Swiss treats with Filipino charm in the heart of the metro
It is truly an achievement when a restaurant survives a decade in the industry, but to stay alive for seven fruitful decades could only mean there’s something special behind its doors.
The original branch of Old Swiss Inn in Paco, Manila has been treating diners to authentic and delicious Swiss food since 1946 when Swiss national Emil Landert opened it to the public. In the 80s, Filipino businessman Felix Limcaoco Jr. purchased the Paco branch and developed the Old Swiss Inn brand further.
Limcaoco’s daughter, Katrina Limcaoco-Alcuaz, joined the family business in 1994 and opened the second branch in Makati City.
“I remember being scared because I was joining an already established business,” Alcuaz recalled. “But now, 22 years later, I learned that we owe a big part of our success to our hardworking and loyal staff, some have been with us since opening day.”
Aside from bringing Swiss food to more people with their expansion, the Makati branch is also open 24/7 — perfect for night owls looking for a substantial meal after a night of partying, or a long graveyard shift.
Being around for seven decades is no easy feat, but one meal at the Old Swiss Inn and you’ll find out why diners have supported this quaint little restaurant for so long.
A visit to the Old Swiss Inn wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the heart of the restaurant: Cheese. They are currently offering tabletop raclette platters, which come with your own cheese melter. The melted raclette is served with baby potatoes, gherkins and pearl onions. They also offer raclette parties for when fellow cheese lovers come together for a great time.
Their Grison Beef Stew is not just huge, but it’s also hearty and comforting. The fork-tender beef chunks are nestled over a rich sauce of married flavors, the product of slow-cooking it for hours. To cut the richness of the beef stew, potatoes and carrots are tossed in the dish.
Another bestseller at the Old Swiss Inn is their homemade Corned Beef. The day of my visit, they served the corned beef in a warm vegetable soup, much like the Filipino dish called Nilaga (beef broth). The greens, potatoes, and clear tasty broth allowed the unbelievably flavorful and tender corned beef to really shine. It shows that a lot of technique and care was placed in the dish.
“Our corned beef is one of our best sellers,” Kai Palomares, Old Swiss Inn operations manager, told Expat. “Guests always come back for more of it, they always look for the corned beef. We’re glad so many people appreciate how much work we’ve put into it.”
Do not leave the Old Swiss Inn without having the authentically Swiss dish called Zurich Geschnetzeltes, a seductively delicious dish made of shredded pork tenderloin and mushroom cream sauce, served with crisp potato rosti.
Aside from their bestsellers, Alcuaz also shared her personal favorites from their menu — their iconic cheese fondue, the pepper steak, and spaghetti bolognese.
“Despite being here for so long, we realized that no one is indispensable. We treat our staff how we want them to treat our guests and it pays off,” Alcuaz explained. “Our guests love the food, but the whole Old Swiss Inn experience will always include excellent service.”
So, the next time you have a craving for fondue or homemade corned beef at three in the morning, head on over to the Old Swiss Inn. It’s definitely worth the trip.
The Old Swiss Inn is located at Somerset Olympia Building, 7912 Makati Avenue, Makati. They are open 24/7. For inquiries and reservations, call (02) 818 8251. Check them out on Facebook (/oldswissinnrestaurant) and www.oldswissinn.com.
By CHING DEE