Zurich : inexpensive and mid-range restaurants
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There’s a host of good-quality affordable restaurants in every corner of the city that can do you a filling lunch for Fr.15–20, or a full evening meal for roughly twice that; Niederdorf is shoulder to shoulder with them. Traditional Zürich cuisine is rich and heavy with meat, epitomized in the city’s trademark Züri Gschnetzlets – diced veal in a creamy mushroom sauce, generally served alongside Rösti. As a general rule, at lunch time the area around Bahnhofstrasse is livelier than Niederdorf, while in the evening the reverse is true.


Adler’s Swiss Chuchi, Rosengasse 10 (01/266 96 66). Landmark Swiss den below the Adler hotel, freshly renovated in bright, modern style amidst ranks of sleazy sex shops. Good-value fondue or raclette (Fr.25–30) are what to go for; the bargain lunch specials have a careful, home-cooked touch as well, but cheese is the thing.

Ban Song Thai, Kirchgasse 6 (01/252 33 31). One of the city’s better Thais, small and pleasant with a varied menu. Lunch specials start from Fr.15, evening meals more than twice that. Closed Sun.

Bodega Española, Münstergasse 15 (01/251 23 10). Small, dark-wood place, concealed from the street behind a wine shop and dripping with atmosphere. Upstairs is the restaurant, with a long menu ranging from tortilla catalana to an unmissable paella (Fr.37 for two). The buzzing tapas bar downstairs is also outstanding, with a huge range from Fr.4.60 (or Fr.10.50 for a large plate).

Kantorei, Neumarkt 2 (01/252 27 27). Warm and pleasant young restaurant in a little-visited part of the Old Town serving unpretentious modern Swiss cuisine and doubling as a tranquil café between mealtimes.

Pinte Vaudoise, in Hotel Villette, Kruggasse 4 (01/251 23 35). Traditional dark-wood den serving what has been regularly voted as the best fondue in Zürich. The jovial owner/manager/chef is used to tourists and can explain the range of fondues on offer (around Fr.22). Closed Sat in summer, & Sun.

Santa Lucia, Marktgasse 21. Simple Niederdorf Italian with a wide selection of good-value pasta and pizza, plus the bonus of late-night service until 2am.

Weisser Wind, Oberdorfstrasse 20. Comfortable, traditional Niederdorf setting for Italian and Swiss specialities, with plenty of vegetarian options, for around Fr.20–30. A beerhall in all but name. Closed Sun.

Around Bahnhofstrasse

Hiltl, Sihlstrasse 28 (01/227 70 00; www.hiltl.ch). Top-quality vegetarian celebrating its 100th-plus birthday but updated with bright decor, calm, friendly service and excellent fare. Spurn the à la carte options for the expansive and great-value hot and cold buffet – by night featuring delectable Indian dishes. At Fr.4.60 for 100g, you can put together a sizeable meal for Fr.20, much less if you take it out and picnic on the nearby Lindenhof instead.

JOSEF, Gasometerstrasse 24 at Josefstrasse (01/271 65 95). Young, trendy hangout in an up-and-coming area: a jazzy candle-lit bar attached to a semi-formal restaurant that gets rave reviews from local hipsters and is well worth a splash (Fr.30–40).

Reithalle, Gessnerallee 8 (01/212 07 66). Formerly the military riding school, this complex of buildings along the Sihl has been turned into a theatre and centre for performing arts, with one long, stone-floored hall serving as a combination bar and restaurant. It attracts a lively and eclectic crowd of twenty-somethings with a varied menu of light, modern dishes (many vegetarian), and a relaxed, share-a-table attitude. Saturday nights they crank up the music for late-night dancing.

Zeughauskeller, Bahnhofstrasse 28a at Paradeplatz (01/211 26 90). A wood-ceilinged chamber dating from the fifteenth century that’s now the city’s top beerhall, a sometimes chaotic place serving hearty meat dishes and plenty of the amber nectar. One of the most extensive sausage menus around – over a dozen different varieties – is crowned by a one-metre giant that should keep four people occupied for some time. Although the menu is in English (and ten other languages), this is very popular with Zürchers of a certain bank balance – a long way from the rough-and-ready beerhalls of Niederdorf.

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