Great Restaurants in Valmorel – Families Welcome
Eating out in the French Alps is an immersive experience. In fact you are barely able to sit down for a moment without being invited to grill, stir, toast or taste something. The food is shaped by location, the supply of ingredients and skiers appetites and wallets. It is infused with mountain tradition, history and family recipes. But as the purpose built resorts grow up and reinvent themselves for the 21st century, so does the cuisine. When Atout France invited us to the Alps, we jumped at the chance to taste our way around the mountain and town restaurants in Valmorel. In this advertising feature we bring you our low down on some great family friendly restaurants in Valmorel…
Family friendly apres ski
One of the joys of active holidays is getting the kids away from their devices and their bedrooms and having proper family meals together. On a ski holiday everyone is always hungry and Valmorel provides handsome meals to fill us up. In this traditional Savoyard village house specialities are often cooked at the table. We try everything from braserade to fondue, and everyone joins in, including Matthew our vegetarian teen. Here’s our verdict on nine places to eat in Valmorel and what you can expect from the food and the ambience.
9 Great Restaurants in Valmorel
1 The one with the BBQ’s: L’Altipiano,Valmorel
You might think you are in Oz as you cook your own food on a BBQ flame at your table as the sun shines down, but no, this is definitely the Alps – you can see the ski slopes of Valmorel from your seat. But while the BBQ’s are a permanent and popular piece of the furniture at L’Altipiano, they’re not the only thing people come for at this traditional mountain restaurant – the burgers with Reblochon are a hit and the chef cooks up popular Asian inspired dishes. The menu of the day is good value. On the day we visit it is smoked salmon blinis followed by duck in orange sauce plus a desert for just 26 euros. The desert celebrates Valmorel’s 40th anniversary with an iced flourish. You need to catch this restaurant in its current form quickly – co-owner of seventeen years Nicole Van Rijsewijk is off next year to start a holiday company in Holland. L’Altipiano can also be busy with up to 300 covers a day so do book in peak season.
Family Friendly Tip: L’Altipiano often has live music, especially when the weather is good. Last year a saxophonist played regularly and there are plans for more musical accompaniment this year. Not all the chilling round here is done by the snow!
2 The one delivered to your apartment: Les Fondus de Raclette, Valmorel
If you fancy a night in, it’s worth investing in a raclette delivered to your apartment. Ours is provided by Emma, who recently started the delivery service, Les Fondus de Raclette, with her business partner and hopes to expand into fondu delivery soon. Laden down with cool box and basket she accompanies me into the kitchen to explain how it all works. She hands me a pack of cooked new potatoes, telling me to immerse them in hot water to keep them warm till we are ready to eat them. She opens the cool box to reveal two beautifully laid out wooden cartons- one with three types of raclette cheese (garlic, traditional and smoked) and the other made up of Savoyard hams and pickle. Our CGH apartments provide the equipment for cooking it and we make the meal last a couple of hours, toasting the different kinds of cheese in little dishes and washing it down with the white wine she slips into the fridge as a parting gift.
Family Friendly Tip: In our experience, whether in a restaurant or a raclette delivery like this, you get far more cheese, meat and potatoes than a regular human can eat. So order for one or two less than in your group (especially if you have younger kids) and you’ll still have plenty to go around and probably enough cheese and meat for sandwiches on the slopes for days after.
3 The one with the swings: Jimbo Lolo, Valmorel
A Tex Mex restaurant is a rare thing in a ski town, and Jimbo Lolo’s brightly coloured exterior makes it stand out from other bars and cafes, especially when the town is covered in snow. It stands out in other ways too, with its fabulously colourful cocktails, supped on swings at the bar. Co-owner Christian Vallier took his influences from St Martin in The Caribbean where he lived for three years and Mexico where he travelled as a backpacker. “Jimbo Lolo is an exotic name, with exotic decoration and atmosphere. People like local food but sometimes they prefer something different,” he says. We recommend the burritos, the chile con carne, and the banana milk shakes. Christian’s wife, who runs the kitchen, also puts together some great tapas and the restaurant even has its own fun currency.
Family Friendly Tip: Order a virgin cocktail. Line your kids up on a swing for a photo opp and confuse your Facebook friends with your Caribbean shots.
4 The one with the whisky and wigs: Hotel du Bourg, Valmorel
If you visit Valmorel you need to pop into Hotel Du Bourg, an ‘English pub’ that commands attention in the centre of this prettiest of village hubs. But don’t fret, if you have a young family you will probably do this naturally; it’s right next to the Piou Piou kids club and perfect for warming up with a hot chocolate after a day on the slopes or a round of biathlon. It’s a warming experience all round, from the fire to the cycling on the TV, to the games for the kids, to the cocktails and the complimentary beer snacks. There’s home made soup sitting warming on the counter and a huge choice of whiskies. “We’ll be back” I say to the barman when he thanks us for our visit. And we were. Every day. Sadly we didn’t manage to fit in the weekly poker night; yet another reason to return.
