Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Ein Tag im Zürich

Here's my quick guide to eating and drinking in Zürich. I was taken to most of the places featured in this post by locals so I'd like to think these are the better places in town. Or to put it another way, don't blame me if any of these places are below par! Kicking off with breakfast, I went to Schurter on the edge of the old town for a coffee and a bun. When I told Soft Aussie that my coffee cost nearly SFr 6 (£3.50), he mocked me.

Our offices are in Klusplatz, a short tram ride away from where I was staying in the city centre and sadly I had to work for a few hours before lunch beckoned. Lunch was normally a trip down to a local café for schnitzel and chips but on a couple of occasions, I was treated to an Italian. They really do like their Italian food in Zürich and of the two places I was taken to, Ristorante Aroma had the edge over Pizza Pasta Ciao. Neither place was particularly special but let's put it this way, they're better than the likes of Strada and Pizza Express.

I know I had a moan in a previous post about business dinners but with hindsight, I did my Swiss colleagues a disservice. In terms of looking after me, these guys did it in style and shop talk was kept to a minimum. Before dinner, we went to have a snifter at the Terrasse Bar; sadly it was winter as its lakeside location is ideal for summer drinking.

It's not a bad bar but not as good as the Widder Bar, where we rounded off the evening (I'll discuss our excellent dinner later). This opulent basement bar is located in one of Zürich’s finest hotels, Hotel Widder. I really enjoyed the mojito here but unfortunately the atmosphere was ruined by cigar smoke (smoking isn’t going to be banned in Zürich 'til later this year).

Great as these two bars were, neither holds a candle to Zürich's finest, Bohemia. I love it here although it helps I'm in the company of Soft Aussie who judging by how well he knows the bar staff has adopted this place as his second home. They do several types of mojito and I also liked their capirinha. I've never eaten here although Soft Aussie reckons they do a mean fry-up for weekend brunch. Let's hope its impending refurb doesn't spoil its special ambience. 

Anyway back to the dinner that my Swiss hosts treated me to. After our pre-dinner drinks, we went to Restaurant Lindenhofkeller, which in my opinion is worthy of a Michelin star and is superior to some be-starred places I've eaten in. A classy interior, fine wines, excellent service and a cracking Modern European menu with some Swiss favourites took this restaurant to another level. I'm sure the excellence here resulted in me treating Neumarkt, where I had dinner the following evening, with a degree of indifference.

I kicked off with grilled scallops, lobster tail with a crab, grapefruit & avocado tart followed by a main of grilled monkfish finished off with a warm chocolate cake w/Baileys ice cream. I do regret not taking photos but I didn't want to blow my cover. I can't remember what my hosts ate but we all had an excellent meal. A nice touch was when the chef and owner, Rene Hofer came out to have a little chat about the meal.

One thing I missed out on during this visit to Switzerland were noodles, be they the local favourite spätzli, or my favoured oriental noodles. In the case of the former, these are widely available and I've previously sampled them at the stunning Restaurant Sonnenberg. For oriental noodles, Nooba is the place to go – it's nearby Bohemia – and is similar to concept to Wagamama but don't let that put you off.

It's unlikely I'll be returning to Zürich anytime soon, which is a bit of a shame as there are worse cities to visit on business. That said never say never; so do let me know if you have any tips for this picturesque city.


  1. Interesting - I've never really thought much about food in Switzerland, with the exception of one or two bottles of very good wine I tried once. The idea of Swiss noodles is intriguing - are they thick or thin ones? Do they serve them as a side, main or in some sort of broth? And I assume they're wheat based.

    The bun looks great - are they as into patisserie as their Austrian neighbours?

  2. Good round up Mr Noodles. I had spatzl in Austria - it was good but seemed more like a pasta to me than a noodle. Not really sure where you draw the line between those two things anyway.

  3. GW - spatzli is actually a Southern German noodle that is widely eaten in Switzerland. I've edited the post and inserted a link if you want to learn more about spatzli. They do like their baked goods here but otherwise I didn't really eat much Swiss stuff when I was there.

    GC - pasta is part of the big great family of noodles!

  4. The spatzli do look interesting - i definitely has something similar in Hungary which would make sense. The home made ones on wikipedia look like something between pasta/noodles and gnocchi.