Best Cheap Eats in Zurich

If indulging in some of the most expensive food in Switzerland is not your thing, Zurich offers a host of cheap eats. Try a 10 franc sandwich with your choice of filling from a flower shop near the ETH Zurich or the vegetarian buffet close to Zurich’s Opera House. Don’t forget Zurich’s department stores which have affordable buffets; the best of which is atop Manor and is priced by the plate not the pound.

Rämistrasse 8, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Zurich has two outposts of this global chain, though the Bellevue location scores points for its proximity to the Altstadt. It’s a lunchtime favorite for its terrific pastas (prepared with noodles made fresh daily), pizzas (fired as you order) and fresh salads.
2 Haldenbachstrasse
Ten francs doesn’t get you much in Zurich, but at this no-frills counter, it gets you excellent, several-inch-thick sandwiches stuffed with your choice of charcuterie, cheeses and marinated vegetables in intriguing buns (studded with sun-dried tomatoes or chili pepper, for instance). The sandwich counter shares space with a flower shop (translation: tables have fantastic floral arrangements), and is a hit among students from the nearby ETH Zurich.
22 Theaterstrasse
Locals all agree this is the home of Zurich’s—perhaps Europe’s—best sausage. What they’re divided on is which is better, the St. Galler bratwurst or the Servelat—both superbly juicy, flavorful, and with excellent snap—and divine with a crusty bürli roll and super spicy mustard. After a two-year renovation (during which the grill operated out of an airstream trailer nearby), the original 1963 location reopened its doors in 2013 with roomier, more modern digs.
Seefeldstrasse 2, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
Tibits shows that this bratwurst-and-raclette loving city can do delicious seasonal vegetarian and vegan dishes well, and imaginatively, too. The enticing buffet includes creations like a melon-accented Thai tofu salad and tomato spelt risotto, served in a colorful, floral wallpaper-accented fast-casual setting.
Unterführung Passage Sihlquai / Europaallee Hauptbahnhof, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
This modish spot steps from Bellevue is a hit for its enticing cakes and excellent coffee, but its savory menu shouldn’t be missed; there are simple, superb salads and great flammekuchen. Consider yourself warned though: service can be frustratingly slow.
Bahnhofstrasse 75, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Most of Zurich’s department stores have restaurants, but by far and away the most sprawling—and value-oriented—is this spot, atop Manor near Hauptbahnhof. The city’s unofficial canteen has a tantalizing salad bar (that’s priced not by the pound, but by the plate, which you can pile as high as you would like for about 12 Swiss francs or $13), grill (for burgers topped with herbed butter, steaks and local fish prepared as you wait), and sections for pastas, stir-fries, desserts, and fresh-squeezed juices.
57 Kornhausstrasse
At this hip, airy café in a former butcher shop, the draws are breakfast and brunch served daily until 4pm and open-faced sandwiches with ingredient combinations like roasted veal with tomato-chili jam, arugula and Sbrinz splitter, a hard cow’s milk cheese. The “haus-schnaps” is made from quince grown in the backyard.
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