Cheap & Cheerful Lunch Spots in Courchevel
Les Tovets (+33 (0)4 79 08 03 33)
This is the only choice for reasonably priced food in Courchevel itself. It’s just down the hill on foot (50metres) from the main lift stations and they do baguettes (€5), soup and even ‘bacon & eggs’ for €8. You’d have to try hard to spend over €15 a head including drinks – and that is astounding for Courchevel.
Le Pub Skilodge, La Tania (+33 (0)4 79 08 81 49)
La Tania is on the Courchevel lift pass so I include it in Courchevel. Right in the middle of La Tania on the left side of the piste as you ski into town on the Folyères blue piste, this place is an unashamedly English Pub (with a sundeck outside). They serve burgers, chilli, salads, spaghetti and some local dishes in the range €7 to €12 pretty well all day. They’re packed out at lunch and of course being right in the middle of La Tania, they’re busy all night too. Sky TV completes the picture of a little piece of Britain in the mountains of France.
Boucherie du Praz (+33(0)4 79 08 41 08)
The best value food in Courchevel is not a restaurant at all. In Courchevel Le Praz there is a butcher. Above his door it says ‘Boucherie –Traiteur’. Well ‘Traiteur’ means that he employs a chef and prepares meals. Every day there is a Plat du Jour ( eg Braised leg of duck, Gratin Dauphinoise, Haricot Verts & Stuffed Tomato Provencale for around €7.50 a person). The dishes change every day and he produces a list every week which he will email to you every Friday to help you plan ahead. He also does standard things every day (Gratin, tartiflette, lasagne etc). So if you happen to be self-catering in Le Praz next year, give the Boucherie du Praz a try. Everything is fully prepared and you just pop it in the oven for half an hour and voila – a fabulous meal for the same price as a pint of beer per person. Definitely the best value in town and if you enjoy cooking, he sells fantastic quality meat too. You can contact them to get on their 'Plats du Jour' mailing list at email@example.com
Great Food & Terrific Value: The Top Lunch Spots in Courchevel
Les Chenus (+33 (0)4 79 08 06 84)
Situated at the top of the ‘Chenus’ bubble and the top of the ‘Coqs’ charlift, this is one of the only surviving Self-Service restaurants in the Courchevel valley as each year all the rest have moved inexorably upwards in price (..& sometimes even in quality too). The kitchen is very open at the head of the self service ‘snake’ which takes you past bread, salads (great choice), main courses then desserts, soft drinks and wine. The same chefs are in the kitchen every year, which is always a good sign and some of the Securité de Pistes (with avalanche dog under the table) eat here frequently. A dozen or so dishes are on display for you to choose from each day. A simple vegetable soup at €7.50 to homemade ravioli for €10.90 to Roast chicken for €12.90 about covers the range. Their bottled house wine (Cuvée Chenus) for €9.90 is excellent. Outside on a sunny south facing balcony is the place to be, overlooking one of the great runs in skiing, ‘Combe de la Saulire’. It probably seats 300 people and during the busy season it is packed by 12.30 and the queue for the self service is around 40 minutes. This is one place that requires you to eat early if queuing is not something you enjoy. Although it doesn’t have a specific children’s menu, it’s such good value with such a broad range to choose from that kids seem to like it (I think it helps that they can see what they’re ordering, rather than being surprised when it turns up after reading a menu). Easily accessible by non-skiers via the Chenus bubble from 1850.
Le Bouc Blanc (+33 (0)4 79 08 80 26)
This restaurant is reached via the red run ‘Lanches’ or the blue run ‘Arolles’ and is located just next to the top station of the La Tania bubble. Consequently it’s a good place for lunch if one of your group isn’t skiing as access is easy from this bubble. It has a huge sundeck for sunny days seating around 400 people and inside it is beautifully decorated with seating for maybe another 150 over 2 floors. The best tables are upstairs on a cold day and on the sun-deck on the 4 tables right alongside the restaurant when the sun’s out. With that number of customers, you could reasonably expect to be in for a long wait for your food on a busy day. Nothing could be further from the truth! Order the Plat du Jour for €13.30 and I guarantee you’ll be served inside 90 seconds. A steak at €17.00 might take 3 minutes! The food is varied and of unfailing good quality. The Plat du Jour could be beef bourguignon, braised duck, roast chicken or any one of another 8 specialities – served with your choice of frites or gratin potatoes (Savoyard). Children are well catered for with a Menu Enfant at €10.00 for a choice of either Hamburger (home made) frites, Knacki (sausages) frites or spaghetti Bolognese. A chocolate or strawberry ice cream is included in the price.
