Dining out In Zurich – For all Budgets

Photo courtesy of Hiltl

Photo courtesy of Hiltl

By Kristi Remick

OK, beating  a dead horse alert – Zurich is expensive.  Not only is it expensive, it isn’t known for being a food mecca and for a wannabe foodie like myself, it was one of the things that really unnerved me when we decided to move here.  I love to eat out and I even have a few rules:

A. It must taste and look good

B. The product must justify the cost

C. The service should be good as it is part of the experience

D. I must feel the need to rub my belly vigorously afterwards and/or be so in love with my dish that I talk to it like it is a newborn child…and not just any newborn child, MY newborn child

I have come to find out that my rules and eating out criteria are a bit too stringent for Zurich.  The food here doesn’t always taste and look good, the product very rarely justifies the cost, the service is typically short of mediocre and I as I indicated in a post on my site recently, my stomach has atrophied due to lack of use (it is a muscle you know).  Let’s be fair though, even though Zurich doesn’t have the plethora of good, cheap eats that I once took for granted in Atlanta, it does have good eats for all budgets…ahem, Swiss Budgets that is.

$ (5- 15 francs per person) Vorderer Sternen Grill – In my opinion the BEST veal sausage stand in Zurich and many will agree with me.  You will never find this place void of a line and for around 15 francs you can get a St. Galler Bratwurst, pommes frites and an ice cold tall boy beer. You can dine here or take your sausage across the street and dine on the lake.

$$ (15-50 francs per person) Hiltl – If there is a Zurich food institution, it is Hiltl.  Founded in 1898, it is Zurich’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. Since Zurich cuisine is heavily German influenced, the fact that a vegetarian restaurant has survived over 100 years in the land of sausage, cheese and potatoes is in and of itself a miracle. Boasting the most amazing buffet I have ever encountered and great a la carte selections, Hiltl is my “go to” place for a solid, healthy meal here in Zurich.  The food here is heavily influenced by a variety of Asian cuisines and even has some Swiss classics like the vegetarian form of Zuricher Art.

$$$ (50-120 francs per person) Restaurant Kreis 6 – The city of Zurich is divided into districts or neighborhoods called “Kreis” and this little restaurant, set in a small house where its walls are covered by modern art,  is cleverly named after its location.  I was unable to find their website but this restaurant came highly recommended to my husband and I for a romantic dinner location.  While the service was a bit rocky at first, the food and ambiance quickly made up for the few hiccups which were quickly rectified.  Be careful though, if you get an appetizer, main, dessert and wine, then you will easily ring up a bill of 120 francs (or more) per person.

$$$$ (Anything over 120 francs per person) Restaurant Mesa – This one star Michelin rated restaurant is worth the splurge.  The food was artistically presented, balanced and delicious.  The service was impeccable and I left with my pants unbuttoned.  If we can one day afford it again, we would happily go back.

I haven’t scratched the surface of what Zurich has to offer food wise because after being let down over and over again, I stick to what I know tastes good for the money I am willing to spend.  I need to get over this fear though and rely on recommendations from trusted sources. Anyone out there have a favorite restaurant in Zurich?  If so, help a wannabe foodie and her readers out?

When I am not busy stuffing my face with chocolate, you can find me over at From A to Z blogging about my life in Zurich Switzerland.

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  1. http://restaurant-lade.ch/
    LADE is delicious. make reservations to be safe. it has the most inventive, elegantly food i’ve had in zürich. it’s the first time i did not feel ripped off to pay 40 francs for an entree. i can’t wait to go back.

    JOSEF is very good as well and i love their concept. you get a menu with 20 – 25 dishes (apps, mains, and i think desert) and then you pay by the number of dishes you order. it’s great for sharing. only negative is that it’s very loud and always packed. you must reserve.

    this article has some good tips too.


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