THE BEST OF LAUSANNE FOOD: THE FULL GUIDE
I cannot tell you how many messages I get asking for recommendations of where to eat in Lausanne (and London for that matter). I’m starting to feel a little bit like a hotel concierge but I totally understand and do always try to give my best tips because for some reason, it’s really easy to forget just how many amazing places there are in Lausanne. Between the town’s levels, layers, ups and downs, so many of these places are a little hidden away. I felt like it was about time to write a full list of where to eat for every single occasion and every single craving. I think this is even a list that I’ll keep bringing up when I’m stuck for ideas.
To kick things off, I’d like to give a biiiig shoutout to Emma, her husband Tony, Jana and Heleen for their amazing work with the Street Kitchen Café that they just opened on Rue Centrale. I’ve known Emma, Tony and Jana since we all used to work in night clubs and bars around town (more on that another day – there are enough embarrassing stories to last a lifetime). Emma and Tony started out with a catering company and a food stall at the markets and I’m so excited that they have finally got a café in central Lausanne.
What I love most about the place is that it’s perfect for so many times of the day. They’ve got great coffee (Fabio Marco Coffee) and a delicious vegan banana bread for a bite to eat mid morning, or you can sit in for lunch with a friend or a quick bite by yourself, and even grab a bowl to pop in the fridge and save for dinner. I have done all of the above and cannot recommend this place enough! My personal favourites are the vegan banana bread and the Saffa bowl.
There are so many amazing places opening around town these days and I’m so excited that Lausanne is diversifying.
OK now let’s get into it – here is my full guide on where to eat and drink in Lausanne for every single imaginable moment. This list is by no means exhaustive as I obviously haven’t been to every restaurant in town but I’ll keep updating it to make sure this is always an honest review of my experiences.
Where to eat in Lausanne?
- Street Kitchen Café: cute café, great coffee, a delicious dirty chai, granola and vegan banana bread. Very central and perfect to eat in or take away.
- Lucien Moutarlier for the best croissants and pain au chocolats: the girls from The Lausanne Guide sussed this one out for us all and I stand by their choice of the best croissant in town completely. I don’t think the staff are very friendly so I’d never sit in but I always pick up breakfast from here when I’m heading to an early meeting.
- Blackbird café for tea and a yummy bowl of porridge or bircher.
- Le Pointu: I’m totally biased and am obviously no longer a reliable source for brunch recommendations in Lausanne as I work almost every weekend serving my own brunch and never have time to go anywhere else but it wouldn’t be right to not include this in here. Book ahead and say hi if you see a girl in a very dirty apron and chunky kitchen shoes (that’ll be me) :)
Where to go for a take-away lunch?
- Street Kitchen Café: get one of their cold bowls and take it to a park for a lunchtime picnic. I love the Saffa bowl and I hear their carrot cake is pretty incredible, too!
- If you’re looking for something around the train station, Al Sacco is great for sandwiches, salads and soups.
- The Lunchonette for wraps and juices but take cash as you can’t pay by card. I’ve never had a great service experience here but may have just been unlucky.
- Mauro for a take-away focaccia sandwich to eat in the park.
- La Confiserie de L’Etoile for a take away tarte salée or a cake salé. There are two shops so check which is most convenient for you beforehand.
If you’re on the go and the market happens to be on (Wednesdays at Saturdays until just before 14h), you HAVE to try:
- A ramequin au fromage or a pain au raisin from the stand with the yellow and red striped tarpaulin next to La Poste and just opposite the stairs leading up to the Great Escape.
- An empanada from Creacion del Tata – the stand is outside VIU on Rue du Pont. I like the meat ones best. This is another discovery I found through The Lausanne Guide.
What about a more formal sit down lunch or business meeting?
- Myo is probably the restaurant I go to the most in town. Their sushi is fantastic and they have mochi for dessert, which I’m a little obsessed with.
- Le Chandeleur for a slightly overpriced but delicious sweet and salty crêpes. This is a nice option if you’re looking for a local experience or if you have friends visiting from out of town.
Where to go for a sweet treat or coffee/tea break during the day?
