Restaurants & Bars 2

Lausanne report

Seth Ditchik | Sep 10, 200105:44 PM

Spent a few days in Lausanne on business last month, and was able to ferret out a few good eats that I thought I'd pass along.

Lausanne is a perfectly pleasant city arching up rather steeply from Lake Geneva (Lac Leman in the local parlance). The city is split into three levels--the Old City at the top, the train station in the middle, and Ouchy on the lakeside. Most of the better restaurants seem located in the Old City; Ouchy is more touristy, but also the only place you'll find restaurants open on Sunday.

Manora: place St. François 17, is a nice self-serve cafeteria, offering a wide variety of salads, pastas, and grilled meats relatively cheaply. Seems like a favorite among the student/backpacking crowd, a nice fast(ish) food place without having to resort to McDonalds.

Le Bleu Lézard: 10 Rue Enning, seems to serve a Swiss equivalent of "Californian" cuisine. Light fare, salads, fish & meats at reasonable prices, especially for a stylish sit-down restaurant. Staff is a bit spacy.

Cafe du Grutli: 4 rue de la Mercerie. Old-school Swiss food. For whatever reason, you need to order the full fondue ahead of time, and the staff inexplicably informed us that it would be difficult for the table to split a cheese & bread fondue as an appetizer. The ones who ordered the fondue as an entree found it decent but monotonous. Had the horse au poivre, which was very well prepared in my opinion, having no basis of comparison. Tastes like venison, or a more gamey beef.

La Petite Grappe: 15 Cheneau de Bourg. La Grappe D'Or is the most celebrated restaurant in Lausanne; this is the cafe (actually down the street), supposedly run by the chef's son. Had an excellent meal here, despite the somewhat disjointed staff, who told us that our party (of 10) couldn't order off the menu (apparently there were too many of us, and the kitchen couldn't cook 10 different meals, which I think is bunk, as the place was far from full). Our choice was to order from the prixe fixe or to go for the "suprise menu": we would tell them what we DIDN'T want, and they would improvise a four-course meal for the entire party. The meal was so good I had the chef write it down:

"Fera du Lac Leman marine au wasabi": lake-fish prepared almost like a carpaccio, served in a sauce with just the barest hint of wasabi. It was exquisite.

"Filet de sandre poele au jus be viande": Grilled perch filet; simple & perfectly cooked, not as exciting as the rest of the meal but nice.

"Noisette d'agneau au cumin du Maroc": slices of lamb grilled with Moroccan spices; delicious

"Parfait glace au grand marnier": custard flavored with Grand Marnier

All told, around 116SF per person. The portions, while heavenly, were miniscule; enough to satisfy me, but it left some in our party grumbling about the size, particularly considering the cost.

While in Lausanne, you should also try Donor Kebab, the official international dish of Central Europe. I had a particularly good one at Kebab & Falafel, just up from the central train station on rue du Petite-Chene, but you could pick one up from the kebab joints that seem to be at the end of every block in town.

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