The French town of Morzine is far more than ‘just’ a ski resort, it is a year-round holiday destination popular with the French and English alike. It is no surprise, therefore, that as well as the cafés selling hot chocolate and vin chaud to winter sports enthusiasts, there are also a range of excellent eateries to satisfy this year-round cosmopolitan crowd.
Of course, that’s not to underplay its role as a ski resort, Morzine is, after all, the capital of France’s famous Portes du Soleil ski area, linking it to the resort of Avoriaz and others stretching across the Swiss boarder. All in all there are a whopping 650km of pistes which you can access from the lifts of Morzine. And one thing’s for sure, all that skiing is going to work up quite an appetite.
If you’re anything like me then a ski holiday is as much about sampling excellent local cuisine as it is about skiing (it’s the combination of both within one holiday which makes skiing about as good as a holiday can get!). But I’ll leave others to tell you about the fantastic varied skiing on offer in the Portes du Soleil, and I’ll concentrate on the food instead.
Here’s my selection of the best restaurants in and around Morzine, both on and off the piste.
Chef Alexandre Baud-Pachon was born in Morzine before setting off on his travels to work in some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens including: Le Chat Botte in Geneva, Les Pres d’Eugenie (with chef Michel Guerard), and Jean Pierre Jacob in Courchevel. When he returned to Morzine and became head chef at L’Atelier in the Hotel Samoyede, Baud-Pachon was determined to use all the skills he had picked up to transform the local ingredients he knew and loved into something truly special. He was quickly rewarded with his own Michelin Star.
The menu at the L’Atelier pays homage to the great chefs he has worked with and the cuisine on which he was raised. Baud-Pachon changes the menu regularly based on the very best fresh ingredients, but when I went the pan-fried duck foie gras with gingerbread crumble was truly out of this world. This is a Michelin-starred restaurant but don’t expect it to be overly stuffy, there is a cosy, welcoming Alpine charm at the L’Atelier which will make you feel right at home.
Skiing over to Les Gets from Morzine is a great morning’s ski which is then properly rewarded by a slap-up lunch at La Paika. Set in a traditional wood cabin in the mountains (on the blue run Vorosses), the restaurant has a wonderful terrace for those crisp, sunny days. The chef here uses local produce from the market to create a menu of traditional Alpine fare with a modern twist – which deserves spending plenty of time at the table to appreciate and savour.
If the sun is shining expect a barbecue outside and stunning views, otherwise step inside the cosy interior for some excellent, warming dishes. Just don’t miss the last lift home.
Le Clin d’Oeil
It might seem strange to come to Morzine in the Alps to enjoy a really good, traditional south-western cassoulet but that is just what will happen if you venture into Le Clin d’Oeil. The patrons here came originally from the South West and brought their local cuisine with them. The Cassoulet is one of the best I’ve ever tasted, anywhere in France, and I’m still dreaming about the Cep Risotto.
If all you want in the mountains is mountain fare then you won’t be disappointed either, there are also the usual fondues, tartiflette and raclette on the menu, all excellent (well, I had to try them all in the name of research, didn’t I?). But I would strongly encourage you to try the Cassoulet at least once.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the heart of Morzine, then La Grange is a great option for lunch or dinner. A cosy Alpine interior of aged wood, scrubbed wooden tables and a roaring fire all work beautifully with the rustic Savoyard cuisine. Expect plenty of cheese and plates piled high with local meats, although, unusually for a ski resort, there is actually a good choice of vegetarian dishes here too.
Be warned, La Grange is very popular and only open from Wednesday to Sunday, so it’s definitely worth booking a table in advance. Another way to taste their dishes is to take advantage of the restaurant’s catering service. If you’re staying in self catering accommodation, or it’s the chalet host’s night off, you could enjoy an excellent meal delivered directly to your door.
How to Get to Morzine
Getting to Morzine couldn’t be easier with regular flights to Geneva Airport by a range of airlines including easyJet and British Airways. The flight will take around 90 minutes, depending on which UK airport you fly out of, and the transfer time to the resort is about 90 minutes as well. Book a Shuttle Direct airport transfer online before you set off and a driver will be at the airport to meet you when you land, ready to drive you directly to your accommodation in the resort.
Where to Stay
Hotel Le Samoyede – Foodies will love the four-star Hotel Le Samoyede thanks to the Michelin-starred L’Atelier d’Alexandre restaurant which is part of the hotel. The rooms are comfortable, the communal areas cosily Alpine, but it is the food which is the real draw here.
Les Airelles – Another hotel with an excellent restaurant is Les Airelles. Expect local dishes to be given a fine-dining twist in the cosy Alpine dining room. This hotel also has the bonus of an on-site spa with treatment rooms to help you soothe tired muscles after a day on the slopes.
Le Dahu Hotels-Chalets de Tradition – As the name suggests the Le Dahu Hotels-Chalets de Tradition is full of traditional Alpine charm. Downstairs there is an inviting spa and swimming pool and a bar for après ski cocktails.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is one of Europe’s leading names in airport transfers, offering a range of services from premium, featuring luxury interiors and a uniformed chauffeur, to standard in an executive car which will take you to your destination in comfort. Let the company know when you’re booking what ski equipment you will be bringing with you and they will transport it to the resort for you at no extra charge.