L’Eterlou (+33 (0)4 79 08 25 45)
This is not strictly an on-piste restaurant but as it’s only 40 metres from the piste and one of the best places to go in the 3-Valleys, it has to be included in my top 4. As you ski into 1650, usually on the blue run called Marquis, you’re faced with a wall of apartment buildings and what appears to be the only restaurant in town, L’Ours Blanc. Just to the right though there’s a little alley-way. Walk down here for 20 metres & cross the road to L’Eterlou. For sunny days, it has a little veranda seating about 50 and inside it’s extremely cosy with seating for 60. They serve a huge variety of dishes from Savoyard dishes to steaks to fondue. They make the best pizzas in Courchevel at €8.80 for a Marguerite and €10.50 for a Chorizo for example. Thin, thin pastry blown up into even thinner bubbles as it’s cooked. Plat du jour is €11 and that is fantastic value. Their icecream selection is tremendous in variety & quality and if you can stand up, let alone ski, after their ‘Poire William’ dessert (Pear ice-cream and a wine glass-full of Poire Williamine poured over the top) then “you’re a better man than I am - Gungha Din” – with apologies to Rudyard Kipling. Fortunately the easy to use, free Courchevel bus service leaves from around 50 metres away going to 1850 every 10 minutes or down to 1550 & 1300 every 30 minutes. This restaurant is tremendously popular and is also packed out every evening, especially on ‘Chalet girl night off’ due to the easy accessibility. Book or be disappointed!
Great Food but Pricey Lunch Spots in Courchevel
Le Panoramic (+33 (0)4 79 08 00 88)
Take the giant cable car up from the middle lift station of Verdon and you can walk directly to Le Panoramic. It sits perched on a precarious looking rock at 10,000ft and is 3 restaurants in one. On the large sundeck is a snack-bar serving baguettes, hot-dogs, chips & drinks with everything about €5 a pop. On the same level but inside is a self service restaurant with salads & 4 or 5 hot dishes each day from steaks to Plat du Jour. Upstairs is a very sophisticated restaurant (inside & out) with starters in the €15 to €25 range and main courses of Giant Prawns, Steaks, Lamb dishes in the €35 to €40 range. So something for everyone and upstairs is my favourite spot for Xmas Day Lunch.
La Bergerie (+33 (0)4 79 08 24 70)
A beautifully situated restaurant on the Bellecote piste just up from Courchevel 1850. All you see from the piste is the top floor of a 3 story restaurant and the large sunny deck. Inside is a beautiful old building which is great on a snowy day. Omelettes, salads, steaks and local dishes like tartiflette will mean a bill of around €75 for two. As it’s very close to 1850 and you can drive or taxi, it attracts the fur-coat brigade who like to be seen ‘doing lunch’ and post prandial Genepi from their own private bottle kept behind the bar. Booking is essential. Lunch is an all round 2 hour ‘experience’ which shouldn’t be missed.
L’Altibar (+33 (0)4 79 08 20 49)
On the left side of 1850, next to the Altiport, this restaurant has grown from a small self service, 5 or 6 years ago, to a large and fantastically re-furbished restaurant/hotel. Their website, in English and French is at www.altibar.com . They have a dozen apartments ranging from €1000 to €2000 a week depending on size and season. The restaurant, indoors & out, is French/Savoyard (Duck, tartiflette, lamb etc) and should cost you around €70 for two including wine.
L’Oeil de Boeuf (+33 (0)4 79 08 22 10)
L’Oeil du Boeuf restaurant (The Bullseye in English) is on the main high street of Courchevel 1550. You can ski to it by heading towards the Tovets chairlift or in the evening you can use the wonderful Courchevel bus service which drops you off in 1550 about 150metres away. This tiny little 200 year old hut with just 8 tables downstairs has added a 2nd floor in 2009 doubling the size, serves all kinds of stuff….as long as it can be cooked over the open fire at the end of the room. There’s no choice of vegetable, just potatoes & onions baked in the embers of the fire. It’s not cheap with Chateaubriand at something north of €65 for two people at the high end of the main courses but it is always very good. Expect to pay around €55 a head for dinner incl. a bottle of local wine & the odd dessert or coffee.
