Tradition meets the cutting-edge in a city awash with flavor
As one of the world’s largest financial centers, Zurich’s food scene used to evoke images of expensively dressed bankers clinching the latest deal while wining and dining business associates in extremely expensive – and often highly conservative – restaurants. Oh, how things have changed. Thanks to an influx of talented young chefs ready to make their mark, coupled with established stalwarts launching innovative new concepts, chocolate-box pretty Zurich has really improved its culinary game in recent years.
While there’s still plenty of excellent cheese fondue and Zürcher Geschnetzeltes going round, you’ll also find outstanding Japanese-Peruvian fusion dishes, Green Michelin-starred vegan menus, and fresh interpretations of well-known Swiss classics – all dished up with a healthy dose of sustainable responsibility, favoring regional, seasonal, and organic produce.
We’ve roamed the city to bring you our recommendations of the 9 essential restaurants to visit in Zurich right now.
Widder Hotel, Widdergasse 6, 8001 Zurich
Accomplished chef Stefan Heilemann has the golden touch–this is the second time he’s cooked his way to two Michelin stars within the first year of being at the helm of a restaurant. The first time was at ECCO in 2016–the second in 2021, less than a year after taking over the reins at Widder, together with his entire ECCO team. The Gault & Millau Chef of the Year 2021 is known for his unique style of cooking: the combination of high-quality ingredients, excellent craftsmanship, a willingness to experiment, and his characteristic hint of ‘acidity’ opens new worlds of taste in the tradition steeped Widder Restaurant.
Storchen Zürich Lifestyle Boutique Hotel, Weinplatz 2, 8001 Zurich
This elegant Michelin-starred restaurant at the exclusive Storchen Zürich hotel occupies an enviable perch on the river in central Zurich. Head chef Stefan Jäckel’s menu offers refined seasonal creations and innovatively interpreted classics, such as his take on geschnetzeltes–veal fillet ‘Züri Art’, served with mushroom cream, butter rösti, and (with or without) kidney beans. In summer, the outdoor terrace is the place to be, while avid foodies appreciate the Chef’s Table in the heart of the kitchen.
Baur au Lac, Talstrasse 1, 8001 Zurich
One of two restaurants at the grand Baur au Lac hotel, Baur’s is a brasserie with real pizazz. Its design appeal comes courtesy of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (who redesigned Annabel’s)–fully adorned in amethyst pink, pastel green, and Murano glass chandeliers. The menu celebrates classics of European cuisine, such as sea bass with porcini mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke, and venison stew on red cabbage with chestnuts and spaetzle. The wine list, curated by ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019 Marc Almert, deserves a special mention.
LUX Restaurant & Bar
Claridenstrasse 5, 8002 Zurich
With a light-filled, cookies-and-cream-toned dining room that opens onto a large terrace with sweeping views over Lake Zurich and the distant Alps, this cosmopolitan restaurant brings an easygoing style to the Zurich Convention Center and the world-famous Tonhalle. Under the direction of head chef, Gerhard Rentz, the kitchen crew at LUX conjures up ‘climate-neutral cuisine’, with tried-and-tested classics as well as out-of-the-ordinary dishes, which could include dishes like pickled turnip with linseed sourdough chips, parsley root mash, and calamansi vinaigrette.
Kronenhalle Restaurant & Bar
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zurich
Dining at this legendary Zurich restaurant is a feast for the eyes as much as the palate. Hosting the likes of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent back in the day, Kronenhalle is also home to priceless pieces by Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, and Pierre Bonnard–collected by Gustav Zumsteg, whose mother, Hulda, opened the restaurant in 1924. The legacy carries on thanks to the family foundation–as does the culinary heritage, with hearty Swiss fare, such as sliced calf’s liver with onions and rösti, and beef goulash stroganoff with spaetzle served in three historical wood-paneled dining rooms.
Degenriedstrasse 135, 8032 Zurich
Embrace the charms of a bygone era by taking the Dolderbahn cog railway, followed by a short walk to reach this charming woodland inn outside of Zurich, which originally opened in 1888. By then you’ll have worked up an appetite for the restaurant’s rustic cuisine, served in the cozy dining room or on the secluded summer terrace. Classic, traditional dishes are the order of the day, from Swiss fondue to Züri Gschnätzlets–with vegan and vegetarian options clearly marked on the menu.
Rindermarkt 24, 8001 Zurich
Uncomplicated, high-quality fine dining in a casual atmosphere turned out to be a formula for success at this century-old spot in Zurich’s old town, which was taken over by innovative star chef Nenad Mlinarevic in 2018. The design is rustic and elegant, the contemporary food with a hint of Asian finesse is simultaneously top-level and down-to-earth. Taste your way through sharing dishes, such as pulled pork belly with pickled cucumber and lettuce or go for the five-course surprise menu. The 250-strong wine list, home-made kombuchas, and shrubs further the appeal.
SMITH and de LUMA
Grubenstrasse 27, 8045 Zurich
Located in a former carpenter’s workshop, this joint project by fine wine purveyors Smith & Smith and meat merchants LUMA brings together excellent steaks and interesting varietals in a cool setting with industrial touches. From Iberico to prime black Angus and Wagyu, the filets, entrecotes, and rib-eye steaks are all excellent. Vegans meanwhile can tuck into a range of plant-based dishes, including a ‘green mountain burger’. Naturally, given the restaurant’s owners, the wine recommendations are spot on.