As Switzerland’s largest city and the country’s financial behemoth, Zurich is very cosmopolitan. So much so that it is often mistaken to be the Swiss capital. This global outlook is reflected in every sphere, especially in its dining scene. Still, Zurich has wonderfully retained its essential Swiss-ness and is well-known for restaurants that serve traditional food. Think fondue, bratwurst, veal, and rosti. Here are some places in the city that serve the best Swiss classics.
Possibly the most storied restaurant in Zurich, Zeughauskeller near Paradeplatz goes back to the mid-15th century and began as a weapons arsenal. Inside, many displays including William Tell’s bow and arrow, indicate this ancestry. It is now a rollicking beer house, with communal-style tables, and serves hearty Swiss dishes such as Zurcher geschnetzeltes (veal strips in sauce), bratwurst, and schnitzel.
Swiss food often gets a bad rep for being overly cheesy. Alpenrose located near the River Limmat counters this perception, offering local dishes from all over the country, made using local ingredients. Its wine list is also entirely Swiss. Try the veal meatloaf with mushroom sauce with rosti.
A culinary institution known for its Swiss specialities, Kronnenhalle near Lake Zurich is also a place to dine in the company of bygone masters. Think Picasso, Miro, and Chagall. But don’t let the hallowed atmosphere take away from enjoying such classics as veal fillet, spatzli, and scampi ravioli.
As the name indicates, this is a market hall underneath a viaduct with a lovely restaurant, Markthalle as well as several eateries, bakeries and juice shops, and other establishments. Choose to go traditional at the restaurant with beef tartare or fish dishes, or pick and choose pies, sausages, cakes, pastries, and baked goods from the many outlets.
Set in a courtyard overlooked by ancient buildings, Milchbar is a beautiful coffee shop cum restaurant inside the eponymous hotel in the old town and exudes a bohemian vibe. Opt for brunch and definitely ask for the charcuterie selection, as well as the bagels and shakshuka, and wash it down with delicious mimosa.
Located just on the outskirts of Zurich, Chasalp is set in rustic surroundings with country decor and is the ideal place for that most Swiss dish - fondue. Choose one with raclette for an authentic local taste. The best part is the restaurant has a separate menu for dogs!
Zurich food tour
What better way to get to know a city than through its food? Food tours in Zurich offer several options - from appetizers to Swiss delicacies, chocolate to brunch, street food, and local drinks to sweets and desserts. The tours start at different points, so be sure to confirm the spot when you sign up.
Dinner cruise on Lake Zurich
Possibly the best way to end an eventful day in Zurich is through an evening cruise on the lake, as the sun is setting and the lake glistens with reflecting lights. Even better is to enjoy a dinner cruise with lilting music and gentle commentary about the sights in the background. If possible, opt for a fondue or hot stone grill meal. Most cruises start from Burkliplatz.
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