Almost all of the ski restaurants in European ski resorts are called “Ski Alms” if they are located on the mountain and not at the base of the resort. Historically, “Alm” is a term used to describe the high-lying mountain pasture lands where the mountain farmers let their cattle, sheep and goats graze.
Alas, shelters were built called “Blockhouses” where farmers would sleep and take care of the animals in case of storms on freezing winter nights. When skiing became popular in Europe, these “blockhouses” were renamed “Alms” (after pasture lands) and were turned into cozy and warm restaurants, usually rustic in nature and with fireplaces to stay warm.
It was refreshing to find such a European concept smack in the middle of the American west and on the top of New Mexico’s primo ski resort – Taos Valley. The Bavarian Restaurant, founded and run by Thomas and Jamie Schulze, is connected to the Bavarian Lodge, where people can stay and dine during their ski vacation.
Nestled at the base of stunning Kachina Peak above the European-style village of Taos Ski Valley, The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant provides a charming and authentic alpine ambiance amid the majesty of New Mexico’s storied Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Secluded but sociable, opulent yet casual and convenient for hard core skiers, The Bavarian is a magical retreat that brings you a taste of the Bavarian Alps in the American Southwest. It also makes for a great family stay given its location and availability of spacious suites, and the restaurant is delicious.
Appetizers were outa this world, especially the Prosciutto with Roasted sweet beets, which they served with watercress, cantaloupe coulis and balsamic mint oil, and the Smoked Salmon, which they served on a bed of pickled cucumbers, roasted tomato concasse and a horseradish cream. While we didn’t try it, they had classic Herring on the menu as well as Escargots in a lemon basil butter sauce and toast.
Salads were surprisingly fresh and light considering where we were in the world – let’s just say it isn’t a hop, skip and a jump to a farmer’s market, especially during winter months. In addition to a house salad and a Caesar, both of which you could add grilled chicken or of course….bratwurst to, they had a delicious Spinach salad with Riesling poached pears, bleu cheese crumbles, candied walnuts and a pear gastrique.
For when it’s really cold, as it was on that particular night, a traditional Goulash soup goes down well with a nice beer. Here they make it the classic way, with beef cubes, paprika (also very common in Eastern Europe), and potatoes. And yes, of course I had to try it.
While they had some fabulous Bavarian beer choices — the Monastery Weltenburg “Asam Bock” dark beer and Hofbrauhaus Munich lager are two call outs, we went for a couple of caps with our mains, since our entrees were on the heavier side.
They had Bavarian classics on the menu like Spatzle, sausage, Sauerbraten, Jagerschnitzel and Wienerschnitzel of course, but they also had more classic dishes like pork chops, lamb shanks and filet mignon.
Two particularly amazing (and I’d argue classically traditional) dishes worth mentioning are the New Mexico Lamb Shank which they braise in a red wine sauce with spatzle and red cabbage and their Bone-in pork chop, served with German potato salad, red cabbage and apple sauce. They were to die for!!
The ambiance at this ski top restaurant is ever so cozy, with warm and inviting colors. Two thumbs up! The experience was top notch, one we’d gladly repeat. Also see my 5 Top Foodie Picks for Taos New Mexico post as well for other options in town.
The Bavarian Restaurant (part of the Bavarian Lodge on the top of the mountain at Taos Ski Valley)
100 Kachina Road
Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525
Note: we were hosted by the restaurant but all opinions expressed are entirely our own.