The last few years have seen some big changes to the food scene in the French ski resort of Méribel. The arrival of the contemporary and trendy L’Igloo restaurant serving pizzas and Savoyard fayre in a modern setting; to the luxurious Michelin starred restaurant L’Ekrin, offering a sophisticated and elegant dining experience, times are certainly a changing in this traditional chalet resort.
However today we’re turning our focus to the restaurant Le Clos Bernard, a truly great find and still surprisingly unknown to most of our guests. Located in the Altiport area of Méribel, it is accessible to skiers, snowboarders and walkers. With access available for everyone, it is an ideal place for everyone to meet for a relaxing lunch in the sunshine with a glass of crisp white wine, or on those white-out days enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate inside by the roaring fire. After all ski holidays are about spending quality time together with friends and family and enjoying the finer things in life.
If planning to arrive by skis you take piste Le Animaux from the bottom of the Loze chairlift. After a small adventure through the trees (just follow the signs) you will arrive to the welcoming sight of this wooden style chalet restaurant in a peaceful clearing in the woods. It truly is like you have stumbled through the cupboard into the winter wonderland of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
If you aren’t skiing and are staying in one of our luxury catered chalets with in-resort driver service, your chauffeur will take you to the Altiport. From here it is just an easy 10 minute walk through the forest, though we do recommend sensible footwear. For those of a very romantic persuasion, or for that special occasion, you can snuggle together and enjoy a romantic ride by horse and cart. If you are staying in one of the few ski chalets in Méribel without a driver service, though these tend to be mainly self-catered chalets, the resort ski-bus service does also access the Altiport regularly.
This winter we waited until the sun was shining and took the opportunity to have a long lazy lunch away from the office, choosing to enjoy it in the secluded location of this fabulous restaurant. Greeted by friendly and professional staff, we were swiftly seated on the outdoor terrace, bustling with the chatter of skiers and bathed in sunshine we soon felt a million miles away from our desks. There were even straw hats available to provide some relief from the wonderful sunshine.
The restaurant menu is extensive and specialises in open-fire cooking, though it has something for everyone from steak or prawns to vegetable lasagne and the winter holiday classic, Fondue. The wine list is also excellent, with not only local Savoie and French bottles, but also further afield. It is possible to order selected wines by the glass, and what is nicer than a glass or two of rosé when the sun is out.
We started our lunch sharing Foie Gras served with onion jam, confit tomato and salt. It tasted as good as it looked and the homemade and warm brioche was the perfect accompaniment. Not sure I could manage a whole one to myself, you certainly get a generous portion.
For main course I enjoyed the chicken skewer cooked on the open fire with choice of sauces and frites, whilst Simon, the Luxury Chalet Book founder, indulged in a mountainous burger with fries and salad. It was a hard choice as the Tartiflette here is also amazing, though so creamy, you will definitely need to get back on your skis or snowboard afterwards to burn off the excess calories just consumed.
Thoroughly satiated, we declined the dessert but I noticed the Lemon Meringue Pie was hit on the next table. They even make a tea gourmand, traditionally you will find French restaurants offer a café gourmand (coffee and a selection of small dessert bites) but the Clos Bernard have clearly recognised how the English often like a tea and have adapted their traditional dish to suit their guests preferences.
The Savoyard evening begins as soon as you enter the forest under a blanket of stars to an offering of piping hot mugs of vin chaud and candles, all to help on your journey through the snow covered trees. Meander along a flame lit path until you arrive at the twinkling fairy lights of the restaurant, where you are welcomed inside to a traditional mountain evening of Fondue and Raclette in a cosy and relaxing atmosphere. Is there any better way to enjoy your chalet chefs’ night off than a traditional evening in such a romantic and peaceful setting?
I have to say the whole experience together with great food, a fabulous location and attentive service, was thoroughly enjoyable. I can’t recommend it enough and we will definitely be going back this summer when it opens in July and August.
The Meribel Experts
If you haven’t already booked your next luxury chalet holiday then please do not hesitate to contact me, Nicky, Sales Manager. With over ten years of running and operating chalets in Méribel, there is no one with more first hand experience to offer you honest and impartial advice on your next ski holiday. I can be contacted on [email protected] or 00 44 207 117 2085.