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Something We Wish We Would Have Known Before Eating in St. Gallen

May 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM | by | ()

You know you need to eat an Olma bratwurst, but here's an even better tip to ensure you eat well in St. Gallen: Seek out restaurants that are located on the 2nd floor of a building (or in European terms, the 1st floor). One of the fun facts of the town is that, in the past, all restaurants were built one floor up from ground level, and are today known as traditional "First Floor Restaurants."

Back in the day, when the town was just beginning in the seventh century, things were not as they are today. Roads were dusty, the ground damp, and trash collection was not yet a weekly service. It wasn't the most ideal situation to build living quarters and kitchens, and so the Swiss brought their residential dwellings and, eventually, their restaurants, up one floor off the ground. In the Old Town of St. Gallen, up the stairs is where you'll find the town's traditional restaurants.

This is not to say that every First Floor Restaurant serves rosti, bratwurst, and chocolate. Most are "traditional" in the sense of their location only and serve a variety of culinary styles. This writer wasn't aware of this concept before eating at one, learning afterwards the story behind the flight of stairs, but it immediately threw a warm blanket over my thoughts of the experience, being able to think back to a time when people looked out the window to a street filled with horses and carriages. The photo above helps enhance those visions, with its bird's eye view and deep sense of nostalgia that pours out from the monasterial architecture.

Put this tip in your back pocket for a future visit.

[Photo: stiftsbibliothek.ch]

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