House of Switzerland

BridgesENDED FEB 28, 2010: Located on picturesque Granville Island in Vancouver, Bridges Restaurant will play home to the House of Switzerland during the Games. Plans are to dress up the restaurant and their menu in a Swiss theme. We’re told to expect a lot of Swiss athletes there on a nightly basis. If a Swiss athlete wins a medal, they will be taken from BC Place and brought to the House by water taxi. The athletes then plan to hold a media event outside the House of Switzerland as well as meet with fans.

House organizers tell us they will have on-hand some of the best Swiss chocolates and cheese for the public to sample on select dates and times. The venue will be operating as a restaurant with Swiss hospitality and touches and is open to the public on a first seated basis on the main floor and by reservation on the upper floor. It is officially open from Feb 5th - Feb 28th. The hours of operation starting on Feb 5th will be 8 am to 1 am each day – a full calendar of events is posted here (pdf). Note that public parking will be at a premium and is limited to the west side of the Island only. Metered parking is in effect and will cost around $6 for 2 hours. Consider taking transit there if you can (the Bombardier streetcar station is a pleasant five minute walk). Expect this to be one of the top hot spots in town! Click here for directions on how to get to this destination. **See our House of Switzerland Pavilion Profile.

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43 Comments

I went to the 'Swiss House' today, monday. It was remarkable faceless so to say. I lived and worked in Switzerland and also use Swiss Airlines on a regular basis for their excellent hospitality. Whoever organized this failed completely as the whole name has absolutely nothing to do with Switzerlands Olympic presence.

Anyway, so the arrival was around 3PM and the hostess told everyone upon lining up that there is no exhibition or pavillion - just the retaurant - and that the wait time would be 60-80 minutes (she even commented "the best wait time for 3 days"). That might have been true as most people were in larger groups 4+ however we only needed a table for 2 and got it after 15 Minutes.

They have Menus outside for the willing folks to wait and prepare themselves. The average appetizer 15$, Entree 19$, Dessert 9$ and it was not typical Swiss what you would expect at such a venue. I could have put a menu together with 4 choices each and most people would love it, maybe it wouldnt sound as extraordinary and you couldnt ask for 20 bucks per serving. Oh well... My friend ordered the sausage which was served with french fries (very Swiss). I had a late breakfast and decided for dessert only so I ordered the apple pie with vanilla ice. It was a small stripe of pie. I was not very hungry but could have easily eaten 3x that size. Waitress was not really friendliness in persona - to add 15% for that automatically is tough ! I would have tipped 10% as a couretesy but definetely not more.

Anyway - been there, done that. But I should have invested the time and money in another place ! Switzerland gave an opportunity away here !

Just say no, over priced and not very Swiss...just Bridges except way higher prices and mega line up..brutal!

$44 fondue. Tasty: yes Overpriced: yes.
Oh, and the impecable timing of Swiss timepieces doesn't apply to their advertised free tastings of chocolate. I waited two hours and had to threaten to riot before they reluctantly produced the tiny chocolate. The line up for the bar is shorten than for the restaurant but the draft from the patio may be too much for some.

Wow, $25 for 3 local beers? Really?

Where's the Swiss-ness? Whats the point on this?

I was born and raised in Switzerland. So I visited the house with the family on Saturday, Feb. 13, when Switzerland won it's 1st gold medal. The place was rocking. 2 of us tried the fondue, the others had a different Swiss specialty. It was excellent. Real Swiss food made from scratch. The waitress was very friendly. And finally I was able to drink my Rivella again. I would recommend that place for lunch in an instant.

I agree with you Lauren. I just happen to be super courious and I went up the the door while my friends stood in line. Apperently the people at the door were told that the had a 3 hour wait just to get in, and we were at least 40 people behind them. I was like forget that!

$86 for three pitchers of beer!!! Absolutely brutal. Rude service, which is why they choose to add a 15% auto gratuity to your bill without informing you I guess. My rating: ZERO

If I found this website before I went to Granville Island, I would have not gone there. It's a waste of time.

The Swiss House is just a restaurant/bar. No more. NO exhibits or entertainment what so ever. It's really boring.

It's my second day going out for Olympic events so I didn't know there's so many duds and blows. I was naive. You would think organizers want to do a good job to impress. Nope!

