Posted by Max
When living slightly outside of one of the allegedly most expensive cities of the world, one does not go that often to restaurants in town, even if Zürich has quite a choice of nice places. For your own discoveries, you can try exploring in the Altstadt (the old town on the right bank of the Limmat river), in the Seefeld area (right bank of Lake Zürich), the Kreis 5 (the area between Hauptbahnhof, the Limmatstrasse, the Hardbrücke and the railroad access to the main station), or in the Kreis 4 (the area between the Badenerstrasse, the Kaserne, and the railroad tracks). These are essentially the entertainment quarters in town.
But let us mention a few places we occasionally go to, particularly when we have visitors from out of town. Most friends visiting Zürich need their "Sausage fix", and for that, we have have two possibilities.
The Zeughauskeller is in a building built about 500 years ago as an armory, just behind the Paradeplatz. This place is also kind of the canteen for the (in)famous Zürich Gnomes. It is a rather big place, but service is quick and nice. Their sausage menu is more than a page long, and should suit any taste, starting from the simple Kalbsbratwurst (whitish veal roas sausage) to the Saucisson Vaudoise (a chunky hearty sausage speciality from the western part of Switzerland), or -- if you are there as a party, the Kanonenputzer (a pork roast sausage sold by the meter). They have a nice selection of beers, and the wine menu is not too bad. Prices for sausage with potato salad range from CHF 16 to CHF 25.
A little bit more upscale is the Kropf, just off the Paradeplatz. Their turn-of-the 20th Century interior in the main hall gives a great ambiance, and on warmer days, the Terrasse is very nice. The menu shows a good range of Swiss specialities, and their service is good and relaxed (actually the Kropf has been among the first restaurants where the food is brought to the table on trolleys, instead of being carried by the waitresses).
Ah, yeah, when we just want a sausage as a snack, we go to the place claiming to have the "best bratwurst in town", the Sternen Grill at the Bellevue. Their Kalbsbratwurst is indeed very good, and thanks to the high turnover at one of the busiest squares in town, never dried out. They say, who has never had a Bratwurst from the Sternen Grill has never been to Zürich
A place whose connectivity is the most outstanding feature is the Outback in the Bahnhof Stadelhofen. No, this is not the crappy bland steakhouse chain with that name in the US. They have a slightly Australian theme, and on their menu you find slightly exotic things such as crocodile, ostrich, kangaroo, and their main beer is Fosters. Because it is just a few steps from the platform of the Stadelhofen S-Bahn station, it can get pretty crowded in the evening. It's our favorite place to have dinner after catching a movie at one of the numerous theatres nearby.
Two places are special, even if they are not within the city limits.
The place with the best view is the Uto Kulm, on top of the Uetliberg, the mountain to the south west of the city. When the weather is accordingly, it gives the whole alpine panorame from the Lucerne and Bernese alps in the west to the Säntis in the East, with a great view down on to the city and the lake. The cuisine of the Uto Kulm is a refreshing version of "international", with decent wines on the menu.
The highest ranking restaurant in Zürich is also not within the city limits. Petermann's Kunststuben is a little bit outside, in Küsnacht, on the right bank of the lake. This place helps getting Zürich a place on the top restaurants map of the world. It is near absolute perfection, and definitely worth a visit (hint, lunch is of the same quality level as dinner, and the cellar is the same...).
Restaurant Zeughauskeller, Bahnhofstrasse 28a, 8001 Zürich, phone 044 211 26 90, Tram 2,6,7,8,9,11,13 Paradeplatz
Restaurant Kropf, In Gassen 16, 8001 Zürich, phone 044 221 18 05, Tram 2,6,7,8,9,11,13 Paradeplatz
Sternen Grill, Theaterstrasse 22, 8001 Zürich, phone 044 251 49 49, Tram 2,4,5,8,9,11,15 Bellevue
Restaurant Outback Lodge, Stadelhoferstrasse 18, 8001 Zürich, phone 044 252 15 75, Tram 2,4 Opernhaus, Tram 11,15 Bahnhof Stadelhofen, Tram 5,8,9 Bellevue, S3,S5,S6,S7,S9,S12,S16,S18 Stadelhofen
Restaurant/Hotel Uto Kulm, Gratstrasse, 8143 Uetliberg, phone 044 457 66 66, S10 Uetliberg
Petermann's Kunststuben, Seestrasse 160, 8700 Küsnacht, phone 044 910 07 15, S6,S16 Küsnacht