How long have you been living in Zurich?
I was born and raised in Lucerne, which is only 45 minutes from Zurich. I have been living in Zurich since 2012. Naturally, as a Lucerner, I always thought Lucerne was the best little city in the world. Since moving to Zurich, however, I must admit that my opinion has changed.
What do you love most about Zurich?
Zurich is the perfect blend of modern, diverse and forward-looking… while celebrating its history and traditions. During the year, one can celebrate ancient festivals like Sechseläuten and Knabenschiessen or party with a million guests from all over the planet at the world’s largest techno parade “Streetparade”. In which other large city can you jump into crystal clear waters for an after-work swim? Being in the heart of Europe, Zurich has a great mix of cuisines with influences from many different regions. All seasons can be enjoyed outdoors: from the summer picnics on the lake to a cozy fondue in the beautifully illuminated old town at Christmas.
What do you do?
I am passionate hotelier, having studied hotel management and worked in some the finest hotels in the world. My position keeps me often on the road, traveling from Asia to the Middle East and the Americas. I am quite lucky to have this opportunity to be exposed to so many different cultures and sample all the cuisines and trends from around the globe.
How do you feel about the food scene in Zurich?
Zurich’s restaurants have always been known for their quality and regionally sourced products. The food scene is now booming with diverse options and inspiration from all around the world: From the finest Michelin starred experiences to markets as well as street food festivals – there is something for every taste and budget. And don’t forget the fantastic Swiss wines! Yes, we even have excellent vineyards in Zurich. For the beer drinkers, the local award-winning craft beers will delight.
Name your top 3 restaurants in Zurich.
A local neighborhood favorite is the Restaurant Bürgli in Wollishofen. Set in a quaint building from 1864 with a large terrace overlooking the lake, you will find the best Entrecôte Café de Paris in town or fish specialties from the lake of Zurich.
A true Zurich classic is the Sternen Grill, where you can enjoy my personal favorite typical Swiss dish – Wurstsalat. This is composed of the national sausage of the Swiss – the “Cervelat” – chopped into a tart salad with pickles, onions as well as Gruyère cheese. Indeed, we call it a salad! So no reason for guilt afterwards. Sit upstairs on the terrace, and watch life go by on Bellevueplatz below.
If you really want to splurge and treat yourself, the 2 Michelin Star restaurant Ecco Zurich would be my choice. Chef Stefan Heilemann will truly delight your palate with the best ingredients, including some such as the wild garlic picked from the woods directly behind the restaurant.
Where would you take a date?
For a really special meal, my first choice would be the Ecco Zurich.
For a first, date I would recommend Caduff’s Wine Loft in the hip and trendy Kreis 4! The food is excellent and you can impress your date with your wine knowledge as you visit their well-stocked wine cellar.
Which Swiss dishes would you encourage travelers to try?
As mentioned, the Wurstsalat is a must. You can never go wrong with a traditional Cheese Fondue (don’t forget a Swiss cherry Schnaps to help digestion). Especially on cold winter days, Älplermagronen is a hearty favorite. This is a kind of gratin with potatoes, macaroni, cheese as well as onions. And most importantly, you have to get apple sauce on the side.