The Kristalhutte came first – and is the brainchild of its restless young manager, Stefan Eder. You’ll enjoy it in fair weather or foul – thanks to its enormous free-standing fireplace indoors, and the sun-drenched terrace outside (complete with DJs, champagne buckets and sheepskin rugs). The atmosphere is laid-back and welcoming, and you’ll find everyone in here from hip young city slickers from Munich, to parties of school kids. The menu focuses on Tirolean and Austrian specialities, and is not expensive, by French standards.
The Wendelhutte is more recent and more obviously upmarket. There’s a choice of fine-dining restaurant and a more informal Tirolean “inn”. The locals like it, “an incredible wine cellar, a fantastic atmosphere, a great kitchen,” says Hochfugen ski guide Kevin Benk. You can overnight in both in considerable comfort, too – though you’ll need to book many weeks in advance if you want to stay for the weekend or during one of the peak holiday periods.
Highest pizzeria in the Alps?
Over in the Hochfugen sector there’s nothing of the same gastronomic quality. The only restaurant on the mountain is the 8er Alm at the top of the main gondola out of the village – “probably the highest pizzeria anywhere in the Alps.
When it comes to dinner, there’s one target everyone’s aiming for – the Alexander Restaurant at the four-star Sporthotel Lamark in Hochfugen. The chef, Alexander Fankhauser, is the son of the hotel’s owners, and they’ve done well to woo him back to such a pocket-sized resort. He came back from his apprenticeship in 1999, and in 2005 was named ‘Chef of the Year’ by the prestigious Gault Millau guide. The restaurant has 18/20 Gault Millau points. Menus range from three to ten courses.