A few weeks ago I was in the beautiful town of Neuchâtel to see one of my favourite bands live! They didn’t tour for a few years, and I saw completely by chance they were going to perform near my current home town. And to properly prepare for an evening of headbanging on platform heels, you gonna need some good food!
Initially I wanted to go to a fully vegan place in Neuchâtel, but unfortunately, like so many fully vegan places in Switzerland, that place is only open during the week, and I happened to be in Neuchâtel on a Saturday. After some further investigation, I found on HappyCow the Cafe l’Ami-Ami, a restaurant with vegan options that serves Isreali food in the Jewish culinary tradition. Sounds interesting!
The reviews were positive, and without getting ahead of myself, I can already say I agree! We didn’t reserve and arrived just in time to get the last free spot. The place is very small, and very busy. The atmosphere is relaxed, like a nice corner eatery. There were all different kinds of people, which is also nice to see. Cafe l’Ami-ami also does catering, and they sell some of their products in a little shop, like hummus and teas.
Cafe l’Ami-Ami is not purely vegan or vegetarian, but there is a vegetarian menu with several vegan dishes. These are not specifically marked, but the kind owner will help with picking the vegan ones. It is also possible to veganise some of the vegetarian dishes. The falafel, vegetable balls and melaouah are vegan, and there are some vegan sandwiches as well.
We tried the melaouah for starter, then the falafel with salad and sauces, and the vegetable fritters with fries and a small salad. I had read about the melaouah (or malawach), so I was very curious! It is Yemeni speciality, and it resembles a pancake made of thin layers of puff pastry, which are folded. The result is a very crusty exterior, and a soft inside, the taste is almost buttery, very interesting and delicious! It is served with a spicy sauce and a fresh tomato sauce, with coriander and onion. The light sauce fits well with the more heavy pastry. Definitively a new favourite of mine!
The falafel either comes with pita and a small salad, or two sides of choice. It is also possible to order them as an ‘add-on’ to the ‘complete’ salad with sauces, which is what we did. This ‘complete’ salad is served with hummus, tahin, tomato-bellpepper sauce, smoked aubergine sauce, 2 pita breads and home made green salad (salad leaves, tomato, cucumber, onion). Since the smoked aubergine is not vegan, the owner suggested to swap it for an additional tomato-and-bellpepper sauce.I assumed the aubergine sauce would be like baba ganoush, so it was unfortunate that it wasn’t vegan but I think the tomato sauce made up for it. The falafel is very nice and crispy and all the sauces were good too! The vegetable fritters were served with fries and a similar small salad. The fritters were nice and soft, and nicely spiced. The fries were okay, not too special. Probably because the rest of the food was so nice, the fries were a bit basic 🙂
I really enjoyed my visit to Cafe l’Ami-ami! It is nice to experience different types of food and cuisines. I really liked the food, the owner was helpful and kind and the place has a great atmosphere.
Website (French): http://cafe-ami-ami.ch/