Many of the on-mountain eateries have evolved from farming shelter stations and all encompass the Savoyarde log-built flavor. On nice days, of which I had several during my stay, eating outside and taking a little sunbathing is an option.
There are a lot of ski in/ski out restaurants and the ones I visited had excellent food and warm friendly staff and owners. Also, many of the resturants are accessible to non-skiing mountain guests such as hikers and sightseers who can take an up and down lift ride and enjoy the view and the food.
From Greens to Beef Entrees - Lunch is as Popular as Skiing on L'Espace Killy
I don't eat much during a ski day, because it seems to make me want to sit more when I know I should be skiing. However, if you like to take a leisurely lunch you will fit right in at the mountain restaurants on the L'Espace Killy. At La Teniere, located at the midstation of La Face, I had a fresh green salad with warm bread and cheese - always a staple if you are not too hungry but feel obligated to partake.
Another day, I had a nice leisurely lunch at La Trifollet with Martin Heckleman, the author of several excellent skiing how-to books and DVDs, and friends of Marty's that included a family of seven from Australia, plus a couple of British gents who had spent the morning out on their AT touring skis.
This was the classic French ski lunch pastime. Salads with meat and potatoes, pizza for the kids, French table wine, bubbly water, and plenty of good cheer and conversations lasting well over an hour. At the end of which the owner came by to ask how we fared and invited all who wished to enjoy an aperitif on the house. Two more hours of skiing and I was ready for a nap and late dinner.
Rock the Mountain at La Folie Douce - La Fruitiere
On another beautiful Val d'Isere bluebird day Marty Heckleman toured me up and around the Grand Motte glacier. We stopped for lunch at La Folie Douce - La Fruitiere at La Daille mid-station. It's a really unique establishment that you won't see duplicated in the states. The restaurant, La Fruitiere, is designed in the authentic decor of a milk cooperative complete with milk cans and faux cheese wheels.
I had a house special called Feuilleté Savoyard which I highly recommend you try, if stop there. It is a melted local cheese and ham, sandwiched in a light fluffy pastry crust and served on a slate platter - delicious!
After lunch, Marty introduced me to Mick Killy, brother of Jean-Claude Killy who became the second skier to win all three Alpine skiing events at the 1968 Winter Olympics. Mick Killy is a very successful Val d'Isere businessman in his own right - Killy Sports and more are to his credit. After lunch, the owner of La Folie Douce - La Fruitiere then arranged a tour of the underground recesses of the structure.
La Folie Douce - La Fruitiere - What You Don't See
Unless you were invited down here you would never know it existed. A rather ordinary door opens into a gorgeous private dining room where a long table seating over 30 guests dominates the center of the room. One wall is a row of glass doors housing refrigerated aging cheese from local farms and wine glasses for different types of wine. The opposite wall is a wine emporium containing fine wines and champagnes, not to be handled lightly.
The underground labyrinth also contains a cold storage area, pastry prep, ice cream makers, and an environmentally friendly water purification system.
Music On The Mountain
Back up and outside on the deck of La Folie Douce - La Fruitiere, in the rare air of 2400m (7876') a band was playing and the crowd was rocking. The owner went all out with the sound system and it's some high altitude jamming and clubbing from about 3:30 to 5:00PM. Just follow your ear and you won't miss this action.
If you like apre-ski music and cheer but a little more sedate, Le Triffolet has a happy hour from 3:30-4:30pm with 1/2 price beers and play blues, light rock & jazz music.