Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Swiss Alpine Restaurant

Located in Pincher Creek, Alberta, "The Swiss" is one of our favorite haunts.  Occupying a former service station building at the junction of Highway 6 and Main Street a half-hour north of Waterton Lakes National Park, the place was renovated by the Swiss proprietors at least twenty years ago in a decor that seems at first a bit of a mixed metaphor: Swiss alpine/Alberta ranch.  It works though; the ambience is interesting and relaxed - and the food is the epitome of both cultures.  Some items are pure Swiss - rosti, Swiss salad, fondue, spatzli, and possibly the best rack of lamb on the planet, cooked with authentic (and secret) Swiss recipes. Fish, chicken, beef and seafood on a menu that hasn't changed in a decade keep us coming back for more.  The Swiss burger and classic Alberta steak sandwich are consistent crowd-pleasers, both sporting a reasonable portion and price.  (Much of the beef is from the proprietors' own ranch.)  On the lounge side, things look a bit rougher (scarred tables, animal heads and memorabilia on the walls, the pool table and video games at one end) but its ambience and regular denizens are a unique blend not offensive to the palate.  Closed Sundays and Mondays, it's a good idea to make reservations on Friday and Saturday nights, especially if you're driving from Waterton or flying in from Toronto (as I'm told some folks do).  The lack of banquet facilities is quaint, although large groups can be accommodated easily with advance notice.  Did I mention the rack of lamb?  It's to die for.