Some refer to Zermatt as the lunch capital of the Alps. Others consider it as a resort reserved for foodies.
Truly: Zermatt has countless bars and restaurants within its bounds, serving everything from hearty alpine sustenance to Michelin starred fare. Whether it is somewhere to refuel on a long hike, a protein pit-stop during a day on the slopes or a first-class meal with a relaxed ambiance and a priceless backdrop, Zermatt has it all.
Let me highlight some of my favorite mountain restaurants in Zermatt:
Restaurant Zum See
This hidden gastronomical gem is named after the tiny hamlet in which it sits. Restaurant Zum See is an easy thirty-minute hike from the town center of Zermatt. Restaurant Zum See has a reputation for fine food and unmatched hospitality, and it has established itself as a favorite with returning customers. I consider it a hidden gem.
The fare here is honest, authentic and locally sourced. Swiss staples such as air-dried meat platters, salad of sliced calf’s liver, marinated beef carpaccio and traditional alpine Rösti dominate the menu in both summer and winter.
The Rösti - served either with ham, bacon or smoked salmon and eggs - is perhaps the best I have tasted in Switzerland!
Also, Zum See is famous for its luscious Cremeschnitte custard pastry. You absolutely must try it when you visit!
The wine list at Zum See is extensive, boasting both Swiss specialties and premium varietals from neighboring France and Italy. The wines are selected by the host each year to perfectly compliment the culinary offer.
Housed in a series of wooden chalets more than three centuries old, Zum See prides itself on the quality of its menu and the friendliness and efficiency of its service. Max and Greti Mennig and their team are masters of attention without intrusion. The restaurant’s sun terrace - with seating for more than one hundred patrons - is the ideal location for a relaxing lunch at any time of the year.
Similar to Zum See in terms of setting, Bergrestaurant Blatten is a traditional mountain eatery. It is situated close to the ornate chapel of Blatten and almost directly beneath the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car line.
Dating back to the middle of the nineteenth century and now in the hands of the Taugwalder family, this authentic alpine restaurant serves classic Valais dishes. Think cheese fondue, raclette and rösti alongside seasonal specialties and Italian faves. Perfectly positioned between Zermatt on the ascent, and Furi on the descent, Bergrestaurant Blatten is my go-to pitstop during a summer hike.
Here's a firm favorite among seasoned skiers, mountaineers and summer tourists. Bergrestaurant Fluhalp is beautifully positioned above Stellisee at the center of the Sunnegga-Blauherd-Rothorn ski area. It is accessible via a short 45-minute walk from the Blauherd cable car station.
I first heard about its charms from on Austrian climber named Christoph. He not only told me that he had climbed the Matterhorn on no less than seven occasions. He also shared his Zermatt restaurant recommendations during our fifteen-minute cable car ride.
Here at 2620 meters above sea level, simple, hearty alpine cuisine, live music and overnight accommodation (during the summer season) are all on offer. And those views of the Matterhorn, particularly at sunrise and sunset, are simply stunning.
No guide on Zermatt mountain restaurants would be complete without mentioning Chez Vrony. This iconic, converted farmhouse is located above Zermatt in the charming hamlet of Findeln. Chez Vrony offers great hospitality, delicious food and some of the best views of the Matterhorn from anywhere in the region.
About a century ago, Chez Vrony was stablished as a high alpine tea house. It shares the name with its current proprietor, Vrony Cotting-Julen, and has become an institution for its followers all over the world.
This eatery has a much-deserved reputation for culinary excellence, holds 14 Gault Millau points and boasts a renowned list of fine wines. Zermatt's most famous mountain restaurant prides itself on undeniable world-class service and faultless attention to detail.
Go there for rustic and natural cuisine, centuries old traditional recipes with a modern, international twist and classics such as the iconic Vrony Burger. Enjoy your meal at a cozy table indoors or on the extensive terrace which forms a perfect sun trap in the summer months.
Ever since Max and Vrony took over the family business in the mid-1990s, the Vrony brand has grown to near celebrity status. Merchandise bearing the stylized company logo is now available for purchase both in-house and on the restaurant’s website. Despite the fame, food and hospitality remain at the center of everything they do here.
Restaurant Findlerhof is perhaps the second most well-known mountain eatery in Zermatt. A neighbor of Chez Vrony, it is one of a cluster of top-notch lunch stops in the hamlet of Findeln. The exquisite gourmet menu is matched by an extensive wine list and stunning views. Specialties from the Valais region are chief, as well as a wide range of Swiss and Italian dishes.
The Findlerhof has been consistently featured in both Michelin and Gault Millau guides for many years. It is easy to see why: excellent cuisine made from locally sourced produce, impeccable service and a location that offers truly unforgettable, breathtaking vistas of the Matterhorn.
Franz and Heidi Schwery have created a unique family atmosphere. Guests can relax and enjoy their lunch in the cozy, traditional restaurant or outside on the beautiful, sun-kissed terrace. A favorite among hikers on the popular Zermatt to Sunnegga trail, Restaurant Findlerhof is a must for any foodie.
My foodie verdict about Zermatt mountain restaurants
It is fair to say that the mountain trails and slopes above Zermatt are blessed with perhaps more quality restaurants than any other alpine resort. The standard of food and service is almost universally high.
But please know that this guide is by no means exhaustive. I have only touched the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The best advice I can give: head to Zermatt and discover your own favorite eatery!