Shan there are several markets in and around Lausanne - or marché as they are called in French. The largest one is in the city center on Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00 - 2:30 where you can find loads of local and local organic produce as well as cheese, bread, meat, foul (their is even an entire carte dedicated to caille - quail) fresh pasta and other seasonal items. Other stands sell imported produce from France, Italy and Spain - you need to ask. There are also the stands that specialize in spices and nuts from various parts of the world.
All of the surrounding villages and Ouchy (lakeside) have market days as well but on a much smaller scale.
You can buy produce, milk and eggs directly from several farmers in the area. Another nice feature we have is cut your own flowers where you drive up, select the flowers you want and leave the appropriate amount in the self-service tin. Switzerland is very trusting that way. There are also self-service milk machines at some farms. Depending on the time of year you can also pick your own strawberries, apples, cherries and grapes in various places.
However, the grocery stores in Swizterland (mainly Coop and Migros) must say where all produce and meat comes from so it is very easy to buy locally. Often the stand you buy from in the marché will also supply directly to their local grocery store.
As for restaurants, there are some really nice higher end ones and even more average places. Be prepared for a shock on the prices though. There is not a huge amount of variety, but still, you will be able to go out while you are here.
Here is a website with some recommendations, but not many of my favorites are listed:
You should also look at the official local website which has some info in English as well: www.lausanne.ch
and for meeting up with other people: www.glocals.com
thanks so much! I really appreciate all the info. It's been a bit overwhelming getting everything ready for this trip and I've heard they have great farmer's markets there... I always try to get as much local food as I can when I travel and I've heard most people don't eat out on a regular basis so I'm trying to figure out places to go and get stuff.
Well, I've been living here since February, and I'm still looking for a good restaurant. I'll probably write a long post summarizing what I like and what I don't here.
The farmer's markets are amazing. The Lausanne main market is on Wednesdays and Sundays...its at the Riponne stop on the metro.
The pasta (ravioli especially) is better than anything I've gotten at groceries and generally better than almost every restaurant I've eaten in the States. I'm working my way through one of the stands (the white trailer in the back of the market with pasta on the end has a guy who speaks English) and I've yet to get a clunker.
The bread here is really good. The best bread I've found so far is at the Farmer's market, Noz Chocolates and Maier Chocolates.
Eggs. The eggs at the farmer's markets are incredible. The yolks are so bright and orange-yellow, you'd think they were colored by a 5 year old using a crayola.
Cheese- I've gotten good cheese at Migros, Coop, and the Farmer's Market. I pretty much only get my cheese at the Farmer's market now. You can get fresh local cheese that really has no comparison. The prices are good(I get a nice wedge for the 2 of us for about 2 francs) and the selection is overwhelming.
Butter and Milk. I also get these at the Farmer's market. There's a stand where the guy pumps the milk out of a milk bucket for you. It's super fresh and definitely better than anything I've ever had in the states. The milk guy also sells butter which is good, but if you ever go here hit his stand on Saturdays. On Saturdays, he also sells salted caramels for about 5-6 francs a bag and they are well worth it. They are so fresh and outstanding.
Chocolate. My favorite chocolate places are Noz Chocolates http://www.noz-chocolatier.ch/ and Blondel Chocolates (http://www.chocolatsblondel.ch/)
Noz is in between the Ours and Bessieres metro stops when you are walking between them. Their chocolate is really incredible both in their bars and their candies. Another thing I love to get at Noz are the pate viande (or pate... i'm not sure which is correct). I've gotten a bit obsessed with these little meat pies here. They are small meat pies with a flaky crust, gelatin on top and a meaty smooth filling. I've tried them at almost every place I see. I must have had about 15-20 of them now and my favorite are at Noz. They are a bit smaller than many others, but they have a great crust and a really well flavored filling.
