|Lucerne : Restaurants|
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There are hundreds of restaurants in Luzern, plenty of which need to do nothing more than occupy an old-style panelled dining room and churn out a handful of traditional dishes to gone-tomorrow tourists in order to make money. A little searching can turn up more worthwhile eateries.
If you’re watching every franc, EPA on Mühlenplatz is top self-service choice, but also bear in mind the shabby Bahnhof Buffet, on the top floor of the station. This greasy-table diner – replete with down-and-outs, smoking schoolchildren and drunken businessmen – charges budget prices for food prepared next door in the kitchen of the Michelin-starred Au Premier gourmet restaurant. A meal which might cost you Fr.50 in Au Premier may set you back a third of that in the Bahnhof Buffet – if you can stand the ambience, that is.
Note that the venerable Stadtkeller on Sternenplatz is the eye of Luzern’s tourist hurricane, a folklore restaurant which lays on alphorn, yodelling and traditional dancing for tour groups; perfect if you like that kind of thing, a screaming nightmare if you don’t.
Château Gütsch, Kanonenstrasse (see “Accommodation”). Worth coming up here even if just for a cup of tea on the terrace, but if you can afford it, the restaurant is one of Luzern’s finest (Fr.100-plus).
Galliker, Schützenstrasse 1 (041/240 10 02). Hearty Swiss specialities in a tavern-like setting crammed with people, noise and smoke. The food is consistently excellent, with quality Chögelipastetli standing at the top of the pile, joined by Cordon Bleu (veal steak stuffed with cheese and ham), and less palatable offerings such as Kutteln (tripe). Mains are Fr.30–40, not much more than lunchtime menus. Closed Sun & Mon.
Hofgarten, Stadthofstrasse 14 (see “Accommodation”). The city’s best veggie food by miles, everything fresh and delicious whether from the buffet or ordered à la carte. A wonderful enclosed garden terrace and cheerful interior attract locals by the score. Fr.25 will see you satisfied.
Korea-Town, Hirschmattstrasse 23. Pleasant ambience and a good choice mark this place out as something a little more worthwhile than average, with midday buffets from Fr.17 and a range of menus (veggie and not) from Fr.21.
Maihöfli, Maihofstrasse 70 (041/420 60 60). Don’t miss this marvellously relaxed and friendly little place 1km north of the centre – it’s comfortable, cosy, and run by a twenty-something team who’ve put together a winning combination of the best service, the best atmosphere and some of the best food in town. The cuisine is fresh and modern, with a light, inventive touch, expertly presented, and servers are willing to help you decipher the menu with a recommendation or two, or take the time to talk you through the range of post-prandial grappas on offer. With an ambience-rich all-wood interior, this is somewhere you can lean back on your chair and feel good about your dinner. Highly memorable meals may set you back Fr.30–35. Closed Sun.
Reussbad, Brüggligasse 19 (041/240 54 23). Easygoing riverside joint to enjoy traditional cooking, relying on a renowned range of fresh fish dishes at around Fr.30. Otherwise, menus are Fr.15–18. Closed Sun & Mon.
Schiff, Unter der Egg 8 (041/418 52 52). Wonderful old wood-panelled hotel restaurant on the riverside, celebrated for three things: top-quality Würst, huge portions of Chögelipastetli, and twin Spanish waiters who’ve been serving in the place for twenty years. Summer sees tables set under the arcades directly on the waterfront. Menus are around Fr.25.
Schlüssel, Franziskanerplatz (see “Accommodation”). Tiny old hotel offering a bargain three-course lunch menu for just Fr.13.
Spaghetteria Valentino, Weinmarkt. Central pasta joint, with a range of risotto and other Italian dishes for under Fr.20. Closed Sun.
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