Zermatt is such an interesting Swiss ski village, known for great skiing and after ski, but also different types of cuisine, since it is right near the Italian border. We wanted to make sure to have the best, most quintessential types of cuisine and drinks while staying the Zermatt for three nights. Here’s our guide to the best places to eat and grab a gluwein after a long day on the slopes.
Where to Eat:
Sonnmatten: We had a spectacular four-course dinner at Sonnmatten in Zermatt town. Walking into this restaurant feels like walking into a chic Alpine hideaway. The tables are rustic wood covered in sheep skin, there are sparkling chandeliers and beautiful flower arrangements throughout. They also have a patio out the back that is perfect for après ski decorated in the same fashion in the sun.
We had the most flavorful food at Sonnmatten. We started with the tomato and cream soup that came along with some delicious bread. This was so hearty and warm, making it the perfect starter after being out in the cold all day. The presentation of the soup (and every course) was beautiful. The bread, for instance, had a country plain towel in the bowl. Our water came out in a glass decanter with pieces of oranges and basil in it.
Our next course was cavatelli pasta with mushrooms, truffles and a cream sauce. This was rich and hearty, and the flavors worked so well together. Next was our main course, the most decadent filet of beef with roasted vegetables, potatoes and a peppercorn sauce. The beef was cooked to perfection. It was rare, yet it was so incredibly tender. We inquired about the cooking technique and learned that the beef is slow cooked for six hours, causing it to melt in your mouth once you take a bite. The presentation of this dish was also just beautiful. It came on a giant serving platter and was colorful because of the sliced zucchini and tomatoes and fennel. Finally, we ended the meal with frozen Swiss yogurt with cherry compote, which was a really complex dessert that changed the further down in the pot you reached.
Walliserkeller: No trip to Switzerland is complete without eating fondue. The Swiss are synonymous with cheese, and during our trip to Zermatt, we pretty much ate our weights in cheese. We wanted a traditionally Swiss experience, so our first night we had dinner at Wallisserkeller Restaurant at Riffelalp Resort (which we reviewed here).The setting of the restaurant was just perfect. The walls were made of stone and wood and the upholstery on the chairs was a rustic red plaid. They had wood sheep cutouts throughout the restaurants.
To start, we ordered raclette, which is a famous Swiss dish of melted cheese with potatoes and other vegetables. It’s every bit as decadent as it sounds, but it is worth each calorie. Following this, we ordered cheese fondue. (We were really committed to the theme of the evening!). This came with chunks of bread to dip in but I also asked for some pickled vegetables to dip as well. This was everything we wanted and more, even though it was a whole lotta cheese. It was warm and gooey and kinda fun to eat. We should have grabbed the check at this point, but they had chocolate fondue on the menu for dessert. The small pot of rich chocolate came with chopped bananas, melons, pineapple and apples. It was also worth every calorie (sensing a theme?). Luckily we skied 25 miles earlier that day and created a calorie deficit to fill.
Chalet PlanTorette: On our last ski day in Zermatt, we did a run that I’ve wanted to do for years. From Zermatt, you are able to ski to a lovely ski village in the Italian alps called Cervinia. The run itself is absolutely beautiful and scenic, and one of the added bonuses is that you’ll get to indulge in some amazing Italian food while you’re there.
We found the most charming Italian restaurant on the slopes called Chalet PlanTorette. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. Indoors, there is a full menu with loads of homemade pastas, eggplant parmesan and other classic Italian dishes. The outdoor section is takeaway to sit in the sun, and has pizzas, hamburgers and some items from the Italian menu. We ordered the eggplant to start followed by spaghetti bolognese and gnocchi. Each bite was amazing and the only thing we regretted was not being able to finish our meals because they were so rich. After a very full meal, we skied away back towards Switzerland but not before going out back on the patio where they have a giant Love sign to snap a few photos. It was a very memorable part of the trip.
Chez Vrony: This super chic restaurant is on the slopes, so you’ll have to ski to and from it. They have the most elegant of outdoor patios on the mountain where people let their 2pm lunch seating extend into apres ski. We made a 2pm reservation and ordered some burgers, pasta and gluhwein while overlooking the mountain.
The restaurant’s history dates back more than 100 years. It attracts a young but polished crowd sipping rose and apparel spritzs. Luckily it’s a very short way to the ski lift to get to Zermatt village, so you’ll only have to be on your skis for about two minutes when you leave.
Mark Twain Lounge: Located at the Riffelalp Resort, this high end bar has everything you want in apres ski. It’s got rich leather chairs, fur throws and live piano playing each evening. We had some strong drinks and took in the music. You can ski here and take the tram down after a few drinks as it’s very close to the Riffelalp tram stop.
Harry’s Ski Bar: Harry’s Ski Bar is an institution in Zermatt. Located in Zermatt town, locals and tourists alike retire to this spot for apres ski. The bar is understated but exactly what’s in order after a day on skis. We came here twice during our short stay for Aperol Spritzs. They have solid drinks (Also try the local red wine) and a good soundtrack and it felt like a really authentic spot.
Paperla Pub: For a high energy (If not a teeny bit fratty) ares ski, Paperla Pub is the spot. This bar has a live cover band nightly that was so much fun to sing and dance to. We stayed here for an embarrassingly long time one night drinking gluhwein, vodka sodas and caramel vodka shots. It made for an interesting morning.
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