You won’t stumble across this café, and so much the better for those who know about it. In a rather incongruous setting opposite a multi-story carpark, it’s a pocket of history in a concrete landscape. La Couronne d’Or has been around since the late 19th century, and the owners have tried to preserve as much of its history as possible. The result is a charming, characterful place with mismatched wooden furniture, a trinket-laden piano, low-hanging lights and a restored antique bar. Come for brunch, a coffee over the papers, evening drinks or a simple set lunch menu.
A funky newcomer to Lausanne, this two-storey café tucked under Bessières bridge is the latest venture from the Anglo team behind equally funky burger joint Holy Cow! Aimed at those with the time to linger over a leisurely brunch, it has an extensive breakfast menu, from muesli and porridge to pancakes with maple syrup, omelettes and a proper full English. As breakfast segues into lunch you can tuck into sandwiches such as a hearty double-decker BLT with smoked bacon and Blackbird’s tasty chutney. As the name suggests, coffee has revered status, with beans sourced from around the world and roasted on site. The small downstairs room is ideal for a quick coffee, while the calm, muted tones of the larger upstairs café draws punters looking for a laid-break brekkie and groups of new parents (a kids’ menu is available) catching up on a weekday morning. Pleasing touches include free tap water on the tables and quick, friendly service. They are missing one trick though in being closed on Sundays, surely prime brunch day in anyone’s book.
Sitting on a street corner in a quiet neighbourhood behind the main train station, this is one of Lausanne’s most popular cafés, so much so that you’d be hard pressed to get a table for lunch or dinner without booking ahead. Stop by in the afternoon and it’s a much more relaxed vibe. With an array of hot drinks – including 15 speciality teas – comfy armchairs, a selection of battered books and board games, plus free wi-fi, it’s easy to while away the day. The food is consistently good (especially the desserts) and there’s always something to draw you back, including fondue night on Wednesdays and brunch on weekend mornings.
Always busy, this bar and restaurant is a classic Lausanne night-spot and something of a place to be seen. Its menu of burgers, salads, risotto and steak tartar is decent and well-presented, and there’s a good choice of brunch options on weekends. Things get increasingly raucous from Thursday evening onwards when drinkers fill the bar and every inch of pavement space outside. If you’re after a quick takeaway lunch, its little confiserie next door is worth knowing about too – only open for a few hours over lunchtime, it’s a great place for a quality sandwich, cous-cous salad, slice of homemade puff pastry tart or a cupcake.
This place maintains a rather venerated status among Lausanne’s young people and student population. Both a café-restaurant and a bar-club, there’s a reason to hang out here any time of the day and night. As a restaurant, the food isn’t really anything special – the menu of burgers, salads, steak tartar and larger dishes is perfectly decent but doesn’t wow (although the chips are rather fine). But the lively, youthful ambiance of the restaurant is a definite draw and prices are reasonable, especially the daily changing set lunch menu. However Bleu Lézard’s trump card is in the basement. Its cellar bar and music venue hosts a regular programme of live music in a variety of genres by both local amateur bands and bigger names, making it a good place to immerse yourself in the local music scene. On weekends DJs draw crowds of students and young professionals looking to unwind after a long week.
This funky modern Italian bistro is good for many things: for sipping its namesake Bellini or your cocktail of choice during apéro hour; for snacking on a lip-smacking range of antipasti including dried Italian meats, mozzarella, calamari and tartar; for eggs florentine over the paper on a Saturday brunch-time; for a reasonably priced set lunch menu; or for lively dinner in a part of town that gets increasingly raucous at weekends. The food focuses on quality ingredients and the dishes are imaginative yet wholeheartedly Italian – lemon, ricotta and scallop ravioli, for example, or pesto, courgette and spinach risotto. Along with the food, the eclectic decor, trendy vibe and leafy outdoor terrace draw punters in, and it’s often packed.