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The host of international visitors to Basel with access to high-end expense accounts means that eating costs can be inflated, but it’s also not hard to uncover cosy local cafés for home-cooked fare in all corners of the city centre. For self-service food, there’s a restaurant in the Manora department store on Greifengasse; otherwise Mr Wong, Steinenvorstadt 3, piles your dish high with fresh-cooked Asian fare for Fr.12. Café Damas, beside the Puppenhausmuseum off Barfüsserplatz, offers Arabic takeaways such as falafel and kebabs, as well as sit-down dishes like magloubah (chicken with rice); while Pinar, Herbergsgasse 1, is a plain Turkish neighbourhood diner, with a big choice of inexpensive pide (Turkish pizza).
Café Spitz, Rheingasse 2 (061/681 00 00). Historic building in the Kleinbasel district, with a riverside terrace and the best fish in Basel, if not Switzerland. Fr.30 upwards.
Country Life, Sattelgasse 3. Small veggie and wholefood diner off Marktplatz, with menus around Fr.17–20.
Gifthüttli, Schneidergasse 11 (061/261 16 56). The best place for traditional local cooking (even the menu is in Basel dialect), whether in the standard Stube downstairs or the more formal restaurant upstairs. They specialize in cordon bleus – slabs of cheese-slathered meat – with thirteen choices (around Fr.33), as well as plenty of other Swiss belt-bulgers.
Gleich, Steinenvorstadt 23. Upscale, very genteel vegetarian restaurant, with nothing but the tinkling of cutlery to disturb the low hum of discreet chat. Closed Sat & Sun.
Stucki, Bruderholzallee 42 (061/361 82 22). One of Switzerland’s best restaurants, awarded two Michelin stars for its classic style and inventive touches. Expect menus starting from Fr.50 – if you can book far enough ahead to find a place. Closed Sun & Mon.
Au Violon, Im Lohnhof 4 (061/269 87 11). Very pleasant gourmet brasserie in a renovated old building near the Leonhardskirche, offering seasonal specialities prepared with care. Menus from Fr.20. Closed Sun & Mon.
Wilhelm Tell, Spalenvorstadt 38. Cosy, quiet den for solid Swiss fare, rösti, sausages and all, from Fr.15. Closed Sun.
Zum Goldenen Fass, Hammerstrasse 108 (061/693 11 11). Quality formal restaurant with an informal air in a Kleinbasel residential neighbourhood. Excellent, top-quality organic food, lightly prepared (plus veggie options), with lunchtime menus around Fr.20, evening ones double that.
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