When in Switzerland, skip the Swiss cheese and Toblerone and do as the Swiss do – indulge in good, honest and delicious food, at some of the country’s best restaurants.
We all have to eat, but for those who consider themselves foodies, a good meal can make all the difference between a forgettable holiday destination and one that lingers in the mind for months or years to come. For the gourmands of the world, the best way to get to know a new destination is through the stomach, and in Switzerland, there is no shortage of both gourmet and casual dining options to satisfy even the fussiest connoisseur. But where to go exactly? We’ve put together the ultimate foodie trail of Switzerland’s cities, with the restaurants of Zurich, Luzern and Basel coming out on top. Getting hungry? Time to dig in to our list below.
Quay 61’s picturesque setting on the shores of Lake Zurich makes it one of Zurich’s hottest summer restaurants. The elegant dining room and maritime-style terrace are drawcards in themselves, but foodies will also relish the establishment’s menu with its focus on grilled seafood.
The fun and eclectic Loft Five Casual Dining & Bar is known for dishing up a seriously good time along with short ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and burgers. This is one for the meat-lovers, but those who like a tipple will also relish in the cocktail menu coming out of the artfully decorated bar. Planning on a late night? Loft Five’s late night pasta dishes (or the classic James Joyce burger) should do the trick – they’re available until 1am.
While we’re on the subject of meat… AuGust knows sausages, and a visit to this casual, urban-style carnivore’s favourite is incomplete without trying one of the sausage specialties dangling from the ceiling. If we can’t tempt you, AuGust also serves up other meat dishes and some seafood options, so either way you’ll leave this local haunt tummy grumble-free.
If your taste is a little more formal or you’re simply an interiors addict, you won’t want to miss Restaurant Pavillon – a light-flooded restaurant set in the heart of a green park, five minutes’ walk from Zurich’s bustling Paradeplatz. With its high ordain ceilings and brightly-coloured blooms contrasted against a crisp and elegant white interior, this restaurant is as beautiful as its food is refined. Chef Laurent Eperon focuses his dishes on the new French cuisine, with his finesse earning the restaurant a Michelin star and a reputation for being the very definition of modern luxury.
As the name suggests, Clouds is where to go for that unbeatable 360-degree view over Zurich, the lake and the Alps. Tourists and locals alike love this spot not only for its vistas, but its exciting, international-inspired food. Let’s be honest – dinner in the sky never gets old, and dining at Clouds is no exception to the rule.
Middle Eastern-meets-Swiss food is what awaits at Restaurant NENI, along with a bar boasting an impressive selection of gin. The Alfredo Häberli-designed restaurant on the ground floor of the 25hours hotel is hard to find, but it’s worth the effort.
Mention of the words, ‘fine dining’ often evokes images of restaurants so stuffy and awkwardly quiet you could hear a pin drop, but this is where Maison Manesse comes to the rescue – a restaurant for people who enjoy fine dining but prefer a relaxed setting. Chef Fabian Spiquel’s menu changes weekly, and even occasionally goes completely vegetarian.
It takes some serious confidence to call your restaurant something as simple as The Restaurant. And yet with two Michelin stars to its name, we’d take a guess that if any restaurant in Switzerland was worthy of such a name, it would be this one. With his eight-year tenure as chef at The Restaurant at the Dolder Grand hotel, German chef Heiko Nieder is known for surprising his guests time and time again with daring interpretations of well-known dishes. His dishes consist of regional produce creatively concocted. Think: wild pear, green tea and liquorice.
This restaurant is known for its urban garden, which can be seen in full bloom every summer, thanks to its owners who are expert gardeners. Inside, diners are greeted by a retro interior and traditional, home-style cooking.
The historic Hotel Schweizerhof is positioned in one of the most beautiful locations in Luzern, with stunning views of the lake and mountains and a lush, green park adding to an atmosphere of peace and serenity. Guests of the VILLA restaurant are not only treated to these picturesque surrounds, but delicious regional cuisine served up by chef Marcel Ineichen. With a focus on using local and seasonal products – whether vegetables, meat or wine – the chef also has an extensive, fragrant herb garden, which serves as inspiration for each day’s scrumptious creations.
The fine dining capital of Switzerland, Basel has more Michelin stars per square mile than San Sebastian, and is our pick of Swiss cities for those who like to dine with white tablecloths and candlelight.
Nestled within a townhouse at No. 49 Leonhardsgraben, Restaurant Bel Etage is known for its elegant dining, and holds a Michelin star. The rest of the townhouse is a venue for theatre performances and wine tastings, so this is where to go for an all-night fix of culture when in Basel.
When a chef has been working at the same restaurant ever day for 30 years, you know it must be something special. Such is the case at Restaurant Matisse. Over more than three decades, maître de cuisine Erik Schröter has constantly refined his skill and knowledge, resulting in unforgettable dishes that reveal new flavours in every bite. Restaurant Matisse is another gourmet Swiss restaurant to possess a Michelin star.
Restaurant STUCKI’s chef, Tanja Grandits, was the first woman in Switzerland to receive the coveted title, Chef of the Year, thanks to her incredibly light yet complexly-flavoured haute cuisine, and finesse for the art of ‘plating up’. The charming restaurant is located on the outskirts of Basel’s Bruderholz and has an impressive two Michelin stars.
On the ground floor of Switzerland’s first Pullman hotel lies the glamorous Les Quatre Saisons restaurant, with an incredibly elegant interior fitting for its gourmet French cuisine, which has earned the restaurant a Michelin star.
Led by Gault Millau Chef of the Year 2015, Peter Knogl consistently takes his multi award-winning French restaurant to new heights, with his cuisine that is considered to be in a class of its own. Perched within the Les Trois Rois hotel at the Rhine knee on the river edge, this restaurant offers some of the best food you’ll ever eat in Switzerland, without the white tablecloth superiority found at other fine dining restaurants. Cheval Blanc is one of only three restaurants in Switzerland to possess the highest possible rank of three Michelin stars.