When I give walking tours around town, people often ask me where to eat in Zurich. As a result, I have created a running list of my favorite restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, and I’ve organized them by area. Each has met or exceeded my expectations, and my top favorites are marked with a “♥” symbol. Since this list is ever evolving, make sure to check back before your next visit to Switzerland’s biggest city!
DRINKING AND DINING IN ZURICH’S OLD TOWN/NIEDERDORF (8001)
♥ Confiserie Sprüngli – Café, Sweet Shop & Restaurant @ Paradeplatz
Some consider it compulsory to make a stop by this classic Zurich establishments. Sprüngli has been serving coffee drinks, decadent chocolates, fluffy pastries, and gorgeous desserts since 1836. Their Luxemburgerli macaroons are heavenly, and trust me…. they are worth the Zurich price tag!
La Cèdre – Lebanese Cuisine @ Bellevue
This Lebanese restaurant has two locations, and I think La Cèdre Bellevue is a nice choice for downtown dwellers. The outdoor terrace is a great place to land on a warm day, and the Mezzeh platter offers a tasty and sumptuous sampler of flavors.
Haus Hiltl – Vegetarian Delights @ Just off Bahnhofstrasse (Rennweg Tram Stop)
As “the first vegetarian restaurant in the world,” Hiltl certainly has street cred. This historic restaurant does have an a la carte menu, but it’s most famous for the lavish pay-by-weight vegetarian buffet. Hilt is a popular place, but tables turn over fairly quickly. *You can get the same healthy flavors at Hilt Dachterrasse, the lightweight version of Haus Hiltl on a romantic rooftop terrace, located just a stone’s throw from Zurich HB.
The Old Crow Bar – Craft Cocktails @ Near the Lindenhof
Tucked away among the medieval buildings of Old Zurich, you can sip on a specialty cocktail in this super cool bar. Mixed drinks are always pricey in Zurich, but the bartenders at The Old Crow will make you feel like a million bucks – so, perhaps you can afford it this time.
Honorable Mentions – Aess Bar (sandwiches for a cause), Burrito Brothers + Holy Cow + Funky Chicken (3-in-1 cheaper eats near Zurich HB), Rimini Bar (swim in the day, drink at night), Zeughauskeller (a rowdy Bavarian beer hall in the heart of Old Town)
DRINKING AND DINING IN CENTRAL ZURICH (8002-8004, 8006)
♥ Bebek — “Local-Oriental” @ Zurich Wiedikon
With a sharp modern interior, a relaxed garden patio, and a stellar menu, Bebek is perhaps the hippest place in town to enjoy great Middle Eastern flavors, with dishes freshly-made and locally supplied.
Cooperativo – Italian Dining @ Stauffacher
If you’re looking for a well-made pizza, then try this little Italian restaurant not too far from Paradeplatz. This beloved neighborhood restaurant has historic roots, and the prices are more budget-friendly than other Italian establishments.
Fork and Bottle – Rustic Americana @ Brunau by the Sihl River
On the edge of a grassy meadow at the foot of Uetliberg sits a renovated farmhouse that is now home to an American-style eatery. Smoked ribs, huge burgers, fresh produce, weekend brunch, and an extensive international craft beer list attract locals and my fellow expats who are looking for familiar flavors in a relaxed environment. The outdoor seating makes Fork & Bottle an ideal location when the weather is just right; plus, you can stroll along the Sihl River after you’ve had your fill!
Fribourger Fonduestübli – Family-run Fondue Restaurant @ Stauffacher
When the winter chill settles over Zurich, it’s time for fondue, Switzerland’s famous cheesy dish! This little family owned restaurant is authentic and can provide you with a memorable Traditional Swiss dining experience. If you need more melted cheese in your life, read up on my other posts, Fondue 101 and The Best Fondue Restaurants in Zurich.
