Tibits | Jaini’s Swisscapes

With a food boat in the middle of the restaurant, literally, a wooden boat, loaded with over 40 different dishes, from various cuisines, such as European, Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian, all vegetarian and many vegan, Tibits is everything a vegetarian dreams off.

Located on the first floor of the Lucerne Train Station, Tibits Lucerne is a welcoming vegetarian food oasis with a view of the trains to boot.IMG_1135We only stumbled across Tibits while passing through the train station during the course of our stay in Lucerne. Hungry after a long day of exploring the Titlis and the city, we decided to give it a go, especially since Dad’s friend (who lives in Switzerland) recommended it.IMG_1136In 1998, three brothers Reto, Christian and Daniel Frei participated in Venture, a business plan competition organized by ETH Zurich and Mckinsey where they presented a plan to start a high-class fast-food vegetarian restaurant. They won the competition and decided to implement the plan. Seeking the expertise of Hiltl (the oldest, continuously-open vegetarian restaurant in the world), they collaborated with Hiltl to start a young, fresh and modern vegetarian restaurant, that combines the speed of a fast food restaurant and the cozy ambiance of a sophisticated café, while serving delightfully fresh and healthy products. They named it “tibits”, the name derived from the English word ‘tidbit’, which is defined as a small, tasty piece of food.

Today, the vegetarian restaurant chain operates in Lucerne, Basel, Berne, Zurich, Winterthur and London.

With modern décor including painted chairs with wooden tables and a children’s play corner, Tibits’ casual and informal style is inviting to families and diners from all backgrounds. The dim lighting created a calm, chilled environment with a relaxed vibe.IMG_1138Food is bought buffet-style by weight chosen from the fresh, seasonal hot and cold dishes on offer. We just had to take a plate and serve ourselves from the Food Boat then pay by weight at the counter (there are scales at each sales point) and order our drinks. And the beauty of serving ourselves is that it is easy to control the portions, and thus, the price.IMG_1139IMG_1140The food served daily and replenished frequently by the chefs is a positive rainbow of healthy dishes. My own plate was full of traditional falafel and hummus, carrots, spinach and olives from the fresh salad bar, kimchi and mango harissa. A colorful selection of healthy but tasty foods, everything on my plate was delicious and I could tell fresh, quality ingredients were used.IMG_1137And the best part? Delicious bread rolls are free with any meal and there is a wide variety to choose from.

Diva‘s plate

I saw an array of desserts but was just too full to try any. But since diners pay by weight, if you fancy both a spoonful of the mango and sticky rice pudding and the chocolate mousse, your options are boundless.

Diners don’t just get to enjoy a buffet of food, they also get a multitude of hot and cold drinks, including cocktails, to choose from. And don’t fret about eating the same time every time you visit Tibits as the menu changes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so no matter what time of the day or what day of the week you pop in, there is always something new in the buffet to try.

If you’d prefer to grab something to eat elsewhere, the ‘Tibits to go’ fridge has salad mixes, and there are sandwiches and pastries at the counter so you can still eat well even when in a hurry. You can even take your plate on the go too.

A pioneer in the future of vegetarian and food and restaurants across Europe (for now), its Swiss roots are clear through its visionary approach to vegetarianism, veganism, gluten and dairy free diets. I just hope to see it in Kenya soon. Or at least something like it.

Tibits Lucerne is located at:
Bahnhofplatz 1

Photos by Diva Shah

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