Situated in a picturesque valley in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, just across the border from Switzerland, sits La Chapelle d’Abondance. It’s a quaint little town known for great skiing in the winter but it is also a beautiful (and quiet) place to decompress in the summer, while still affording easy access to both Switzerland and France. We rented a beautiful 1800s farmhouse chalet that had been renovated to perfection and provided the most amazing views of the surrounding Alps and valley. It was quite possibly one of the most relaxing experiences we’ve had in a long while and made for a nice contradiction after a busy week in Montreux.
The town might small but there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from in both La Chapelle d’Abondance and nearby Châtel. We received several dining recommendations and all turned out to be fantastic. One was L’Atelier de Jacky which is the latest endeavor of chef Jacky Benand. Chef Benand worked in the two Michelin star La Pyramide in Vienna and the one Michelin star Les Alpes in Orsières. Locally he is known for for his eleven years at Le Clos Savoyard.
His newest endeavor is L’Atelier de Jacky which looks like a traditional chalet on the outside but inside is a mix of classic details and modern, clean lines and furnishings on two-levels. The main-level is connected to the expansive terrace offering stunning vistas in warmer weather. The dining room also capitalizes on the views as well and we were treated to a beautiful sunset across the valley as we enjoyed our meal.
The menu capitalizes on both seasonal and local ingredients and when I mentioned that I was celiac and gluten-free our server was able to guide me through the menu and double-check everything with the kitchen. A non-gluten-free welcome amuse-bouche was offered (which my husband ate and said were just okay) and this was followed by another creamy soup that had a piece of bread in it but mine was soon replaced with a gluten-free version.
I opted for a salad as my started which was quite substantial and filled with fresh crisp greens that were dressed in a light vinaigrette which was quite good. For my main course both me and my husband selected the Filet de Boeuf which was served with leeks, multi-colored tomatoes, a potato crisp (that was a take on Rösti) and topped with spicy arugula. The dish was very good but the flavor profiles were a bit too busy for my preference and were more of a distraction than complimentary. The piece of beef was absolutely fantastic and cooked to perfection but it did not get a chance to shine given everything else that was going on with the plate. I am a sucker for crème brulee so when I saw an orange scented version on the dessert menu, I had to indulge. I am glad I did as it was sweet perfection (and arrived at the table in full flambé glory) that was perfumed with rich citrus notes.
Overall it was a very good experience in a lovely setting but the main course left me wanting something a bit simpler that allowed the top quality ingredients to stand-out just a bit more. I would definitely recommend the restaurant if you are in the area as it is worth checking-out, providing something different from the more traditional offerings in the area.