Friday, August 15, 2008

What is wrong with the restaurants in Switzerland?

It seems every time I visit a Swiss restaurant or take-away establishment I leave unsatisfied. I don’t know what is wrong with the food in this country, but the only amazing thing about it is the price. It doesn’t matter if you spend 30 CHF on an entrée or 7 CHF for a take-away piece of pizza, it’s guaranteed to be average or below.

For this reason, my husband and I do not eat out very often, as there is no place that I ever really crave. I find this very strange after living various places in the U.S., where I always had places “I really felt like” and was excited about going to eat.

Yesterday, for example, a friend introduced me to a place called Basilikum in Zurich. It was very crowded and obviously popular. I ordered the menu and then waited about 10 minutes by the cash register for what turned out to be very average or less than average sweet and sour stir fry. Now since it was a bargain at 10 CHF, I got a free glass of warm tap water, and didn’t have to endure smoke where we sat, I was more satisfied than usual. But still. I miss great food. And I miss people that know what that is.

Sometimes I think well, it’s just that my American taste buds are biased. But I’ve eaten great food in other countries in Europe, most in notably Greece, Spain, and Norway. So I don’t know if all Swiss people are born with Country Buffet, 80-year old taste buds or what, but they really just don’t get great food.

After all, melted cheese on a plate with potatoes only gets you so far in the food chain. And drinks made from whey, well, when you get right down to it, whey is something even cheese didn’t want. So why would I? But the Swiss, with their ever tolerant taste buds, mix whey in with some gassy water and call it a national beverage. You’ve got to give them credit for their, uh, creativity.

Maybe it’s unfair, but the language also gets in the way of the food. It’s hard to get your mouth watering when you see a menu filled with words like Hühnerbruststreifen and Schweinshaxe. Because before you even start eating you've had a mouthfull.

With that said, I’m off to lunch today with a friend. It was a big debate of where to go, since like usual, nothing Swiss ever gives me cravings, but we are headed to Beyond, the best Asian restaurant I have found so far. Wish me luck. And please, if you know of a great place to eat in this country, leave a comment.


Claudia said...

Hi there,
I am sorry to read that you are so unsatisfied with the food in the restaurants. I find it great, but yes, maybe it's a matter about taste and what you are used to from you country or culture. But maybe you can try once That's a restaurant directory and there you can search restaurants by name, kitchen type, price range, etc. You can see the menu and read reviews, maybe this helps to find a place according to your taste. You also can make your reservation directly online on the website or via app.

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