Honorable Mentions – Moudi’s Lecker Café | Garden (local spots for more Middle Eastern flavors)
DRINKING AND DINING IN ZURICH WEST, aka “ZURIWEST” (8005)
Markethalle – Market mix of fun fare @ The Viadukt
From sushi to Swiss cheese, craft beers and seafood bisque, you’ll find a nice selection of fine foods at the Markethalle of the Viadukt. The Markethalle Restaurant is located in one section and has a great outdoor seating area; I expect the fare to be standard, and I’ll let you know when I order from the restaurant!
La Salle – Elegant European Dining @ Schiffbau
Without a doubt, this restaurant of refined taste in the Schiffbau building is on the pricier side. However, I thought La Salle was a great choice for a Date Night with my husband, as we enjoyed our meal in the renovated shipbuilding warehouse.
[Tip: I do NOT recommend the rooftop bar, Nietturm Bar. Our cocktails were poorly made and extremely disappointing. I wish we had just sauntered over to the La Salle bar from our table for an after-dinner treat.]
♥ Frau Gerolds Garten – Our Cool Beer Garden @ Hardbrucke
Frau Gerolds Garten is one of my favorite hangout spots in the entire city! From spring to fall, this multipurpose, communal space of creativity is home to an outdoor bar and bistro, designed around upcycled shipping containers. When the weather is nice, it’s pleasantly crowded after working hours and on the weekends. During the winter months, a fondue restaurant takes center stage.
Sphères – A Riverside Café Bookstore @ Hardturmstrasse
A laid-back coffee shop in a renovated porcelain factory next to the Limmat River, Sphères is very popular with the locals. Sphères has a limited daily menu, but the food is good, as are their coffee and tea drinks. Interestingly enough, the coffee house also doubles as a bookstore and a small publishing house.
DRINKING AND DINING ON ZURICH’S GOLD COAST, SEEFELD (8008)
Café Iroquois – A Solid All-Around Cafe @ Seefeldstrasse
If you’re hanging out around Lake Zurich and looking for a deserving meal, snag a seat at this great eatery. The menu lineup includes juicy burgers and sensational seasonal fare, such as pumpkin soup. The vibe is pleasant and relaxed – a perfect place to wind down after a day at the lake.
Le Pain Quotidien – Yummy Bites with Grand Plans @ Römerhofplatz
This Belgian chain bakery and restaurant is a good choice to pair a bite with an activity. Le Pain Quotidien sits at the foot of the Dolderbahn, the funicular railway that can take you up to the stately Dolder Grand Hotel, where you can then explore the wooded trails of Zürichberg & Adlisberg while taking in amazing views of the city, Lake Zurich and the not-too-distant Alps.
MASI Wine Bar | Restaurant – Fine Italian Wines & Dining @ Stadelhofen
While I have yet to eat at the restaurant, I have greatly enjoyed getting together with friends and sipping on Amarone wines at this swanky venue just down the street from the Zurich Opera House. On Saturday afternoons, they offer an outstanding “Aperitivo Ricco,” an open table of Venetian-inspired nibbles, which may be the best apero deal in Zurich.
Restaurant Fischstube – Superior Quality on Lake Zurich @ Zurihorn
Fischstube is a lovely restaurant and bar that literally stretches out over Lake Zurich on the tip of Zürihorn. I recommend this restaurant if you’re ready to drop your own boatload of Swiss francs – it’s expensive, to be sure. But for the Zurich Standard, the prices are a reasonable trade off for the quality of food and the romantic atmosphere.
♥ Tibits – Vegetarian Meals Made Cool @ Stadelhofen and Oerlikon
The sassy sister restaurant to Hiltl, Tibits is a good choice if you’re on a tighter budget but still want to eat well. Like Hiltl, the restaurant offers only vegetarian and vegan fare, served buffet style where you pay by weight, but the setting is more casual. The Tibits on Seefeldstrasse is often packed with people, and a second location in Oerlikon has opened up to share the veggie love.
