Zermatt mountain restaurants are world famous for the supreme quality of their slope-side eating; indeed we know quite a few people who ski (or occasionally sledge!) to eat. No other resort has as many cosy and picturesque mountain huts with table service and gourmet food – some of these huts are listed in the Michelin and Gault-Millau guides. On the other hand, those huts where we state ‘simple food’ all serve excellent local specialities such as rösti (hash browns) or Käseschnitte (slice of bread soaked in white wine and melted cheese).
Please note that it is always strongly advisable to book your table, especially if the weather is bad or cold, since indoor seating capacity is smaller than outdoor. If the sun is shining and there is no wind, you’ll be able to sit outside on most days, even in mid winter.
Here are our recommendations, by area, by run, in order of preference. A () symbol indicates a mountain restaurant which can be reached by non-skiers in the winter. You will find more information about these at the end of the restaurant section. All these restaurants are also open in the summer, from mid-June to mid-September, and can be reached on foot. The Zermatt mountain restaurants with a () are the most accessible.
Zermatt mountain restaurants: Sunnegga – Rothorn Area
The blue run from Sunnegga to Findeln (No. 5) is fabled for its mountain huts – there were 5 at the last count. It’s quite easy to miss them, so ski slowly and look out for the wooden signs giving directions.
Findlerhof () (Franz & Heidi). Tel. 027 967 2588. This is the lowest hut on the slope and quite possibly the best mountain food Zermatt has to offer, you leave your skis by a small white chapel and walk down a narrow path in-between old wooden chalets. Perfect food: the quiche is outstanding and is Heston Blumenthal’s favourite; the truffle ravioli famous, the oysters always fresh and the wine list is extensive. Instead of a super-Tuscan, we suggest you try one of the Swiss Merlots from Ticino – they easily rival St Emilion. An exceptional culinary mountain experience.
Chez Vrony (). Tel. 027 967 25 52. An original and creative menu, a chic setting with a bigger terrace, sun-loungers and Ibiza chill-out music, several separate individual dining rooms inside and postmodern chalet decoration by Heinz Julen, Zermatt’s resident artist who also designed the Vernissage bar and cinema. Try the Sergio plate as a shared starter (home made air-dried beef sprinkled with home-made cheese shavings and olive oil), the venison sausage and the mountain ravioli.
The three following Zermatt mountain restaurants huts are good and less crowded alternatives, all are on the Findeln run and signposted.
Adler () Tel. 027 967 10 58 (Cool chill-out open bar and lounge area, excellent roast chicken)
Enzian () Tel. 027 967 64 04
Paradies () Tel. 027 967 34 51
Fluhalp (). Tel. 027 967 2597. On the red run from Rothorn down to Gant (No. 19), this was originally a climber’s hotel – it still has bedrooms. It’s a handsome 4 storey chalet of dark wood and red shutters, with a big terrace, excellent food and live music. The mixed starter wooden board (Fluhalp Teller – specify the Special one) is perfect for those who find choosing difficult, while all the salad based dishes (with lamb fillet, or sesame chicken breasts for instance) are fresh, crisp and colourful. Live music creates a great atmosphere. Great service and a fabulous view, which you can enjoy even when it’s cold due to the glass ‘Wintergarten’.
Rothorn Ristorante Pizzeria () Tel. 027 967 26 75. Just next to the Rothorn cable-car station. Excellent Neapolitan pizzas, great terrace, cosy interior.
The Blue Lounge () at Blauherd is very close to the lift station, and has a small menu with a variety of excellent Flammkuchen (thin pizza from Alsace), cosy sofas and bar stools inside, great sun-deck outside. No reservations.
Tufternalp. On the red Tuftern run from Blauherd to Patrullarve (No. 9), you will find close to the treeline the hut of the same name as the run. It has a cosy terrace which is both picturesque and warm, in front of which mountain deer congregate. The food is very simple: soup, cheese and bread, or mountain salami and bread. Oh, and the best apple pie in Switzerland. We find its very simplicity quite refreshing on occasion. No reservations – self-service.
Zermatt mountain restaurants: Gornergrat – Stockhorn Area
Our favourite Zermatt mountain restaurants cluster around Riffelalp, on run No. 39 coming down from Riffelberg.
Alphitta (). Tel. 027 967 21 14. This cosy wooden chalet is very welcoming with Dave and Tanya Murphy at the helm – a charming terrace, one of the best Matterhorn views, good food from a Mediterranean chef and occasional live music.
