Discover a food scene that’s intrinsically linked to its landscape
Perched on the edge of a pristine lake that’s surrounded by lush farmland and sheltered by towering mountains, the city’s slew of young, creative chefs is making the most of its abundance of fresh produce. Traditionally this bounty is reflected in dishes such as Luzerner Chügelipastete, a vol-au-vent filled with veal and mushrooms, and Swiss cheeses used in raclette, but there’s a growing number of chefs using these local resources more creatively to produce innovative dishes that honor the region’s heritage, while pushing the dial towards a more creative future.
Embodying this culinary freedom and innovation means the food scene in Lucerne is evolving faster than any other place in Switzerland. With a strong emphasis on sustainable sourcing and a deep respect for the land, we’ve pinpointed five restaurants that should be on every foodie’s radar.
Hotel des Balances
Perched on the northern banks of the Reuss river, with views across the glittering water to the wooden Chapel Bridge, the terrace tables at the iconic Hotel Des Balances have been the hottest lunch reservation in town for decades. The setting is so good it would even make up for average food, but thankfully the cooking by chefs Andy Fluri and Niko Eichner is among the most accomplished in Lucerne. Fusing the French classics with a more contemporary Mediterranean flavor, the duo created a menu that begins with light salads and smoked seafood and moves onto grilled meats and delicate pasta dishes—all paired with a drink list that leans into Switzerland’s booming winemaking scene.
Old Swiss House
You can’t leave Lucerne without ordering a Wiener schnitzel, which is fried in an inordinate amount of butter right next to your table at the Old Swiss House. Diners have indulged in the ritual since 1931 and the rest of the menu hasn’t changed much since then—you can expect French-infused classics, such as homemade lobster soup with a dash of cognac, snails in herb butter, and racks of lamb with potato gratin and Provençal vegetables. It’s all hearty fare that’s fitting for the dimly lit, wood-paneled dining room in which it’s served. When it comes to choosing wine, the sommelier’s help is essential—the cellar here holds more than 30,000 bottles.
The Galliker family has run this old-style Swiss tavern for more than 150 years and the recipes have been passed down more than four generations. Nothing about this place is contemporary—and that’s the appeal. As you step into the dining room with its floral curtains and crisp white tablecloths, you’ll be hit by a wave of loud chatter from the local crowd and shown to your seat by staff who have worked here for decades. From the menu, opt for the Chügelipastete (a large vol-au-vent stuffed with veal and mushrooms) and a glass of red from the Charles Bonvin estate—one of the oldest wineries in Switzerland.
Run by husband-and-wife team, Moritz and Luigina Stiefel, every detail in this small 25-seat restaurant was lovingly considered. From the artful dishes that arrive from the semi-open kitchen to the art collection that lines the walls, it’s a personal project that became one of the most in-demand reservations in the city. The chefs are passionate about provenance, and every ingredient that arrives on their counters is hand-selected from artisanal suppliers within easy reach of Lucerne. It’s then transformed into a series of set menus, including a seven-course tasting option that’ll give you a delightfully memorable insight into the kitchen team’s talents.
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