- Cuppins for a really tasty chai tea and a cupcake in a quiet environment – there aren’t many tables so it never gets ridiculously busy. I’m not huge on cupcakes but Dina and her cousin Yasmin do really well at picking interesting flavour combinations and not making them sickly sweet.
- Sleepy Bear for a coffee, matcha or dirty chai and a cosy catch up with friends.
- Romain C for a fantastic traditional dessert and a great selection of tea. It can sometimes feel a bit cold and stark but it’s nice to pop in or plan to meet friends there for a special occasion.
- La Folie Voltaire in the Parc de Mon Repos for an ice cream or crêpe on a sunny day slightly sheltered from the sun.
- Pancs for a sweet treat mid-day (pancakes and crêpes) even on a Sunday!
GeA Gelateria Artigianale have a great selection of regional ice creams – I like their Abricot du Valais sorbet the best.
- Kony Bubble Tea: packed full of kids but I’m a 5 year old at heart and love a cheeky bubble tea. I always get black tea with milk and tapioca.
- Le Kiosk Saint-François for a very Lausanne experience – I particularly love this place during the summer. I wouldn’t go to get anything in particular but it’s super central and in a beautiful, iconic little kiosk and perfect for a coffee, tea or cold drink on a sunny day
Looking for a terrasse in town in the sun?
- Nespresso for a quick but still fairly formal iced coffee break or a business meeting in the sun.
- The Great Escape for casual drinks after work where you’re guaranteed to bump into absolutely everyone you know and where you get the last rays of sunlight in town.
- Brasserie de Montbenon for drinks after work that could easily lead on to dinner. You get the full view of the sunset and it’s pretty spectacular.
- Les Arches is so central that it’s almost always convenient to get to if you’re meeting a bunch of friends after work. Nothing in particular to recommend but a nice outdoor space with a city feel to it.
- La Grenette is only open during the summer. It’s very casual and relaxed which is a nice change from some of the more formal places in town. I’ve also heard they have great Korean food.
- Le Bourg Plage (now called Les Grandes Roches I’m told) has a similar vibe to La Grenette (also only open during the summer). It’s great if you’re looking to have late night drinks outdoors in central Lausanne and they often have live music.
Where to go for apéro indoors?
- Ta Cave for a planchette apéro and fantastic wine. Honestly, I just go down there with friends for their bread called “La Meule” with olive oil and salt and a few glasses of wine. It’s delicious.
- La Mise en Bière have the largest selection of beer on tap that I know of in town. It’s cosy and always rammed at apéro time with a really relaxed ambiance .
- Le Pointu is buzzing after work as Steve and his bar team have whipped up some mean cocktail recipes and we’ve got local beer from La Nebuleuse too!
On a sunny evening by the lake:
- The Lacustre is the perfect place for dinner right by the lake. It’s relaxed, the people are friendly and the food is good.
- Lavaux Vinorama is one of my secret summer favourites. It’s slightly out of town but it’s an amazing place to drive to and leave the car in the parking lot. You can pick up a bottle of chilled local wine to take away, a couple of glasses and cross under the road to the lakeside for a dip in the lake and some sunbathing on the rocks. This is obviously a little bit rubbish for the driver as they can’t drink but a very nice things to do if you have friends visiting from abroad.
- As soon as the sun is out, the Jetée de le Compagnie is absolutely packed. There is no other bar that quite as close to the lakefront. Perfect for an afternoon swim and a few drinks with friends but often slightly annoyingly busy and hard to get a table for a big group.
And dinner options organised for you:
- Italian: Ristorante Amici or Ristorante St Paul are, in my opinion, the two best Italian restaurants in town. They are both on the pricey side but well worth booking ahead for. Luigia is a good casual Italian alternative but not anywhere near as charming and has more of a fast food feel to it.
- Chinese: Chez Xu is the best Chinese in town but go to one in Tunnel not the one on Petit Chêne. Get their ravioli grillés, the salade d’algues, the spicy Szechuan beef and the bœuf croustillant. I often order a takeaway as I don’t like the smell on my clothes after a meal there though.
