With its plum position in Lucerne's Old Town, historic building with magnificent frescoes, and riverside ambience (terrace seating during the summer months definitely requires advance reservations), the Des Balances (also a recommended hotel) is a great place to "push the boat out." Its popular five- or seven-course fixed-price dinners with matching wine recommendations feature impressive flavor combinations and imaginative presentation for market-inspired dishes such as quail roulade over beluga lentils with organic beef tatar and pocked quail's egg. There are also staples of the European table, such as a great cheese board. Fish and meat dishes predominate, often sourced from overseas (Australian lamb, Canadian lobster, and Scottish salmon), but there are also uniquely Swiss dishes to try, such as sausage from Vaud canton or that perennial Swiss-German combination, local veal and rösti. The decor successfully blends the building's original stonework with 19th-century wrought iron and modern furniture, giving an overall impression of refined elegance. Service is very good indeed. Reservations recommended.