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Date night at Val d’Isère YOU, our dining critics

Erin O'Brien and her boyfriend, Paul Versteeg-Lytwyn, Bayview Ave. enjoy date night at Val-d'Isère

Erin O’Brien and her boyfriend, Paul Versteeg-Lytwyn, Bayview Ave. enjoy date night at Val-d’Isère

Saturday was our date night, so my boyfriend Paul and I decided to try out the “new” restaurant on Bayview Ave., Val d’Isère. While walking up the street the week before I had noticed a new sign at Tinto Tapas. I looked it up and read that it had been converted into an Alpine chalet-themed restaurant and would remain so during the winter. When we first arrived we noticed the new décor: fur-lined bench backs, antlers on the walls along with snow-shoes and assorted Stiegl paraphernalia.

As soon as we were seated, owner Otta Zapotocky came over to welcome us. Our server Tom was very friendly, smiling and joking with us the entire night. We didn’t have to wait long to be served. I looked at the wine list and wanted the valpolicella, but was told it was sold out. Tom let me try samples of two other similar wines, and I ended up with the smooth, medium-bodied French Domaine des Anges, which ended up going well with everything.

The dim lights and cozy chalet atmosphere were perfect for our date night, although we did have a couple on either side of us since the restaurant is too small for the privacy of booths. So, depending on your taste, this place may be too loud and packed for you. We enjoyed it and ended up talking to both couples by the end of our dinner.

Paul and I decided to share several dishes. We first ordered the potato chowder “gratinée”. It was warm and creamy, covered in delicious smoky bacon and served in a bread bowl. Once the soup was finished, Paul demolished the bowl. Tom the server came to clear the table for our next course and couldn’t believe that the entire bowl had been consumed! He said that he’d never seen that before and joked he should buy Paul a pint as a reward. We thought he was joking until, after confirming we weren’t driving home, brought a cold pint of Stiegl to our table!

We then ordered the Swiss Cheese Fondue, which was served with croutons, pickles & green apple. I often make fondue myself and it was on point. The size of the cut-up pickles was too small, and some of the croutons were too hard and I would have liked bread instead, but overall it was a wonderful dish.

Val-d'Isere sign

The other dish we ordered, which arrived the same time as the fondue, was the Beef Rouladen. I’ve had this dish before at a German restaurant so was expecting something similar. The menu noted that it was beef stuffed with pickle, egg, bacon, onion and wiener. I had thought the wiener would be more of a pork sausage, but nope, it was literally a hot dog. Paul loved the dish anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hot dog, but this didn’t really go with the rest of the dish. Other than the wiener, the rest of the dish was more than decent, covered in yummy gravy and served with spaetzle, a light fluffy German dumpling.

I found the prices a little steep for the portion sizes. The small soup was $15, and the Beef Rouladen cost $25, which seemed reasonable. But the fondue, at $29, was more than double the price of the same dish at other restaurants in the city.

Overall, we enjoyed Val d’Isère a lot and will definitely return. Also the fact that this chalet transformation is so short-lived makes me want to take advantage before it’s gone. Paul and I are going to keep an eye out for the firepit on the front patio before our next visit. I can’t wait to sit out by the warming flames with my mulled wine in hand and maybe a dessert. A perfect romantic end to a great date night!