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  #21  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:05
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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Okay...so I have been here for 7 months now and I want to start by saying that I really love it here. What I don't get is the food(Restaurants). Can someone please tell me why the heck there is so little variety here? We went to Paris in October and had great Chinese food, french cuisine, fish and chips, pub food etc. Last week we spent a fabulous holiday in Scotland. Dined on great Mexican food, seafood, burgers, Indian. You name it, they had it. When I go home to the US, I mainly look forward to eating. Why is it that seemingly ever country I have visited (Italy, Greece, UK, US, Australia, France etc...) has a huge variety of restaurants to choose from from almost every culture and appetite, but here it is virtually non-existant? When you do find a "mexican" place or a "chinese" restaurant, it is not good. Why are there no fish and chip places or seafood? What about classic pub food? How is it possible that a country that is bordered by two of the most world renowned countries for food, can have such a lack of great food? WHY IS THE RESTAURANT SCENE SO BLAND AND ONE DIMENSIONAL?

P.S - Please do not use the lame excuse that we have no coastline and that is why there are no fish and chip joints. I had a great Maine lobster dinner in Utah, which is farther from a coast there CH is.
Well, it all boils down to what I've previously mentioned numerous times. Switzerland is stuck in the 70s, in its haydays so to speak. The country failed to develop a culture..you could say that the lack of culture is the culture here. Neutrality not only reflects the Swiss character but its habits as well. I cringe each time I walk pass by an authentic Swiss restaurant with its outdated decor, its insipid menu and the uninviting appearance of the premises. The few places where the food is actually palatable, are most likely highly overpriced and you'd have to call way in advance to secure your seat in an overcrowded restaurant.
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  #22  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:06
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

In Bern the only Nordsee fish restaurant has closed down. There is a Mexican which is acceptable to me but expensive. Indian members complain all the Indian restaurants are rubbish except one take away. The Asian members complain there are no good Asian restaurants here, except maybe Boky (EF are going there 7.Feb.2012)

But there are lots and lots of Swiss restaurants and Pizza restaurants! Whoopee we have some variety! I am very sad that the younger generation seem to be indifferent to good tasty food, preferring "cheap" US fast food. I have heard that when a restaurant is successful the rental for the building is raised and eventually the restaurant closes as the business is no longer viable.

When we have a family celebration, I prefer to drive to France to get a proper tasty meal, cooked with a bit of skill, and at a reasonable price. I have had no cooking lessons, I taught myself from books and watching TV programmes, but when I go out in Switzerland for a meal, unless I spend over CHF 80,-- I find the quality is poor to average. It really annoys me when I pay CHF 50 for something I could cook myself for CHF 12,--

.
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  #23  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:08
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

I agree with the OP. I used to dine out 1-2 times a week but when I got here, that stopped abruptly otherwise I would have been broke. Many dishes I see for 25 - 35 chf are way over the top prices for something that quite frankly, I can prepare better at home.
Now that it a sad reflection on the culinary industry in Switzerland.
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:18
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

I don't know where your place is (Goldiwil?), but in Zug we do have Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Scottish (), Mongolian and an Indian Restaurant in Cham.

Forgot Kaiser Franz, Austrian.
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:21
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

Ethnic* cusiness is usually reliant on a strong ethnic presence.

How many ethnic people do you see here on a day-to-day basis?

Hint: not many...

*=using the SVP "ethnic" to mean non-Swiss
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  #26  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:24
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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On my part, and strictly speaking about Zurich, I found no significant lack of variety. Really. I find Zurich a quite generous city in terms of exposure and access to diverse cuisines. Some people have complained about prices (too high), variety (or lack thereof), and quality (volatile), but my experience so far has been generally positive, with a few exceptions - either through the A-Z of dining in Zurich, or through our Zurich Friday lunches, or on my own (i.e. dragging along my poor OH as a "guinea pig" to try new restaurants), I was able to find some great spots: Indonesian, Ethiopian, Lebanese, Greek, you name it, from the "hole in the wall" to the "fancier place". Caveat: I am happy to spend (considerable amounts of) money for food, if it's worth it.

Also (second caveat) I love cooking, and if I crave a certain type of food and I either can't find it or I am not particularly impressed with what I found in a restaurant, I will most definitely try and make it from scratch (chicken fried steak and homemade biscuits, anyone?). I am happy about the variety of special stores/supermarkets catering for cooks who like to experiment with different cuisines (big thanks to forum member Swisspea for helping me find many of these). You need to be persistent, and know where to look and/or keep your eyes/ears open for suggestions.

My only notable exception to the above is Japanese food: I have not been particularly impressed by any Japanese restaurant I have been to, neither in taste (nothing truly outstanding) nor in variety of available choices (nothing exceptionally creative), not for any amount of money. Being my favorite cuisine, I will admit that it is somewhat hard, and I still cannot bring myself to cook it from scratch, but since I travel abroad often enough, I can live with that and just get my Japanese fix in Germany or Italy at ease.

