Zürich for Foodies
Photos in order: Sacred Destinations (1); Restaurant Josef (1); Tibits (1); Le Dezaley (1)
Story by Nick Malgieri
Host to this year’s Europride 09 festivities, Zurich is as gay-friendly as a city can be: from leading the charge to legalize same-sex unions nationally in 2005 to Barfuesser, reputed to be the oldest gay bar in Europe, and to the city's openly lesbian Mayor, Corine Mauch, now in office.
Eating in Zurich can be as cheap or expensive as you wish, and -- as with the city's wide range of accommodations -- there are many excellent moderate choices available, too. For a full list see www.zuerich.com, which lists hotels by starred categories, and restaurants by district and style of food. The suggestions below are all personal favorites, gleaned from over 35 years of frequent travel to the city.
Eating Your Way Around Zurich
Swiss food isn’t all cheese and chocolate, but it’s easy to find plenty of both without much effort. Restaurant prices are high by American standards, so I usually limit to one restaurant meal a day and grab lunch or a late dinner on the fly.
Picking up a bratwurst and a big crusty buurli roll at the Horber stand in the Wednesday food market in the main hall of the train station is one of my favorite economical choices. Made from veal or pork, bratwurst and their cousin cervelat (similar to what we would call a knockwurst), are Zurich’s favorite quick lunch. Buurli and mustard are included in the price, usually around CHF6., so just help yourself to both.
Other places for a good wurst are the street-side stand just north of the corner of Niederdorfstrasse and Muehlegasse, and another classic, Fordere Sternen, a tented courtyard at Theaterstrasse 22, right across from the big Bellevueplatz tram stop. Migros, the Swiss hypermarket, has a small food store (lower level) and self-service restaurant above at the corner of Niederdorfstrasse and Muehlegasse. There are prepared salads, sandwiches, pastries both savory and sweet, a variety of soft drinks and beer, plus pizza and a few hot dishes dispensed from the main counter. A Migros meal with a drink will cost around CHF20.
A step up from a wurst or sandwich is the Globus Takeaway on the ground floor of the department store of the same name at Theaterstrasse 12. You’ll find Asian noodles and curries, a counter of antipasti and panini, a sushi counter, and an espresso bar that also serves desserts. Every counter dispenses all the drinks available.
Tibits, a slick vegetarian self-service at Seefeldstrasse 2, just a few minutes’ walk from Globus, features an enormous salad bar, a large variety of breads, several hot dishes, plus drinks and an espresso counter.
In the main train station the Brasserie Federal offers traditional Swiss food such as aelplermagronen (Swiss mac and cheese), fleischkaese (like a meatloaf, but made with a meat mixture similar to the inside of a wurst), and both appetizer and main course salads galore. Over 100 Swiss beers are on the list. Service is brisk and efficient and service charges are included in the price of the menu items, though it’s customary to leave a couple of francs as a tip.