Back to chocolate: Blondel has some really amazing chocolate too. They are a straight up chocolate shop. My favorites are these small squares of pure chocolate. They come as dark, milk, orange, coffee and are dusted in chocolate powder. If you let them melt on your tongue, all the flavors come through and really blow me away. They aren't waxy and have just a great texture. As a bite, these are my favorite chocolates in the city, period.
Next to Blondel, is a Laduree location.. the famous French macaroon shop. I've tried several of them, but the salted caramel ones would make angels weep. I've gone back a couple times just to get a salted caramel fix.
Now, restaurants... I've been to both Zoo Burger and Holy Cow. These are the two burger places I know of in Lausanne. If you want to sit down, go to Zoo Burger. They have seats while Holy Cow has 1 table. I think I liked the Holy Cow burger better (guacamole and bacon on it) but I liked the Zoo atmosphere better. Zoo served a good burger, but you don't really go to Switzerland for the burgers. It's not going to touch a good burger in the states, but it does the job.
Java Cafe in Lausanne was a disappointment. The atmosphere is coffee hangout, bar, hip place and if I go back, it will be for the desserts. The food was mediocre at best with the food undercooked (my husband's fish was raw on sections) and my duck was reheated because it had that funky reheat flavor.
I've tried Au Solstice for pizza because it came highly recommended. bleh. I got a calzone and the husband got a pizza. His pizza was okay, but my calzone was kinda yucky. They put an egg in it. I saw it had an egg on the menu, but I thought that meant either a fried egg, runny yolk, or something in between there. I got a completely raw egg with the white not cooked at all and oozing all over and keeping the cheese from melting. That's not really my thing.
I also went to L'indecis (http://indecis.vpweb.ch/) in Lausanne and was extremely disappointed. This place was recommended as a place to go for a really good meal. 140 francs later, and I could have had a better steak at Waffle House in the States. We got the set menu and a half bottle of wine. The wine was very good. The food was not. The salad had a tuna fish element that was pretty good, but the surrounding vegetables looked like an overwrought plate dialing in its design from 1992. Bits here, bits there, but not really talking to each other.
I got the steak with chocolate sauce and the fries (it was that or the fish on the set menu). I told them I wanted my steak rouge (I like it rare) and I got well done. The steak was a really poor quality meat that was over salted and pan fried. I'm not being overly mean when I compare it to Waffle House. It looked like a steak I got there once but the Waffle House was better and about 25 dollars cheaper. I would have sent it back, but I can only speak very basic french and don't have the words to explain this is inedible poor quality meat. They served it with a chocolate sauce... I expected the chocolate to not be sweetened chocolate (ugh)... I permanently live in Texas and I'm used to moles that use chocolate, but I don't want dessert chocolate on meat. It was served with 3 dollops of pureed vegetables (califlower, pea, beet) that literally looked like baby food on the plate, and accompanied with a plate of french fries. At a place like this, I expected fresh fries. I'm picky about fries and if I'm paying about 35 francs per plate, I don't expect them to come from a grocery store. These literally were the grocery store knock off McDonalds thin fries, but they were undercooked and flabby and not salted when presented at the table. I consider fries one of my basic food groups and I couldn't eat more than 2 or 3.
So, I'indecis in my opinion was a total waste of my money. I'm fine with fast food, slow food, gourmet food, ethnic food, and experimental food as long as its good. I had a meal at Conty in Beaune France this weekend that ranks up with my best experiences of all time. However, Lausanne has been a bust for good restaurant food.
Anyone have any suggestions?
I live in Geneva and it is just as bad for restaurants. Thankfully, France is close by, Italy is just an hour away, and even Southern Germany is only 2.5 hours by car. So I save most of my restaurant visits for outside of Switzerland.
With that said, I've had a couple of alright meals at Cafe de Grancy in Lausanne. It's reasonably priced, by Swiss standards, and the burger I had there was decent.
Lived in Lausanne for a year---agree that food is not a high point. Try, "Port du Pully" a restaurant on lake front in Pully---OK food. View is fantastic.