Now, if you are talking about a lack of cheap, readily available at all hours of day/night variety of food, then I might agree with you. Happy eating!

Re Japanese; have you tried the Best Western near the airport?
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  #27  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:25
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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Well, it all boils down to what I've previously mentioned numerous times. Olten is stuck in the 70s, in its haydays so to speak. The country failed to develop a culture..you could say that the lack of culture is the culture here. Neutrality not only reflects the Mittelland character but its habits as well. I cringe each time I walk pass by an authentic Swiss restaurant with its outdated decor, its insipid menu and the uninviting appearance of the premises. The few places where the food is actually palatable, are most likely highly overpriced and you'd have to call way in advance to secure your seat in an overcrowded restaurant.
Couldn't resist.

"Swiss" restaurants usually cater to tourists and a certain crowd. When I go into a "Beiz", I want to see the pictures of the olden days of farming on the wall, the checkered tablecloths, the solid wooden chairs and tables, Cordon Bleu mit Pommes Frites just doesn't taste the same without it. Dining out just isn't a big thing here and we all learn to cook at school and then carry on to being a nation of cook book fanatics who like to experiment with new recipes, for example, on New Year's Eve I was invited to a private event where two Swiss guys (both students) cooked an 8 course meal for ten and it was absolutely fantastic. I barely knew them and felt kind of awkward having just turned up thanks to a friend but at the end of the meal they asked if it was ok for all of us to contribute a little towards the meal (it included a fantastic piece of beef and many bottles of wine), 15-20 francs would be great. I thought this was a great idea for people who love to cook for others but don't have the funds to cover the whole cost themselves.

When I go and eat at a Swiss friend's home, it is invariably fantastic, well presented and thoughtfully matched. There are Asian evenings, Mexican themed ones, random buffets where everyone brings the thing they excel at and I have always been impressed with how good it was. We can cook, we just don't all open restaurants.
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:26
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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Well, it all boils down to what I've previously mentioned numerous times. Switzerland is stuck in the 70s, in its haydays so to speak. The country failed to develop a culture..you could say that the lack of culture is the culture here. Neutrality not only reflects the Swiss character but its habits as well. I cringe each time I walk pass by an authentic Swiss restaurant with its outdated decor, its insipid menu and the uninviting appearance of the premises. The few places where the food is actually palatable, are most likely highly overpriced and you'd have to call way in advance to secure your seat in an overcrowded restaurant.
That explains alot. The Swiss food scene is like the Midwest United States, where I grew up. I really liked some of the offerings that I found in Swiss cuisine.

I still like Indian (not much of that worth noting) and Chinese and Mexican (Not a lot of Mexicans in CH AFAICT), etc., etc.
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:26
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

http://www.goldiwil.ch/

OK, now I understand.....
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:30
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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Have you tried Samurai? They are pretty good and not in the same "crazy price" range as Bimi or Sala of Tokyo.

In other news, I found the thread about restaurant pricing.
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Re Japanese; have you tried the Best Western near the airport?
Sorry for hijacking jerallie's thread, but thanks for the suggestions! Samurai I tried before, it's a favorite at my office. I do think it is tasty, but not the quality or creativity I expect for that price. The Best Western is now on my "to try" list
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:31
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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http://www.goldiwil.ch/

OK, now I understand.....

Yup, me too. Dude, you are living in the equivalent of a sleepy village of the Midwest, what do you expect?
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  #32  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:32
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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Couldn't resist.

"Swiss" restaurants usually cater to tourists and a certain crowd. When I go into a "Beiz", I want to see the pictures of the olden days of farming on the wall, the checkered tablecloths, the solid wooden chairs and tables, Cordon Bleu mit Pommes Frites just doesn't taste the same without it. Dining out just isn't a big thing here and we all learn to cook at school and then carry on to being a nation of cook book fanatics who like to experiment with new recipes, for example, on New Year's Eve I was invited to a private event where two Swiss guys (both students) cooked an 8 course meal for ten and it was absolutely fantastic. I barely knew them and felt kind of awkward having just turned up thanks to a friend but at the end of the meal they asked if it was ok for all of us to contribute a little towards the meal (it included a fantastic piece of beef and many bottles of wine), 15-20 francs would be great. I thought this was a great idea for people who love to cook for others but don't have the funds to cover the whole cost themselves.

