A bit removed from the Corviglia epicenter, the Alpina Hütte is another mountain classic: a rustic wooden hut that has a restaurant and a glorious terrace and that serves quick, Swiss specialties. You can call to reserve a table or one of the covered, whicker beach chairs that are perfect for soaking up the sun while having a coffee and rich, regional dessert.
This restaurant in the Bellavista hotel overlooks the Silvaplana Lake, making it a particular favorite in the summertime. According to many locals, it serves the best venison dishes in the valley.
Cozy Chesa Salis is a family-owned hotel in the tiny town of Bever. Its restaurant is renowned for elevated regional specialties served in a beautiful dining room (ask for a table that overlooks the hotel's pretty garden). Best of all for small groups is the wood-paneled Salis Stube, which is particularly cozy on a winter night thanks to its blue-tiled stove (it seats twelve). Don't be mislead by the quaint setting – the cuisine here is elevated as are the prices, so this is definitely a restaurant for a big night out but in a beautifully understated, quiet setting.
The five restaurants that make up Chesa Veglia are run by Badrutt's Palace and they range from a pizzeria to a more refined eatery open only during the winter called Grill Chadafö. The thin crust concoctions served at Pizzeria Heuboden are the most popular. Be prepared: the setting and menu are laid-back and casual, the prices are not.
Corvatsch Panorama Restaurant
Located at 3300 meters (10,800 feet), this is the Engadin Valley's highest restaurant. The 360-degree panoramas are absolutely stunning, though some diners might be effected by the thin air up here (be careful with alcohol consumption). The menu is full of regional specialties; the prices reflect the lofty location.
This two-Michelin-starred restaurant in the Carlton hotel offers incredible Italian cuisine with views across St. Moritz Lake. The Italian brothers who run it, Enrico and Roberto Cerea, also have a three-Michelin-stared restaurant near Italy's Bergam, and highlights of any menu include the delicious homemade pasta, the giant scampi with a delicious lemon-infused mayonnaise and the incredibly innovative pastries and dessert. The restaurant is open for lunch or dinner, but those who want to enjoy the view should come midday for a fancy, multi-course lunch.
If you're touring the quaint town of Zuoz, which has a couple of great art galleries and a few nice shops, then Dorta is a great place for lunch or dinner. The restaurant is located in a converted farm/barn, and in fact is one of the region's oldest buildings with a history that dates to the eleventh century. Dorta been beautifully restored and converted, in all its wood-beamed glory, and diners have the option of several cozy dining rooms. The menu is full of regional specialties, including Zuozer Heusuppe, a creamy soup made of hay, and caponetti alla Pusc‘ciavina, a gnocchi dish finished in the wood-burning oven (which also produces incredible homemade bread).
In an enviable location on the Corviglia, with breathtaking views, El Paradiso is the fanciest of the St. Moritz mountain huts – and that's saying something. There's a large al fresco grill station, a bar with red-lined stools, and seemingly every table, bench and chair is covered in something soft, a lambs' wool throw here, a crimson blanket there. If it's too cold to sit outside, the dining room indoors is utterly chic, with grey linen–lined benches and massive picture windows. In short, this is a place where you want to loosen your ski boots and settle in for a while. Locals grumble a bit how chi-chi the formerly laid-back ski hut has become; i.e. how lofty the prices now are, but the food is excellent and the setting cannot be beat. Non-skiers need not worry: the Paradiso is easy to reach on foot via a 20-30 minute walk from the top of the Signal Gondola. On a sunny day during the ski season, reservations are crucial.
This classic, opened in 1894, is housed in a beautiful painted building in the center of St. Moritz Town. The front serves as a patisserie and chocolatier, selling beautiful packages of pralines and other sweets. The back of the shop opens into a café and tea room. It is a favorite for breakfast (order the Bircher Müsli for a delicious and healthy start), so come early and claim a table. Lunch and afternoon tea are less busy, since most everyone is on the slopes.
Indagare Tip: Everyone knows about the Engadiner Nusstorte, a dense nut cake with a cream filling, but the truly additive thing to get at Hanselmann are the Prinzess Mandeln, chocolate-dusted almonds (they also make excellent gifts).
About an hour into a hike in the gorgeous Fex Tal, a wide valley dotted with working farms, you suddenly come upon hillside topped with the cheerful Hotel Sonne, a venerable hotel and restaurant that has served as an enclave for hikers and cross-country skiers for decades. The menu is long and full of Swiss specialties, which you feel absolutely justified in sampling if you have hiked here. Go for the salad with cèpes, followed by a Rösti (shredded potatoes topped with two bright-orange fried eggs) or the Spätzli (a type of pasta with cheese). For dessert, order the famous tarte aux myrtilles, a must that will motivate you to continue hiking deeper into this glorious valley.
Indagare Tip: Before continuing, don't miss the lovely small chapel in front of the hotel, which has incredible frescos that date back to the 16th century. Lunch reservations are a must.
Part of the Kronenhof Hotel in Pontresina, this relaxed but refined restaurant offers a chic, updated rendition of a traditional Swiss Stüva. The walls are clad in light-wood paneling and decorated with antique prints, but the fabrics throughout are brand-new, with colorful touches of teal adding warmth to the cozy space. Don't come here if you're looking for Rösti or raclette: the Italian chef serves a mix of French and Italian-inspired menus.