- Vietnamese: Hoa Sen is the place to go for Pho and other Vietnamese soups to warm up in the winter.
- Indian: Nandanam is probably the only Indian I would recommend in town. I haven’t had the friendliest service experience I’m afraid but they have delicious vegetarian Indian options and naan. Mmm naan.
- Swiss: Café de L’Evêché for a summer fondue (yes, that’s a thing) at the back of the restaurant in their sweet little enclosed terrasse.
- Traditional European: Au Chat Noir for good traditional food. The decor is a bit bland and the lights tend to be too bright but I’ve never been disappointed by the food.
- Pizza: The best pizza in town is a tough one – the Pavillon have this delicious corn-flavoured light crust pizza and is the perfect place for dinner and drinks with friends. PZ pizza probably comes a close second – they have a mozzarella di buffala, egg, ham and truffle pizza blanche that is to die for. It’s not a place you’d stay for long though.
- For the meat eaters: Le Petit Boeuf is delicious. The service is very traditional and your experience will depend largely on who serves you but the meat is delicious, their sauces are out of this world and they have the best beef tartare in town. They are best known for their charbonnade where you grill your own meat at the table. Don’t wear anything fancy that would need to be handwashed though, you will leave this place smelling of charred meat.
- Pasta: Café de l’Avenir is the place to go for pasta. Most of their pasta is handmade and they have a great selection of sauces. You might have to be rolled out as the servings are generous but ooh so delicious. I’m a carbonara kind of girl.
- Burgers: Non Stop in Lutry is probably my all time favourite burger spot but Zoo Burger is good too if you’re in town.
- Kebab: I’m a bit biased when it come to Kebabs because Sertaç and his dad Hüseyn run the kebab shop next to the Pointu called le Snack du Marché and we pretty much lived there when we were opening Le Pointu. Love them, love their kebabs and sometimes we finish the evening off with raki and a heated up piece of their homemade baklava. It’s heaven.
- Sushi: Myo (as mentioned above) or Miyako at the Beau Rivage Palace for delicious fresh sushi and a late night stroll by the lake.
- Fish: Café de la Poste for filet de perche after a dip in the lake at the plage de Lutry.
What about the best cocktails in Lausanne?
- Le Pavillion hands down for the best Gin & Tonic in town. They infuse their own gins and play around with all sorts of international gins and different flavoured tonics.
- Eat Me for cocktails and a catch up with friends as Le Pavillon can get a bit noisy late into the evening.
- LP’s at the Lausanne Palace is nice if you want to finish up a weekday evening with tea after dinner. I often go when I’m catching up with an old friend when a few hours over dinner just didn’t give us enough time.
Where to finish off the night dancing with that drink that will tip you over the edge?
- Le Bourg, Buzz, No Name or the Folklor are probably the places I find myself at at stupid O’Clock in the morning.
And if you haven’t already seen it, here’s a video I put together showing a closer look at some of my favourites from the list above and a peek around town.
Just as a little disclaimer as I get a lot of questions about it – I haven’t ever been to Asia Express (the Chinese restaurant featured in the video) myself. I always get my Chinese food at Chez Xu but this was Fiona’s pick. She says their hot pot is one of the best in town and that they do lovely Chinese New Year celebrations that make her feel right at home. It didn’t feel right picking my favourite Chinese restaurant as I was walking around town with an expert herself.
So that’s it – over 50 places I can highly recommend in town for any moment of any day. The girls at The Lausanne Guide have full write ups of most of these places and, for the most part, our opinions are very aligned, so head on over to their blog to see photos and read more if you’re looking for more information.
I hope this is helpful for any of you living in or visiting Lausanne! Please remember that out of any industry the restaurant industry is probably the most volatile and so much of your experience will depend on the mood of the service and kitchen staff, which as a restaurateur myself I know is the hardest thing to manage. I hope you enjoy these places but I can of course not guarantee anything.
What have I missed? Any places that you love that weren’t mentioned? I’d love to know as I’m always looking for new places to try. Thanks for stopping by for a read and I hope you have a lovely day. xS