Perched on the northern shore of Lake Geneva, Lausanne enjoys wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Its proximity to Geneva makes it the perfect getaway for a romantic evening, as the city offers a selection of great bistros and restaurants, from local haunts to haute cuisine and gourmet delicacies. This is the ultimate guide to eating out in picturesque Lausanne.
A feast for the eyes, taste buds and soul, Café Saint-Pierre combines urban chic with chromatic plastic and an airy ambiance with colorful – and flavorful – dishes. The cafe is primarily renowned for its wide selection of tapas, served every evening and prepared with a touch of Spanish creativity and Swiss precision; from the delicate aubergine caviar with Lebanese bread to the fresh Bresaola carpaccio and creamy foie gras with Tasmanian pepper. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, Café Saint-Pierre throws a widely popular brunch session, with playful options such as ‘So British’ – a combination akin to the infamous English breakfast. A good choice of board games, colorful photographs displayed along the walls and regular music events make this small venue a creative hub, where diners can enjoy much more than just the food.
La Pinte Besson
One of the oldest restaurants in Switzerland, La Pinte Besson was opened in 1780 by a local wine merchant. It still retains much of its original atmosphere, as the merry guests, heavy wooden benches and stained glass decorations come together to create a unique dining venue in the heart of old Lausanne. The cuisine offers few, but well-picked, typically Swiss dishes, with fondue and entrecote remaining firm favorites among guests. While the fondue is served with a variety of deliciously fresh meats and combines varied flavors, the grilled beef entrecote presents an assertively rich portion of succulent, melt-in-the-mouth meat. La Pinte Besson’s character makes it both understated and fabulous, and certainly an unmissable stop on Lausanne’s culinary trail.
Anne-Sophie Pic at Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace
Led by the talented Anne-Sophie Pic, whose three Michelin stars speak volumes about her skills, this fine dining establishment is among the best restaurants in Lausanne. Set in the stunning Beau-Rivage palace with direct access to Lake Leman, Anne-Sophie Pic’s restaurant was designed by Stewart Wildson and is decorated with soft hues of gold and beige, giving it an air of refinement and groomed elegance. Similarly, each dish on the menu is a meticulous composition, where color, flavor and shape come together in an astonishing symbiosis. An impressive cellar with over 70,000 bottles of wine guarantees that no guest goes thirsty. In summer, the restaurant opens its outdoor terrace and garden, giving spectacular views over the lake and mountains.
Café Romand is the last of the grande brasseries that used to reign in beautiful Lausanne. Established in 1951, it still breathes authentic vintage charm with its heavy oak furniture, grand architecture and a self-confessed bourgeois approach to cooking. The menu is largely seasonal, but one thing that never changes at Café Romand is the classic fondue; the moitié-moitié fondue is particularly tasty, combining soft Fribourg Vacherin with tangy Gruyère in a harmonious fusion of flavors and undertones. A variety of meats and local classics are also on offer, including typical brasserie-style brains and tripe for the daring, along with a good selection of sauerkraut-based dishes and flavorful wines.
Café des Artisans
As its name suggests, Café des Artisans has an artsy approach to its decor and an artisanal attitude towards its food. The cafe-bistro hybrid launched in 2012 and immediately attracted solid attention along with an eclectic clientele. Their healthy, visually stunning salads are light and satisfying, and served with a good measure of imagination. Swiss staples are available too, along with the ubiquitous foie gras and melt-in-the-mouth duck fillet accompanied by a sweet touch of pear and apple. Besides food, Café des Artisans cooks up regular events, from the occasional flea market to casual gigs and cuisine exchanges – the most recent involved a one-night Vietnamese takeover, where the cafe’s usual menu was replaced with a Vietnamese selection of dishes.
Part-café, part-chocolaterie, Le Barbare is a true institution in the heart of Lausanne’s old town, at the foot of the Notre Dame cathedral. Though the venue does not have an extensive menu, it offers a so-called petite restauration – a variety of snacks, quick meals such as the croque monsieur (grilled cheese and ham sandwich) and tasty cakes. What Le Barbare is most famous for, however, is the chocolate. Velvety and full of texture, rich, creamy and deliciously indulgent, the hot chocolate maison is an unmissable treat in a country so famous for its chocolate industry. In the summer, Le Barbare takes to the streets and opens its beer garden, where green parasols and pink roses guarantee a wonderful afternoon in the shade of the impressive cathedral.
Café de Grancy
Art-deco charm and shabby chic form a great duo at Café de Grancy. The bistro is always buzzing with young, trendy guests who come here to enjoy the delicious food and laid-back atmosphere. And although ‘informal’ is part of Café de Grancy’s philosophy, the menu offers a sophisticated symphony of flavors. The salmon tartare sprinkled with coriander and avocado or the prawns and calamari spiced up with ginger, sesame seeds and mango make the perfect entrees. To satisfy more than just the petit faim, try the special truffle menu, where succulent beef fillet is served with a port reduction, and the creamy foie gras terrine sprinkled with aromatic truffle oil. In fact, the cafe’s shop offers prime quality artisanal foie gras to take away – a perfect gift for the most discerning of gourmets.
Au Chat Noir
Au Chat Noir is one of Lausanne’s many hidden gems. Nestled on a corner near the Lausanne Opera House, the restaurant offers bistro-style food prepared with flair and a stunning feel for elegance. The seasonal menu is always an interesting surprise and features incredibly tender meats, best served medium rare for a full intensity of flavor – most ingredients are sourced from local farms and markets, guaranteeing absolute freshness. Bustling and convivial, Au Chat Noir’s atmosphere makes the dining experience there an incredibly pleasant and informal affair, where the delicious food – and well-picked regional wines – take center stage.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.