Up the mountain in Saint-Lary you will feel like you’re only paying for the food – but the gorgeous views are free. There are three slope-side restaurants, in the Saint-Lary 1800, 1900 and 2400 sectors. By far the best lunch location is overlooking the shores of the Lac de l’Oule at the far west of the ski station. Chalet de l’Oule is sited at 1820m and only accessible in the winter via a chair-lift or the Corneblanque red run, which starts at 2450m and sweeps down through pine forest. It’s definitely worth the effort to get there and enjoy good local cuisine on the sunny terrace overlooking the Neouvielle Nature Reserve.
In the Vallon du Portet, Les Merlans self-service restaurant (+33 562 98 45 28) lies in the heart of Saint-Lary 2400 and offers the best value for families. For more mountain ambiance head for Les Trois Guides (+33 562 98 45 38), at the top of the Mouscades chair-lift (Saint-Lary 1900). It offers reasonably-priced table service meals in a rustic-style restaurant with terrace. The brasserie-and-frites style menu is popular here, and there is little choice for vegetarians. Try the local speciality, garbure, if you want to be adventurous; it’s a soupy stew involving duck, ham and cabbage.
Something for most tastes
Saint-Lary has over 30 village eatries and some of the best are in the hotels, such as La Pergola, in the hotel of the same name in Saint-Lary Soulan, serving creative cuisine using seasonal produce. Dishes include tartine de tomates mozzarella au pesto, followed by trout from Lac de l’Oule. The surroundings are cosy too, with a big open fire and lots of local antiques and pottery. The restaurant in Hotel Aurelia specialises in country cooking. Le Gros Minet (+33 562 39 56 85) is an excellent restaurant located just off the main road in Saint-Lary Soulan and serves local dishes with a Spanish influence. It has a friendly atmosphere, according to a reporter.
Maison du Cassoulet, also in Saint-Lary Soulan, specialises in regional cuisine with the star being cassoulet served in a traditional stoneware pot. Regional wines are also offered, and other specialities include duck confit, foie gras, and home-made puddings. L’Abreuvoir (+33 562 98 47 56) is another welcoming place in Saint-Lary Espiaube 1900.