Tongue-twisting, tastebud-teasing local dishes, redolent of the rigours and pleasures of high-altitude life, have survived and thrived best in Andorra's renowned Borda restaurants.
A Borda is a traditional stone-built barn; found attached to farmhouses, standing solitarily on the outskirts of villages or huddled together in remote high pastures. The building has two floors: the ground level is used to house livestock and to store agricultural implements; and the airy, high-ceilinged upper floor is used for drying the tobacco harvest and for storing animal feed.
With the rapid change from agrarian to urban lifestyle in Andorra, lots of these barns fell into disuse. Many have since been converted into attractive, desirable chalets and, most notably, into atmospheric restaurants.
These Borda restaurants have become emblematic living museums for the preservation and evolution of the Principality's signature dishes; a visit to one should feature on your ‘must do’ list. Virtually every resort has, or is close to, at least one top-quality venue.
Generally 12:30–15:30hrs for lunch and 19:30–23:30hrs for dinner.
Ski-Ride's restaurant reviews indicate the relative price bracket for each venue:
(£) = cheapest;
(£££+) = most expensive.
La Borda de l'Avi (£££)
Classy establishment, with neighbouring cocktail bar and late night venue.
Grilled meats; escudella stew; game roasted on the embers of an open wood fire.
Carretera d'Arinsal km 1, La Massana.
Tel. +376 835 154
Can Benet (£££)
Excellent quality, attractive venue. Snails a la llauna and meats cooked on an open wood fire, caldereta de langosta stew (spiny lobster) and game dishes in season.
Antic Carrer Major, Andorra la Vella.
Tel. +376 828 922
Cort de Popaire (££)
Cosy, atmospheric old Borda with low ceiling, exposed beams, animal feed troughs set in the walls and an open wood-fire grill. Located in the middle of Soldeu village. Menu has a more international influence, focused around grilled meats.
Plaça del Poble, Soldeu.
Tel. +376 851 211
La Borda d'Erts (££)
Two-hundred-year-old building; family-run venue, popular with locals.
Specialities: slate-grilled meats, cassoulet and fish.
Carretera General d'Erts, Erts (near Arinsal).
Tel. +376 836 782
Borda Estevet (£££)
Elegant Borda offering classic grills and local specialities including slate-grilled meats and Andorran trout. Extensive, well-selected wine cellar.
Carretera de la Comella 2, Andorra la Vella.
Tel. +376 864 026
La Borda del Gran Duc (££+)
Simple, cosy little venue, tucked away down a tiny pedestrian-only alley just off the high street in La Massana town centre.
Grills, fish, raclette and fondue.
Cami Ral, La Massana.
Tel. +376 837 968
Borda la Guingueta (£££)
Very stylish top-quality restaurant just outside Sant Julià de Lòria in the south of the Principality. Intimate venue, with only three dozen covers.
Refined menu of internationally influenced dishes and an extensive wine list.
Carretera de la Rabassa, Sant Julià de Lòria.
Tel. +376 842 941
Borda de l'Hortó (££)
18th-century inn just west of El Tarter.
Specialities include suckling pig, roast kid, charcoal-grilled meats, local river trout and French-influenced rustic dishes.
Closed on Mondays.
Carretera General, Presa de Ransol, Canillo.
Tel. +376 851 622
La Llar de l'Artesa (£+)
Atmospheric old Borda just east of Soldeu on the main road towards Grau Roig. Popular with seasonaires and regular visitors, who refer to it affectionately as the ‘Snails & Quails’.
Offers free pick-up and return taxi service for clients in Soldeu, El Tarter & Canillo. Lively bar downstairs.
Bordes d'Envalira km 22, Soldeu.
Tel. +376 851 078
Cal Moixó (££)
One of the most authentic country hamlet Bordas.
Rustic mountain cuisine, roasts, game and fresh trout.
Ansalonga, Vall d'Ordino.
Tel. +376 850 884 / +376 322 593
La Borda Pairal 1630 (£££)
Beautifully converted historic building, dating from 1630, with exposed log beams and distinctive water-wheel.
Wide range of gastronomic, refined dishes. Complete with its own fine wine boutique and over 400 wines on an excellent cellar list.
Carrer Doctor Vilanova 7, Andorra la Vella.
Tel. +376 869 999
Refugi dels Llacs de Pessons (££)
High-altitude (2350 m / 7708 ft) piste-side mountain restaurant.
Although not strictly a Borda, this old, atmospheric, quality restaurant has the soul of a Borda and is the closest thing to one in the Pas de la Casa area.
The restaurant is reached via the Camí de Pessons red piste above Grau Roig.
Open daytime only.
Tel. +376 759 015
La Borda Raubert (££)
The most authentically Andorran restaurant in the Principality: renowned as ‘the archive of Andorra cuisine’, offering regional specialities in their purest forms alongside contemporary adaptations of traditional, almost-forgotten recipes; often featuring ingredients and flavourings foraged from the woodlands around Pal by the owner-chef.
Housed in an original farmstead, tucked away by the banks of the Arinsal river, on the main road between La Massana and Erts.
Carretera d'Arinsal km 1.3, La Massana.
Tel. +376 835 420