A visit to Zürich means you will experience the finest culinary highlights. The selection ranges from out-standing gourmet restaurants and traditional guild houses with eventful histories to gourmet temples concealed behind old factory walls, dining surrounded by nature, and sweet treats to snack on.
Heiko Nieder – top chef with two Michelin stars
According to Gault Millau, The Dolder Grand has won the culinary lottery by securing Heiko Nieder as its chef. The experimental chef has laid claim to 17 Gault Millau points. Now he is also the only chef in Zürich to boast two Michelin stars. His trademark is a wide spectrum of flavors that avoid typical, classic taste structures. The menu reflects Nieder’s love of experimentation. It includes langoustine with corn, honey bread and caviar d’Aquitaine, turbot with oysters, endives, apples and gorgonzola, or lobster with strawberries, beets and nasturtium. His desserts continue the surprising combinations, and he also uses vegetables in them to create such originals as spiced chocolate with corn and coriander.
In Zürich, more than 40 restaurants have been awarded Gault Millau points, and three top chefs have one Michelin star: Marcus G. Lindner of Restaurant Mesa, Martin Surbeck of Restaurant Sein and Christian Nickel of Spice at Hotel Rigiblick.
Swiss chocolate – exquisite, world-famous and wickedly good
As early as 600 AD, the Mayans were cultivating co-coa in Central America. They used cocoa beans to prepare a very filling beverage that they called "xoco-latl", from which today’s word "chocolate" is derived. In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors brought the first cocoa beans to Spain, from where its use became widespread throughout Europe. Drinking chocolate established itself as a status symbol and fashionable drink, especially in aristocratic circles. In 1819, François-Louis Cailler opened one of the first mechanised chocolate factories in Corsier near Vevey. Once chocolate was established in Switzerland, it was soon embraced by its most avid promoters and pioneers.
In 1845, Rudolf Sprüngli opened a chocolate factory in Zürich. Today, Swiss chocolate enjoys a world-wide reputation. You can find it on every corner in Zürich. Confiserie Sprüngli, Teuscher, Vollenweider and Honold are well known for the finest chocolate and other sweet delicacies. Sprüngli lovingly creates its legendary Luxemburgerli, and these tiny macaroons in a variety of flavors have made a name for themselves as popular souvenirs. Teuscher is famous for its elegant champagne truffles, and Vollenweider is re-nowned for its "giraffe cake" made from a secret recipe. A visit to the Merkur store on Bahnhofstrasse is also recommended, as it offers more than just chocolate. You can also watch the treats being made in the confectionery shop.
"Hüppen" are another Zürich specialty featuring chocolate as their main in-gredient. These delicate crispy wafer cookies are said to have Greek origins, derived from the word "hopyes", which means wafer. They have been made in Switzerland for at least 400 years. The first Hüppen wafer cookies were baked and rolled in monastery kitchens, the culinary laboratories of the past. Today, Straumann Hüppen wafer cookies titillate the taste buds of Zürich locals and guests from around the world. Only the highest quality Swiss ingredients are used to make Straumann Hüppen. The Hüppen are filled with pure hazelnut gianduja and sold in attractive packaging in numerous Zürich confectionery shops, at the Globus department store, and in the Zürich Airport duty-free section.
Gourmet venues: from the Widder to the Kronenhalle
In the Zürich Main Railway Station the Gault Millau restaurant Au Premier offers avant-garde gastronomic fare with seasonal food. Exquisitely prepared lobster, oysters and other crustaceans can be enjoyed just a few steps from the Main Railway Station in the Restaurant Hummer- und Austernbar. Just around the corner is the Bistro Küche with seafood in the Brasserie Lipp – a typical French Brasserie.
From here an elevator travels to the cupola of the observatory, where over a glass of wine or a cocktail at the Panoramabar one can experience the lights of the city at night. A few streets away, bon vivants are invited into the Weinbistro Bü and the Restaurant Widder: Distinguished by its 15 Gault Millau points the Restaurant Widder indulges guests with well-loved fish, meat and vegetarian delicacies from around the world. The inner courtyard with its garden and the impressive architecture of the premises make it an attractive venue for a festive meal or get-together.
In this Old
Town quarter, meat dishes as a house specialty are on the menu
of the Lindenhofkeller. If you go down Pfalzgasse in the
direction of St. Petershofstatt, you will reach Kaiser‟s
Reblaube. Built in 1260, the house was subsequently lived in by
the town clerk, councilors, and the clergy-man and physiognomic
theorist Johann Caspar Lavater. The latter entertained Goethe
and today one can enjoy the cooking of Zürich gastronome Peter
Brunner in the "Goethe Stübli".
Geschnetzelte (sliced veal) is even prepared with fillet of veal. If one goes through the center of the market from the Rathausbrücke – also known in the vernacular as the "Gemüsebrücke" (vegetable bridge) – over the Marktgasse, one will reach the Rindermarkt. The author Gottfried Keller once lived here – and today he still gazes down with a stern countenance from the wall of the Öpfelchammer wine bar. The Öpfelchammer is believed to be the oldest tavern of Zürich and is renowned for Swiss dishes and wines from the region.
Leaving the right bank of the Old Town in the direction of Fraumünster church, one reaches the guild house "zur Waag" and the Restaurant Münsterhof. Next to the Swiss kitchen in the "Münsterhöfli", a wall painting from the Middle Ages of a lover‟s garden pleases the eye of the art lover. Those interested in art from the 19th century should not miss the Kronenhalle: The Zürcher Geschnetzelte tastes especially good when sitting beneath a real Miró, Picasso or Chagall.
The Kronenhalle is considered a meeting point of the stars par excellence. And outside the Old Town near the Schaffhauserplatz, the Restaurant Mesa with 18 Gault Millau points regularly attracts attention. One should not forget the Restaurant Sein, which too has 17 Gault Millau points. The Restaurants Flühgass, Greulich and Sala of Tokyo all attract custom with 16 Gault Millau points.
with a great view: Sonnenberg and Spice Rigiblick
Gourmet venues on the water and in the countryside
In the city, but with that countryside feel. In the Alden Gourmet, chef Alex Seifermann indulges his guests with refined dishes and menus based on classical French cuisine. Nearby in Belvoir Park, the Hotel Training College runs a first-class restaurant which is a favored meeting point for culinary connoisseurs. On the right bank of Lake Zürich, Peterman‟s Kunststuben with 19 out of 20 possible Gault Millau points is one of the prime gourmet kitchen locations. While the luxury yachts of the boat hire firm Lago provide inspiration for a journey, the eye feasts on and the palate anticipates the first class culinary creations.
Gourmet cuisine in the region
In the newly opened Restaurant Pur on the Seedamm Plaza in Pfäffikon a 14 Gault Millau points venue awaits its guests. In the Pöstli in Lachen a fine, light cuisine is offered to guests in a decorative art nouveau restaurant interior. In Winterthur, the Restaurant Taggenberg with 17 Gault Millau points is to be recommended. Further tips in Winterthur are the Restau-rant Strauss and the Bar Roter Turm: Here the entire city of Winterthur and the surrounding area are at one's feet. For gourmet enjoyment, the Zug region invites you to the Rathauskeller. The tastefully decorated restaurant with its historic rooms and comfortable atmosphere reflects an antique and modern spirit. Another venue is the Aklin. This distinguished restaurant with its typical local construction style using alternating dark woods invites enjoyment in a homelike interior with seasonal decorations. Zug fish specialties and fine meat dishes are its house specialties.