2016/10/16

Review of Restaurant National, Olten/Switzerland

Location

Creative, well prepared food in casual atmosphere

I have been at this popular restaurant featuring an Euro-Asian cuisine in Olten’s old town several times, for lunch and dinner. Before chief Fabian Strutz – who used to work at another hip restaurant in Olten, Restaurant Terminus – settled here some 2 years ago, the National was a rather run-down tavern, which I gave a wide berth. It was famous for its chicken wings, which the chef has still on its menu.

Menu

Apropos menu, the restaurant does not have one, there is only a blackboard on the wall where the daily offer is listed. At lunchtime, you always find the following threesome. First, there is a creative artist’s dish – usually a fish dish –, the one I normally opt for. Then, you can go for granny’s dish, where you get a traditional, more home-style meat dish. Finally, there is a vegetarian option. At dinnertime, you can have your choice of starter out of a daily selection. As a main you can choose between a fish, meat and vegetarian dish; there is normally also the chance of having an entrecote with French fries. Furthermore, the legendary chicken wings with French fries are always available, for lunch and dinner. I have to admit that I have never tasted these chicken wings. I am more into modern, innovative cuisine and Fabian Strutz knows how to prepare fancy food, nicely presented and a feast for the palate! Sometimes I wonder how these different food styles can go hand in hand, but somehow he manages to do it. 

Part of the menu: on blackboard on the wall


Food

Last time, when I dined at the National with my husband, we had a Caesar salad and a Caprese salad for starters, both well made and tasty. As a main we opted for fresh mussels with bouillabaisse sauce, accompanied by garlic crostini, a real treat! For dessert we went for a hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and seasonal sorbets, which were both delicious.

Main: Fresh Mussels with Bouillabaisse Sauce & Garlic Crostini

Ambiance/service/prices

When Fabian Strutz took over, the National was newly furnished in a modern yet rustic style. In fact, it is contemporary, but without being cold. There is a lively, rather noisy ambiance, what can be annoying at some times. Service is friendly and competent, although the way how the chef de service interacts with guests is not everybody’s cup of tea! Never mind! Prices for the offered are adequate, you have to consider that first-class products are used at the National.


Interior of restaurant

If you like inventive, well-prepared meals in a rather casual atmosphere, then Restaurant National is your choice. But be prepared to sample its cuisine only on workdays, unfortunately the restaurant is closed on the weekends.


Starter: Caprese Salad with San Pietro Raw Ham

Date of visit: May 2016


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