Waterfront pleasure: The most beautiful restaurant terraces in and around Bern
Directly on the water
You could say that the boundary here between enjoying nature and culinary delights is literally fluid. Restaurant Schwellenmätteli’s pavilion and its spacious terrace are situated on the Dalmaziquai, a quay jutting out directly over the Aare. It almost feels like you're floating weightlessly above the water. Paired with a cool drink in your hand, the setting delivers a convincing holiday feeling. The menu offers all kinds of Mediterranean specialities to match, ranging from “vitello tonnato” and caesar salad to “moules et frites”. Getting to Schwellenmätteli via the BearPark on the Grosser Muristalden is part of the beautiful experience. From there, a footpath leads along the Aare and under shady stands of trees. A leisurely 15-minute walk (if you don't take any detours!) ends at this one-of-a-kind terrace surrounded by rushing water.
Head for this thrilling waterfront venue!
Restaurant Casa Novo
A friendly family team in Casa Novo waits to welcome aficionados of Mediterranean-inspired market cuisine. With their splendid location in a sandstone gem at Läuferplatz square, Jesús Novo and his son Dominik can fulfil your dream of experiencing authentic Mediterranean dishes. The charming terrace right beside the Aare river looks like it just stepped off a film set and has a view to beat all views – which might explain why during the summer its 80 seats are as much in demand as the freshly caught fish featured on the menu. On a balmy summer evening, you’ll be tempted not only by the fine wine from the in-house vinotheque and the delicious tapas, but also by the impressive view of the Untertorbrücke (Untertor bridge). The oldest bridge in Bern, it’s just a few steps away from Casa Novo and is also the best starting point for a short or longer walk after dinner to help all that delectable food settle.
Even die-hard water lovers sometimes want to get out “on” the Aare instead of just in it. For many river fans, a contemplative ride on the small but enchanting Bodenacker ferry in Muri is just as much a part of summer as a long swim in the refreshing water. The ferry takes its passengers straight – or more precisely diagonally – to the popular Fähribeizli, a gem of a pub with amazing views in the middle of the fascinating floodplain landscape of Elfenau Park. The signature appetiser platter featuring all kinds of cured meat specialities attracts day-trippers and passers-by. There are also many fresh and light summer dishes on offer – the trout caught in Rubigen and roasted whole in the oven is sure to delight anyone who loves a good fish dish. For those who prefer to arrive on foot: The Fähribeizli is only a 15-minute walk from the Elfenau bus stop (bus number 19).
On your ferry, get set, go!
Thanks to the Aare flowing directly past the Marzili, this neighbourhood in the south of the city is virtually one big terrace. And when you're sitting outside at Restaurant Dampfzentrale, it feels as if the liquid turquoise treasure valued by all of Bern is part of the restaurant itself. From the terrace, guests not only smell the sizzling delicacies from the in-house grill or smoker, but also the revitalising scent of water, which embodies summer in Bern like nothing else. At Restaurant Dampfzentrale, the "fresh out of the water" feeling lingers even after the sun has long since set and the “mousse au chocolat” for dessert is being savoured spoonful by heavenly spoonful.
Once a thermal power station, now serving exquisite cuisine!
It doesn't get any closer than this. The small, intimate terrace at Restaurant Cinématte is located less than three steps from the Aare river and could easily pass for a cosy ship's deck if you didn’t know any better. Loyal Cinématte fans also know that even the boldest culinary wishes are fulfilled here. Whether you opt for an à la carte meal, the surprise three-course menu or the fabulous Sunday brunch offered on the first Sunday of the month (be sure to try the potato gratin!), a journey to the Matte district is worth it just for the gastronomical variety you will discover here. And the fact that the ingredients you find on your plate and the wine in your glass are all Swiss quality products doesn’t hurt either. Even the in-house cinema focuses on selected films that transcend mainstream mass production. A truly cinematic experience on the water.
Time to visit the Matte district!