Hotel Riffelalp (). Tel 027 967 05 55. This is a five star hotel in the middle of the mountain. It’s an interesting contrast lunching indoors in such elegant surroundings, wearing the provided slippers, especially when a blizzard is raging outside.
Hotel Riffelalp ‘Al Bosco’ (). The outdoor pavilion with simpler fare, try the rich cheese and leek soup served in a Swiss army billy can (‘Gamelle’). It’s a meal in itself.
2. Riffelalp to Furi
Ritty’s (). Tel. 027 967 14 82. If you’re skiing on down run No. 42 from Riffelap to Furi or Zermatt, then this little-known tucked-away hut is the most Heidi-like of them all, with simple food, including the best cheese fondue on the mountain, but slow service. Not much sun on the terrace before February. The turn-off is easy to miss! It’s on the last pitch of run 42, when you can begin to make out the Furi lift station, on your right, under a big banner.
3. Stockhorn & Hohtalli
If you’re skiing Stockhorn and Hohtalli, then there is only one restaurant on this section of the mountain: Ze Seewjinu at Grünsee.Tel. 079 900 23 00. A good terrace, a beautiful tree, hearty food, run by a Zermatt mountain guide.
Zermatt mountain restaurants: Klein Matterhorn – Schwarzsee Area
1. Furi to Zermatt
Most of the best Zermatt mountain restaurants are quite low down, near Furi and on the run from Furi back to the resort (No. 49/50):
Zum See () (Max & Greti). Tel. 027 967 20 45. On par with the Findlerhof, it is set in a small wooden hamlet which hasn’t changed since the middle ages. Superb; we confess to booking the Strudels and cream pies in advance! Outstanding sweetbreads for the brave, well-judged fish soup, the fine wine list is extensive, and a good place to try a Grolla coffee. It’s easy to miss, watch out for the blue banner which leads you left off the main run from Furi, just after the second steep pitch. Be sure to book.
Blatten (). Tel. 027 967 20 96 A bit further down on the same run on your left. Excellent risotto with crayfish and lamb fillet in a pastry case. However its speciality is undoubtedly its “Steinpilz Suppe” a tasty cep mushroom soup clad in a dome of puff pastry. Do also try a ‘Gili-Gili’ digestif.
There are several Zermatt mountain restaurants around this lift station.
Aroleid Kollektiv (). Tel. 076 227 7010. At the end of the red run from Schwarzsee to Furi (No. 51) and run No 62. A young and friendly team, warm setting and delicious creative food with many vegetarian options. The coffee is roasted on the premises (coffee tasting course available) and the tableware is made in the basement pottery atelier (which you can visit, classes are also available).
Simi’s (). Tel. 027 967 26 95. Situated by the bridge on the road between the Furi lift station and the end of run 42 down from Riffelalp, this long established restaurant is led by the ex-chef and maître d’ from Blatten. They have recently shaken the dust off and have joined our selection of top restaurants with cuisine similar to Blatten’s. A welcome addition to the roster!
Les Marmottes (). Tel. 027 967 82 82. It’s the first (highest) hut when coming to the end of the black run from Furgg to Furi (No. 62). You can also reach it from the end of the red run from Schwarzsee to Furi (No. 51) – go to your right around hill just after the Gitz-Gadi restaurant. The owner himself shoots the Chamois on the menu.
Gitz-Gadi ()(hotel Silvana). Tel. 027 966 28 00. Only reachable from red run 51 (and the yellow itineraries 59 and 60 which join the bottom of run 51). We particularly like it in bad weather – it has a very alpine interior with a roaring fire.
Staffelalp (). Tel. 027 967 30 62. On the eponymous red run (No. 52) from Schwarzsee to Furi. This hut is worth going to in good weather, it is at the foot of the north face of the Matterhorn, in an utterly remote corner of the ski area. It’s the closest you’ll get to the mountain without climbing it. The path away from this hut is quite narrow but the new Hirli chairlift means that you no longer need to walk uphill.
Gandegg-Hut. Tel. 079 607 88 68. On the blue/red run (No. 73-74) from the mid-station of the X1 T-bar back down to Trockener Steg. There’s a banner pointing you right off the main run. This was originally a climber’s hut and is spectacularly perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Theodul glacier. Do go to the loo! Simple food, run by a mountain guide.
Schwarzsee (). Tel. 027 967 22 63. A beautiful terrace, the closest view of the Matterhorn, easy non-skier access from the Matterhorn Express bubble.
Zermatt mountain restaurants: Cervinia
You will not only change country, but also language, currency to euros and atmosphere when you lunch in Italy.