Some other ideas:
Informal lunch at Manor department store on the terrace.
Argentinian restaurant "La Chasseur" south of Lausanne--forgot name of town.
Try Migros; own brand of yogurt---"Chocolate Truffle"
Patisserie next to Hotel de Ville
A discussion of where to eat in Lausanne is not complete without mention of one of the greatest restaurants in all of Europe just minutes away in the little village of Crissier... Philippe Rochat's de l'Hotel de Ville. Perhaps a little too over the top for what the OP requested but should still be mentioned when speaking of the region.
Rochat started as a young chef working in the kitchen of the great Fredy Girardet, perhaps our generation's greatest chef... and took the helm when Mr. Girardet retired in 1996. The place is fabulous.
You are indeed correct. The only downside to Rochat's is the decor - which is not pleasing at all. I have only been there twice - once for both chefs, and it was a very memorable experience each time.
The other top destinations in the area along these lines is Ravet's L'Ermitage http://www.ravet.ch/ which I have never gotten around to going to and Carlo Crisci's Le Cerf http://www.lecerf-carlocrisci.ch/
I lived in Geneva in the early 1990s and my wife and I went to Girardet's once. It was very good, but not worth the price. There were a number of restaurants in Suisse Romande which were just as good for less money. I hope to get back to Switzerland sometime soon; the food is generally excellent wherever you go.
you are in luck because I live in Lausanne!
You did not say what type of food you are looking for, so I will give you a few different options.
Being in Switzerland the local specialty is of course fondue and the best in the area is run by two sweet grannies. It is a bit of a trek and a car is needed, but if you want an authentic and not tourist experience the Tour de Gourze is where you go. (Order the moitie/motie which is 1/2 gruyerre and 1/2 vacherin).
The other local specialty is filet de perches (I am not a huge enthusiast as I prefer fish from the sea rather than from the lake, but as you are here, you should try it). And the two best places for this dish just happen to have amazing views. One is right on the lake and the other is nestled in the vineyards above. If you are here in August the one in Lutry is nice as they have lovely jazz music on the quai each night.
Café de la Poste in Lutry (no website)
Grand-Rue 48 (Quai Doret), Tél. 021 791 18 72 fermé dimanche et lundi
Make sure you reserve for the "terrasse"
The other place is called Relais de la Poste
And if you want to be in the "happening" center of Lausanne my favorite place to hang out and get an amazing steak is at the Palace Hotel - Brasserie Grand Chene. (If you really want to splash out they have a Chefs Table - hard to get reservations, but an amazing experience and excellent food).
Think that should be enough to get you started. Have a great time!
Many thanks, Marsprincess.
We just returned from Lausanne and actually stayed at the Palace Hotel. We ate in their brasserie which was good, in the downstairs restaurant which was excellent (order their home made caramel ice cream for dessert) and also had dinner in their Sushi restaurant, which was just awful, it wouldn't even last one day in New York!!
We will definitely try the other restaurants you suggested on our next trip.
Oh yes - stay away from the Sushi place in the Palace. I went once and never went back. There is another sushi spot near there with gorgeous views, but sushi in Lausanne is not really one of our best features.
Let me know when you come back, would be happy to give you more suggestions.
You are obviously someone who hasn't gone out much. There are some fantastic restaurants in this area. Just booked my reservations for the Deutz evening at Anne Sophie Pic's restaurant in the Beau Rivage - so that is top end. And recently had some perfectly cooked fresh lake trout at a lake side café - middle range. It is all here. You just have to want to find it.
I would like to revive this thread, since we are going to Lausanne in some weeks...
Hotel de Ville in Crissier is booked.
I have a question regarding the "Chefs Table" at La Table d'Edgard at the Palace Hotel: is it really "inside" the kitchen or are you sitting at a table in another room, observing he kirchen through a glassed window?
How is The Restaurant at Trois Couronnes in Vevey?