A good slope-side restaurant, with delicious food and plenty to entertain the kids, is essential on a family skiing holiday. Here are five of our favourites.
Opened a couple of seasons ago by celebrity Verbier fans James Blunt, Lawrence Dallaglio and Carl Fogarty, and with a seal of approval from chef Heston Blumenthal, La Vache (The Cow) is perched at the top of the James Blunt chairlift. It has a cosy, laidback but busy atmosphere, fabulous views, showbiz glitz and a menu of high-class hamburgers and prestige pizzas and pastas to entice any youngster, as well as lots of cows (decorative ones) on the terrace.
Half way up a mountain at the family-friendly little resort of Kappl in the Paznaun Valley is a restaurant where kids are king. Menus, with Tirolean favourites such as kaiserschmarrn (chopped up pancakes) and germknodels (sweet dumplings), are tailored for young tastes and right outside is a children's play area in the snow with a ski carousel, magic carpets, tubes and tunnels and a Zibob mini-sledge course, so parents can finish lunch in peace while their children are safely amused.
The striking pyramid shape of Signal, on a lofty peak giving 360-degree vistas, is a draw in itself. Inside or on the terrace, families love the sheepskins, cowhides and cushions scattered over the furniture. Boot warmers mean your ski-boots toasty by the time you leave, while you have lunch wearing slippers. Kids are enthralled by the amazing views, and from the terrace they can also watch the paragliders take off from the nearby launch site.
The friendliest staff you could wish for (well, this is Italy, they love children), a pleasantly bustling atmosphere and some of the best food we've found on the slopes make this a super find (with, obviously, very fine pizzas). The terrace is great on sunny days (Madesimo has many), and you can buy lunch for the whole family for the price of a plate of chips in many French mountain restaurants.
Oozing with Tirolean character from every weathered timber, this is the slopeside adjunct of the five-star Hospiz Hotel, and even youngsters gaze in delight at the magical, cosy and elegant interior. The atmosphere is added to by waiters and waitresses dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndls, and even though the restaurant has been awarded two prestigious toques (chefs' hats), simple, hearty fare is available. The highlight? Taking the slide beside the stairs down to the loos.