Walking into Lausanne’s newest hot spot La Parada feels like you’ve stepped into an alternate universe. As if you’re peering through the looking glass and seeing a glimpse of a new reality where Lausanne’s restaurant scene can be edgy but welcoming, fun but dedicated, and most importantly, delicious and authentic while still taking creative liberties.
The complete transformation of the former Brasserie Lausanne-Moudon is credited to the three new owners at the helm. Known for being big influencers in the restaurant scene, George Marchant (Pavillon & Auberge de Beaulieu), Alvaro Sanchez (Auberge de Beaulieu), and Jasmine Gfeller (Un Po’ di Più) have injected their expertise into even the smallest detail.
The décor is loud and playful, and it’s clear that the restaurant has been blessed with Jasmine’s golden touch. Frescos painted by local artist Kim Straehler on the walls, verdant plants lining the wallpapered perimeter, and animal chandeliers project dappled light amongst diners. It’s a refreshing encounter – a signal that when you enter, you no longer need to take yourself too seriously. What is La Parada taking seriously though? Their cuisine.
We know that behind every great restaurant is a great chef – someone who desires to delight and surprise, to use the ingredients at-hand to create a journey for diners. Meet Walter Roth, a Mexican-Swiss chef who holds his traditional Latin American family recipes tightly in one hand and manages to let them co-exist with his global experience and thirst for reinterpretations with the other hand.
When asked what his ultimate goal is as he leads the kitchen at La Parada, he explained his desire for customers to find common ground at the table. “We come from close-knit communities [in Latin America] where food is the common element of our shared experiences. Food is our social glue. With our cuisine, we expect to bring a little of that special closeness our communities share and provide an experience that can accurately represent what we, as Latin Americans, feel about our culture.”
So, what treats can you expect to find on the menu? Buckle up because your taste buds are in for a wild and delicious ride. If you want a fun story attached to your dish, ask about the Tijuana Caesar Salad – turns out you’ll get a side of historical trivia along with your perfectly dressed romaine. For us, the Guacamole Chilango was a sure-tell sign that Walter wasn’t messing around. Freshly made with simple but high-quality ingredients, it’s served with a side of homemade tortilla chips that are just as much a treat as the guac itself. Make sure to try the corn ribs, perfectly grilled with spicy coriander aioli and sprinkled with queso fresco. And the Yuca Frita? You’ll never want to order plain fries again.
Make sure to wash all of this down with one of their house cocktails – the Maracuyá Sour is a play on the traditional Pisco Sour, but with passion fruit which makes it refreshing and tropical. Or go with the Pícara Margarita which uses smashed raspberries and has a daring rim of spicy chili to give it a little heat.
Moving on to the mains, we honestly don’t think you can go wrong – but at some point, make sure to order the Birria Quesadillas with slow-cooked beef that melts in your mouth. The fish and shrimp tacos are fresh, with light beer (Corona) batter and incredible pickled habanero, pico de gallo, and spicy chipotle or jalapeno mayo.
And to finish, go with the homemade churros served with a chocolate ganache to dip. After feasting and fiesta-ing, will they have to roll you out? Maybe. But goodness isn’t it wonderful to have a place where you want to return for both the flavors and the fun? That, friend, is what you’ll experience at La Parada.
Make sure to follow La Parada on social media to get updates, particularly on their art gallery upstairs where they will be showcasing various artists from Latin America every 2 or 3 months. Their first Vernissage will be on Saturday, December 17th where they will be featuring Puerto Rican painter Nel Fiqueroa in the exhibit “Isla de Sueños y Pesadillas” (Island of Dreams & Nightmares). This solo exposition will be the first outside of the U.S. for the artist and will be directed by Jasmine Gfeller and curated by Salome Igoulen.