Monday, September 15, 2008

Per Bacco

This Swiss restaurant, is a true palate pleasing venue filled with authentic Italian recipes and tastes. After a week of cheese laden food, we were looking for lighter fare until we noticed Per Bacco just a few doors down from the Interlaken West train station. If we couldn't have a light meal, at least we were eager for a familiar meal. Per Bacco's kitchen is manned by a Swiss, and a Portuguese chef who have learned to make Italian recipes to perfection.

Their Bolognese meat sauce was as good as we have had in Bologna, and the gnocchi were light, luscious and completely satisfying. The sauce was so rich, the cheese was superfluous, so I went without it; not necessarily as a sacrifice, but most likely because cheese was no longer on my favorite foods list. One can eat only so much!

Spaghetti Bolognese was another excellent pasta, but the menu also included pizze, and a nice selection of starters. Since this restaurant also bills itself as a "grapperia" the wine and grappa lists were substantial. As far as atmosphere is goes, it seemed more like a bar than a restaurant, but the quality of the food was a much higher standard than you will find at most other bars.

Vineria Grapperia Per Bacco
Rugenparkstrasse 2
3800 Interlaken Switzerland

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Le Pirate

This photo barely creates the illusion of a sailing ship, but Le Pirate is trying to give one that impression of its decor. Cute idea and who doesn't love a pirate? We were happy to find this restaurant as the rather heavy Swiss cuisine was weighing us down, so to speak.

Their location along the marina on the shores of Lake Geneva in Lausanne, made this a fine place for a restaurant specializing in seafood. We set our course for the mussels as soon as we saw them on the menu in the restaurant window. They were plentiful and delicious and would have been enough all on their own with the fries that accompanied them, but the fish soup looked inviting as well, so down the hatch it went!

Cafe Romand in Lausanne

While in Lausanne, we wanted to try traditional Swiss cuisine. Cafe Romand was the second recommendation and the best of the two traditional restaurants that we tried. What possessed us to think we could walk into a popular restaurant on a Saturday evening without reservations is still mystifying, but that's what we did. We started out early, but one wrong turn later, it took over an hour to walk there from our hotel. The place was packed and there was a line out the door, but we stood in it nonetheless and waited our turn. As each couple made their way to the front of the line, we kept hearing the same sentence repeated over and over. "You must have a reservation to be seated; we are fully booked."

Hearing this in English helped the frustration level increase to the point where I tugged on my companion's sleeve and suggested that we leave before we had to be embarrassed with heads hung, as we slunk out of the place. "Just wait", was his reply. That sounded rather self assured for a typically impatient fellow. I suspect he had hoped that by the time it was our turn, a table would be free and we would walk to it, triumphant in our quest. Before we crossed that bridge, I insisted we hatch Plan B. After investing all this time, I wanted to get to the end of the rainbow. I whispered my plot and hoped for the best.

As we approached the head of the line and we heard the waitress ask if we had a reservation, I could see my companion's eyes dart across the room before he answered a resounding "yes"! It was Plan B in action. He gave our name, but the waitress couldn't find it, to which he responded, "But the hotel made our reservation this afternoon for 8 p.m.." The waitress moved quicker than her age would indicate possible, to find us a table. She came back with bad news, an apology, and requested the name of our hotel. Unflappable, my companion gave her the name of 5 star hotel. She scoured the list again, dashed across the filled dining room and unseated a party of 3 from their table.

My genetic predisposition towards guilt kicked in, and almost caused heart palpitations, at the thought that people were being removed from a table because of my desperation to eat dinner there and the dishonest, dastardly Plan B. As luck would have it, they only had to give up one of two tables that they had been using, and were almost finished with dessert anyway. Still clearly rattled from the entire experience, I failed to write down any names of the dishes I present to you now in the form of photographs.

It is safe to assume that the first photo is of a potato side dish called Rosti. The second is a sausage and sauerkraut classic that seemed to satisfy my companion's desire for Swiss food. We stopped the quest after this meal.
My desire to pursue Swiss cuisine was also on the decline after this meal. My heart's desire was a traditional cheese and potato dish in the first photo that was so rich, it couldn't be finished in one sitting. The beautiful and delicious apple tart was what felt like a very light finish to a very heavy dinner.

Café Romand
pl. Saint-François 2
Phone:+41 (21) 3126375
Fax:+41 (21) 3211025

Friday, September 12, 2008

Le Vaudois

As much as I'd like to recommend this restaurant, I cannot as the menu did not appeal to me even though it had a wide range of offerings. The service was slow, but perhaps that was because we were sitting on the patio on a rainy day. Why would we sit there in that type of weather? Was it because the restaurant was full and we showed up without a reservation? No, we decided to sit outside because the dining room had a very unpleasant odor that must have been a strong cheese aroma. With so much melted cheese in the cuisine, this was the strongest possibility. When we inquired at our hotel about restaurants with classic Swiss cuisine, this was the first of two restaurants mentioned. Very disappointing.

We had planned on dining out later that evening, so salad seemed like a fine light lunch. I selected the baked cheese salad and it was very satisfying. As I go through my travel journal, I'll post the type of cheese. It was fried with a nice crumb coating and it melted beautifully. The greenery under the cheese was palatable, but not flavorful.

My companion once again ordered a Cesar salad. Can't you tell by the photo? I think all of Europe is calling mixed salads a Cesar these days and you never know what you're going to get. Someone should do a photo essay on the Cesar Salads of Europe...maybe it should be me.
Place de la Riponne
Lausanne Switzerland 1005
phone: 021 331 2222
fax: 021 331 2223