The sun is out, the sky is blue, the powder is perfect – and you’re hungry. After all morning out on the pistes, you’ve built up a skier’s appetite and as you glide downhill on your last run before lunch, you dream of a gourmet break from the slopes. A place where you can enjoy fine dining and great views but one where you can ski directly to (or from) the door.
We’ve picked a magnificent seven gourmet spots across Switzerland, all with direct access to the ski runs. Whether you’re in Zermatt or St Moritz, we have the place for you. In fact, we have seven restaurants in seven resorts, all accessible on skis. The perfect break for a perfect winter day.
Two of Switzerland’s most famous ski resorts – Crans-Montana and Zermatt, both in Valais – also host some fabulous gourmet dining. Top of many ski-diners’ list is the high-altitude Chetzeron restaurant above Crans-Montana. From 2,112 metres up you have an amazing panorama across the Alps, both from the terrace and inside, so that it’s quite a wrench to transfer your gaze to the food. But it’s worth it to sample delights such as lemon-marinated belly pork or rhubarb and strawberry tiramisu.
In a tiny hamlet above Zermatt is a fantastic restaurant with the same name as the place, Zum See. It’s bang beside the ski run from Furi downhill, so you can literally slide right on to the terrace. Wonderful views and delicious food is all that most skiers ask for, and here you get both with bells on. Favourites such as rösti or apple strudel are alongside the likes of duck liver terrine or veal in morel cream sauce.
Canton Bern may not have as many gourmet ski spots as elsewhere but it compensates by concentrating on quality and location. In the Bernese Oberland resort of Grindelwald is the Aspen, a picture-perfect chalet-style hotel that is probably what most skiers dream of skiing to for a meal. Inside the traditional and contemporary are married together, both in the décor and the cooking. So you might plump for grilled halloumi with aubergine curry or the towering Aspen burger.
Related: What To Do In Switzerland Sans Skis
At the heart of the splendid scenery around Lenk im Simmental is the Bühlberg mountain restaurant, complete with a sunny terrace for the stunning views. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some local specialities, such as the platter of local dried meats and Alpine cheeses, or (my favourite) the Älplermagronen, a dish of creamy cheesy pasta and potatoes served with apple sauce. Heaven on a plate.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the ski resorts of Graubünden offer gourmet food alongside pristine slopes. After all, this is the home canton of that epitome of winter glamour and good living, St Moritz. With so much on offer, we have chosen three of the best spots for feasting while resting from the slopes.
Related: Zermatt Ski Resort: A Guide
After all, this is the home canton of that epitome of winter glamour and good living, St Moritz. With so much on offer, we have chosen three of the best spots for feasting while resting from the slopes.
Above St Moritz is the incomparable La Marmite restaurant, perched on top of Corviglia, a peak which rises 2,486 metres above sea level. This is certainly a restaurant with an altitude to match its cuisine. Where else can you enjoy Flammkuchen with white truffles or caviar on soft potato snow, all with a mountain panorama? And then ski back downhill to St Moritz. A perfect combination.
Over in Arosa is Muntanella, the flagship restaurant of the historic Arosa Kulm Hotel, which has a ski run on its doorstep. This charming restaurant is split in two, with the front section used during the day, when it’s full of skiers, while the back is more elegant for dinner with candlelight and white tablecloths. Chef Pascal Kleber wows both sets of guests with his fine international dishes.
Of course there is a story as to why a restaurant at 2,475 metres is called Elephant. In the summer of 1992 an elephant made a guest appearance on the Crap Masegn mountain, up above Laax, as part of the Crap Art festival, and so the restaurant was named in its honour. Today the strikingly modern place offers a tasty array of dishes, such as capuns, or dumplings filled with air-dried meat and wrapped in spinach.