As self-proclaimed foodies, staff members Andrea and Danielle set out on our Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour in search of the best places to eat and drink. Along the way, they found vegetarian options that didn’t compromise on flavor for Danielle, traditional dishes authentic enough for Andrea, and of course, dessert and drinks that both could enjoy. Read on for their favorite places to indulge this side of the world.
Don’t get us wrong — pretzels are delicious! But for a break from traditional German food, this little Italian gem is worth a visit. After a long day of touring the old city, we came across Tratoria Toscano, set in the Marktplatz near the old bridge, which offers excellent service and traditional Italian fare. Our server was patient with us while we attempted to navigate the menu, speaking neither German nor Italian. The salads and tomato soup we started with were excellent, but the real star was the pasta – fresh pesto fettuccini and Rigatoni Siciliana with eggplant, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.
If you’re like us and are always looking for a sweet afternoon pick-me-up, head to Circle de Qualite. While browsing the shops on the main pedestrian street, we stopped in for the chocolate truffles and stayed for the loose leaf tea. The desserts are just as much a work of art as the beautiful tapestries on the wall, and you can’t go wrong with any of the truffles. If you’re looking for a more organized activity – complete with champagne and a view – spend the afternoon on a Heidelberg River Cruise. We ordered a bottle of champagne to enjoy while cruising alongside historic towns, churches and castles on the Rhine River, and it was such a lovely experience!
We had our fair share of gelato on our trip to Europe (if we saw it, we ate it), and Dolce Amore was our favorite. It’s hard to beat perfect gelato with a view of the Reuss River. For dinner, we came across Fritschi, which ended up being a highlight of our trip. The beautiful, brightly colored mural on this historic building was painted by Robert Ottiger in 1985 and tells the story of the annual Lucerne Carnival. The inside evokes a similar charm, and while the restaurant is pricey, it is well worth it! We stuck with the classics and enjoyed traditional cheese fondue followed by chocolate, and we washed it all down with a nice bottle of red wine. Be sure to share the fondue with others in your group, as the portions are large and very indulgent. Both the mural and the food make Fritschi a can’t-miss destination.
For panoramic views of the city and fancy cocktails, stop by Lounge & Bar Suite. This trendy, stylish bar is a popular spot among young locals, and while drinks are pricey compared to what we’re used to in the U.S., visiting this bar with a camera is a worthwhile experience.
Finally, if you love markets as much as we do and are lucky enough to be in Lucerne on a weekend, don’t miss the Saturday morning farmers’ market, located by the Kapellbrücke. With fresh flowers, fruit, pasta, meats, cheeses, pastries, and more, there is something for everyone, and then some. On our next trip, we plan on stopping at the market before settling down for a picnic along Lake Lucerne.
We loved Munich and were very impressed by the variety of culinary options available throughout the city. One of our favorite stops was Viktualienmarkt, a daily food market in the heart of the city. Bustling with locals and tourists, the farmers’ market includes stalls with flowers, fruit, meats, cheeses, spices, and of course, pretzels, sausage, and beer. We ate fresh pretzels and chocolate-covered fruit skewers at the market, picked up some wine and cheese for later that night, and purchased delicious vegan dips and sauces to bring home to our families.
Being in Munich, we were obligated to trade in our wine glasses for beer steins and visit the famous Hofbrauhaus beer garden. The beer garden’s long, picnic-style tables allow locals and tourists to interact in a setting that feels reminiscent of Oktoberfest, complete with live music and traditional dancing. For a more low key beer drinking experience, head down the street to Wirtshaus Ayingers for classic Bavarian food and beer.
Just when we thought we had reached our pretzel quota for the trip, we arrived in Salzburg. Around every corner, we found pretzel stands selling flavors like cheese, cinnamon, apple streudel, and pizza, and every savory and sweet option in between. For dinner, Gablerbrau is a must – the food is as impressive as the stained-glass windows and neo-Gothic style décor, which are reminiscent of both a church and museum. We were lucky enough to visit Galerbrau with our group, and everyone loved it!
In our book, no dinner is complete without an after-dinner drink, so we stopped by Sky Bar at the Crowne Plaza to enjoy more cocktails and wine on the hotel’s roof deck. Look past the fact that this hotel is part of a chain and instead look to the magnificent views of the Fortress lit up at night. The drink list is very extensive, and don’t worry about being cold – the bar will provide you with fleece blankets to stay warm! If it happens to rain and you would like more shelter than the covered umbrellas provide, step inside for an equally lovely experience.