Lausanne is the capital of a canton wholly devoted to the pleasures of the palate, with a plethoric and extremely diverse gastronomic offer concentrated in a compact area: from starred chefs who express their talent in legendary establishments to restaurants serving regional dishes to the town’s trendy places. Add to this a wine-growing region that produces wines of great finesse, and your Lausanne epicurean experience will be complete.
The genius of the chefs
Lausanne and its surrounding region are considered a mecca for gastronomy, given the large number of highly rated restaurants that have been awarded stars, toques and flowers. Amongst them, the Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville in Crissier remains at the forefront. After Fredy Girardet, Philippe Rochat and Benoît Viollier, Franck Giovannini is its fourth three-star chef.
This most prestigious of restaurants has been inspiring emulation in the area for close to 50 years. Anne-Sophie Pic, the juggler of flavours, is at the helm of the Beau-Rivage Palace Lausanne with 2 Michelin stars and 18 GaultMillau points. At the Cerf in Cossonay (2 Michelin stars / 18 GaultMillau points), the sparkling Carlo Crisci deploys his creativity in the kitchen. Further examples include Bernard Ravet’s L’Ermitage in Vufflens-le-Château (1 Michelin star / 19 GaultMillau points), “La Table d’Edgard” at the Lausanne Palace (1 Michelin star / 18 GaultMillau points) and the Eligo Restaurant (1 Michelin star / 15 GaultMillau points).
Finding it hard to choose ? Lausanne Tourisme’s website lists all the restaurants from the Lausanne area that are included in the Michelin Guide and Gault&Millau for Switzerland
Memorable culinary experiences
In addition to these distinctions, the town of Lausanne and its urban area number more than 320 establishments dedicated to good food. Throughout your stay, you will be able to choose from a range of cuisines and atmospheres as diverse as they are unforgettable:
- the century-old ambience of a traditional bar – the oldest of which, the Pinte Besson, was founded in 1780;
- the pleasure of eating a delicate fish dish or a fresh summer salad, chilling out on a terrace with a spectacular view over the lake and mountains;
- an immersion in a typical Vaudois auberge that serves hearty regional dishes such as papet vaudois (leek and cabbage sausage), cochonnaille, charcuterie or a tarte à la raisinée;
- the conviviality of sharing a creamy cheese fondue, fully savoured in the typical setting of a Swiss chalet;
- the unique experience of enjoying a meal served during a cruise on a ship operated by the Compagnie Générale de Navigation.
In short, a vast choice of prices, cuisines, styles and atmospheres, from young and fashionable trends to exotic and ethnic establishments, from a candlelit dinner to tapas served with the popular local ritual of aperitif.
Lausanne’s culinary scene is a bustling one! Ephemeral terraces pop up at the beginning of summer and the foodtrucks present every day at Place de la Riponne complement the many takeaways you will find across town. If you’re curious about best picks, new vegetarian or vegan restaurants, or the best brunches to be had in town (a favourite local pastime), glean the go-to addresses on The Lausanner blog.
And for a more exhaustive list, we invite you to visit the well-informed Eat & drink section of Lausanne Tourisme’s website
Lausanne à Table
This food festival will tingle your taste buds from April to December with surprising, exquisite and audacious culinary experiences. You might be tempted by a guided visit of the Fondation de l’Hermitage followed by lunch in the park, a pop-up restaurant in an unusual place such as on a lake pier or the traditional picnic held on August 1st to celebrate Swiss national day.
If you’re into street food, the now very popular Miam Festival brings together during Whitsun weekend fifty or so craftsmen of taste selected with the highest care. The crème de la crème of local restaurateurs, caterers, foodtrucks, artisans and producers will delight you for three days, in the heart of town. The British newspaper The Independent has ranked the event amongst the ten best street food markets and festivals in Europe.
Lausanne wines, alchemy between man and nature
The largest vineyard owner in Switzerland, Lausanne possesses five estates, shared out between La Côte vineyards to the west of Lausanne and Lavaux vineyards to the east: the Château Rochefort in Allaman, the Abbaye de Mont between Mont-sur-Rolle and Perroy ; the Burignon, perched above Saint-Saphorin ; and the Clos des Moines and the Clos des Abbayes, both in the heart of Dézaley. The wines produced there are served in the best restaurants of the town and canton.
Lausanne, wine capital of Switzerland
Lausanne is proud to represent Switzerland in the prestigious Great Wine Capitals network. An honour it owes to its commitment to the culture of wine on its estates, its geographical situation as a gateway to the wine regions of the canton and its thousand-year tradition in wine production.
The market’s lively atmosphere
Every Wednesday and Saturday, the colourful stalls of the market, with their abundance of fruit and vegetables, of cheese and other fresh, local products, fill the town centre’s pedestrian streets with a relaxed, Mediterranean atmosphere.
A chocolate-flavoured town
Lausanne’s ties with food are multiple, and its love story with chocolate is one of the most voluptuous. Forty or so artisan chocolatiers are established in the town, offering a choice of traditional delicacies and specialties. From intense and bewitching dark chocolate bites to pralines flavoured with cinnamon or chilli to sweeter milk-chocolate artisanal bars, aficionados of the cocoa bean will be enchanted.
The Délice gastronomy network
If more evidence was needed that Lausanne feeds its guests well, it would be its belonging to the Délice City Network on Food & Gastronomy, with 26 other carefully selected destinations. Délice brings together and promotes towns from the world over that are recognised for their gastronomic heritage, the expertise of their professionals, the excellence of their products and the richness of their “art de vivre” in the area of food.
Traditional varieties and fashionable specialities
The grape varieties that are the local darlings are without dispute the Chasselas and the Pinot Noir, predominant in the Lausanne vineyards. Made from beautiful golden grapes, the Chasselas is a fruity, delicate white wine that the Vaudois particularly enjoy when it’s aperitif time. As for Pinot Noir, it’s a light, fruity, sensual and subtle red wine. As wine lovers seek greater diversity, new varieties are being grown, such as Gamaret, Garanoir, Vionnier and Merlot.
The age-old tradition of Lausanne wines auctioning
If you’re seeking an authentic experience, immerse yourself in the Town of Lausanne’s traditional wine auction, organised in December every year. Merchants, restaurateurs, associations and individuals compete to acquire wine lots ranging from 36 to 120 bottles!
Discovering Lavaux wines at Vinorama
A modern building, designed to blend into a background of rocks, vineyards and water… The Lavaux Vinorama invites you to explore the area’s wines through a film that shows the work of the winegrower as the seasons go by in these vertiginous and exceptional vineyards. If you prefer a more sensory experience, choose an à-la-carte tasting package of local specialties, such as Chasselas or Plant Robert. More than 250 Lavaux wines are available for sale.
Unique, magical, panoramic Lavaux
Suspended between the lake, land and sky, the UNESCO world-heritage Lavaux vineyards have been shaped by man over the centuries to create a landscape of rare beauty. In summer as in winter, a walk overlooking Lake Geneva is pleasant, the view breathtaking and Lausanne not far away. You can discover the area on foot or aboard a tourist train, taking the time to stroll and stop in a wine cellar for a typical and relaxed wine tasting.
Lausanne Tourisme, March 2019