The typical characteristics of Engadine, a Swiss Valley in the Canton of Graubűnden, are all to be found in the area surrounding St. Moritz: the purest of mountain air, ideal ski slopes and a climate described by those who frequent the famous alpine resort as being similar to a glass of champagne, dry and sparkling.
Not to mention the Hollywood-like atmosphere typifying a walk through the town centre and the exquisite haute cuisine: all of which may be enjoyed without having to spend a fortune.
So, here is our own guide to the best venues and restaurants in St.Moritz for making the most … out of a little, subdivided into three price categories.
Up to 25 Euros
The day starts at the Kempinski, a luxury hotel chain founded in 1897, with a paradisiacal buffet breakfast that is also available to non-residents. Even five-star establishments can rarely afford to provide a chef who is on hand to cook eggs, as and when requested, personalized with the customer’s favourite toppings (approx. 25 Euros).
For less than 25 Euro you can get yourself a coffee and a generous slice of the famous Engadine walnut cake: you’ll find the 5-star version in the town centre, in the oldest and most prestigious café cum cake shop of St. Moritz, the Café Hanselman.
If, on the other hand, you can’t possibly go without a pizza, for just 23 Euro you can afford a Diavola, with spicy salami in the pizzeria of the Kulm Hotel, also famous for its exclusive Dracula Club (founded by playboy Gunther Sachs and run by his son Rolf), admittance to members only.
From 25 to 50 Euros
One of the most spectacular views of the lake and the snow covered town can be admired at an altitude of 2000 metres, from the Chesa Chantarella, a panoramic restaurant in the ski resort of Corviglia, which is accessible even without snow. Here, young Italian-Argentine chef Ezequiel Barbuto, together with his brother Diego, offers haute cuisine at high altitude: calamari and artichoke salad tossed in extra virgin olive oil or oven-roasted lamb and vegetables and goat’s cheese make the trip worthwhile, even for those who suffer from dizziness. For budget purposes, estimate about 30 Swiss Francs (approx. 27 Euros) per person for a main course.
Afternoon tea is a must at Badrutt's Palace, one of the world’s most prestigious grand hotels, and well worth it just for a peek at the artworks hanging in the hall. You will have no problem finding it: a vintage Rolls Royce is parked just opposite the entrance. This little luxury will set you back by at least 30 Euros.
At the end of the day, if you don’t plan to drive, you cannot possibly miss sipping a whisky at the Devil's Place Whisky Bar (pictured above), one of the most famous venues in the world, inside the historical Hotel Waldhausam See's. An authentic Mecca for lovers of single malt, blended, Irish whisky and bourbon. Tasting sessions at around 40 Euros will enable you to taste 4 different blends, but the price may even rise to 165 Euros for extremely rare labels.
From 50 to 100 Euros
The Da Vittorio-St.Moritz restaurant is housed inside the prestigious Carlton Hotel. Brothers Enrico and Roberto Cerea, owners of the Da Vittorio (3 Michelin-starred) restaurant in Brusaporto close to Bergamo, will be back this year to give their own particular imprint to the kitchen which was immediately awarded a Michelin star. To familiarize with their philosophy, for instance with the tortellini in consommé and truffle or the linguine “ajo e ojo” (garlic and oil) with lobster and artichokes, estimate an average cost of 40 Euros for each course. You need to taste at least two dishes to grasp the concept of “Vittorio” signature cuisine: the really lucky may like to crown this experience with an irresistible, crisp and freshly filled pastry horn.
Still on the subject of dinner, you may also like to return to the Hotel Kempinski where, of the four restaurants run by the recently appointed chef, young Matthias Schmidberger, one is a starred establishment: the Cà d'Oro, only open in the winter season (in 2016 it will be open until 27 February); two courses selected from the à la carte menu will cost between 80 /100 Swiss Francs (70-90 Euros). If this is more than your budget allows for, choose the more affordable Wine Bar on the ground floor and taste the best selection of cold cuts and cheese specialities from the Engadine Valley.