaurant guide similar to Michelin that’s used across Europe and has a max score of 20 points).

Zermatt town at night

Best for alpine fare: Kitzbühel, Austria

Traditional Austrian cuisine is hearty and simple – just think of schnitzel, dumplings and strudel. But it can also be surprisingly high-end. To get the best of both worlds, head to glitzy Kitzbühel and explore the mix of authentic mountain huts and eight Gault & Millau-rated restaurants.

At the comfort-food end of the scale is Bärenbadalm, a hut that’s known for beef dishes made with local Jochberg Angus. Visit at lunchtime to delve into a plateful of juicy ribs or a bowl of chilli con carne served with homemade bread for dunking.

Or in town, make a beeline for the bright yellow Huberbräu Stüberl to try all the classic recipes, from Wiener schnitzel (a veal fillet that’s breaded and fried) to käsespätzle (the German version of macaroni cheese). And ordering a stein of beer to go with it is a must too.

At the other end of the line-up, some of the finest food can be found inside the hotels. The 5-star Tennerhof is part of Relais & Châteaux (a collection of the world’s best hotels and restaurants), so you know it’s got to be good. Its Gourmetrestaurant Tennerhof has been one of Austria’s leading eateries for decades and has been awarded 17 Gault & Millau points for a menu that highlights the country’s produce – from Kitzbühel mountain cheese to Viennese catfish.

Gourmetrestaurant Tennerhof in Kitzbuhel

Nipping at its heels is Neuwirt at the Hotel Schwarzer Adler, which has 14 Gault & Millau points and a warm feel thanks to the pine wood panelling and tiled fireplaces. Spend a cosy evening there savouring modern dishes made with traditional ingredients, like veal carpaccio and venison ragout.

Best for variety: Whistler, Canada

If it’s a sheer range of restaurants you’re after, Whistler is hard to beat. There are over 200 places to eat in the village and across the mountain, with everything from Canadian fare to international favourites like sushi and tapas. So whatever kind of food you fancy, you’re sure to find it there.

Whistler village at night
Credit: Mike Crane

One of the things Canada’s famous for is steaks, and there are plenty of places battling it out to serve the best prime AAA grade, including The Grill Room and Sidecut. Try both to see which one wins out for you.

Craving French? Treat yourself to a fine-dining dinner at Red Door Bistro, where ‘French heart’ meets ‘West Coast soul’ in dishes such as bouillabaisse (a seafood stew made with Canadian crab, mussels and scallops).

Or keep it simple with a French classic from Crêpe Montagne – you can pop in for breakfast or lunch and get all sorts of toppings, from bacon and goat cheese to fresh fruit and caramel.

Even the Australians have made their mark here. Go to Peaked Pies at lunchtime to try an Aussie staple, a flaky pie stuffed with beef and onions, kangaroo in red wine sauce or even Indian butter chicken. Ask for yours ‘peaked’ to get it topped with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy, just like they do down under.

If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, there’s no better way to start or end the day than at Purebread. This bakery is full of homemade treats, so you can pick up a sausage roll or scone to devour on the way to the lifts in the morning, or wander over in the afternoon and get a cake, tart or brownie to keep you going until dinner.

Best for authentic Italian: Courmayeur, Italy

Instead of stopping for a quick sandwich or burger for lunch, people in Italy tend to take their time over a longer meal. And most restaurants are all about traditional pasta, pizza and polenta. To try some of the best, choose Courmayeur for your next trip.

Mountain restaurant in Courmayeur
Credit: Courmayeur_Mont Blanc

A really authentic pick is Ristorante Chalet Plan Gorret. In the woods above the town, it was a rest stop for travellers back in the 18th century and now caters to hungry skiers. Sardinian dishes are the speciality here, so you can try things like culurgiones (a type of ravioli made with semolina, potatoes and pecorino cheese) and lorighittas (pasta that’s plaited and shaped into rings).

Higher up the mountain, there’s Rifugio Maison Vieille – a little place with a big terrace that gets lively come après time. Start with warm focaccia topped with olive oil and rosemary, followed by fresh pasta, and finish off with homemade lemon or apple cake.

Or if you’re keen to try a different Italian staple, ski to Chateau Branlant – a rustic stone building right on a blue run. It’s especially known for dishes made with polenta, a common ingredient in many Italian homes that can be turned into a creamy mash or sliced and grilled. Here, they add extra indulgence by topping it with fontina cheese, mushrooms or veal stew.

Looking for a more modern take on traditional fare? Pierre Alexis 1877 in the town centre blends its contemporary design with original features like vaulted stone ceilings. And the menu is an innovative take on Italian favourites – imagine guinea fowl tortelli, venison gnocchi and chocolate blueberry strudel.

Gourmet on your doorstep: Top ski hotels for foodies

Hotel Pashmina, Val Thorens, France

This luxurious, contemporary hotel is in the highest ski resort in the world and has the highest Michelin-starred restaurant in France. Les Explorateurs is a stylish tribute to alpine tradition, so you can spot photos of famous mountaineers, skis and climbing tools on the walls, and compasses engraved on the windows.

The menu sticks to this theme too, so you can look forward to things like snail ravioli, veal with polenta and sheep’s cheese with honey.

Restaurant at Hotel Pashmina in Val Thorens

Hotel Trofana Royal, Ischgl, Austria

The Trofana Royal is a high-quality hotel with not one but two gourmet restaurants. Paznaunerstube and Heimatbühne both have a traditional yet elegant feel, with wood panelling and chandeliers. And they’re tied ratings-wise with 18 Gault & Millau points each.

The menus focus on down-to-earth Tyrolean food like juicy roasts, mountain trout and fluffy kaiserschmarrn. And thanks to close relationships with local farmers, the produce is always first-class.

Sport Hotel, Soldeu, Andorra

Three hotels – the Sport, Sport Village and Sport Hermitage – make up this complex at the foot of Soldeu’s slopes, and they all share eight restaurants and bars in total.

For fine dining, try modern tapas at Ibaya or Japanese haute cuisine in Koy, both of which are run by Michelin-starred chefs. Or if you want something simpler, you can get traditional fare in Hermitage Tradició, comforting favourites like roast lamb and beef stew in Restaurant Sol I Neu Club Heritage, or authentic pizza and pasta in Sol I Neu Pizzeria and La Tofana.

Then for après drinks and snacks, there’s The Villager pub and Glassbar 1850, where you can sample tapas, sushi and an enormous list of cocktails, wines and spirits.

Koy restaurant at Sport Hotel in Soldeu
Koy restaurant

Get even more food for thought and add these must-try mountain dishes to your list.

Or if you follow a meat-free or plant-based diet, take a look at these resorts that are best for vegan and vegetarian ski holidays and see some of the top things to try.

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