Covering the area of almost 100 square kilometers, Zurich makes the largest city in Switzerland. It has been named as one of the most inclusive cities in the world, offering the highest standard of living.
That is one of the reasons why so many young and well-educated people from across the country and from abroad are so attracted to it. This contributes to a flourishing creative economy and a rapidly increasing, highly diverse population of the city, as well as of the country.
In order to remain attractive and compelling to such a wide range of citizens, the city of Zurich provides a diverse, yet well-balanced cultural program. Long known as a savvy, hard-working financial center, the 21st century Zurich has emerged also as one of Central Europe’s hippest destinations.
The city’s liveliness can be traced back to medieval times when it was just one of a couple of urban centers in the old Swiss Confederacy. Most of the ancient part of the city has kept its winding lanes and tall church steeples lovingly intact, among which are the Schauspielhaus, the Opera House, and the Tonhalle. More than 40 museums attract their visitors with traditional and experimental exhibition formats accompanied by a vibrant cultural program.
On the other side, the biggest city in Switzerland has also wholeheartedly embraced contemporary trends, with the conversion of old factories into cultural centers and creative new living spaces. Over the past few years, Zurich has raised its culinary credibility and is turning to one of the hottest food destinations in Europe.
Attractively set at the mouth of the river into the lake, it is a place for every year season. Its cuisine has excelled through its perfection of Swiss meals, as well as through the fusion of modern and international dishes. Whether one seeks to enjoy a traditional fondue, pasta or some fresh seafood at the lakeshore, Zurich restaurants are the right place to eat.
Traditional Swiss cuisine in rustic taverns, haute cuisine in innovative high-end restaurants, or vibrant food markets with culinary specialties from all around the world – Zurich restaurants have something to satisfy every gourmet.
The best Zurich Restaurants – Our choice
The following 9 restaurants have been shaping the face of Zurich for many years. You should not leave the city without having visited at least one of them:
- Didi’s Frieden
- La Soupière
- The Artisan Kitchen & Urban Garden
- Kraftwerk Café & Restaurant
- Sprüngli Café & Restaurant
- Baltho Küche & Bar
- Jules Verne Panorama Bar
Let’s start with a true Swiss one. In the Alpenrose restaurant, both the cuisine and the wine list are Swiss only. Even some of the better known international liquors come as their Swiss variant. In this restaurant, you can find something to satisfy every taste.
The interior – tall, stenciled windows, the original warm wooden wall paneling from about 100 years ago and the stucco ceiling ornamentation – exudes cozy Old World charm.
Belonging to the Stiftung Arbeitskette (Work Chain Foundation), which helps mentally impaired people to (re-)establish themselves in the working world, the Alpenrose is a part of the successful social project.
This gem of a restaurant offers good, hearty Swiss dishes served in pleasant surroundings. Swiss classics, like herb-stuffed trout with homemade Spätzli (egg noodles) and buttered carrots, are finely prepared and eye-pleasantly presented.
If you are not a meat-eater, you can opt, for example, for a spicy vegetable tart or Spätzli egg noodles with mountain cheese. Whatever fills up your stomach, accompany it by a glass of good wine and a nice dessert.
Even though this restaurant is very popular and crowded at most times, it conveys a certain relaxed attitude that has a calming effect on the guests. It may be the subliminal effect of its name as “Frieden” means “peace”. Anyhow, the atmosphere in this Zurich restaurant is rather vibrant and laid back.
It is located about 5 minutes from the main railway station, making the experience even more pleasant when coming from the hustle of the station or the shopping area around Bahnhofstrasse.
Situated in a quiet, tree-shaded street, a nice outdoor garden patio is excellent for afternoon coffee and relaxation. Although Didi’s Frieden was open some 20 years ago, its interior design is still quite modern. The black and white dining room with wooden floors and big windows are still very stylish. It is a lively open space and almost always densely packed.
Regarding the food concept, Didi’s refined cuisine serves classics with modern influences. The plates are nicely arranged and the portions are reasonable.
There are 8 daily changing set menus that include either soup or salad. For dinner, you can choose between the set menu with 4 or 5 courses and the a la carte menu. You will certainly find it a good value for the money.
After the construction of the main station in Zurich, at the end of the 19th century, Bahnhofplatz became an important center of the city’s hotel industry. The first Grand Hotels were built exactly there on the Bahnhofplatz.