We lined up like idiots. They didn't put up a sign to tell you it's just a restaurant/bar and sample tasting. Sample tasting means they give you one small bread with cheese on top. We lined up for that? Where is the exhibits and entertainment? I could have bought Swiss cheese at local supermarkets. I didn't even like the Swiss cheese they served. It is really stinky. How come the Swiss cheese I bought didn't stink at all???

We went to Granville Island after lunch hour and we didn't fee like having lunch again just for the sake of having a Swiss lunch. We wouldn't want to spend hours sitting down eating (grabbing some quick snacks would be ideal and efficient), we preferred to actually do things like games, exhibitions, fun houses, and entertainment.

I didn't want to open my mouth talking to people for the rest of the evening because I felt really impolite talking to people while my breath smelled like their stinky cheese. It kind of ruined my afternoon. I couldn't find breath mint at Public Market.

If they don't want to put some effort to promote tourism and culture, just don't open house to public at all. They shouldn't advertise their house aggressively only to trick you to go to their restaurant.

When I see an event badly organized, I start to doubt their service and product. It will not make me want to buy that brand or spend tourist money on taking a trip to the place because I wouldn't want to buy unpleasant experience. That place or product will not be on top of my list.

I have to say I was disappointed by the Swiss house. There was not much in the way of culture and the food was so overpriced. We paid $30 for a pitcher of beer!!! We sat on the pub side, and put our name on a list for the restaurant side. We were told it was an hour wait, and when we returned they were not keeping track of the list and told us there was nothing they could do.

I am VERY Swiss at heart having grew up there as a kid. The Swiss house to me was a disappointment. No exhibits, didn't get to see any Swiss athletes. The Cratwurst was sold for $8 a pop so was the raclette! I would have thought the proud Swiss would come up with much better things. I am still looking for any Swiss Olympics merchandise and no one has a clue from the official Swiss House!

I went to Bridges today around 9am and was greeted by two very friendly hostesses. I was a little disappointed that there were no exhibits or anything to see like i was expecting but they offered me a free sample of coffee which was very nice. The staff were knowledgeable about the house and menu and also the events that were going to take place there throughout the month (They've got biscuit day and chocolate day!). They told me that there would be raclette sampling later and i went back in the afternoon to try some. It was very good and i actually stayed for lunch with my family. The food came quick, the service was great and the fondue we shared was excellent! They were showing the women's boarder cross on the big tvs and the atmosphere inside was amazing. Everyone was cheering and having a good time
I was disappointed at first but i ended up having a great experience!
I highly recommend this place to anyone who is looking for a great swiss dining experience!

As already mentioned, this isn't a pavilion house, it's a restaurant with Swiss food. We arrived too late too late (5:15pm) to get any of the free samples and didn't want to wait another 45 minutes for the restaurant.

It was a big bust; disappointing to say the least but the ride on the Olympic Line was fun and walking around Granville was nice.

What a bust. They advertise a chocolate competition, but it's only open to the media!! Then why advertise it to the public! And there's nothing to see or do, it's just Bridge's restaurant with a Swiss menu. Huge disappointment. Head over to Atlantic house instead, it's jumping with concerts every night.

$22 for a pitcher of local beer?!? At Bridges?? Ya, I felt like I was in Europe.

The pub side was excellent! Went on Saturday night - huge energy and the place went nuts when they awarded the Gold Medal for Switzerland on the big screens. Great service - Swiss efficiency - and they have fondue and Raclette.

Just another pavilion that is a restaurant. Lined up and was waiting only to be told that it is just a place to eat...no displays or exhibits. Pass on this.

I had a reservation for Valentine's dinner here tonight, hoping to have swiss fondue and on our way over on the aquabus around 1, I got a call on my cell phone telling me that they were closing the restaurant at 2pm today so my reservation was no good anymore but that I could still come and wait in line for the bistro part...we went to check that out and it had a large line-up! What a waste of time and disappointment!

All I saw at the house of Switzerland was a man with a funny accent shouting this is no a Pavilion this is a restaurant.

VERY disappointing. No swiss atmosphere. Just Bridges with some swiss food on the menu. The tram ride to Granville Island was fun though.

My family travelled from Port Moody last weekend just to see the Swiss housing based on the talk that there would be samples and Swiss Culture. As other people have noted, it is a restaurant seving Swiss food.

As others, I am disappointed in what it was made out to be. Maybe for what it is (a restaurant serving Swiss food) is fine, but it was hyped for more than that.

