At Loco2 we’re fans of long train journeys and one of the things that can really make a trip special is the food onboard. So where can you find the best railway catering services?
Thanks to the extensive research we conducted for our recent Great Train Comparison report, we have identified the best train food services. The European rail companies featured often have restaurant cars open to all passengers, regardless of the fare paid.
České dráhy, CD
The Czech national operator scores points for consistently high-standard meals on the train that are available at fair prices. Staples included hearty salads, a range of schnitzels and a fabulous selection of wines and beers.
It’s easy to reach the Czech Republic by train with lots of international services running to the country. The Czech Republic is a railway paradise. Train travel is part of the Czech way of life. No other country in central Europe can boast quite such a fine-mesh network of main lines and rural railways extending to every corner of the land. Travellers will find comfortable, modern trains on most main routes. These include smart Railjet trains serving the Prague – Brno – Vienna line and the SuperCity Pendolino services which run from Prague to Ostrava, Bohumín, and Cheb.@České dráhy
Swiss Federal Railways, SBB
Lots of Swiss trains have restaurants onboard serving high-quality meals that burst with regional flavours. You’ll find a choice of soups, salads, and collections of hot Swiss classics including ‘minced beef with macaroni: Swiss beef with fried onions, applesauce and Sbrinz cheese’.
However, this comes at quite a high-cost with main dishes costing roughly £15. Nonetheless, for food quality alone, we’ll stick our necks out and say we reckon Swiss trains offer the best food in Europe on average. Try it out by travelling to and around Switzerland by rail.
Deutsche Bahn, DB
The German rail operator puts a strong emphasis on using locally-sourced ingredients onboard their restaurant cars. They seek to offer wholesome and filling meals on their train food menu - choices range from paninis to hot meals such as Königsberger Klopse, a classic Prussian dish of meatballs in a white sauce.
Although DB lost points due to a considerable reliance on the microwave, German trains provide comfortable dining cars with a pleasant drop to your onboard meal. With journey time from Berlin to Munich now under 4 hours, you can fit in a tasty lunch as you speed across Germany on a super fast ICE train.
Great Western Rail, GWR
In the UK, there’s a stand-out service which one really ought to try. The GWR route between London and Devon comes with one of the best restaurant services in rail: The Pullman dining car. You’ll find restaurant quality food prepared by top chefs! The meals served are fresh and imaginative as one could expect from a top restaurant Braised fillets of beef, chocolate fondants and much more! It’s not just the London to Devon route that gives the options for top quality food whilst travelling by train in the UK.
The Royal Scotsman
The Belmond Royal Scotsman is a luxury train operating special year-round services mostly between Edinburgh and Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It’s largely regarded as one of the best trains in the world. It goes without saying, the train food service is first-rate. The ingredients aim to showcase some of the best flavours of Scotland, from tasty haggis to full cooked breakfasts, you’ll be well-fed throughout your travel. The train, in general, is top of the range in all aspects and even has a Spa onboard!
More generally, it’s encouraging to notice that standards of food are on the rise in the rail industry. More operators, like Thalys, Alleo, Trenitalia, SNCF, and Eurostar now source local products and offer additional options for vegan diets. When you're next hitting the rails in Europe, it won't be a bad call to try the onboard food services!