|Neuchâtel : eating and drinking|
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With such a heavy French influence, Neuchâtel takes eating and drinking seriously, with dozens of pavement cafés and relaxed bistros all over the centre. For self-service diners, check out both the EPA and Co-op department stores off Place Pury. Local specialities, best sampled at places like the Hôtel du Marché include tripe in wine, tomme panée (baked cheese) and fresh lake fish. A fondue neuchâteloise takes full advantage of the nearby vineyards, with local whites splashed liberally into the bubbling pot for an especially heady cheese-dipping experience.
Uniquely, Canton Neuchâtel permits all-night opening, and the resulting restaurants de nuit (generally open 9pm–6am or so) – most of them loud bars with small dining rooms attached, rather than true restaurants – keep the city’s nightlife a-buzz.
Cafés, café-bars and clubs
Appareils de Chauffage et de Cuisine, 37 Rue des Moulins. Wonderful old place converted from a shop (“Heaters and Cookers”) into a friendly, sociable Old Town bar.
B-Fly, 16 Faubourg de l’Hôpital. Very popular techno and house club. Thurs–Sun only.
Café du Cerf, 4 Rue de l’Ancien Hôtel-de-Ville. Lively central watering hole, serving beers from around the world.
Casa d’Italia, 1 Rue Prébarreau. Behind the château, one of the up-and-coming night cafés – avoid the Cobra cabaret in the same building. Closed Mon.
Case à Chocs, 16 Quai Godet. Top club in town, with innovative DJ nights of everything from ska to acid jazz and drum’n’bass, plus occasional live bands. Thurs–Sat only.
Garbo, 7 Rue des Chavannes. Classy night café in the Old Town, with dancefloor. Closed Mon.
Gelateria Fiorentina, 31 Rue des Moulins. In a quiet courtyard off the street, a perfect place to relax with an ice cream.
Hôtel Touring au Lac, Place Numa-Droz. Overlooking the harbour and the open lake, one of the best terraces for croissant-and-renversée breakfasts, mellow salad lunches and long sundowner apéros. Excellent fresh fish is an added attraction.
MGM, 45 Rue des Moulins. Posey night-bar. Closed Mon.
Seven, 15 Avenue de la Gare. Minor glitz at this disco/live-band venue. Fri & Sat only.
L’Atlas, 14 Rue Fleury (032/724 11 98). Tiny Moroccan restaurant tucked away on an Old Town alley, with Fr.13–15 menus, authentic couscous and tajine, Moroccan wine, and sweet mint tea as it should be.
Du Banneret, 1 Rue Fleury (032/725 28 61). Peaceful little spot in a crook of the Old Town’s steep alleys, opposite a fountain at the foot of Rue du Château. The food is consistently good – regional specialities, lightly prepared, with fresh fish a staple. Menus around Fr.23. Closed Sun.
Crêperie Elysée, 26 Rue des Moulins. Old Town joint for crêpes with dozens of fillings to choose from, from a Fr.4 snack up to a Fr.13 meal. Closed Sun.
Hôtel du Marché, Place des Halles (032/723 23 30). Central Old Town landmark, serving hearty Swiss and French cuisine for Fr.20 or so. Closed Sun & Mon lunch.
Le Lotus, 4 Rue de l’Ancien Hôtel-de-Ville (032/724 27 44). Upper floor Thai restaurant, with high-quality Asian cuisine for Fr.20-odd (menus) or Fr.30 (à la carte). Closed Sun.
Maison des Halles, Place des Halles (032/724 31 41). Not to be confused with the Hôtel du Marché, this is in the fairy-tale turreted building next door – an excellent wood-fired pizzeria down below (from Fr.13), and perhaps the town’s most refined haute cuisine restaurant (closed Mon, Sat lunch & Sun) up above.
Maison du Prussien, Gor du Vauseyon (032/730 54 54); see hotels. One of Neuchâtel’s gourmet highlights, with characterful French-oriented menus for as little as Fr.30 or so. Closed Sun.
Bike rental In the station (Mon–Sat 6am–9pm, Sun 6.30am–9pm).
Car rental Avis, 2 Esplanade Robert (032/723 11 67); Europcar, 22 Rouges-Terres, Hauterive (032/753 11 47); Hertz, 25 Pierre-à-Mazel (032/725 17 60).
Changing money In the train station (Mon–Sat 5.45am–9.10pm, Sun 6.30am–9.10pm).
Email and InternetMouse Killer, 6 Avenue du Premier-Mars (Mon–Thurs 10am–midnight, Fri & Sat 10am–2am; Fr.10/hr).
Laundry Salon Lavoir, 27 Rue des Moulins (Mon–Fri 7am–8pm, Sat & Sun 8am–8pm).
Post Main post office (CH-2001) is at Place du Port; another is way up opposite the train station (CH-2002 Neuchâtel 2).
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