This place was a complete disappointment and would not recommend it. Basically it's Bridges restaurant servicing Swiss food. Don't believe the hype! I'm wondering why it's on the "free" list when it's actually a restaurant.

This place was a complete disappointment and would not recommend it. Basically it's Bridges restaurant servicing Swiss food. Don't believe the hype! I'm wondering why it's on the "free" list when it's actually a restaurant.

We went to Granville Island just out for a walk on a nice day last Saturday and dropped by the House of Switzerland. We peeked in the door and was surprised to be so welcomed by such friendly and helpful staff. We intend to come back in the next few days for either lunch or dinner.
The Swiss staff there seem to be really well set up to greet visitors and give them a sampling of their hospitality. We were certainly pleased that we dropped by.
We also related this event to our Swiss friends here locally.
Thanks again!
Mogens

Wow, I have to say some of these comments are a bit harsh. Honestly, the games haven't even started yet and let's be honest, this is quite a new experience for most who are working the event (keep in mind BC has not hosted anything this major since Expo 86). The games haven't even started yet, this is the "rehearsal" phase, the "getting the bugs out" phase for the big show Feb 12 - 28. I'm sure by Friday this place will be hopping. It will be fun and social. And let's not forget what the two things are we all think of when we think of Switzerland, Cheese and Chocolate, and that's on the menu.

This is a house for Swiss nationals, the Swiss team and Swiss fans to gather and enjoy the spirit of the Olympics, this isn't an Expo house where you should be expecting and exhibit, that's not what the Olympics are about. The Swiss have brought a little touch of Switzerland to Vancouver, come in and enjoy some authentic Swiss food and take in the Olympic vibe.

I was there on Feb 5 and unfortunately for me I didn't get there until shortly after 6:00 so missed out on most of the goodies. When I got there it was totally packed (good for Swiss House, great interest, so good to see). Of course this is bad for the ones showing up hoping to have a seat and try some authentic fondue. But I will be back and try my luck again and I am sure when the Olympics are on there won't be any complaints.

I live only ten minutes away (by foot) and still considered this to be a waste of my time. No information, no samples (I wasn't looking for a freebie, I'm just making mention of this point), nothing to do there that didn't involve sitting and ordering off the menu. I feel bad for people who took more time to get there, and only leave disappointed. Your time is much better spent at Northern House.

I was at this house for lunch today and was really well impressed by the food. And HELLOOO! It's a restaurant!The bread alone was worth a 1/2 day trek on snowshoes!! This is NOT Expo! We showcase ourselves but the International'houses' are for socialising and celebrating their athletes.Today there was a display and 'freebies' of Swiss cheeses and their cartoon celebrity visits tomorrow so it is something different each day. Once the games start there will be a live broadcasting center, and chances to meet their athletes.

I too went to Northern house and loved it. I look forward to seeing all regions of Canada strut our stuff. As Host Nation we have a different agenda.

The House of Switzerland Canada 2010 would officially like to thank all the visitors to our venue this weekend. We have been overwhelmed by the level of interest and enthusiasm and are appreciative of the constructive feedback on Citycaucus.com on areas where we can improve.

The House of Switzerland Canada 2010 has a combined team of Canadian staff from Bridges in Vancouver and from the Mountain Club in Whistler and a team of Swiss staff, including multilingual hosts, chefs, and organizers. This weekend was the first time the combined teams worked together. We take these comments seriously and are making adjustments to ensure all our guests enjoy their visit to the House of Switzerland Canada 2010.

Both venues are operating as restaurants with Swiss touches and hospitality including some noted event days with free samples, a visit from Globi - the Mickey Mouse of Switzerland, daily Swiss music, live broadcasts of the Games, and Swiss food specialties.

The Swiss inspired venues act as a meeting point and social hub to have fun and enjoy good Swiss food for Canadians, Swiss, the Swiss Olympic team, and Official Hospitality House sponsors and partners. We hope if you haven’t come down already, you will take a look at what the House of Switzerland Canada 2010 has to offer - calendar of events - and plan a visit. If you have already, we hope you will come back!

Tourists please take in the NORTHERN HOUSE on Seymour and Granville which has a great display. This House Of Switerland is just an OVER PRICED RESTAURANT. Save your time and money and avoid this tourist trap on Granville Island.

I visited on Friday and the place was hopping! Tried some great coffee, chocolate, and scored some pins. I will be coming back with my wife to try some swiss cuisine. It will be a great place to watch the games, giant tvs everywhere! And the view is awesome.