The restaurant La Soupiere is within the Hotel Schweizerhof, which was built in two stages between 1877 and 1881. It initially consisted of two separate buildings reconstructed into the hotel in 1880. Thirteen years later, in 1893, the house next to it was integrated too, and the hotel has been consisting of four buildings ever since.
The tables are set wide apart, providing discretion and exclusivity to each and every guest. From meat and fish to vegetarian specialties combined in new flavors, everything is delicious in La Soupiere.
A large selection of homemade patisserie is offered “à discretion” on a trolley – a real highlight and an eye-catcher. You will have trouble making a choice because everything looks worth licking your fingers in public.
In La Soupiere, you can experience the quality and versatility of French cuisine combined with Swiss flavors. French cuisine is the mother of all cuisines and has had one of the greatest impacts on today’s cooking mindset. In fact, it has been regarded as one of the most influential national cuisines in Europe.
At La Soupiere restaurant in the Hotel Schweizerhof, the menu features freshly prepared French classics. Beautiful ambiance and wonderful food exude the charm of a typical restaurant in the Grand Hotel. The overall service in this Zurich restaurant is beyond excellent, handled classically and courteously, giving you the feeling of being in good hands.
Ecco is the restaurant of the Hotel Atlantis by Gardino set at the foot of the Uetliberg Mountain. Placed up on the hill, the outdoor terrace provides remarkable views of the city.
Ecco is among the finest gourmet restaurants in Ascona and Ticino. The combination of the perfect location, superior service, and the marvelous menu resulted in receiving two Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points.
The décor of the restaurant is elegant, light and airy with floral decorations landing accents of color. The meals are also outstanding. Every dish exhibits a blend of subtlety and intensity.
The cook and his team have realized that we eat first with our eyes and our nose, and then with our mouth. Therefore, every item on the plate has a reason and a purpose of being there, making the food mesmerizing to all of the senses.
As a guest of the Ecco restaurant, you can choose from the menus comprising between three and eight courses. A masterful creation of each and every course will delight your palate with natural flavors and surprising aromas. The main focus is placed on the interplay between temperatures and textures that tickle your taste buds.
The food is very modern and eclectic. Some of the courses clearly show the impact of South East Asia. Playing on unusual combinations of flavors and textures, some of the dishes are incredibly complex but undoubtedly delicious. Prepare yourself for a memorable experience.
The Artisan Kitchen & Urban Garden
This place is a bit off the beaten track for visitors, but it is worth seeking. Placed in the Wipkingen district, this lively neighborhood restaurant and the green oasis is a place where people get together with family and friends and enjoy natural, fresh food in a relaxed surrounding.
The Artisan is urban and authentic, specialized in organic cuisine. The restaurant owes its name to the love of its owners for artisanal products from local cultivation and production. The restaurant also runs the communal organic garden shared with the neighbors.
This photo of The Artisan Kitchen and Urban Garden is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Using locally produced ingredients from their garden, their cuisine is simple and thoughtful. The food is well prepared and comes with a good selection of vegetables. The menu is interesting, with about half of the dishes that are meat-free, so vegetarians can also indulge in delicious, various and hearty meals.
Besides the food, they pay a great deal of care and attention to their wine list as well. The main purveyors are vintners who work in harmony with nature.
In the Artisan, you can choose from a broad selection of quality artisanal beverages, Swiss craft beers, as well as homemade iced teas and lemonade. In keeping with the green outside, plants hanging down from the ceiling and over the guests’ heads create a unique warm atmosphere.
Kraftwerk Café & Restaurant
Kraftwerk Café & Restaurant is situated in a massive and old converted industrial space. There are stacked shipping containers with glass windows that function as work and event space located inside this enormous structure.
Space is ingeniously used up. The containers with separate offices are all stacked up in the big hall and serve as a co-working area but are also available for meet-ups, lectures, seminars. The restaurant is spacious, filled with vintage furniture providing a cozy atmosphere.
The café at the front of the units offers a variety of tables, sofas, stools at the bar, padded chairs and seating, throw pillows on the stairs, and more. Great atmosphere for blending work, life, and leisure. You can feel the energy of a former power plant and taste the creations of a dedicated foodie. The coffee there is fabulous, one of the tastiest ones in Zurich.
