Well established on the Zurich food scene, the Street Food Festival Zurich has gone from strength to strength. With over 150 food sellers, its part of FOOD ZURICH, which celebrates the unique flavours of Switzerland. The Street Food Festival itself is a four day celebration of all things foodie takes place throughout the town, with the main hub in Hardturmstrasse.
Street Food Festival Zurich
Arriving there, we noticed a huge festival tent and many food stalls dotted around. I was impressed with the efforts people had put in to decorate their stands, with quirky vans and flowers giving the area a joyful vibe.
The focus this year is on food trucks and the food offering is extensive, with ceviche, dumplings, Swiss raclette, sushi and tacos to name just a few. Some of the stallholders had got into the colourful spirit of the event by dressing up for it. There was plenty of seating and just behind the festival there were garden allotments where you could also wander. I tucked into a delicious chocolate cupcake with my guide, Elisabeth. Street Food Festival 2017 has now finished, but take a look at www.street-food-festival.ch and start planning your trip for next year!
Where to Eat in Zurich
During my trip to Zurich, I was keen to sample some of the other delicacies for which the city is famous. I started my culinary journey with a visit to Haus Hiltl on Sihlstrasse. Its the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as having opened in 1898. I’m not vegetarian but this place is known for being one of the best places to eat in Zurich. I was expecting a casual buffet, however the restaurant section has tablecloths and waiter service. There’s also a more casual cafe and a “vegetarian butchers”. I popped in after my meal and was intrigued by the packets of seitan, which I hadn’t come across before. It was one of the ingredients of my moreish Züri Geschnetzeltes with organic seitan, mushrooms, rösti, white wine and vegan whipped cream and is a wheat protein that tastes a bit like meat.
After lunch, I checked into the charming Hotel Storchen, where the staff told me about their latest foodie innovation, a photo coffee. In their cosy bar overlooking the Limmat river, the friendly staff will prepare you a coffee with your face on it, using a special machine. Most importantly, it had a smooth and creamy taste with no bitterness.
Switzerland is famous for its chocolate but traditionally that has been mainly milk rather than dark chocolate. However, Max Chocolatier changed the game with its incomparable creations. This bespoke chocolate maker aims to have you “experience chocolate for the first time”. They use only the finest natural, local ingredients and like the best restaurants, there production is seasonal with different chocolates available in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. From their boutique on picturesque Schlüsselgasse, a cobbled street in the Old Town, they run regular chocolate tastings. I was fortunate to try one and you can really taste the difference with their chocolate. It’s intense yet subtle at the same time, and I particularly liked their salted caramel truffle as the salt doesn’t overpower the sweet caramel. They also make fantastic ice cream and sorbets with unusual flavours such as Prosecco Aperol and strawberry with balsamic vinegar and orange zest.
That evening, there was another foodie treat to come, at the Zurich celebration of the Worldwide InstaMeet. Bringing together some of the world’s top Instagrammers and food bloggers, it was held in the idyllic location of Strandbad Wollishofen. I say idyllic, but it was raining hard, thankfully there was plenty of indoor cover. Outdoor swimming pools are one of the most charming Zurich attractions and like this one, many are on the lakeside. The food had been prepared by Swiss food bloggers whom we met during a spectacular demonstration of smoke bombs! There were healthy salads, marinated meats and homemade brownies to enjoy.
The next morning I headed to Bebek, a neighbourhood restaurant on Badenerstrasse known for its stylish decor and Oriental brunches. I opted for the Sunday brunch selection, with freshly baked bread, orange juice, feta salad, hummus, fruit salad, Bircher museli, bio yoghurt and buttery croissants.
After some sightseeing in Zurich Old Town, I returned to an old favourite for lunch. Zeughauskeller is a historic guild hall dating from 1487, popular with locals and tourists for its lively atmosphere and hearty dishes such as pork and veal sausage with homemade potato salad. We’d visited it on a previous weekend in Zurich and thoroughly enjoyed it. My waiter was friendly and spoke excellent English. The restaurant is quite cheap by local standards and there were several locals dining alone so its a good choice for solo travellers as well as couples and groups.
