Zurich is the city where the world-famous Swiss watches are perhaps still ticking the fastest. Often seen as a transit route to reach the nearby Alps, visitors are enchanted by the city’s vast options. Zurich is the place to explore great art, good food and breathtaking architecture.
Lake Zurich, which the Swiss metropolis gently nestles against, is the heart of the city and reason for many to come and live here. Deep and dignified, it extends to the shores of the often simply designed but high-quality private estates, which are gradually expanding into a cosmopolitan city with international flair.
Zurich’s university is famous beyond the country's borders, drawing in students from all over the world, making the city younger and more international than ever. When the hip crowds roam through small alleys at night to get into one of the surprisingly progressive clubs, Zurich shows its hidden potential. As the birthplace of Dadaism and home of the legendary club Cabaret Voltaire, which gained fame as a hub for intellectuals and artists as early as the First World War, Zurich is still outstanding in the fields of art and culture today. At any given time, there are countless exhibitions and architectural tours, ranging from Romanticism and Historicism to the most modern architectural styles.
On top of all this comes the friendliness and tranquillity of the Swiss, who successfully convey to every visitor the best possible impression of their interpretation of a cosmopolitan city that goes beyond being big or loud.
Zurich is the perfect city for a short getaway when in need of some great art, the highest standards in almost everything and a most calming serenity. And chocolate, of course. The only thing is that the travel budget should be well-stocked. But it is absolutely worth it.
Where to eat
In the heart of Zurich's urban Binz quarter you will find the flowery and cosy Daizy. No matter what time of day, breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner are served, fulfilling every culinary need. The menu fuses typical European dishes with influences from the Middle and Far East. The focus is on vegetarian delicacies and homemade drinks. Be sure to go on a Thursday, to visit the weekly and very popular Daizy Market, including all kinds of homemade dishes from their own kitchen, flowers from their studio and special interior gems to fall in love with and take home.
If you think that Babette is just a little creperie, you are mistaken. Locals regularly come here for an extended brunch, drawn in by the large selection. In the spirit of ecological sustainability with an awareness of social responsibility, the restaurant takes extra care to source their goods from local producers as fresh as possible. The flour is sourced from a mill from the Puschlav valley while the salmon comes from Misox, just to name a few. Truly a modern bistro, with one eye on the future and the other on their delicious menu, with French ambience and relaxed service.
Am Limmatplatz 7
Architecture and design speak a clear language at Café Lang with a typically industrial exterior with large windows and an interior decorated with dark bentwood chairs and round coffee house tables. Seemingly endless daily newspapers from all over the world hang along the walls while the smell of fresh coffee fills the air. Enjoy an evening with a light dinner and cocktails in good company, or a Sunday afternoon all by yourself, sipping a delicious cappuccino.
Where to drink
With its extensive art collection, hospitality, unique history and elegant-meets-classic furnishings, the Kronenhalle is a place of distinct inspiration. Gustav Zumsteg's personal art collection gives the Kronenhalle its extraordinary visual background. Here you can find works by Chagall, Mirò, Braque, and Matisse among others. Inaugurated in 1924 as a bar and restaurant, it soon became a meeting place for many artists and writers. Personalities such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Picasso and Giacometti were among the guests. But also Max Frisch and Richard Strauss. The dishes are of the highest quality. The finest home-style cooking underlines a modest venerability, which the greats of their time surely appreciated in this place that continues to attract guests from all over the world. Thanks to its loyal employees, who are passionate about quality service, the flair of the golden past continues to thrive in the Kronenhalle.
Near the river Limmat, Markus Blattner and Jvan Paszti, probably the most famous faces of Zurich’s bar scene, run one of the best bars in Europe. Whisky lovers in particular should give the bar a visit. The design is based on the Prohibition Era, whilst their assortment of rare spirits is everything but. Connoisseurs dream about the wall behind the bar, where the finest Whisky, Bourbon and Rye are stacked from floor to ceiling. In addition to classic cocktails, the two heavyweights have specialized in forgotten recipes and their own creations such as the “Downtown Switzerland,” a cocktail made with Campari, Italian vermouth, cynar, Amarena cherry and champagne. And if the weather allows it, enjoy your drink outside in the airy beer garden.
Before heading out to the notorious Zurich nightlife around Langstrasse, it’s recommended to have an Aperitivo at the hip Bar Sacchi. Noble, colourful marble tables placed in perfect harmony with dark green Italian leather sofas give stage to an invigorating Negroni (shot from a spray pistol directly into the glass), a Pisco Sour or a fresh Spritzer. The owner is as inspiring as the interior design of the small, yet often crowded bar. Claudio Sacchi himself still serves drinks and Italian delicacies, combining his love of good drinks, good food and good conversation with his guests. Special attention is paid to the natural wine Rosacchi, which comes from his own production and is Claudio's pride and joy; rightly so, we think.
What to see
It all started with the opening of the first space in Zurich in 1992, when Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser joined forces to promote art, education and sustainability in this extraordinary family business, which soon turned into a global mission. Today there are branches in London, New York, L.A., St. Moritz and Hong Kong, to name a few. At Hauser and Wirth, quality reigns over quantity and one should definitely not miss out on the Matthew Day Jackson and Rita Ackermann exhibition between 12.09.2020 and 18.12.2020.
Just in time for the Zurich Art Weekend, Eva Presenhuber opened a special exhibition in her eponymous gallery. The artist Joe Bradley presents a completely new and specially developed visual language for the first time, including a range from naively childlike to psychedelically dangerous. It is night in his paintings and a blue-black darkness captures the viewer. In the interplay with the warm rooms, the light herringbone wood planks and the smooth white walls of the gallery, a game of discrepancy and unity is created. This is also the theme of Bradley's works: wholeness, non-duality and spirituality.
The exhibition “Remembering the Future” at the Kunsthaus Zürich this Fall features sculptures, photographs, videos and installations by Kader Attia. The Algerian-French artist, represented for the first time with an exhibition in a German-speaking region, deals with the present topic of social responsibility in relation to Europe's colonial past. A complex theme to which he skillfully devotes himself. The Kunsthaus itself is also known to hold one of the largest art collections in Switzerland, from the 13th century to the present, and is one of the largest art associations in Europe. Although no longer an insider tip, it is undoubtedly worth a visit.
Words: Feride Yalav-Heckeroth