Restaurant Seeblick on Lake Burgäschi
It pays to come early. Anyone who manages to snag a spot on the terrace at Restaurant Seeblick can enjoy a clear view of Lake Burgäschi. Its 21-hectare surface is shared by the Solothurn municipality of Aeschi to the north and the Bern municipality of Seeberg in the south. Locals and day trippers alike appreciate this recreational area for walking, swimming, fishing, barbecuing, rowing and relaxing, but you must treat it with respect since a large part of the lake's surroundings are a protected nature reserve. Restaurant Seeblick is the perfect place to stop before or after exploring. A glass of good wine, freshly roasted coffee, a crisp salad, specialities from the grill – what more do you need to enjoy and indulge? And anyone who wants to keep the holiday vibe going is in luck. Five hotel rooms ensure that the view of the lake is just as magical the next morning.
Lakeside pleasure nr. 1
Hostellerie am Schwarzsee
The Hostellerie am Schwarzsee hotel on Lake Schwarz doesn’t just boast its own swimming pool – it has its “own” lake right on the doorstep. Just head over the pedestrian crossing and you will enter a bewitching natural idyll filled with meadows and diverse fauna. Even if you prefer not to leave the comfort of the hotel’s restaurant terrace you can still enjoy a breathtaking view of the Fribourg pre-Alpine panorama. The view is even better when you can savour it along with one of the many unique dishes on offer at the Hostellerie. Meat and fish specialities cooked on a hot stone are just as much a part of the menu as wood-fired pizzas or a selection of creative salads.
Lakeside pleasure nr. 2
With a view of the water
From the famous BearPark, where Bern’s resident brown bears Finn, Björk and their daughter Ursina live in a natural enclosure covering 6,000 square metres, it’s just a few steps to the Altes Tramdepot, a restaurant and brewery all in one. Ranging from light and Märzen to wheat varieties, an impressive 3,100 hectolitres of beer are brewed here every year, as evidenced by the huge copper brewing kettles in the middle of the restaurant. The Tramdepot specialities – including beer with soft pretzels, beef tartare or handmade “Spätzli” noodles – taste best on the spacious terrace with a clear view of the Aare river and the rooftops of the Old Town. Finn and Björk aren’t the only ones who rub their eyes in amazement after a sunny afternoon in this gorgeous spot with its unique view. And the beer won't blur it a bit, we promise!
Perfect if you’re hungry (or thirsty!) as a bear
Are we in Hinterkappelen or southern Italy? It’s understandable if Ristorante Lago with its beguiling portion of Mediterranean flair on Lake Wohlen causes some harmless confusion. With dishes such as the house seafood salad, grilled shrimp and “pizza bianca”, the menu promises plenty of culinary dolce vita. The spacious terrace is also a sight to behold and invites you to linger and enjoy the view. The panoramic Bernese Oberland Alps and the flowing water of the Aare headed towards the lake create “la vita è bella” at the “Lago”! Don’t miss it: Every Sunday the Ristorante, situated near the Kappelenbrücke bridge, attracts hungry guests with a tasty brunch that is also proudly Italian – even lasagna makes it onto the extensive breakfast buffet.
Restaurant Schloss Reichenbach
Finding a baroque castle ambience with a view of the Aare is not as common as pebbles along a riverbed, but luckily for us Restaurant Schloss Reichenbach in Zollikofen is a captivating exception. This jewel set in the middle of lush greenery is located in the castle’s former orangery and is one of the most popular culinary destinations just outside the city. When it comes to the restaurant’s famous fish specialities, true connoisseurs are prepared to make the pilgrimage, no matter the distance. The garden area certainly befits a castle, offering more than enough space for numerous smaller and larger groups. The Reichenau ferry, which has been linking Zollikofen with the Enge peninsula for over 275 years, is a particularly idyllic way to reach the restaurant and is highly recommended in summer.
A castle restaurant with a view
Hotel Bellevue Palace
The view matches the name here. The terrace of Hotel Bellevue Palace proudly offers one of the most beautiful views of the city centre. As your gaze sweeps from Marzili along the course of the Aare, from the Gurten mountain to the breathtaking panorama of the Bernese Alps, it almost feels as if it were the perfect backdrop for a film where the credits never end. Whether you choose a classic club sandwich, a trendy poke bowl, or an elegant sushi-sashimi platter, a visit to the Bellevue terrace at sunset belongs on everyone’s summer to-do list. And it's not just the view; the choice of drinks is also filmworthy.
High above Bern