However you don’t have to go to that expense to eat well on the mountain and here are my top 5 favourites for lunch in the Méribel Valley.
Le Blanchot is a Méribel institution and has been serving great food for over 25 years. It is a great choice for groups with non-skiers as it is easily accessible on foot and there is a bus stop right outside. It is up by the Altiport and is on green/blue runs so handy for all levels of skiers. On sunny days there is a large terrace, which overlooks the cross-country trails and is a renowned suntrap – luckily the restaurant even supplies hats to keep you cool. Inside the style is definitely Savoyard with a roaring log fire. There is a varied menu and an impressive wine cellar – this is definitely a long lunch stop.
One of my absolute favourites is the Adray Telebar, which is on the Doron piste, close to the Adret chair. You can often tell the quality of a restaurant by the number of ‘Red Jackets’ (i.e. how many ESF instructors are there with their clients or even better on their own) and this place has an extremely high quota!
One of its most famous dishes is veal escalopes in a cream and mushroom sauce – it is divine and served with the best chips ever. The sunny terrace is fantastic on warmer days or later in the season and the inside is warm and inviting – just watch your step in ski boots when you first go in.
One lunch stop not to be missed is La Folie Douce – it’s loud, it’s brash and it’s fun. There are two restaurants to choose from – a great self-service called La Petite Cuisine, which serves simple dishes with an emphasis on local produce and the main restaurant, La Fruitiere. With its stylish décor of white enamel milk churns, exposed zinc pipework, antique tiling and dairy-styled fittings and furnishings, La Fruitiere has a special atmosphere and serves great food. There are usually 2 sittings – if you choose the later one, you can then stay for the (in)famous cabaret and some people watching. Or be tempted by the shop where you can get Folie t-shirts and sweatshirts – they’re not cheap but are very good quality and make great presents.
On the Cherferie, piste by the top of Tougnete lift, you’ll find Les Cretes – this is a traditional mountain restaurant with low ceilings and massive wooden beams. The menu is simple with an emphasis on traditional, Savoyard fare but the food is good and reasonably prices. One speciality is the "Diots au vin blanc" sausages in white wine, which are highly recommended. The tartiflette here is also delicious. The restaurant is small and it does get really busy so my advice would be to eat early and also remember to take cash, as they don’t accept credit cards.
Finally my last choice would be Le Clos Bernard – this only opened last winter but quickly became a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. This old chalet, tucked away in the woods by the Altiport was renovated last summer and a truly beautiful building with a large terrace has been created. You can ski to the restaurant from the Altiport - just stay on the right of the piste and follow the signs or it is about a 5 minute walk from the road up a walking track – not steep but could be a bit of struggle with a pushchair. The menu has a good selection but the salads are fantastic and the grilled meats, cooked over an open wood fire are amazing. For pudding go for the Café Gourmand which gives you a little selection of sweets and a great cup of coffee. This is a place for a slow lunch – the food and the atmosphere deserve to be savoured so my advice is to ski hard in the morning and then head here for a late lunch followed by a relaxed ski home (or to your favourite après spot!).