For dinner the next day, I wanted somewhere casual as I was unaccompanied, and after reading favourable reviews online, I chose Restaurant Boucherie Au-G-ust on Rennweg. It’s a pretty cobblestone street in Zurich Altstadt, in the heart of the Augustiner quarter. This area is home to the Widder Zunft or butchers’ guild and the owner, Benjamin Sigg has created a French inspired brasserie known for its meat dishes. I enjoyed their Leberkaese «AuGust», a local meat loaf, as well as spaetzli Swiss egg noodles and a superb marinated Scottish salmon, with sweet mustard and dill. A glass of Zurich wine, Truttiker Riesling Sylvaner from the Zahner winery, went well with all my dishes. The staff were lovely and this is another place that I’d recommend for those dining on their own or for couples enjoying a romantic meal, thanks to the atmospheric lighting.
Kronenhalle is more than just a restaurant, it’s a Zurich institution! Famous for its incomparable art collection, there are paintings by Chagall, Matisse, Miro and Picasso adorning its venerable walls. It was opened in 1924 by Hulda and Gottlieb Zumsteg. Hulda was by all accounts an extraordinary woman, who is depicted in a beautiful painting by Varlin. She used to give the remains of clients’ dishes to impoverished artists and encourage diners to buy their artworks. One of her sons, Gustav, made his fortune in the silk trade and became friends with many fashion designers as well as artists, collecting paintings that would later hang on the walls of Kronenhalle. The food is as exquisite as the artworks, with some delicious dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel and pepper steak with rösti potatoes. The best thing is, they automatically give you a second helping! There’s a superb wine list and you should save room for deserts such as apple tart or homemade chocolate mousse. I was lunching with Zurich bloggers, Harrys Ding who are a great source of information on where to dine. Kronenhalle’s friendly manager, Christian, showed us the lovely Swiss Gallery and separate bar area after lunch. Designed by artist brothers Alberto and Diego Giacometti, the bar is a magnificent showcase for the other paintings in the Kronenhalle collection.
Where to Stay in Zurich
Hotel Storchen on Weinplatz has the perfect location alongside the River Limmat in the heart of the Old Town.
Their 66 rooms and suites have been recently renovated and the attention to detail is fantastic. My Contemporary Double room overlooked picturesque Weinplatz the river and I could even see the famous stork. It had all mid cons including handy USB chargers, a Samsung tablet, air conditioning and a Nespresso machine. There was a tempting plate of fresh fruit and macarons as well as this cute mini stork soft toy!
Breakfast was served in the first floor restaurant, with a panoramic view over the river. There was a great selection of meat, cheeses, Bircher muesli and even fresh honeycomb.
How to Get to Zurich
I flew with SWISS from London City Airport, a quick and easy journey. We were served a sandwich as well as a Swiss chocolate, always a good start to a trip! Swiss International Airlines also fly from London Heathrow and they’re a member of Star Alliance, which is handy for members of their loyalty scheme.
Getting Around Zurich
I’d highly recommend the ZürichCARD for getting around Zurich. You can use it for unlimited travel from the airport and around town, as well as in the surrounding area. It works on the trams, buses, trains and even the cable cars such as the one to Felsenegg. You also get a 50% discount on city tours organised by Zurich Tourism and free or reduced admission to most of Zurich’s museums. It costs CHF 24 for 24 hours and CHF 48 for 72 hours for adults and is available online and at many places including Zurich main station and Zurich airport.
Whether you visit for the next Street Food Festival Zurich or simply take a foodie break there, you’re sure to have a great time. Are you a fan of street food? Which of these foodie experiences would you most like to try?
In association with Zurich Tourism