La Chamade (Gourmet Chick in France)

When you are travelling and you haven’t had a chance to get any restaurant recommendations sometimes the best thing that you can do is wander around town and see which restaurant looks popular. MTV boyfriend and I rejected several restaurant contenders in Morzine as too empty before settling on La Chamade a busy family run restaurant with a warm glow emanating from the windows dressed with gingham curtains.

The exterior features some bizarre wooden carvings of pigs and other animals that I presume someone created in the summer months when they were bored and waiting for the winter skiers to return. Inside the decor is homely with timber walls, some incredibly bad art for sale and a collection of cow bells hanging from the ceiling. Most of the restaurants in Morzine tend to do two sittings at 7.30 and 9.30, however La Chamade did not seem to bothered that we wandered in directly between the sittings without a reservation.
We started with a bottle of pinot noir from the local Savoie region. This cool climate wine was heavier than I expected but offered a good accompaniment to our hearty meals. Be warned, servings at La Chamade are in huge proportions. Each meal comes with a “vegetable plate” which was a large square platter of various vegetables artistically arranged. From red cabbage to sweet potato the same range of vegetables make an appearance regardless of the meal that you have ordered.

The plat jour was a shoulder of lamb. Given the size of the vegetables servings I was relieved to find that I would not be presented with the whole shoulder but rather with slithers of lamb carved from the shoulder on a small metal plate. Disappointingly the meat was fatty in places and overcooked. In contrast, MTV boyfriend’s souris agneau was superb. The lamb shank was served in a pie with the shank protruding from the pastry in a neolithic tribute. The meat was tender and fell off the bone into the pie mixing with the assortment of potatoes and carrots that filled the pie.
Dessert followed the same convention as the mains, each dessert was served on a pre prepared platter dotted with random pieces of fruit and sauces. My tiny round of apple galette was a perfect sweet and crispy finish to the meal without accompanying slices of pineapple and raspberry coulis. Similarly, MTV boyfriend’s creme brulee did not need grapes and sauce to overpower its thick set eggy flavour.
If you are content to ignore the vegetable and dessert platters which you are served at La Chamade you can have a perfectly enjoyable meal without feeling like you have suffered from flavour and sensory overload. In the meantime, I made need to try and think of another trick to picking restaurants when travelling as the number of bums on seats test seems to have failed me on this occasion.
Details: 90 Route de la Plagne, La Crusaz, 74110 Morzine, France (Ph: 04 50 79 13 91)
Damage: Pricey


  1. We also tend find ourselves in that situation, and we confirm that the ´bums on seats´ criterion does fail sometimes! Better to go by ´smell´, the 6th sense one develops after a sufficient number of years of obsession with restaurants…

  2. It’s definitely tricky picking out a restaurant when traveling if you haven’t had a chance to do any research beforehand. I usually try to narrow things down by *avoiding* certain places, primarily: (1) places with menus translated into multiple languages (you know, the ones with the national flags of Japan, Italy, France, England, etc.); (2) places within 10 yards of a major tourist attraction (see e.g., anything right on Leicester Square or Times Square).

    In small towns, though, I’m at a loss. But bc there aren’t a lot of choices in small towns, I just get over it and hope for the best with some selective ordering based on what the regional specialties are.

    Ski resort towns are probably like eating at a beach resort town – the best you can hope for is to minimize the mediocrity and priciness. That’s how I feel every Christmas when I’m in Palm Beach, anyway.

  3. Man-Woman: perhaps my sixth sense is still developing

    American in London: I like the criteria – menus with flags are to be avoided for sure.

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