Zurich’s Classic Restaurants

Dining in one of Zurich’s classic restaurants is not only a treat for the taste buds, but also a step back into Switzerland’s past. The almost 100-year-old Kronenhalle is among the most esteemed of Zurich’s restaurants, with its fabulous food matched by the expensive decor. Alfresco dining doesn’t get better than snuggling under a blanket outside the Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten and indulging in an all-you-can-eat fondue session. Zurich is also home to the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant.

Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Open since 1924, Zurich’s most esteemed classic restaurant exudes wealth—mahogany wood paneling, glittering chandeliers—and patrons would need a lot of it to dine here, too. (The veal steak with morel sauce and spätzli, a favorite, is an eye-watering 68 Swiss francs.) But some say the museum-quality art collection—with works by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Mirò and Braque—make dining here well worth the splurge.
Bahnhofstrasse 28A, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Sure, the menu comes in a dozen languages, but Zeughauskeller is no mere tourist trap. Occupying a 15th century building on Paradeplatz, the setting—arched windows, wooden ceiling beams and stone columns—is transportive, while traditional dishes include the Bürgermeister Schwert (veal steaks pounded thin and wrapped around a long sword blade and grilled). The house beer is an exclusive from the local TurbinenBräu brewery.
Münsterhof 8, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Zurich’s original 14 guilds were established in Medieval times to represent different crafts- and tradesmen, and their grand, stately buildings that still dot the city are a testament to their one-time power. Fortunately, most are well-preserved and now serve as fine restaurants. Zunfthaus zur Waag, house of the guild of wool and linen weavers, has a Biedermeier-style dining room with lots of wood-paneling, stained glass windows, and a terrific view of the Münsterhof. The dish to order is the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, the classic Zurich specialty of pan-fried veal with a creamy white-wine sauce.
Niederdorfstrasse 70, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
The right bank of the Limmat is home to the busy, cobblestoned Niederdorfstrasse, lined with bustling cafés, bars and restaurants, none more bustling than the sprawling over-a-century-old Johanniter, a can’t-miss-it spot with its giant Swiss and Zurich flags marking its entrance. Inside, patrons dine on huge portions of traditional specialties like raclette (melted cheese served with potatoes and pickled cucumbers and onions) under tall, vaulted ceilings.
Talstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Baur au Lac, the grande dame of Bahnhofstrasse hotels open since 1844, is home to the city’s most beautiful restaurant, with a stunning glass gazebo with Lalique chandeliers overlooking the hotel’s private park. Chef Laurent Eperon’s dishes are mostly contemporary takes rooted in French technique, though the menu has a special “Veau Suisse” section that includes a meltingly tender glazed veal knuckle that’s been cooked overnight.
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