Eat: Lausanne

Overlooking Lake Geneva, the Swiss city of Lausanne is home to flower-filled streets, chocolate box architecture and traditional cheese, wine and sausages — as well as fine dining restaurants extolling the virtues of the Alpine larder

By Audrey Gillan
Published 21 Nov 2014, 11:10 GMT, Updated 1 Jul 2021, 14:56 BST

Five Lausanne food finds

La Ferme Vaudoise

When the Saturday produce market is closed, head to this farm shop to taste the best local produce, from cheeses to wine and sausages, to take home.

Le Barbare
Said to sell the best hot chocolate in Lausanne, Le Barbare, below the cathedral, serves the stuff so thick you can stand a spoon in it. Le Barbare, Escaliers du Marché 27 1003.

Vaudois Express
Take a scenic excursion into the vineyards with the Lavaux Express, climbing high up into the terraces, with wine tasting waiting for you at the top.

Head to the food hall of department store Globus for all things Swiss gourmet, including wine, cheese, chocolate and kirsch.

Domaine Croix Duplex
Sample some remarkable, lesser-known, Swiss wines, including Chasselas, with a four-glass wine tasting from £7.75 per person.

Four places for a taste of Lausanne

Lausanne à Table

From June to September, this food-and-wine-focused organisation holds events in the Vaud capital, including themed dinners, walks, picnics and barbecues on the Esplanade de Montbenon, as well as visits to urban gardens and local farms. Some of the city's top restaurants participate, including Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic and La Table d'Edgard. The Marché des Vignerons brings together winemakers, local producers and entertainments. Its biggest event is Le Grande Table des Lausannois, housed in a different location each year and cooked by some of the city's best chefs.

Le Café du Grütli
This traditional restaurant is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the old town and serves typical dishes such as papet vaudois (cabbage-filled sausage, served with leek gratin) and stout venison sausage. Sit outside on the terrace or upstairs in a room lined with antlers. The gregarious owner moved here from Austria 45 years ago and still loves the place. Don't miss the fries, thinly cut, crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle — something their thinness should, you'd think, render impossible. The Grütli fondue is among the best in the city.
How much: A three-course dinner without drinks from £29 per person.

Pinte Besson
Sit under stone vaults in this traditional pinte, founded in 1780, once a resting place for weary travellers and locals alike, where wine producers could sell their leftover wine to be washed down with sausages and Tomme cheese. The fondue here is rightly famous, an urn of fiercely bubbling Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois, laced with white wine and kirsch and served with cubes of bread (tradition says it should be bread alone). There's walnut-studded sausage and cured hams and crispy rostis with lardons and onion. The traditional Swiss dessert of tiny meringues with dollops of thick Gruyère cream is a coronary-inducing wonder.
How much: A three-course dinner without drinks from £23 per person.

La Table d'Edgard
Chef Edgard Bovier is a native of the Valais but a lover of Mediterranean cuisine, so he brings a marriage of local produce and a lightness of touch together in his kitchen, which serves up seasonal, balanced menus using wild fish, farm meats and market garden vegetables. The restaurant has an outdoor terrace but indoors the view of Lake Geneva and the Alps beyond is just as spectacular.
How much: A set lunch menu without drinks is £48.50 per person and the dinner menu begins at £85.

Published in the December 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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