I work on Granville Island and there's going to be lots of great stuff happening down here but unfortunately Swiss House is not one of them. I went on Sunday at found there's was nothing going on and was given the feeling that I wasn't there to eat I should leave. Despite this I went back to today as they were advertising express giveaways but they were completely disorganized and I end up leaving.

WASTE OF TIME. Sunday at 2pm, the 2 hostesses (locals) had no event schedules, no information, no handouts, no samples. The menu is Bridges reduced menu reprinted on sheets with a Swiss flag. We were made to feel that if we weren't going to have lunch that we needed to leave. There are some touristy things around the outside that all have the Swiss red cross on them, but there is nothing here for the average person to see, learn about, try, engage with or for that matter care about. Save your time, save your money, avoid this remote locale and spend your time where you'll be engaged.

I have to agree with Fred. We went down there today hoping to get a taste of the taste of Swedish culture. There was a hub of activity around the entrance but upon entry we were told that this was only a restaurant and there were no exhibits. There was a fun photo op outside the restaurant: a large mountain alp scene and a goat you can pose with.

A group of us went down about 7 PM and were disappointed as well . Nothing was going on no one knew anything and in the lobby in a box were some switzerland brochures and I would have missed that had I not looked on the ground. Also there were not clear directions as to where the tram was to go to the Olympic Village. SHOULD HAVE GONE TO GRANVILLE AND ROBSON

@Fred. Thanks for your feedback on this pavilion. By the sounds of it, it hasn't gotten off to a great start. A number of folks have reported they are a bit disappointed in what they've found. Perhaps things will pick up during the Games?? If not, folks will likely head to where the real action is. We plan to visit the pavilion later this week and provide our readers with a bit of analysis. Perhaps the Swiss organizers may want to weigh in with their reaction?

Went there and was very disappointed. The description above is not accurate to what is actually going on. Went there today, no samples, no information about Switzerland itself. Just a restaurant with swiss food. Unimpressed.

We went at around 2 pm on Saturday and it was disorganized and no freebies except a pin. We asked for samples of chocolates and none were available. We had to pay for food off menu and the staff seemed uninformed but they knew enough to tack on 15% tips mandatory onto the bill. It seems like this was a lost opportunity for the Swiss to promote their country or some of the treasures stemming from there. Disappointing is putting it mildly.

We went there today for the "Celebration of Swiss Culture," scheduled from 3-6pm. The server at the door didn't know that anything special was supposed to be happening, and indeed, nothing seemed to be. Fortunately we caught some of the Vancouver Swiss Choir performing at around 5pm. May be best to call ahead to see if anything is happening.

can i please have updates on the swiss house/ Thank you, c. smith

I was at the House of Switzerland last night for the grand opening - it was fantastic. (Heidi, I think you went too early before the venue actually opened as the Swiss pavilion at around 4pm). There were lineups of people, great buzz inside... got free Swiss pins, chocolates including a live demo, and they were passing around samples of Swiss food. They are basically running the Bridges restaurant as usual (i.e. you pay for your meal) but there are Swiss specialties on the menu. The cheese fondue, soups and desserts are really good. I'd suggest checking out the events calendar and going down there when they are having a special event.

Was there today and was quite disappointed. Was there by lunch and the hostess said, there was nothing special except that their menu had additional swiss specialties. While we ordered, the waiter was surprised to know that guests receive a free bottle of water (i checked the pdf file provided by this site and it was supposed to also go with chocolate and biscuits with coffee). We were informed later that some event would take place at 4:30 featuring a chocolate table and some sampling. We stayed on the island till 4:30 only to go around the same restaurant with a few samples of lindt chocoates, nespresso, ricola and biscuit. I was expecting to have my children learn a thing or two about switzerland by taking them to this "house" but apparently all they learned was that Lindt chocolates are from switzerland. A far cry from the Northern House.

@Fred. The plan is to eventually connect the line to Science World, through Chinatown then out to the new convention centre. A spur line would make its way along Pacific Boulevard. The city has already set aside a right of way for it...it is currently in the form of a sidewalk down the middle of the boulevard.

Take the Olymic line? haha! no available parking, is not connected to any other transportation hub. So if we should take this olymic line to get to granville island, why not allow people to get to it aside from walking over a mile from nearest skytrain, when the rail tracks extend directly to the Main St, Skytrain?

Duh

This is going to be one of the sites to see during the Olympics. Can't wait for the food!

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