When I go and eat at a Swiss friend's home, it is invariably fantastic, well presented and thoughtfully matched. There are Asian evenings, Mexican themed ones, random buffets where everyone brings the thing they excel at and I have always been impressed with how good it was. We can cook, we just don't all open restaurants.
I must say, that whenever I was invited to a Swiss person's home for a meal, that it was pretty decent cooking (even if at times, it lacked some imagination). There is a going out culture, there just isn't a ntion of cusomter service IMO and with that comes the whole thoughtless kitchen. If I have to pay 25+ CHf for a basic of the rack Rösti and Bratwurst, then I would expect, that the service and ingredients are top notch. This however isn't the case..as service and ingredients are generally sub-standard. There are however some very excellent restaurant out in the countryside, where they use only locally produced ingredients and you can definitely taste the difference. Unfortunately, those places are out in the sticks etc.
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Old 10.01.2012, 16:35
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

25+ chf for Rosti and Brats? Yikes.
Last year I paid 20 chf for that in Saas Fee and thought I was being taken.


Oh, and I love Rosti and Brats. Try and eat that over here (US) and you will get lots of food that was cooked wrong. But, who cares, you get lots of food.

Ugh.

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  #34  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:44
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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There are however some very excellent restaurant out in the countryside, where they use only locally produced ingredients and you can definitely taste the difference. Unfortunately, those places are out in the sticks etc.
That is true. They also have no website, you usually come upon them when driving around randomly and spotting this place in the middle of nowhere with a million cars in front. So, curious, you go in, to find a friendly, animated atmosphere and what must be the BEST rösti you ever had. Until you find the next such place. I was in this place called Lichtensteig a few weeks back and ate at a bakery cum restaurant called Huber, they did a Zürigschnetzlets and Rösti that was to die for and ten francs cheaper than it's Zurich equivalent.

Ok, Lichtensteig is a small town, so not the best example but there are other places that only local people know and are well worth a visit. If you are in the Jura region and want a really good meal (that will be a bit more expensive, but well worth it), head to the Chateau de Pleujouse. The chef there is full of ideas and his wife looks after the guests.
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  #35  
Old 10.01.2012, 16:45
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

I completely agree that Switzerland lacks a foodie culture. I'm half Swiss and half Australian, and can tell you that there are a lot of Swiss in Australia who like to eat the same traditional food, time after time, rather than try something new. They genuinely think that it's tasty, but I'm not such a fan of fatty meat and excessive carbohydrates. I suppose if you grow up with that sort of thing you continue to enjoy it throughout your life, even if you're exposed to a more diverse range of food via travel. Australia is so culturally diverse that we not only eat out at a range of multicultural restaurants, but we also cook this cuisine at home. To my Swiss relatives, the food I cook is very exotic and often involves finger pointing and screaming out in shock to other family members to come and have a look at the ingredients or the latest creation. To me, eating a variety of food seems a healthy and interesting way to live. As much as I love cooking, however, not being about to go out 3-4 times a week as I used to at home is starting to grate and I'm itching to get to London for a good feed.
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  #36  
Old 10.01.2012, 17:17
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

I like mixing things.
Curried Rösti for instance, or sweet and sour Maultaschen, a Gschnezeltes with Mango.
Szechuan Tortellini, the list goes on and on.
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Old 10.01.2012, 17:22
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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My only notable exception to the above is Japanese food: I have not been particularly impressed by any Japanese restaurant I have been to, neither in taste (nothing truly outstanding) nor in variety of available choices (nothing exceptionally creative), not for any amount of money. Being my favorite cuisine, I will admit that it is somewhat hard, and I still cannot bring myself to cook it from scratch, but since I travel abroad often enough, I can live with that and just get my Japanese fix in Germany or Italy at ease.
Frau Federica, ahhhhhh another thing we have in common: japanese food!

Bimi in Seefeld is the closest I've ever come across for authenticity. As for pretty creative Japanese fusion (well more japanese than fusion), Ginger's sushi bar is very decent. One of my favourites!
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Old 10.01.2012, 17:25
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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I like mixing things.
Curried Rösti for instance, or sweet and sour Maultaschen, a Gschnezeltes with Mango.
Szechuan Tortellini, the list goes on and on.
Haha now that sounds interesting.
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Old 10.01.2012, 17:48
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

perhaps we should start a thread listing good restaurants that members have discovered for a given ethnicity of food. Continually edit the opening post, and list address details too.
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Old 10.01.2012, 17:57
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Re: Help Me Understand the Cuisine here.....PLEASE!!

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Can someone please tell me why the heck there is so little variety here?
Sing it, brother.

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Switzerland IS an island. Ever heard of import quotas and prohibitive tariffs?
Not to mention the fact that if you do find a good Pakistani restaurant, it'll cost you a solid 40CHF per person. Highway robbery.

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Ethnic* cusiness is usually reliant on a strong ethnic presence.

How many ethnic people do you see here on a day-to-day basis?

Hint: not many...

*=using the SVP "ethnic" to mean non-Swiss
This is why there's not a Denny's anywhere in this country.
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