If you're looking for something instagrammable, these are NOT the places for you. If you're looking for insanely delicious and authentic food at a fraction of the normal cost, keep reading.
We’ve searched, asked friends, and after living and stumbling upon hidden corners of Lausanne for over a decade, we’ve compiled a list of the best hidden flavors of Lausanne–places that are off the beaten track, places that our eyes may overlook, places that still don’t have social media accounts. And that’s part of the reason why we love them. We want to thank Sonia from Quand est-ce qu’on mange? for giving us several recommendations and insights for this list. It’s always nice having a foodie friend to guide us.
Swiss Hallal Food or Snack de la Gare
Don’t let the website’s promotion for “tacos” deter you–you want to come here for the authentic Moroccan sandwiches, tagines, and any other daily specials they have ready. Eat in or takeaway. We come here regularly on Sundays, and they have a halal butcher just next door.
If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, this is your spot. Hidden in a shopping complex that always seems to be under construction, this place is eternally buzzing and the tables filled with locals who know where to find good flavor. Oh, and despite the name, it’s more than just sandwiches!
An inviting interior, friendly staff, and extremely generous portions, this is the spot to dine if you’re looking for authentic and flavorful Tibetan cuisine. We discovered momos here for the first time (steamed dumplings filled with either vegetables or meat), and it certainly won’t be our last. Their lunchtime plat du jour is 17 francs (14 for students) and we can never finish it, though we try because #drool.
No website, and their last Instagram post was from 2016 – so you’ll just have to trust us here. A small family-run restaurant featuring Vietnamese cuisine, you’re not really coming here for the ambiance rather the flavors and freshness of basil, lemongrass, and ginger. Authenticity is important here, as is the friendly service.
Café le Dalat
Another Vietnamese spot, but more of a sit-down restaurant with a stylish interior (and located in an old funicular station). Dalat is a restaurant that many long-time locals know about, but it’s a place that you wouldn’t find unless you’re looking for it.
And if you’re still looking for Vietnamese, this is another tried and true spot just below the CHUV where their pho and bo bun are out of this world. We loved watching regulars line out the door with their personal tupperware ready to be filled- and of course, many were greeted by name. Read a detailed review with suggestions on what to order by Sonia from “¿Quand est-ce qu’on mange?” below.
Man’Ouchy, named after the traditional and nutritional flatbread found in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, is a Lebanese restaurant that began in 2016 initially as a food truck in Place de la Riponne. Their menu is a feast for the eyes with a huge variety of Lebanese favorites: from the traditional Zaatar with Labné to fresh Falafel and Beef Schawarma.
If you want flavorful Lebanese cuisine at LOW prices, you have to check out Le Levant which has been open since 2019. Our foodie friend Sonia says to order the warm home-made bread and the adorable heart-shaped falafel. Read her whole review with incredible tips here.
Literally on the 4th floor of an apartment building across from the CHUV, this Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant offers an atmosphere with dappled light, generous courses, and unparalleled hospitality.
Eat with your hands, experience the warmth and hospitality, discover new flavors. The Red Sea offers Eritrean/Ethiopian food with friendly service, generous portions, and a great atmosphere.
Condor Bar y Comida
Completos. Apparently, it’s a thing. Who knew that Chilean street food consists of loaded hot dogs? But if hot dogs aren’t your thing (which, we suggest giving them a shot), you can grab an authentic empanada at this central Lausanne restaurant.
Opened in 2020, this tiny restaurant near Tunnel features Portuguese specialties for both lunch and dinner. You aren’t necessarily coming here for the ambiance (though the welcome is warm and service kind), but for the Francesinha and other authentic Portuguese plates. It’s a good sign when many of the highly-rated Google reviews are in Portuguese.
Some come for the satay skewers, others come to see George Clooney’s doppleganger. Regardless of your reason, you’ll want to pay Rumah (which means ‘home’) a visit for the mélange of incredible flavors from Southeast Asia’s food corridor, Malaysia and Singapore. See Sonia’s in-depth review (with tips on what to order) here.
Fellow foodie Sonia highly recommends this Lausanne restaurant situated close to the train station for the bright welcome and the fact that the owners take the time to describe the dishes. What to order? Their baked rice cake with eggplant and “tahchine” meat are both excellent.
Quite possibly one of the most overlooked restaurants in Lausanne because of its discrete yet incredible location, Hoi An BBQ is a delicious spot not to be missed. A little gem, particularly when you can enjoy the terrace overlooking the harbor, make sure to reserve and indicate you’ll be having the BBQ.
Sonia brought this place to our attention and describes it as a discreet Thai place near Clinic Cecil opened by the team of the ex-Tom Yam (which Rumah replaced), formerly 13 points in GaultMillau. Gourmet and well-flavored appetizers and soft crab on the menu, which is not common! Read her full review here.
Roma à Table
Sonia recommends heading there for their pizza al taglio with sublime dough that crunches with each bite while remaining soft and chewy. The Carbonara is particularly delicious, and their focaccia and supplì (Roman cousins of the arancini, smaller and longer) are very good too. On top of that, the reception is just adorable. In the evening, you can also order round pizzas if you want. Read her full review here.
Asia Kim Dung
It’s not a restaurant, rather a small grocery store, but don’t let that deter you. Sonia tells us that they make the best bánh cuốn in the city to go. At the moment in addition (for the lunar new year on February 1, 2022), you can buy very good artisanal bánh tét, the rice cake filled with pork and mung beans typical of this celebration.
A little Ukrainian place whose name means “grandma” in Russian (their walls have portraits of fashionable grannies), Sonia recommends it for its Ukrainian varenyky, fried meat turnovers (“chebureki” Crimean Tatar) and fluffy little “syrniki” pancakes. Read Sonia’s full review here.