The first Italian hut that you will come across is on Testa Grigia at 3,500m, where the Cervinia cable-cars arrive. It’s good for a quick snack (only Italians know how to really toast sandwiches) or a polenta or bowl of pasta. And of course: coffee!
On the glorious Ventina run (No. 7), skier’s left from Testa Grigia, the huts are all quite similar and simple. We find it hard to ski past without having an espresso. The best eating is on the other – skier’s right – side, going down run No 6.
Bontadini. Tel. +39 335 25 03 12. Next to the start of the Bontadini chairlift (P). Past the self-service, down the stairs, is a smart and chic restaurant with huge bay windows. For starters, the octopus salad is unavoidable, or have a mixed plate of Val d’Aosta specialities, which includes smoked lard, chestnuts and honey.
Chalet Etoile. Tel. +39 335 706 96 85. Further down on run 6, before you get to Plan Maison, about half-way along the first chairlift (N). If you miss it, just take the chairlift back up and try again. Italian food served by Swedish waitresses; which is close to being heaven on earth. Sit outside on the sun deck or try and ask for a table in the back room (the restaurant) as opposed to the self-service section where you come in.
Principe dei Nevi. Tel. +39 0166 940 992. Also known as the Snowflake. Just before you get to Cervinia, on the red run 3 from Plan Maison, go right at the fork when you see Cervinia and it’s on your left slightly above the village. A cool boutique hotel, with an outdoor pool, and a really good gourmet restaurant with modern Italian cuisine.
La Grotta. Tel. +39 0166 940 972. Situated at the very bottom of blue run number 5, right by the village of Cervinia. La Grotta has a wonderful sun-deck next to the baby ski slope which is warmer and more sheltered than Etoile, so you can sit outside earlier in the season. Excellent home-made pasta.
Zermatt mountain restaurants: Valtournenche
Not many go this far. At the end of one of the longest runs in Europe (16km/2360m vertical) there is an extraordinary 24 course luncheon to be had including wine for a mere CHF 55 per person. However, getting there is too complex to describe here. We suggest you book one of the Mountain Exposure gourmet guides to take you there if it tickles your taste buds!
Or if you are venturing on your own, Walter’s Foyer des Guides, near the bottom of the Valtournenche resort run, has a beautiful terrace, stylish interior, wonderful wine cellar you can visit, and great local specialties. Tel. +39 0166 932 780.
The following Zermatt mountain restaurants can be reached on foot if you are prepared to do some walking. It’s a good way of meeting the skiers in your party. Good hiking boots with grippy soles are essential since you will be walking on snow, and a pair of ski poles can be a help. There is also a cosy restaurant in the hamlet of Zmutt, which is not accessible to skiers, and is just for hikers.
Simi’s is a 3 minute walk down from the Furi lift station. The Aroleid Kollektiv and les Marmottes are both just a bit higher up the piste past the Furi restaurant. Gitz-Gadi (Silvana Hotel) is an easy gentle uphill 5 minute walk along the road from the Furi lift station.
The Furi restaurant next to the Furi lift.
The Schwarzsee Restaurant is next to the Schwarzsee lift station on the Matterhorn Express bubble.
The Rothorn Ristorante Pizzeria is right next to the Rothorn cable-car station.
The Blue Lounge at Blauherd is very close to the lift station, and has excellent Flammkuchen (thin pizza from Alsace).
Blatten and Zum See are both a gentle 25 minute uphill walk from the Matterhorn end of the village. Stay on the right hand side of the river going toward the Matterhorn, for both restaurants ignore the first signpost and take a left at the second sign indicating Zum See, cross the bridge and then take the left fork for Blatten or the right fork for Zum See.
Vrony’s and Franz & Heidi’s, both in Findeln, are a 20 – 30 minute downhill walk from Sunnegga. At Sunnegga, first take the Wolli-Leisee shuttle down to the beginner’s ski area, and then head past the ‘Paradies’ sign (don’t follow it!), after which you will see a path to your left. Note that this walk has some steeper sections with snow steps. You can take the chairlift back up.
Staffelalp is a longish walk (1 hour) from Furi. Stay on the winter road going past the Silvana hotel.
Fluhalp can be accessed from the Blauherd bubble station along a relatively flat and wide track, however it’s quite a long walk at c. 45 minutes. At Blauherd, take the lift (elevator) to the upper level of the building, walk outside past the Blue Lounge bar and you will find the track above it. At the fork in the track stay left, going uphill.