Just Back: Zurich, Zermatt, Bern, Geneva
This board needs more reviews, so here we go:
I just returned from two weeks traveling in the named towns. My goal was skiing, so my budget was not an expense account! My wardrobe was jeans and sweaters, as well. Usually my goal is to 'eat local' and 'find coffee'.
Zeughauskeller - http://www.trymarket.ch/zeughauskeller/index.htm
We went here on Monday eve after the start of Lent. Apparently Zurich has a tradition of celebrating Lent at this time (similar to Carnival) so there was a large group of musicians dressed in medieval jester outfits drinking and eating and then getting up to play music (perhaps not a symphonic performance after the beer, but quite entertaining.) All in all, great atmosphere. Antique beer hall style with WIlliam Tell and WW2 artifacts scattered amongst the circa 1500's drawings. Resto was full at 8pm. Mostly locals after work, might be more touristy in the summer months. Shared a table for the first few minutes. We had the breaded wiener schnitzel with rosti and the smoked sausage (similar to a kielbasa) with rosti. Also had the best beer of the entire trip which was an amber draft of house beer. The food was good, but was not the high point of the eve. Bill was less than 70CHF including 2 beers.
Hotel Adler's restaurant - http://www.hotel-adler.ch/restaurant-swiss-chuchi/
Well located in the old town. We went for cheese fondue, as it had been recommended by different people (hotel reception at the Marriott and the foodie at the Bahnhof tourist bureau). Nice typical atmosphere, very nice staff. Fondue was good (not mind-bending) but was available for one person (most places insist on doing it for two). Also got their house made mushroom ravioli with cream wine sauce which was quite good. Green salad and wine. Our main courses were in the low-20'sCHF. (FYI - we ended up coming back to stay at the Adler on the way home. They did a nice breakfast and good clean rooms.)
Conditorei Schober/ Peclard Patisserie - Napfgasse 4 Zurich, Switzerland
044 251 51 50 http://peclard-zurich.ch/cafe-colonial
This is the iconic Swiss cafe. It's been here since the 1800's and doesn't appear to have changed or to have relaxed their standards in the least. The cocoa was rich and the pastry was fresh and flaky - perfection. The atmosphere alone is worth the visit, but they don't coast on the draw of history. I think we paid about 25CHF for two drinks and one pastry. Completely worth it. Make sure you walk through the different rooms to get a feel for the place. Located in the old town.
Restaurant Stockhorn - http://www.grill-stockhorn.ch/stockhorn/Hotel_Stockhorn.html
This was our best meal in Zermatt. We reserved a table for 7pm and pre-reserved a meal of roasted chicken. Our other meal was the mushroom vol au vent. Both dishes were fantastic, with an edge to the chicken which had nicely crisped skin and herb/salt seasoning with moist meat, roast herb potatoes on the side. (FYI - I preferred the chicken but my husband thought it a touch salty and preferred the mushrooms.) Green salad to start and glass of wine. Main dish prices were approx mid to high 20's CHF. The meat dishes are cooked over an open fire in the front room. The atmosphere is quite cozy and comfortable. There were a couple children (well-behaved and not too young) but mostly couples and small groups of adults.
Whymper Stube below the Monte Rosa hotel - http://www.whymper-stube.ch/restaurant.html
Popular, must reserve. Cozy and pleasant. Recommended for their cheese fondues (traditional fondue 24CHF per person, must have a portion for two people.) This was the best fondue of our trip, in my opinion. Served with potatoes as well as the bread.
Restaurant Pizzeria Roma - across the street from Restaurant Stockhorn
Riedstrasse 20, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland +41 27 967 32 29
We ended up here when the Stockhorn was full. It was a nice break from rosti and cheese/sausage, but not the sort of pizza that you would seek out at home. I think the prices were in the low 20'sCHF for pizza. Also tried lasagna which was ok, not as good as the za. Pleasant atmosphere. Pizza oven in front as you enter.
Restaurant Swiss Chalet - http://www.swiss-chalet-zermatt.ch/eng/index.htm
Not recommended. Pleasant staff, forgettable food, a few tourists, a few locals with dogs, one drunk local lady. I must say that my husband really liked his mushroom pasta with wild mushrooms (pfefferlingen and boletes). My dishes were green salad with fried pike and mushroom soup (too salty). It was just okay and not a nice enough atmosphere to make up for the food.
Papperla Pub - http://www.papperlapub.ch/
Best bar in town with live music. Non-smoking indoors. Lively. We stayed on the front patio with everyone still in ski boots, drinking and chatting even at 8pm.
Volver - http://www.barvolver.ch/
This is a stylish tapas and wine bar next to the Rathaus in the old town. We got a sampler platter of 5 tapas for 27CHF which included a pinenut tart, marinated octopus, grilled fennel, sliced soft cheese with preserved lemon, and another that I forgot. Great atmosphere, too. Recommended. Good looking crowd. (see the tapas photo below)
Lotschberger - http://www.loetschberg-aoc.ch/en/accueil.html
This was a recommendation from one of the young receptionists at our hotel. It's a casual wine bar and restaurant that also has bottles of wine for sale. Mostly college kids and 20-somethings after work. We really enjoyed the large well made salads, a rarity in Switzerland. We shared a breaded wiener schnitzel with spatzle. That dish was also quite good and the spatzle was house made and was nicely caramelized.
Coffee shop and pastry shop with casual seating upstairs. The coffee was good, but not great. Quite a bit better than the horrible ubiquitous Starbucks across the plaza. Also had a pastry which was fine, not great. It's a nice place to rest and drink coffee, kid friendly. (see the coffee photo below)
Cafe La Navigation - Restaurant Navigation
Rue du Môle 1, 1201 Genève, Switzerland +41 22 732 29 17
Wow. Like a movie set. We were taken here by a a local for a 'classic Genevoise' cafe. Excellent fondue at 20CHF (when the other restaurants were charging high 20's) and the other dishes around us looked good as well. The atmosphere was fantastic - bright lighting, wood chairs, lace cafe curtains, nicotine stained walls and very nice man running the bar and helping to serve. Great value and very authentic. (FYI - all restaurants and bars are non-smoking now in Switzerland.) In the Paquis neighborhood.
Chez Ma Cousine - http://www.chezmacousine.ch/
Also great value and recommended by our local friend. The menu is pretty limited to roast chicken with roasted herb potatoes and green salad for 15CHF. They also have some salads with different toppings. We were there for lunch and there was a short wait. The crowd was a mix of business men, women with kids, and a few construction guys. The chicken was well roasted and seasoned, as were the potatoes. I thought the salad dressing had a touch too much mustard, but that could be preference. Highly recommended.
Restaurant Little India - Restaurant Little India
Rue du Prieuré 20, 1202 Genève, Switzerland +41 22 731 11 71
Located in the Paquis, good standard Indian food at a fair (but not rock-bottom) price. Popular place. We had eggplant pakora (too greasy), palak paneer (my favorite dish here), tandoori salmon (good wood-fired tandoor flavor but small portion), and baingan bharta (eggplant dish), also rice/naan. Everything seemed bland and under spiced to me, but maybe this is how the Swiss prefer things.
La Caravane Passe - http://www.lacaravanepasse.ch/
Supposedly Libyan and Egyptian food, but not really either. Strange smell in the air (cleaning fluid?) and college kids. We were convinced to go here by a positive New York Times review and the fact that Libya was in the news at the time. Skip it. Not as cheap as it should be and pretty pedestrian to boot. Also located in the Paquis.