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“How does this place stay in business?”
Review of Swiss Bistro

Swiss Bistro
Ranked #1,052 of 1,187 Restaurants in Christchurch
Cuisines: European, Swiss
Restaurant details
Reviewed February 20, 2015 via mobile

It looks nice from the outside and so we stopped to look at the menu. Let me first mention that this us in a very touristy section of town--right next to the trolley station. We have younger children (ages 11&7) so the fondue on the menu appealed to them. When we walked up to see about getting a table--a guy with a thick accent (assuming he's Swiss) asked what we wanted. We said we would like a table for four for lunch and he rudely stated that he had nothing for children. I asked, "don't you have fondue?" And he said "hrmmpf--no!" And walked abruptly back into the kitchen. My husband asked me if he was going back to get us another menu or present more options....and I replied "no-I believe we have just been shushed out of his restaurant." And I was right--the owner went back to cooking and muttering in his kitchen. Actually kind of funny in a sick sort of way...I am sure that Christchurch doesn't want itself represented this way to its tourists as it attempts to rebuild from devastating earthquakes. This place is not typical and shouldn't be considered representative of the area. Would recommend not renewing his lease in this touristy part of town.

19  Thank theworldismyoyster67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 - 68 of 108 reviews

Reviewed February 2, 2015

This is the world's Marmite of restaurants. You will love it or hate it.

Yes, the owner is abrupt. Comparing him to Basil Fawlty is 100% correct. The idea of the customer always being correct has never occurred to him. But it is his restaurant, and his rules. If you know, and follow them, you'll be fine.

1. Dress smartly. i.e. No beachwear, no shorts, no sandals, no T shirts. Wear socks.
2. No unruly kids. Or adults.
3. No bawdy behaviour.
4. Read the menu on the stand outside before approaching.
5. Sit up straight.

Think of it as going to have Sunday lunch with your grandma who you love and respect.

Initially, we were slightly under-dressed to merit a table inside. We were dressed sufficiently well to be allowed to sit outside, but as our hotel was just opposite, we changed into better attire. We were then welcomed back. And sat outside anyway. Unfortunately, Georges would not serve us fondue that night as the weather was too hot, and we would not enjoy it. (He declined to cook it for other guests too.) So we had schnitzel, bratwurst and rosti. Still not really warm-weather food, is it? But it was delicious, even though it was a tad pricey. The beer was cold, correctly served in fine, chilled flutes. 10/10 for the food.

The entertainment provided was also top notch. No sartorial disasters were allowed across the threshold of his establishment. Watching Georges' assessment of every 'applicant' was the most (sadly) amusing part of our trip.

You must be imagining the Bistro is a fine restaurant - a Chaine des Rotisseurs or the like. No. It is a small shop in a strip mall, near the tram stop, adjoining the T-shirt store and opposite the Chinese restaurant. The whole experience was bewildering, and will stay with us for years.

We understand why the Swiss Bistro receives so many "Terrible" reviews. They are deserved. But not for the food. That receives the full 5*.

PS. Beware the timings for dinner are limited: 6-7:30 pm

Date of visit: February 2015
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
7  Thank TravelBeaucoup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2015

Small swiss bistro where you are served by the owner. The food and the service was very good. It's not a cheap restaurant, but it's worth to try.

Date of visit: January 2015
Thank osmir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2015

My partner and I "attempted" to dine at this bistro before seeing a show at the Issac Theatre Royal early Dec 2014. Upon walking inside (no one was in there except owner) we were told "you cannot come inside looking like that". We looked at each other blankly as we though it was a joke, but No! We were marched to the tables outside and told we could not come in as we were both too casually dressed... wearing jandals and shorts on a warm summer evening - who knew! But fair enough I thought. We took a seat outside and were handed menu's. As we were reading through a lovely elderly American couple approached the door, they asked if they could come in for coffee, or get a takeaway coffee. "Im too busy for Coffee!!" yelled the owner , he was so rude! Busy? What a joke considering it was just us, and another couple sitting on the table next door who also had not ordered yet! At that point we decided we would not be giving this horrid person any of our hard earned cash so we promptly got up and went to the Chinese restaurant next door. While we were experiencing fabulous food and service at the Chinese outfit we jumped onto Trip Advisor to check the "Swiss Bistro's" rating as I was curious to know if this type of experience was common.. we spent the rest of our dinner reading out all the terrible reviews and laughing so hard at others expense... I particularly loved a reviewers remarks about the owner "This guy makes Basil Fawlty seem like Mary Poppin's"!
I am a Christchurch resident and am so embarrassed to see this poor level of customer service in our lovely city. There are plenty of great restaurants around - make sure you steer clear of this one!

Date of visit: December 2014
    • Service
23  Thank LozzaB8808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2015 via mobile

A disgusting rude man guarding the door. Very unwelcoming, wouldn't allow children in. Informed us that there are other food places down the street.

Date of visit: January 2015
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
16  Thank Sarah989898
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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