At lunchtime, the line can be a bit long. Their menu consists of hot and cold beverages, snacks, crispy fresh bread, a new selection of soups, salads, hot meals, cold plates, a full-service bar, beers on tap, and a daily special every week! All Kraftwerk menus are seasonal, local and vegetarian with many vegan options.
Sprüngli Café & Restaurant
Sprungli has been around for almost 200 years and for locals it is a synonym for world-class confectionery and chocolate. It is one of the most historic and well-known cafés in Zurich.
Since then to this day, the Art Nouveau decor has let visitors immerse themselves in Sprungli’s history. The marble-topped bistro tables, the artistic tapestry in the salon, and the legendary hot chocolate all give honor to the 19th century Sprungli, and Zurich itself.
Sprüngli is famous across the world for its wistful coffee-house culture where you can enjoy many delicious breakfast and brunch specialties including three different combos served in style on tiered stands up until 15:00 h.
They also offer fine lunch menus and exquisite pastries. Grab a window seat on the first floor, order some of the many tempting delicacies, a coffee, and/or something sweet from the display cabinet.
Tartlets, cakes, truffles that melt in your mouth, Luxembutgerli macarons with a light and airy cream filling, or handmade dark Swiss chocolate may satisfy your sweet tooth as you watch life unfold before your eyes at the Paradeplatz.
Located in the heart of the city in the historic Sprungli building on Paradeplatz, it still counts friends, family and business partners among its guests, but also well-known personalities from the arts, culture, and politics.
Sprungli is world-famous for its nostalgic coffee-house culture. The long-standing tradition of exquisite service and hospitality goes all the way back to 1859 – and is as strong as ever today.
Baltho Küche & Bar
The Baltho Küche & Bar is part of the Marktgasse hotel. Monochrome interior with plenty of natural light coming from the huge windows and well-spaced seating gives Baltho the look and feel of an urban-chic brasserie. The dark marble floor, green wooden panels, seat cushions, and the walnut wood bar exude a splendid retro feels.
The entrance to the restaurant is between two enthralling booths and the smooth, soulful music goes perfectly along with the atmosphere.
Similarly to the building of the hotel, history, and modernity unite at Baltho’s menu. Modern takes on international cuisine are served in neoteric interior design with dark wooden tables and chairs.
The affable staff serves interestingly presented meals with a nod to the seasons. Here you will find both simple and surprising and delicious creations for eating or taking away. From delicious balanced breakfast and soft pastries, over caramelized octopus with fava beans and olives, to ravioli with date tomatoes and bang bang chicken.
The bar offers a wide selection of drinks, a range of creative cocktails, as well as beer specialties from small breweries. Baltho has perfected the art of cocktails. However, the cinnamon water and the popcorn you get served with drinks are the winners.
Jules Verne Panorama Bar
From the street in the Old Town neighborhood, first, you enter and walk across another restaurant – the Brasserie Lipp. Then, you take the elevator on your right-hand side directly to the top, to the Jules Verne Panorama Bar. Hardly any of all the restaurants in Zurich can beat the view of and over the city than that of the Jules Verne Bar.
The bar can be seen from the surrounding streets and the main river. The top of the building is an actual observatory, named Urania, with 360 degrees view of the city’s center and is definitely designed with this in mind.
In the Jules Verne Panorama Bar, you can eat only over lunch, because in the evening it’s a bar only. You can choose from light to heavy dishes inspired by French cuisine.
For lunch, they serve soups, salads, seafood, and meat. The starters include Norwegian scallops marinated in olive oil and lime juice, classic beef tartar with cognac, a whole artichoke with herb vinaigrette, or a lush duck liver terrine with toast. Everything is served in finely chopped slices in a simple marinade of olive oil, lime juice, spices, and some chives.
This restaurant has got only 15 tables so be quick and book one well in advance. Try to get a table at the window, and take in the view of Zurich’s old town with the lake and the mountains in the background. On some days, when weather permits it, you can climb another set of stairs to actually look through the telescope to observe the stars in the heaven above.
Recommend your favorite Zurich restaurant
We hope you enjoyed our tour through Zurich and its restaurants. The city of Zurich might not be colossal, but it is welcoming and diverse enough to make everybody want to visit it again. And when it comes to food, plenty of choices this magical city has to offer will undoubtedly make you happy. Can we agree that belly full of delicious food equals happiness?
We’d like to know about your experiences with Zurich restaurants. Feel free to recommend your favorite Zurich restaurant, and please tell us why it grew on your heart.