La Casserole (+33 (0)4 79 08 06 35)al
This is one of only two on-piste restaurants above Courchevel 1650. Situated at the bottom of the of the Signal 6-man chair it’s undergone a real transformation over the years, moving relentlessly upmarket. It consists of a huge sunny deck with seating for around 180 and a smallish restaurant inside for 80. It’s been seriously refurbished in the last 6 months and they’ve added a huge pizza oven inside. Pizzas are €20 and Plat du Jour is €23. Lots of other choices too from steaks to chicken & local dishes.
Bistrot du Praz (+33 (0)4 79 01 46 44)
Just on the left side of the lake in Le Praz, this is a very traditional French restaurant. Ski down either Jockeys or Jean Blanc or get the Praz or Fôret bubbles down. It’s easily accessible by road, or on foot if you’re staying in Le Praz. It’s original owner was the eccentric, moustachioed Charlie Renaudie, probably the most welcoming restaurant patron anywhere in the Alps. Charlie retired in 2000 (but we still see him as he lives in Le Praz.) His menu was equally eccentric and I never did get the hang of it but whatever turned up was always good if extortionately expensive. After a couple of years of searching for a new identity, it has now emerged as a reasonably priced and excellent quality French restaurant. The whole building was recently refurbished and it’s a beautiful place inside. It’s got that lovely warm feeling that’s great to hole up in on a snowy day for a long, long lunch (& a taxi home!). There are 14 different Fois Gras starters from €18 to €30 with the hot one poached in Calvados being my favourite. All the other dishes are very French (not especially local) – for example Tourte aux Grenouilles (Frog’s Leg Pie) or Casoulet (a duck leg stew, with bacon) and a good selection of fish dishes and steaks.
The additional lunchtime menu is displayed on a blackboard outside as 8 or 9 ‘Spécialités du Skieur’, all in the €15 to €20 range. These change frequently but for example, Confit de Canard (Braised duck leg) and Souris d’Agneau (Braised lamb shank) are regulars. To be quite honest, with the quality of the wine list, you could spend anything you want here but with the innovation of the lunchtime specials, the €50 lunch for two is now a possibility here – impossible 10 years ago! Dinner for two with starters and a reasonable bottle of wine will set you back around €100.
Le Bel Air (+33 (0)4 79 08 00 93)
This is the other on-piste restaurant above 1650. Right outside the top of the Ariondaz bubble, this place is an institution in Courchevel. Run by the long term owner, Christophe Gormier, it’s so accessible by skier & non-skier alike that, even with 300 seats, by 10am every day (and I really do mean every day of the season), it’s fully booked. Plat du Jour is €23 and they also do omelettes, great salads, steaks & Savoyard dishes. Look to spend €60 to €80 for lunch for 2. This year’s innovation however changes all that as they have created down at piste level a remarkably pleasant cafe. They serve 5 versions of Croque Monsieur, panini, sandwiches, beers, vin chaud, coffees and a bunch of other things at sensible prices. The staff seem extremely motivated to make it a success bringing the hot food directly to the table with a smile and all in all it’s a real welcome addition to this part of the mountain as at last there’s somewhere to stop where you don’t feel obliged to spend €40 a person on lunch!. The giant chocolate chip cookies at €2 are irresistible!
Les Verdons (+33 (0)4 79 04 07 07
This restaurant was new in the 2009/10 season. The people who own the Tremplin Restaurant in 1850 (as well as a few places in Juin les Pins, Val d’Isère, Cap d’Antibes ) have utterly transformed the whole building. The outside is now beautifully clad in wood and the interior has been integrated into 1 restaurant. They must have spent a fortune on the transformation as the interior is spectacular. There are balconies galore, picture windows to sit behind on cold days and terrific food & service. The head waiter from the old ‘Arc en Ciel’ works there and that’s a real bonus as he’s a real asset.
The food is what you would expect with pastas, salads, steaks, Savoyard Specialities in the €17 to €30 range and it is very, very good. There’s a pretty good Kids menu at €12 including a main course and choice of desert and a daily changing Plat du Jour at around €19. What you wouldn’t expect though is buried in the depths of the menu. It’s called Assiette des Verdons and it’s unashamedly aimed at Les Anglais. Yes, you guessed it.... three rashers of crisp fried back bacon, two fried eggs (sunnyside up!) and chips – all for €18 and I can personally vouch that it’s terrific! Their brilliant starter called ‘Assiette de nems’ for €12 is fabulous. 5 wonderfully crispy prawn & chicken spring rolls (‘nems’ in French) served with a selection of spicy & soy sauces and sliced ginger. Great as a shared starter or big enough as a main for one.