As an in-depth report on Val d’Isere, France in The Telegraph noted, “Val offers high quality, snow-sure slopes for everyone from complete beginner to veteran powderhound.” It is linked to the neighboring mountain of Tignes to offer more than 300km of pistes equipped with 78 lifts. Val d’Isere village is at the far end of the Tarentaise Valley and has slopes as high as 3400m along the Pointe du Montet.
And as the same report explained, unlike “some resorts that claim a giant ski area, the pistes of Val d’Isère and Tignes are naturally linked without the need for long and boring connecting trails or lifts.” So, it has good flow, great grooming, and even one of the finest gondolas in the region. It is why Val d’Isere is home to multiple events that focus on both downhill skiing and snowboarding.
It has a three-mile-long village running the ridge of the mountains and is considered one of the most sophisticated winter towns. Naturally, it is home to some great apres ski spots, restaurants, and cafes; in addition to shops and entertainment of all kinds.
The Food of Val d’Isere
It is important to note that dining out in Val d’Isere is typically quite costly because of the high standards of the many chefs and gourmands that flock to the area. In fact, there are Michelin starred restaurants already in place. While there are more and more budget and/or family-friendly options appearing as interest in Val d’Isere grows, the following restaurants are currently seen as the “must try” experiences while enjoying a day or entire ski holiday in this attractive destination.
Start at the Top
If you are thinking about a top tier dining experience in Val d’Isere, then it should be to the Michelin starred options available. L’Atelier d’Edmond is a two-Michelin starred establishment in Le Fornet village just outside of Val d’Isere. As one site explains, it is “full of delightful chic chalets that are built in the traditional Savoyard wood and stone style giving a classic old mountain feel to the village….it is extremely picturesque it still remains much less busy and dense then the Val d’Isere resort centre as it lies outside of the main town.”
This luxurious gourmet restaurant is led by master chef Benoit Vidal, and while a meal in the restaurant is a fantastic opportunity for true gourmet eating, it also has a brasserie attached next door and can afford a more budget-friendly experience.
If you opt for what Conde Nast calls “Val’s very finest dining venue,” you may be surprised to find it inside an antiquated wooden barn just a short walk from the cable car. The specialties of the house include the Savoie trout that is prepared on a barbecue, the crayfish in a preserved lemon preparation, and the local saddle of lamb.
There are options for a five-course meal and dessert including wines from the restaurant’s famous cellars. Desserts are incredibly unique and can include options like their milk ice cream infused with hay, maple caramel, and Timut pepper.
And if you are eager to head to the opposite end of the spectrum, leaving the highly refined world of exquisite French cuisine behind and delving into an experience unlike any other, then it is to La Folie Douce you’ll want to go!
A Concept in Val d’Isere
The bar La Folie Douce is an open-air bar with cabaret shows suitable to all ages. According to the website, it seeks to “mix the pleasures of a generous cuisine with the joys of clubbing,” and yet it also has multiple kitchens. There is the By Frank Mischler option, the Small Kitchen, the On the Run, and the most popular and highly-rated Fruitiere.
The latter is a table-service establishment that focuses on French classics like beef bourguignon, and their signature spaghetti Bolognese that arrives in a glass jar, and which is housed in an old dairy barn. Specializing in dairy foods and cheeses it is a warm and trendy restaurant where locally produced foods are emphasized and integrated into classic Savoyard fare.
With indoor and outdoor dining (and unique “onesies” given to underdressed outdoor diners on the coldest days) it is also a place where elaborate wine and cheese tastings regularly transpire.
A Hop from the Cable Car
If the least formal dining experience is what’s desired, then it is to Le Signal you should venture. Just off the cable car, it has a slogan of “Art Food Music” and features an art gallery, a self-service room where lunches and apres ski breakfasts are a DIY affair and offer an amazing array of foods. The food served upstairs in the restaurant, and before the appealing fireplace, emphasizes locally grown or produced foods. Comfort food is the best expression to apply to the many dishes served in the restaurant, but comfort food made from only the most exquisite ingredients.
Beyond the Big Three
Here, we have looked at three of the trendiest and most popular of the “must try” eateries in Val d’Isere. There are quite a few more dining options that a traveler must consider before leaving the area. They include the self-service “budget” option Les Marmottes (found at the bottom of the Borsat Express) is a favorite among foodies and ski enthusiasts. L’Edelweiss is another well-known option with its amazing terrace views, enormous fireplace, and its case-croute du berge (which is a charcuterie board served with a blend of cheeses and salads), and Le Peau de Vache which is a “rising star” noted for its food and its service. L’Etincelle is another option famous for its pizza and barbecue, while La Baraque is one of the hottest and trendiest with its amazing burgers and lively atmosphere. Sur La Montagne, Le Lodge, and La Casserole also rate highly, and La Table d L’ours is a five-star option along with La Grand Ourse (ideal for an upscale lunch).
As you can see, Val d’Isere is ideal for food enthusiasts of all kinds, and you don’t even have to ski to enjoy the many delicious adventures that await.