Zermatt is home to Switzerland’s most iconic mountain: The Matterhorn. With its croissant-shaped peak dramatically thrusting up into the sky, the mountain is absolutely magnetic. Visitors to Zermatt often let out a gasp of delight and awe when they catch their first glimpse of it. (Well, I certainly did!)
Although I had visited Zermatt this past winter, I still wanted to return in the summer and gaze upon the Matterhorn standing above a sea of green, instead of floating through layers of white. So, Justin, #BasiltheKooiker, and I made the cross-country journey to spend a long holiday weekend in the famous town of Canton Valais.
(Side note: The holiday was Swiss National Day, which is celebrated on August 1st to commemorate the brotherly oath that laid the foundation for the country in 1291… a history that you can follow while hiking The Swiss Path.)
Our Zermatt trip goals were simple: hike every day and have lunch at Chez Vrony.
While you can read about our hiking adventures in my next post, I have to put the spotlight on Chez Vrony today. Chez Vrony is one of the most popular restaurants and apero bars in Zermatt – and for many good reasons! In fact, I can think of FIVE reasons why Chez Vrony is a Zermatt Must Do.
1. A HISTORIC ESTABLISHMENT
Originally constructed in 1900, the story of Chez Vrony began as a summer home and farmhouse for the Julen family in the town of Findeln, a tiny hamlet on the eastern slopes above Zermatt. By the 1920s, the family opened up their home as a mountainside teahouse named Findelbord, which eventually evolved into a restaurant called the Alpenheim. When Vrony’s father August inherited “that old shed” in 1962, he invested heavily in the renovation and expansion of the restaurant, employing his three daughters and son Heinz to help run certain aspects of the business. Vrony and her husband Max took ownership of the restaurant in 1996, and they have elevated the simple mountain restaurant to become a gastronomical celebrity in its own right.
2. DIVINE VISTAS
With an unobstructed view of the Matterhorn, Chez Vrony is in primo position for mountain gazing. Truly, the scenery is absolutely spectacular! Who wouldn’t want to sip on a tasty beverage with such an enchanting backdrop?
3. GREAT ATMOSPHERE
The restaurant is charming in every sense of the word. From comfortable wooden recliners on the outdoor patio and cozy dining nooks inside to the gorgeous table settings and gourmet fare, Chez Vrony is simultaneously informal and formal – inviting you to relax with friends while feeling a bit pampered. Vrony’s brother Heinz was behind the vision for the latest looks of the interior, a cozy, rustic charisma with a touch of the avant-garde.
4. EXCELLENT FOOD & DRINK
Trust me when I say that not all Swiss dishes are created equal, and therefore, it’s super exciting to find a restaurant that presents Swiss food with flavor – such as Chez Vrony! Marked by their dedication to using local and organic products, Chez Vrony turns traditional Alpine dishes into gourmet cuisine. The food really is outstanding and award winning.
Justin and I began our lunch with two starters: the Emmental Beef Tartar on a toast medallion in a bowl of refreshing gazpacho and the “Bloody Mary Soup,” another tomato-based soup peppered with chunks of spicy lamb chorizo and topped with “basil froth.” They were simply superb.
And our entrees were just as delicious. Justin ordered the Mountain-goat cheese ravioli in thyme-browned nut butter and caramelized Valais pear while I had the Vrony Burger – grilled Alpine beef from Findeln in a toasted Western-style bun with spicy chips. Both were satisfying in every sense of the word. If only we could have tried their desserts! Alas, Baby D is severely limiting my stomach space… I’ll just have to return to try the sweets another day :)
5. GREAT SERVICE
Finally, Chez Vrony is a standout establishment for its warm and friendly service. Max and Vrony Cotting-Julen set the standard for their staff, greeting and serving guests with a smile. Even when the place is packed to the brim, you are sure to feel welcomed.
BEFORE YOU GO
The easiest way to reach Chez Vrony from Zermatt is to take the Sunnegga Funicular up the mountain. From the Sunnegga station, a pleasant stroll down the path towards Findeln, which remains open year-round, will bring you to your culinary destination. In the winter, skiers and boarders can also make their way over from the slopes.
Given its mountainside location, Chez Vrony is only open during the day and has two seating times for lunch. If you want to have a meal here, I strongly recommend booking a table in advance, which you can do from the Chez Vrony website.
Chez Vrony is featured in the 2015 edition of Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favorite Restaurants. Recommended by Swiss Chef Ivo Adam, I am obviously not the only one raving about this mouth-watering mountain destination!
Justin and I had a spectacular meal at Chez Vrony that was blog-worthy from the beginning. Because I had made a reservation via email, Max had noticed my Global Heartbeat signature. After we had finished our meal and had just paid our bill, Max came over, ripped up the receipt, and informed our server to put the money back on our credit card. He then insisted on giving us a tour of the entire restaurant.
Max’s passion for his wife’s family history was obvious, and his generosity towards us was a surprising treat. We were happy to be paying guests, especially as the prices are actually great for the quality received. Therefore, you can believe me when I say that we would go back to Chez Vrony in a heartbeat and that my high regards for this establishment are genuine.
Without a doubt, a visit to Chez Vrony is a “must do” in Zermatt!
Hoi zame! Have you ever been to Zermatt? Do you recognize that famous peak? Have you ever tried Swiss cuisine? Doesn’t it just warm your heart to visit successful family-run establishments with a great and precious history?
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