By many accounts, the French Alps ski resort of Meribel is the most popular place in Europe for Brits on a skiing holiday. As one of the world’s largest ski resort areas, Meribel and its surrounding villages of the Three Valleys are home to a wide range of dining options. From quick and cheap pizza to gourmet French cuisine, visitors have plenty to choose from among the 80 or so eateries in and around the village.
Many of the best restaurants in Meribel are found in the resort’s top hotels. With their luxurious atmosphere and stunning alpine views, places like the Allodis, the Grand Coeur and the Escale are hard to beat. You’ll pay dearly for the experience, but Meribel attracts some very skilled chefs in its finer restaurants. Chez Kiki is the resort’s most famous restaurant, especially for steaks, but similarly excellent menus can be found at Bistro du Praz and Le Plantain.
The quintessential Three Valleys meal centres around the traditional Savoyard cuisine of this region. There are several restaurants serving this rustic and delicious style of mountain fare, most notably Le Refuge, Cro Magnon, Galette and Oree du Bois. Cheese is another important commodity of the region, best enjoyed in its myriad incarnations such as fondue at the Fromagerie, situated right in the heart of the resort village.
Much of the dining in Meribel is on the expensive end of the scale, so budget accordingly if you plan to eat more than pasta and pub fare. The intimate and rustic interior of Kouisena is well worth a visit, especially for its quality cuts of meat cooked over open fires. Evolution is another newcomer to the resort, dishing out an international menu in its stylish, contemporary café. In Altiport, the popular Blanchot and the newly opened Zinc Brasserie are both great choices for lunch on the slopes.
Thankfully, Meribel has loads of mid-range restaurants with lively atmospheres and affordable menus. La Taverne, right in the centre of the village, is one of the most popular and busiest places. A dinner here will keep you close to the ensuing nightlife of the resort. Lodge de Village is also nearby and features a comprehensive menu catering to all walks of life. It is popular with families who want a quick walk home after dinner. La Tsaretta, however, is a true locals’ café; it is situated down the mountain, in the traditional village of Les Allues. Dine here to mingle with Meribel’s permanent residents.
Cheap meals are most easily found at places such as Pizza Express or the massive cafeteria-style restaurants on the slopes. The cafeterias are particularly popular since they are essentially ski-in, ski-out, so expect packed and chaotic conditions between noon and 13:00. The best advice is to have your lunch early or late to avoid the crowds.
Rhododendron is one such slopes-side cafeteria, with three separate restaurant areas serving a very diverse menu. Almost everything is available here, from a cheap sandwich or beverage to a three-course lunch. Trois Marches is another busy and affordable spot at the top of the Plattieres 3 gondola. Don’t expect much in the way of table service or staff attention in the cafeterias as it’s every person for them self.
The first thing to do when you arrive in Meribel is stop by the tourist office in the village centre and pick up a free copy of Le Guide des Restaurants. It covers the whole gambit, from the best restaurants in Meribel to the casual creperies and pizzerias. Another option for those lodging in a chalet with some kind of kitchen is to dine in. Meribel has 10 supermarkets, mini-marts, bakeries and butchers providing supplies for the local population and self-catering types.
John is a guest blogger from Alpine Action Meribel Chalets.