Switzerland as a country reminded me a lot of India with its varied multicultural and regional influences. Depending on which part of Switzerland you find yourself in, you can actually experience a bit of French, German and Italian in everything – from culture, to language, to cuisine, to landscapes. However it still has many things, originally Swiss too. During my own visit to Zermatt, I learnt that Switzerland was historically a country of farmers, hence traditional Swiss dishes tend to have potatoes and cheese as its core ingredients. But with Zermatt’s proximity to Italy (it’s just across the Alps here) there is a distinct Italian influence in the local cuisine.
For lunch on our first day here, Tanya took us to a local restaurant in Zermatt call Romantik Restaurant Julen. Centrally located, this is an old family owned 4 star hotel (opened in 1939) and built-in a traditional chalet style with wood. They have a restaurant on the ground floor with both indoor and outdoor seating and quaint interiors including a fireplace. Tanya had made a reservation for us in advance and we took a table in a nice cosy corner. First thing that I noticed on entering was that the people eating in here were majorly locals, which speaks a lot in the favor of the restaurant. I loved the ambience and the women taking orders were dressed in the traditional Swiss dress. Also, I was surprised to see the owners taking food orders personally. Talk about being personally involved in your family enterprise.
In terms of food options, this Restaurant Julen has quite a few options for everyone even for the vegetarians. In fact I was surprised to see that apart from the starters, fondue and raclette – in the main course they had a small section (just 3 dishes) for non meat eaters. I and Sonali decided to sample a bit of a couple of vegetarian dishes and hence ordered – a corn Salad, a Spatzli and a desert of hazelnut mousse, cream and glazed strawberries.
And based on my own experiences, my verdict on the restaurant is as follows –
- The food (both the looks and taste) was very good and the portions were reasonable. I especially loved the Spatzli and the desert. The service was exceptional too – quick and very personalized with the staff always smiling. They were around and yet not hovering on our heads.
- I loved the fact that they had numerous options for vegetarians especially for the likes of me, who don’t eat egg and fish either.
- The quaint wooden interiors and the lovely fireplace made a beautiful homely picture. This also gave the whole place a very old world charm.
- Last but not the least there was free wifi 🙂
However, budget travelers like me please do note –
- This is not a budget eatery but definitely a place to indulge in at leat once on your trip to Zermatt.