Near the start of the Furtschellas gondola, the Kuhstall is a local favorite. The low-lying building used to be a stable, which has grown quite chic throughout the years. There's an al fresco grill area and a few seats but due to the fact that there is not really a view here to speak of, most diners reserve a table in the cozy dining room. You sit at large communal tables, and the food is excellent. Besides the wood-clad dining room, there's also a bar/lounge area with low seating covered in plush cow hides and soft throws. Non skiers can reach the Kuhstall via a 30-minute walk up the mountain from the base station gondola.
Indagare Tip: Families with children who don't want to ski can also head back to the valley by toboggan.
Opinions are split on this restaurant/bar/lounge/club that sits on a parking lot near the Signal Gondola (it's name translates as, appropriately, "the barracks"). The younger crowd considers it one of the few places that has a relaxed party vibe, where dinner turns into drinks turn into dancing, while the older crowd doesn't quite see the charm of the crowded, rustic setting while paying top prices (suffice it to say that an appetizer of venison carpaccio will cost around $55). Regardless, La Baracca is going strong even after multiple seasons, and reservations are a must. For a younger party scene, this is one of the few options in town. Be prepared to share: seating is communal and tight.
Muottas Muragl Restaurant
This incredible restaurant is a must for a first-time visitor. Located at an altitude of 2,456 meters (8,057 feet), the restaurant at Muottas Muragl has a glorious terrace for sunny lunches and a Alpine-chic dining room where diners can watch the sun dip into the valley at dinner. The menu features a host of regional specialties, but all prepared with more innovation and finesse than at your regular mountain hut (a list of where ingredients are sourced is found on the back of the menu). There's an excellent wine list but remember that you're at 8,000-plus feet altitude, which may effect some diners. Everyone has to take the funicular up and down the mountain, and the last one returns to the valley at 11pm. Guests who cannot tear themselves away from this special location can, however, book one of the sixteen basic but chic guest rooms and wake in the gorgeous silence, towering above the world, of Muottas Muragl.
Indagare Tip: Small groups can also book the private Villa Lyss, a converted pasture hut that has been turned in a cute, rustic dining room with a fireplace and wood-paneled interiors. It's a very special spot for up to twenty people.
This acclaimed seafood restaurant is best in the summertime, when diners have lovely views across the lake. Everything is super fresh and delicious, but the fish fondue is legendary.
When you've had your share of wood-paneled, Alpine interiors found in most St. Moritz restaurants, head to this bright, contemporary eatery, which draws a surprisingly hip crowd at lunch and dinner. The menu is full of Italian specialties, and the thin-crust pizzas straight from the wood-fired oven are fabulous. Piste 21 is located at the end of the runway of the St. Moritz airport, so diners have front-row seats to watching the private jets land and take off. The engaged, young staff sets the scene for Piste 21's relaxed, congenial ambience.
Kids can be motivated to hike into the Roseg Valley, a gorgeous half-day excursion, thanks to the legendary dessert buffet served at this restaurant/hotel. The display of regional sweet specialties, all homemade, is massive. Highlights include Nusstorte (a hearty cake with nuts) and Rote Grütze (a glorious red-berry compote). The Roseg has a beautiful terrace for summer dining and a cozy Stube during winter. The rest of the menu is classic Swiss fare, and anyone who does not want to walk back to Pontresina—about a two-hour hike—can also call the horse-drawn carriage.
Located in the Castell hotel, on a hillside overlooking the charming town of Zuoz, the chic Rote Bar is a good spot for a cocktail after exploring Zuoz's small but excellent galleries. The Castell itself has a terrific contemporary art collection – don't miss visiting Skyspace, Piz Utèr, a site-specific installation by James Turrell.
This traditional Swiss restaurant is owned by the same team as Chesa Salis hotel in Bever, and it is located at the end of the Bever Tal, a one-hour walk from the town. You can also take a horse-drawn carriage during the wintertime. It's a good spot for lunch on non-skiing days and dinners are very romantic (just be sure to reserve the carriage back). Try local specialties like Gerstensuppe and any of the meat specialties, like venison Salsiz, many of which the owners produce themselves.
For a non-skier – or for a skier needing a break –the absolute perfect combination is to have lunch at the Paradiso and then meander over to the nearby Trutz Hütte for an afternoon hour or two in one of the lounge chairs on the terrace. You can – and should – reserve them the day of, and there's nothing more glorious than lying on thie terrace, beneath the cozy blanket that's offered, and stare into the stunning distance or read a book.
The Trutz also serves a very good lunch, though on the terrace, where you will want to sit when it's sunny, everything is self-serve, which may stress out older guests. (The dining room with service can be crowded and noisy.) Wait for the lunch rush to be over, then line up for the Trutz's most famous dessert: Kaiserschmarrn, an Austrian pancake-like dessert that's served with warm plum compote and is a must for any first-timer.
Indagare Tip: The Trutz Hütte belongs to the Suvretta House, so guests of this hotel can actually make a reservation on the sunny terrace (though they still have to fend for getting their own trays with food), while it's first come/first serve for the rest.
Don't be put off by the simple, almost basic, interiors of this acclaimed eatery in St. Moritz. The traditional cuisine and warm service make up for the somewhat sparse setting. This is the place to try really local dishes, like Venezianer (liver cooked with onions), pizzoccheri (a carb-bomb of buckwheat pasta, potatoes and cheese) or any of the grilled meats (the grill sits in the center of the restaurant). Veltlinerkeller is popular with locals, so make a reservation for dinner.