For everyone at Chalet Floralie, the rules of dining out in the mountains are simple – somewhere that is local and authentic and where the food is freshly cooked. Fortunately, the gastronomic reputation of the Three Valleys has scored in recent years and today has no less than 18 Michelin stars shared between 12 restaurants. Listed below are 8 of our favourite restaurants in the Three Valleys that you have to try!
1. Le Farçon, La Tania
Set in La Tania, at the bottom of the beautiful, tree-lined Folyères run, is the unassuming Le Farçon restaurant run by local chef Julian Machet. It can easily be missed as you hurtle down the slope, but make sure you don’t! The Michelin Guide didn’t and as such awarded it a star in 2006.
Machete offers a superb four-course skier’s lunch for just shy of €40 and in fact it so good, non-skiers will even happily make the 40 minute drive from Saint Martin to dine there. Standout dishes over the years have included a celeriac velouté starter with pineapple sorbet, a suckling pig, and a delicious deconstructed Black Forest gateau. There are always amuses bouches to start and petit-fours and fudge to finish, and there’s a sense of generosity here that puts many other restaurants to shame.
2. Chez Pépé Nicholas, Val Thorens/Les Menuires
Not only does Chez Pépé Nicolas have welcoming staff, beautiful views of the Three Valleys from its terrace and a quirky décor, it also has wonderful food. Their cheeses are made on-site during the summer, when you can visit the restaurant and farm-shop, meet the animals, milk the goats and even enjoy an ice-cream. The ski access is via Les Bruyères piste from Les Menuires or La Pluiviomètre from Val Thorens.
3. L’Oxalys, Val Thorens
This fabulous little 2-star Michelin restaurant is ideal for a cosy indoor lunch on a snowy, cold day, or dining al-fresco with a view to die for! This delightful family-run restaurant serves fabulous food at reasonable prices, and with less of a fanfare than at the 3-star La Bouitte. We love it!
4. Le Montagnard, Saint Martin de Belleville
Set in a converted hayloft, Le Montagnard has been run by the same family that own Chez Pépé Nicolas (see above) since 1998 and has the same sense of being deeply rooted in the landscape. The menu is largely traditional to the region and has even had input from a former French Masterchef contestant. While the restaurant has a new terrace to attract lunchtime skiers, it is generally regarded as a cosy dinner spot. Highlights on the menu include beautiful filet of beef, as well as rabbit and rack of lamb – and they have recently been working with Chambery wine specialist Vincent Rosset on their wine list.
5. La Pause, Val Thorens
La Pause, the restaurant of the Hôtel Portillo in the centre of Val Thorens, serves what could be called as “la cuisine de la grand-mère” – or Grandmother’s cooking – and they do it very well! With a welcoming, friendly atmosphere, La Pause is often filled with locals and offer beautifully fresh ingredients on the menu, taking care of each dish they serve. As such, they are one of only a few restaurants in the Three Valleys that serves the traditional (and painstakingly long to prepare) Savoyard dish “Pommes Dauphines” – mashed potato mixed with eggs and covered in choux pastry, before being deep fried. A definite must for anyone passionate about food!
6. Simple et Meilleur, Saint Martin de Belleville
Featured in the 2020 Michelin Guide, Simple et Meilleur is the Bistro attached to the 3-star La Bouitte Hotel and Spa and allows for a less formal dining experience than the restaurant of its counterpart. Run by two brothers, the menu is an ode to the Savoyard region and is to be sampled in a beautifully simple, yet traditional, dining-room whose windows look out on to the mountains. In winter, you can ski right up to the door!
7. Le Corbeleys, Saint Martin de Belleville
You can expect a warm and friendly welcome and beautifully cooked mountain food at this quirky little mountain restaurant. Situated just above the Saint Martin Express on the Biolay piste, the restaurant’s gorgeous south-facing terrace makes for a lovely location to have lunch, a vin chaud or even a refreshing beer and you even get to ski the famous red Jerusalem run to get there!
8. La Saulire, Courchevel
If you find Michelin-starred restaurants a little too fussy or fancy, then perhaps you should book a table at La Saulire. The owner, Jacques Trauchessec, has run his restaurant for over 40 years and his chef, Benoit Redono, has been with him for 14 of them. As you would imagine, they’ve got their business down to a fine art and the menu is very consistent from one day to the next. La Saulire specialises in black truffles from the Rhône Valley, which adds depth to many of the dishes served. Two of the best are the lamb’s lettuce salad with truffle parmesan shavings and a refined olive oil and the roasted pigeon with fresh truffles. Other highlights include the blackened cod (without truffles) and their melt-in-your-mouth Tarte au Pommes. In other words, you don’t have to eat truffles if you don’t want to!