We love trains and we love to eat, so we've gone in search of Europe's finest train station restaurants. Please note that this article was originally written by Kate Andrews, founder of Loco2, which went on to be rebranded as Rail Europe. It has been tweaked by our editor to give up to date links in the body of the text. Bon appetit.
One of the benefits of travelling by train in Europe that is that you get to pass through the countries you're visiting, instead of soaring over them at a great height. This means travelling like a local, enjoying the scenery and, perhaps most importantly, sampling great food and drink along the way.
Most trains in Europe allow you to take a picnic on board - some of our best memories of our own adventures involve sharing bread, cheese and a good bottle of wine with friends on the train - but if you feel like splashing out, some of Europe's most popular stations are home to excellent cafes and restaurants.
Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon, Paris
It seems unfair to call Le Train Bleu a "train station restaurant", since it's more like an ode the train of the same name. And although the original Train Bleu (otherwise known as the Calais-Mediterranée Express) completed its last journey back in 2007, its memory lives. Expect delectable food and decadent surroundings, all to match the elegance of the luxury overnight express service.
1e Klas, Centraal Station, Amsterdam
For first class dining in Amsterdam, you don’t even have to leave the station! Grand Café Restaurant 1e Klas, on Platform 2 of Amsterdam Centraal Station, has an extensive menu with quick turnaround to accommodate those with a train to catch.
Embrace Holland in all its glory by opting for an Osseworst of Apfelstrudel or soothe your soul with a cold brew. Much of the menu is dedicated to beer, so make sure you plan a comfortable break between connections.
Au Premier Restaurant, Zurich Bahnhof
The Au Premier restaurant in Zurich train station looks over the Bahnhofstrasse and offers contemporary dining in historical surroundings. The food doesn't come cheap, but it's made up for with a creative menu that changes seasonally, attentive service and a refined atmosphere away from the chaos of the main station arcade. In summer, there's an annual smorgasbord (literally!) to get stuck into.
Champagne Bar and Grand Brasserie, St Pancras International, London
No round-up of train station restaurants would be complete without mentioning our home turf. St Pancras International station in London is not only beautifully designed, but is home to more than one in-station option to eat and drink.
On the upper concourse is the famous St Pancras by Searcy's Champagne Bar, the perfect way to start or end a long journey. Opposite is St Pancras Grand Brasserie – an elegant eatery that merges the old-fashioned glamour of train travel with a delectable British menu. If you’re there on a Friday or a Sunday evening you may even be treated to a spot of soul or jazz music.
The Booking Office, St Pancras International, London
Ah but wait, there's more. Adjoining the magnificently restored St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, The Booking Office Bar and Restaurant captures brilliantly the romance of the railways. Set in the historic former ticket office, the refit is sensitive to the architectural splendour of the place, while the cocktail menu reimagines lost recipes from its Victorian past.
Main image and thumbnail: Le Train Bleu by Mbzt (cropped). Reproduced with thanks under a Creative Commons 3.0 licence. Other image credits top to bottom: Le Train Bleu by Mbzt. Reproduced with thanks under a Creative Commons 3.0 licence, 1e Klas, all rights reserved, Au Premier, all rights reserved, St Pancras by Searcys, all rights reserved, St Pancras Booking office by Ewan Munro. Reproduced with thanks under a Creative Commons 2.0 licence
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