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I'll be going to Switzerland for the first time in May, and am very excited!
Do the restaurants serve adequate portions of vegetables? I like to eat larger than usual servings of cooked vegetables. And how are the salads? Do the markets have salad bars?
I will eat anything in another country, and look forward to the Swiss veal and beef dishes. But I find that while I am traveling, after a few days I am vegetable-starved.
Thanks for your help!!

Posted by
22884 posts

I guess it depends on how you define adequate portions. Generally all portions from main dish to side dishes are smaller than typically in the US. I am sure you could order additional side dishes of vegetables. Salads are great as we encountered little iceburg lettuce. Most of the salads included a great variety of ingredients including corn, beans, etc. along with leafy lettuces. You will not find typical, flavored salad dressings. Vinegar and oil is standard. There may be open salad bars but I don't remember seeing them. We have not see the "all you can eat", self-serve food bars that are typical in the US.

Posted by
12663 posts

I spent 3 nights in Muerren on the Rick Steves GAS tour last September. I am vegan. The hotel where we stayed in Muerren did have a delicious salad bar, in fact I would have preferred just a big plate from there for our 2 group meals, but the hotel did provide a vegan entree both nights! I am not sure if the salad bar was what they used regularly or if it was just for our group.

At other times when I have stopped at the rest stops on the auto-routes the veg selection has been really impressive. I did get some to-go lunches in the Co-op grocery stores in Muerren and Wengen and both had 3 or 4 pre-made salads to purchase.

Posted by
8889 posts

Paula, sounds like you are the same as me, not a vegetarian but like a high proportion of vegetables with the meal.
Main courses often come with a carbohydrate (potatoes, pasta etc.) but vegetables are often not automatically included. This is listed separately in the menu as "Beilage" (side dishes). When you order, do not forget to add a vegetable "Beilage" of your choice.
An example of this is Schnitzel (veal), which will usually be served with "Pommes Frites" (GB:Chips/US:French fries), possibly a "garni" of veg (one mouthful). but nothing else. If you want a "Beilage", ask for it.

Salad is served as a starter, as an alternative to soup. It will come with "Franzosisch oder Italienische Sauce" (French or Italian dressing), dairy or balsamic based respectively. If you order this, it will be served before your main course.
Almost any restaurant will have a vegi option on the menu, often 2 or more.

The main supermarket chains are Coop and Migros. The larger branches have salad bars, where you pick what you want, weigh it yourself and take it to the till.
Large branches of Coop, Migros and the department store chain Manor have restaurants. These have salad and vegi buffets where you pay for a piece of meat or a meat dish, and add your own vegis and salad.

Posted by
3494 posts

And what's wrong with iceberg lettuce?? ;-)

I have had some excellent salads made with iceberg that were easier to eat than some of the field greens which would have made better dental floss.

Yes, there is plenty of veg to eat in Switzerland. You may have to order additional sides if that is what you want. All the vegetables I ate in Switzerland very very fresh and flavorful.

Posted by
11294 posts

The best "restaurant" deal in Switzerland is Manora. It's on the top floor of the Manor department stores, and is sort of like the "stations" at a Las Vegas buffet. Meaning, if you get fish, it hasn't been sitting under a heat lamp; they take a piece of raw fish off the ice and cook it for you. So, the food is fresh and delicious, for half the price of a regular restaurant.

For you, what's relevant is that when you order a main dish, you can add all the veggies, starches, etc your plate can hold, for about 3 CHF extra. It's called "beilage" in German; I forget the French (possibly "garni"). So, this is a great way to load up on vegetables without paying a fortune. They also have salad bars.

The only problems with Manora are that they are always mobbed (the Swiss know it's the best deal around), and that they are only open department store hours, which means early dinner Monday through Friday, no dinner Saturdays, and no meals at all on Sundays. However, I read from Rick's book that the Manora in Lugano has a separate entrance from the store, so it's open longer hours; I just confirmed on their website that this is true, and the Lugano Manora is open until 10 PM, seven days a week!

Posted by
8 posts

Oh my, thank you all for so much info!!! I'm getting hungrier and hungrier! My trip can't come too soon.
Harold, since I will be traveling 3 weeks, I have enough time to wait in line at Manor, chat with the Swiss if possible! I appreciate the details so much. When I am in a new situation, lack of info can get me thinking too much. And then there's that blindness you can get when you are experiencing something new, so you may not notice things you would like, and kick yourself for it later.
Mark, I like iceberg lettuce too. It's refreshing, and depending where it is grown, can be more nutritious than we expect. I will often eat it just as is, no dressing.
Thanks, Mrs EB, I will be sure to try the Coops.
Chris, it's a good way to eat, lots of veg and some good meats. Though the thought of that Schnitzel and pommes frites(or Rosti?) makes my mouth water. Still, no matter how delicious the meat and potatoes are, I need those veggies.

Posted by
5256 posts

In most parts of Europe, vegetables in season are offered. So, for example, you won't see asparagus in October or Butternut squash in April. For your trip in May, look for spring veggies.

Posted by
32058 posts


I was also going to suggest the Manora Restaurants, as you'll be able to get just about whatever you want there, whether you want cooked or cold vegetable dishes. This should provide an idea. Hot dishes are cooked to order.

Depending on which cities you'll be visiting, another restaurant you might enjoy is Vapiano. They have good choices of both vegetarian dishes as well as other types, and again food is cooked to order. I find that their salads are usually quite large. It's a bit pricey but of course in Switzerland, what isn't pricey! I usually try to stop at Vapiano once on every trip, and this year was no exception.

Posted by
46 posts

Ask for "Wurstsalat" in traditional Swiss-german restaurants. It's a whole meal - salad with a cut sausage (mostly Cervelat).

Posted by
11294 posts

Besides Coop, Migros is another supermarket chain. You'll usually find a small one in train stations, as well as larger ones elsewhere in town. The town ones will be closed on Sundays, while the station ones have longer hours (still not always open Sundays).

I forget to mention Tibits, which is an all-vegetarian buffet restaurant. You put whatever you want on your plate, then pay by weight. There's one in the Bern and the Luzern train stations; the Luzern one is hidden on the station's top floor. These are especially useful on Sundays, when Manora is closed.