Le Grand Lac: authentic and quick mountain lunch on the slopes of Les Trois Vallées
Les Trois Vallées is a popular ski area in the Northeast of France thus finding a good place to eat on the ski slopes is not too hard. There are huge differences in prices and atmosphere though and some places just have better food than the others. I have been eating at Le Grand Lac for years and I have always found it serving great mountain food for a reasonable price while still maintaining high service standards and the rustic mountain feel.
Atmosphere: During the high season lunch time the restaurant is packed. The dining area is humming with hungry skiers looking for their depleted energy boost, while the terrace is a popular chill-out spot on sunny days. It is very casual. Families, friends and couples, they all cross each other in their ski boots, some with their helmets still on their head. You can reserve a table there, but if you are patient enough and not reeling with hunger you can just come whenever you ski-by. Waiting in one of the comfy beach chairs on the sunny terrace actually is pleasant when the sun shines.
Food: Traditional Savoyard, generous and tasty. This is perfect food for avid skiers in need for energising and comforting food. A plate of the local style pasta or the Onion soup au Gratin are quickly made and satisfy. From the traditional dishes the Croziflette with morels (local type of pasta with morel mushrooms) and the Savoyard toast with melted cheese and side salad are both great options, especially for the cheese lovers. Similar to the later is the Grande Tartine Savoyarde – a slice of country bread with onions, lardons, cream and melted reblochon cheese. It is bigger and has more savoury ingredients than the Savoyard toast.
A slightly lighter cheese delicacy is the Warm goat’s cheese salad with pine nuts. The cheese is served warm inside a crisp pastry and is simply delicious. The lettuce with dressing is crisp and tasty, plus it adds more vitamins to your plate. An ideal dish if you want to ski hard after the lunch as it does not make you feel too heavy cruising down the slopes.
The Tartiflette, Sausages and other simple foods typical in the mountains are also good options. And, of course you can get the typical brasserie fare like the Salade niçoise or
The daily changing Lunch menu consisting of three courses: Salad Grand Lac, main dish and a dessert or cheese. All for less than 20 EUR, excluding drinks.
Drinks: If you are a fan of hot chocolate then try the organic homemade “chocolat chaud” that will warm you up without the side dizzy effect of mulled wine – the “vin chaud” that you can get at Le Grand Lac as well. If it is very cold outside though, why not to try both? The combination of cocoa, sugar and alcohol will surely make you warm! The restaurant’s speciality is its coffee and the Café Gourmand is particularly tasty as it is served with a plate of small sweet treats.
The wine selection is very local. An excellent opportunity to switch from the Italian Sassicaia or bottle of Chateau La Tour with your lunch to a more humble yet enjoyable bottle of “Vin de Savoie“. The wines from the Savoy region can have many taste facets. Feel like a light and crisp white wine? You can get it. Or something with a flank of meat or a generous cheese dish? You can get a blend of a bolder, bigger wine made in Savoy with plenty of acidity and some tannins like we had (look below). The great news is that these wines will not ruin your valet and work with the local food very well.
Opening season: Open daily usually from 15.12. to 20.04 of the following year.
Cuisine: French brasserie in Savoyard style
Visit: January 2013
Price: Medium (starters mostly under €10 and main dishes between €10 – €20).
Address: Le Grand Lac; Secteur des Allamands; 73440; Saint-Martin-de-Belleville; Les Trois Vallées; France. The access map on the restaurant’s website is more useful when you are on the ski.
Contact: Tel: +(33) 0 479 082 578