Zermatt mountain restaurants are as famous for their cuisine as it is for skiing. They boast 50 over mountain restaurants, which is pretty impressive comparing to other resorts I have been to such as Val D’Isere and Niseko, Japan. And they range from the mass casual ones to the finer ones with great food and wine. Well, being with so many foodies and wine aficionados, it was a given that somehow the restaurants planned each day for the ski week would be the main determining factor where we ski each day. Just take note that the budget here per head is easily 60 – 90 swiss francs per head (including wine and depending if you are as hungry as me).
Here is my list of my favourite restaurants starting with the best and my favourite in my opinion. Remember to book them in advance as many of these restaurants get very crowded during lunch during the peak ski season from December to February. In general, seafood and fish is extremely fresh here, and for meats, lamb is the best, it’s a pity I can’t bear to eat those cute fluffy sheep. Skip the beef if you can, as they seem rather tough in texture, not fantastic quality in my opinion.
1. Findlerhof www.findlerhof.com; 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland; Tel:+41 27 967 25 88
This restaurant has been in the Gault Millau and the Michelin Guide for many years. Located in a rather remote location in the Findeln area, it’s a short ski below the top station of the Sunnegga Express funicular lift. The tricky part is having to walk down the icy hardened floors along a narrow path with only a rope to hold on to to get to the restaurant. But once you get here, it’s well worth it. There’s a fun family atmosphere here thanks to hosts Franz and Heidl. Serving Mediterranean and Italian food, you will be spoilt for choice, we ordered pretty much almost everything on the menu. My favourites were the vitello tonnato and prawn pasta. The tiramisu at the end wasn’t too shabby either!
2. Zum See 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland; Tel:+41 27 967 20 45
This came highly recommended through various friends and we knew we had to come here. The challenge is getting here. It’s located on a narrow red run down from Furi, where the Matterhorn Express is – only attempt it if you are at a intermediate level at the minimum. So R and Y decided to walk down very slowly in normal walking shoes after returning their ski shoes at the base of Matterhorn Express. This choice was also in consideration of the long journey down from the restaurant which was another long crazy red run down or a good 20-30 mins walk down. After a real work out getting here, the food was really enjoyable. I would highly recommend the sweetbreads with pasta, Mediterranean fish soup and their signature Napolean, similar to a mille feuille, which had the most calorie laden cream but so worth it!
Views of the mountains from the Matterhorn Express.
In the ‘greenhouse’ terrace of Zum See.
Sweetbreads! The best here.
The signature Napolean, a must try for dessert.
3. Cervo www.cervo.ch/restaurant Riedweg 156, Zermatt 3920, Switzerland; Tel: +41279681212
For lazy bums like us after skiing, I have to applaud this location for being the easiest to get to. Just take the lift up from the base of Sunnega Express and it’s just across the road, or take the electric taxi up, otherwise skiiers can choose to ski down the red run just behind it. As part of the Cervo boutique hotel, the restaurant with a rating of 14 on the Gault Millau is known especially for their burger and the ever famous Cervo fries – yes it’s really good! The restaurant interiors take on a more modern twist to the rustic Swiss ski lodge feel, and overall it had a nice vibe and ambience to it. Plus they have a private dining room available as well for group bookings. I especially loved the Lamb’s Lettuce, so good we had 2 rounds of this salad, the lobster pasta and the Cervo fries – it tasted better than the burger for sure.
Gorgeous terrace of Cervo restaurant.
4. Chez Vrony www.chezvrony.ch Findeln, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland; Tel:+41 27 967 25 52
Featured prominently on many websites as one of THE places to eat at in Zermatt, of course we headed here. It was our 2nd ski day that we attempted to come here, and it was pretty tiring. Only way to get here is towards Flindeln via the Sunnega express and then ski down a long stretch of blue runs. A few of us arrived here 30 mins late, after taking a wrong route, and yes maybe that did spoil my appetite a bit. Food here is classic swiss with some international options, and their raclette and fondue was very good, but to be fair, I didn’t think the rest of the food was so good it deserved that long ski run down. If you don’t mind the sun here during sunny days, the terrace is worth sitting out to enjoy the views of the Matterhorn. It’s no wonder the number of weddings that’s been held here, from the countless photos that line the walls here.
Low ceilings and cramped tables – a signature in Chez Vrony.
Digging into the famous fondue.
Burger, a typical ski lunch order- but this wasn’t that great.
5. Al Bosco www.riffelalp.com Hans-Jörg und Claudia Walther, 3920 Zermatt; Tel: +41 27 966 05 55
Located almost in isolation is Al Bosco at the Riffelalp Resort. This restaurant serves up Italian food, and it’s pretty much the only nicer option to head to, if you are skiing around this zone. It was nice way to end our last ski day coming here with our instructor Claire, probably because we were so happy to see snow finally and managed to accomplish some nice red runs to get here. The food here isn’t fantastic to be fair, the pastas we had were pretty so so, I think the main star had to be the pizza which is shaped like the Matterhorn and the lamb risotto. We also had the opportunity to discover something new – the Gonergrat Railway, thanks to Claire our ski instructor. After lunch, we had to do some walking in our skis for a good 15 minutes before arriving at the station, and taking a nice 20-minute leisurely ride down to the base of the slopes at Zermatt.
Interiors of Al Bosco
Pastas and lamb risotto.
Matterhorn shaped pizza – my favourite from here.
A pity we didn’t get to go to Chalet Etoile in Cervinia, Italy (had heard and read so much about it too), which is easily accessed from Zermatt. That’s the beauty of skiing here, where you can literally cross to a different country on the mountains. Due to the sudden snowfall, the lifts were all closed, and we did not want to risk being stranded in Italy side, it’s a good 4 to 5 hours by car to head back to Zermatt, too risky to attempt when we were all due to leave Zermatt the next day. So be sure to include this in your list if you are heading to Zermatt anytime and weather permits you. Interestingly, when I came across Telegraph’s article on Top 10 Best Mountain restaurants, I have already covered 4 (including La Folie Douce in Val D’Isere)! Here’s to more skiing and eating on gorgeous mountain slopes for 2015!