Written by our resident expert Juraj
We’re very excited to have launched our new ski school in Zermatt this year and as well as being known as one of the best ski resorts in the world Zermatt is also known for its amazing cuisine; there are many fantastic restaurants in the ski area and in the town which have been awarded Michelin stars and Gault Millau points.
I picked some of the ‘must visit’ restaurants in the ski area and don’t worry, you don’t have to be a necessarily great skier to be able to visit them.
I would start at the Sunnega side, where you can visit restaurants Chez Vrony and Findlerhof. Both of them are on a blue run, so most people will be able to ski there, or if you are a beginner or non-skier, you can walk there along the snowy trails in hiking shoes.
Findlerhof, also known locally as Franz & Heidis, after its owners, is located on the Zermatt side of the resort near the village of Findeln, just a few metres below Chez Vrony. This restaurant offers great local dishes, to be expected as it is run by two locals, and is paired with an incredible hand-selected wine list. The menu offers a great pasta and fish selection, great for the pescatarian, and is accessible for all skiers from beginner level; it is also accessible via a walking path.
It’s hard to know what’s best, the food, location, or the atmosphere, but I love it. My top dishes here are the lamb salad or the fish soup. Take a look at the menu, I’m sure you will find something delicious.
Chez Vrony, a chic restaurant and probably the most famous restaurant on the slopes, is family-owned with a long tradition. Again located in the village of Findeln on the Zermatt side, you can take the gondola up and walk down if you have non-skiers in your party, otherwise, it’s a great ski-in restaurant accessible from a blue run. When you get there, you will be seated most likely by one of the owners Max or Veronika. The view on the Matterhorn from the terrace is something you will never forget, and in combination with their traditional food and great wine, it’s fantastic. Pretty much everything on the menu is good, and the terrace offers great views of the Matterhorn on a clear day. Top trip – try the Wallisian platters. We also recommend the Vrony burger and variation of desserts. You will not be disappointed.
CERVO, located in town with its own chalet accommodation too, boasts a fantastic restaurant and apres bar. If you’re stopping in for lunch, it is just a short ride back up the mountain on the Sunnegga funicular located by the restaurant. Known amongst regulars for its delicious truffle oil and parmesan chips, and locally sourced and reared meats, they place a strong focus on sustainability and quality. Views of the Matterhorn are also not to be sniffed at
On the side called Riffelberg is another beautiful place for a quick coffee or lunch, called Alphitta, again with a panoramic Matterhorn view from the terrace. Run by an Irish guy and Dutch lady the offerings include a great mix of Asian fusion and traditional swiss. Tanja and Dave will give you their menu recommendations depending on what you fancy.
Alphitta is a restaurant for families accessible by the Gornagratt train which is a short 20 minute journey from Zermatt and ideal for an after-ski school trip. Daily specials are always delicious and there is a big St Patricks day party each year, not to be missed!
Blatten is the oldest restaurant in Zermatt, famed for its truffle and crayfish risotto that is incredible. Great to go to if you’re having a later lunch as it’s just a short ten minute ski back into Zermatt. Especially good to go to at the end of the season as it gets the sun.
On the way down from Furi, Zum See is located in a little mountain hamlet of the same name next to a chapel a short ski down on the Furi- Zermatt piste, it is also possible by walking trail.
Surrounded by old wooden houses, the location gives this place a very unique atmosphere. When higher up on the mountain temperature drops a little too low, this is the place to be, but even on warmer days, it’s worth a visit.
They are famous for their freshly-made mille-feuille (also known as crèmeschnitte in this region) for dessert or simply a sweet treat. Calf liver with rosti and Cremeschnitte ‘Zum See’ as a dessert is a good choice. They pride themselves on fresh ingredients and are known for their fantastic meat dishes. If you have a big group there’s a room in the attic that can be rented for a private dining experience; for this you must book well in advance.
At the foot of the Matterhorn is Staffelalp restaurant. You will find it on the way from Schwarzsee to Furi. Very nice and professional staff will welcome you here. Don´t be confused by its appearance, the original restaurant was destroyed by the fire 2 years ago and a temporary wooden construction was assembled to allow the restaurant to re-open, but hopefully, it will get its previous look back in the near future. From the restaurant and the terrace, you will see the Matterhorn from a different angle. Definitely worth stopping by to try their pulled pork with rosti.
Zermatt as a ski resort is spread over the border of two countries, Switzerland and Italy. It´s always nice to make atrip to the other side if the weather allows.
Perfectly located if you are planning trip and lunch on Italian side
Take your skis off, and Caroline or her brother Kalle will welcome you. In the kitchen, their mum Ulla is making sure you get the best food. My tip is to order the spagetti frutti di mare.
Chalet Etoiles sits below the Bontadini restaurant and again has the option of a self-service or a waitress served restaurant. In the restaurant, the handmade pasta is renowned. It’s a ‘must book’ place at least 24 hours in advance, and be prepared to wait up to half an hour for your booking as the Italian dining style is rather more relaxed than you may be used to!
In the part of the resort also on the Italian side called Valtornanche, you can find restaurant Foyer des Guides. To get there you need good stamina and must be able to ski red slopes because this restaurant is almost at the bottom of one of the longest runs in the resort (some runs can be around 10km long). Almost spring weather from January, it’s worth stopping for a coffee at least. If you stay for lunch, food from their local ingredients and great wine will be sure to hit the spot. Just make sure you don´t miss the last lift back to Switzerland!
Refugia guide del cervino is at the top of the Cervinia side, and is well worth a visit for a morning coffee in their snack bar; the best coffee you’ll find for a euro. The Cervinia side is especially good to ski after February as it gets the sun, along with some great skiing.
Bontadini also on the Cervinia side, this place is great for some cheap eats; it has a snack bar on top that offers some great local Italian soups and big paninis. You can call up in advance and book for a sit down menu lunch for the restaurant below the snack bar. The restaurant has incredible floor to ceiling windows which look down the Aosta valley. Their bread selection is unrivalled elsewhere, with 8 or 10 different types of bread made with locally sourced ingredients on site.
No website to speak of – use google!
Princeppi Delle Nevi a hotel directly translating as ‘the price of the snow’ this is a place for a really extra special lunch, serving haute cuisine inspired by traditional Italian fare.. Ideal for those who don’t like to be rushed and want to escape the crowds, they only serve one sitting at lunch. Also a must book in advance and can be quite tricky to find, so a good option if you’re taking a guide or instructor for the day. You will need to get the timings right if eating here, as this is located at the bottom of Cervinia; leave by 2.30pm at the latest if you want to make it back to Zermatt in time!
There are many more great restaurants In Zermatt, so don´t take these as the only options. Apologies to the amazing restaurants we’ve missed here that also deserve a mention, but we’ll include you in part 2!