Family Friendly Tip: if you like to dress to impress, try on the curious selection of wigs hanging on pegs near the fireplace. I suited the curly pink one best.
5 The pink one: Les Voiles du Nant, Valmorel
At the top of the Altispace chair lift, Les Voiles du Nant is a restaurant you literally can’t miss – its terrace furnishings are all bright pink. For the last six years Vol du Nantes has been cooking fine French food for skiers and inviting them to take it on the south facing outdoor terrace. Ingredients are thoughtfully sourced and top quality – 80 per cent or more are fresh. There’s also a sandwich bar for those who prefer a quick snack. Order a glass of champagne from the outside wine bar and enjoy the panorama of the Tarentaise, or if it’s not too busy, order a coffee and have a chat with the locals. The beef stew seemed to be a firm favourite on my visit.
Family Friendly Tip: Get there early for lunch and hang out on the huge white sofas in the centre of the terrace. You will feel like you are king and queen of the mountain. If it’s cold you even get a blanket.
6 The one with the Genepi: SkiRoc, Valmorel
If you like your food to look good SkiRoc is one for you. The presentation of dishes is exemplary. The food is pretty top notch too. The restaurant is lacking a bit in atmosphere on our visit compared to others in the town but it is still early in the season. SkiRoc specialises in modern French and European dishes and many are Savoyard specialities. I have a foie gras starter followed by a fondu which ticks all the boxes while Stuart opts for the lamb (souris d’Agneau), a local favourite with the lightest of sides. The puddings are works of art. The kids adore the Chocolate Royal. We order a bottle of fruity Gamay Jongieux, a Savoie wine from La Cave du Prieure and are offered complimentary Genepi liquor by the owner as we leave, full and satisfied.
Family Friendly Tip: Little ones will love the kids’ meals with melt in your mouth fries coming in a mini basket fryer and robust burgers.
7 The one with the mini grill: Le Petit Savoyarde, Valmorel
Le Petit Savoyard is a family sized restaurant, and we assume it is empty until we pop downstairs and notice lots of other families tucked away into little corners. The restaurant is situated right in the centre of Valmorel and we start our evening off at the bar with one of its quality beers – in this case a dark and hoppy ‘Christmas beer’ supped as Santa parachutes into the village. Yes really. As it is our first night we ordered a traditional dish; the brazerade Ptit Sav’ aux trois viands, which our fourteen year old nicknames his meat kitchen. He then proceeds to run a grill service all night, cooking the chicken, duck and steak. His enthusiasm, while unprecedented, proves to be a one off. He hasn’t so much as picked up a spatula since. The other teen chooses a pizza which is possibly a contender for the biggest pizza in the world competition. It is instantly declared his favourite meal of the holiday despite the fact it is his first.
Family Friendly Tip: There are five different varieties of tartiflette on the menu at Le Petit Savoyard. Why not try one each and compare?
8 The one with the pancakes: Le Petit Prince, Valmorel
This quickly becomes our preferred café of choice for morning coffee in the resort. And then we discover the cake. Le Petit Prince offers traditional mountain food with a Menu Savoyard for that has all the cheese based classics you could possibly want to eat in one meal from Beaufort Tarte to tartiflette Bergere. Families pack out the warm interior to have local favourites like fondu and raclette, or steaks cooked on hot stones. Be aware that the portions are big and the owners are most proud of their crepes, which come with a range of sweet accompaniments. Leave room.
Family Friendly Tip: If you don’t fancy a huge lunch, or the dreamy crepes, the restaurant produces a couple of fresh cakes a day which are perfect with morning or afternoon coffee. We recommend the banana toffee and coconut tart but the ubiquitous local tarte aux myrtilles is also on offer.
9 The one with the dog: La Vache Orange, Valmorel
In my view there is one reason to visit this La Vache Orange; the resident mountain dog who is more than happy to be cuddled, petted, stroked, and called. There are other reasons of course. Situated at the top of Les Lanchettes chair lift, it has a 360 degree view of the surrounding peaks, there are big white leather sofas that feel like they are on the snow. And the owner is friendly. But it’s the dog that makes it for me.
Family Friendly Tip: If you’re not dog lovers you’ll also find a cow on the terrace. It’s bright orange (giving the name to the restaurant) and it is a bit hard when you pet it. But when the sun is shining on the slopes everything has a warmth and life of its own.
Disclosure Note: This post is brought to you in a collaboration with Atout France and France Montagnes. All opinion, photography, overeating, having cocktails on bar swings and hanging out with mountain dogs was all our own.