Honorable Mentions – Blind Kuh (dining in the dark), Miracle (feel-good Italian), which just so happens to be in the 2015 edition of Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favorite Restaurants.
DRINKING AND DINING IN OERLIKON, WIPKINGEN, & ZURICH’S SURROUNDINGS (8037, 8048, 8050)
♥ Asiaway –Excellent Asian Fusion @ Oerlikon
If you’re need of an Asian flavor fix, then you’ve come to the right place. The dishes at Asiaway are quite delicious, and the portions are large – yay for leftovers! The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but you won’t care after slurping down beef noodle soup or chomping on fried morning glory. Asiaway is a short walk from Bahnhof Oerlikon, and I believe it’s worth the trek away from Old Town if you’re craving Vietnamese, Thai or Chinese cuisine.
Café des Amis – Local Tribes and Vibes @ Nordstrasse
This cool café is off the tourist-beaten track, just up the hill from the city’s summer swimming hole, Oberer Letten. While the food is nothing to write home about, Café des Amis has a nice patio and a charming interior, making it a great place to plop down for a drink and feel like a local.
La Taqueria – A Mexican Fiesta @ Altstetten
Have you been traveling around Europe for too long and are on a desperate search for a big plate of nachos smothered in melted white cheese? Then take the train to Altstetten to reach the Mexican fiesta you’ve been missing! It is said that La Taquería is the best place for a Mexican meal in Zurich.
♥ The Artisan – Hip and Fresh Fare @ Wipkingen
With a mouth-watering menu and garden-inspired atmosphere, The Artisan invites its patrons to sit back and let the food do all the talking.
THE MOST BUDGET FRIENDLY OPTIONS – ANYWHERE
Pop into any Coop or Migros supermarket and you’ll find a section dedicated to Take Away items. The prepackaged salads make for a great budget friendly lunch, perfect for a picnic in a scenic location of your choosing. Often, you can find a hot food bar for takeaway as well. The great thing about this meal plan is that you don’t have to feel like a bum or cheapskate… because this is what locals do ALL. THE. TIME!
[Hoi! Migros doesn’t just do food; Migros has a Contemporary Art Museum in ZuriWest. Find out why in this post!]
If you’re counting your coins and need a filling meal for 10-12 CHF, then the nearest kebab shop is your best bet. Even though the same meal might cost you 50-70% less in other countries (Argh! *fist shake*), this is one of the cheapest and most filling meals in Zurich.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE BEFORE GOING OUT IN ZURICH
DINE LIKE A LOCAL
Before Zurich folks tuck into their food, they use the Swiss German phrase “En Guete!” to wish everyone a pleasant meal. When they raise a glass to cheers, they say “Zum Wohl!” or “Salut!” and make eye contact with each and every person as cups clink together. You can learn more about Zurich dining etiquette in this post: 8 Things to Do in Zurich in Summer.
HOW TO ENJOY EATING OUT IN ZURICH
If you’re visiting Switzerland for the first time, you may suffer from “Sticker Shock” when you lay eyes on food prices here. The Zurich Standard Price Tag is ridiculously high, which can take the unprepared traveler by complete surprise. The best way to enjoy your drinking and dining experiences is to accept it for what it is and choose the right place to spend your precious Swiss franc. I believe that with a little bit of planning, an honest look at your budget, and a generous attitude, you can make your meals count towards a great Zurich experience.
Grüetzi mittenand! What do you think about eating out in Zurich? Have you suffered from Swiss Sticker Shock? Zurichers and Fellow Expats, where should I go out to eat next? What are some of your recommended restaurants, bars, or coffee shops in Zurich? Are there any places that I should avoid all together?
I have not received any free meals or special offers from the establishments listed above. Regardless of potential patronage, all reviews shared on Global Heartbeat reflect my honest opinion. I hope that my personal experiences and recommendations will help you to make an informed decision on where to eat and drink in Zurich, but I will not be held liable for any unpleasant situations you may have at the table. En Guete!
Post Last Updated – September 2017
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