EAT in Zurich:
Breakfast in England - always worth a discussion. Some smile about it and many refuse it, but it has cult status anyway. And the Lion even serves Guiness with it. For breakfast? So what the heck, some guests think and stuff themselves on bacon, sausages, beans and fried eggs. The vitamins in the form of grilled tomato are only garnish, but there is orange juice, coffee, tea - or beer - with it. But is beer not a bit too early? No, there is no "too early" at the Lion because guests can enjoy breakfast any time, even late at night. And then the beer is a good choice again. Yet one question remains unanswered: Why do the English, as loftily as they are having tea, serve breakfasts that make every fitness trainer faint? The answer is: for tradition's sake and because it tastes good. And if you are having brunch at the Lion, you better stay and have another beer, another toast or another helping of brown sauce.
If you want to get closer to the water you have to be in the water. The outdoor lounge of Acqua promises the probably best view of sailing boats, mountains and Lake Zurich's sparkling blue. Such a panorama does only harmonise with the noblest interior, of course. The terrace is white and made of wood, suiting a fish meal after a long walk along the promenade. But the restaurant is luxurious inside as well: large windows, a lot of mother-of-pearl and space for a conservative clientele concluding perfect deals over a perfect dinner. The menu is as fresh as morning dew, combining seasonal and regional specialties. Fish and meat are grilled, the pizza comes from the wood stove and the guests come from the general assembly. And that's how the prices are defined. Acqua is not cheap but it is good. And you can get great brunches here. On Sundays they serve Mediterranean "Brunch al Lago" from 10.00 to 14.00.
What you understand by that corresponds to your imagination. Kronenhalle means dinner deluxe for royalties or those that want to become a nobleman or noblewoman. You'll find Matisse and Kandinsky on panelled walls, there's a lot of crystal on white table-cloths and Picasso and James Joyce are on the guest list. The atmosphere is dark and dapper, perfect for a business agreement between bankers or the small bite preceding an opera evening. But not only are the guests classics at the Kronenhalle but also is the menu. Instead of Nouvelle Cuisine it is tradition that is served here on silver platters: Wiener Schnitzel (astonishingly!) and veal bratwurst with hash browns. You also get French Fries at the otherwise conservative restaurant. And if you are tempted to try the "Mistkratzerli" you've become a true fan of Zurich.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Dada doesn't rest - Dada reproduces itself, says a phrase on the topic. And we add the following: If you say Dada too often, you become a bit gaga. But that's how it should be, probably. As what began at Cabaret Voltaire in 1916, soon became known as a playground of crazy emotions. Thus, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings and Hans Arp did not only stage their protest against World War I when opening their artists' pub but also invented a new art movement, which can hardly be described in words, therefore being simply called Dada. Dada is a collage from cubism, futurism and Medieval mystics, a wild blend of abstract dance and atonal music, of poetry, painting and the performing arts, i.e. Dada. If you got lost by now just come by. The Cabaret Voltaire is still flying the flags for Dada, delivering magic moments with exactly the right amount of irony palpable in every work of Dada.
The Museum of Design holds everything its name promises, accommodating almost all kinds of art under its roof. The collection comprises design, graphic art, posters and art, and if you don't know what that means we are eager to explain. What is exhibited here might be a TV from 1969, or an eggcup with salt shaker. But you can also see advertising material, film posters, a French perfume flacon, or even a cocktail dress here. Everything that's connected with design, everything that's art, everything that people do when they do art, is exhibited at this museum. While the artists are often anonymous, everything that's shown here - from make-up to burnt furniture - is definitely worth seeing. And if you want to know more about the topic you can participate in diverse workshops or talk shop with exhibition experts. And once you are leaving the museum again you can be sure that you've learned something new. So take your time!
As far as souvenirs go, there's probably no other country that has more than Switzerland. Okay, the Scots have their skirts and the United States have their cowboy hats. But we can bet that when you think of Swiss souvenirs at least three will come to your mind spontaneously: watches, chocolate and Swiss knives. You can buy these and more at Teddy's Souvenirshop, a store that is crammed with cuckoo clocks and other Swiss precision work. There are pennants and flags as well and everything worth printing an edelweiss on it. There are cuddly Saint Bernard toys, the famous cow bells to wear around your neck, and Swiss pocket knives with thousands of necessary functions to brag about. Teddy's is a hotchpotch of Swiss clichés probably worth only a mild smile by the Swiss themselves but the items still sell like hotcakes. Because once you are here you have to buy something, and be it a white cross on red background.
STAY in Zurich:
Greulich (sounds like grey or gruesome in German) is not the best name, however, it derives from the street name there, and the street is named after a renowned labour movement politician. The refined understatement is palpable all over the district. Where once the clack of heavy boots resounded, the creative scene walks high-heeled about its showrooms. Designers also gave the finishing touches to the hotel, paying tribute to the thirties and fifties above all. Function and colour dominate the interior of the design hotel - here a bit of secretive blue, Mediterranean shades over there, interrupted by a lot of glass for the perfect view of the inner courtyard. And it's this view that surprises: Instead of the usual three wooden tables with open sunshades you find birch trees, conveying a lot of tranquillity amidst the scene district. The rooms are devoted to Zen as well: Purity, indirect lighting and minimalism at its best. The business people like that and the cuisine as well, Catalan specialties following the topical principal of slow food. And if you have eaten your food real slowly, you can slowly light a cigar at the Cigar Lounge. Double room from 180 euros per night.
Different styles behind each door: The Hotel Widder is the Omelette Surprise among the design hotels. And so you are spoilt for choice: Baroque wall painting or loft with metal balcony? In the mood for heavy wooden beams or Andy Warhol? You'll find everything at the Hotel Widder: While the nine Medieval town houses feature different styles each, they have one thing in common: individualism. Minimal meets maximal here: You are offered heavy curtains, Biedermeier furniture and playful styles just as much as armatures sparkling with chromate, masculine leather sofas and pure lines. The restaurants feature a similar mix: The breakfast pavilion below a glass roof is so bright that you can see the yolk shimmering through your egg. While the Widder Restaurant is darker it is equally excellent (15 Gault Millau points). The Widder Bar features jazz in the evening. And with Hank Jones and Phil Woods you can easily round off the day over a single malt whisky. Double room from 550 Euros per night.
And here's another hotel of the Swiss private label "Come in and feel good". While the Hotel Otter is 770 years old, neither its furniture nor its clientele are outdated. There's a lot of art everywhere, the rooms having been designed by various artists, so you won't get bored even at night time. There is an African lodge with bamboo elements, a Japanese variant with the usual minimalism, a maritime room with blue-striped wallpaper or fancy single rooms. At the Hotel Otter they know that there are different strokes for different folk, so individualism ranks high here. But the clientele - somewhere between model and musician - has to live up to James Joyce's harsh dictum: "Love, lie and look good because tomorrow we have to die". There are no limits to the cravings for pleasure and the door is open to the bar. While the latter's name is "Wüste" (desert), it is no desert at all. Here, true Zurich people get together for Swiss chats and a genuine Swiss beer. Do you need more? Double room from 105 Euros per night.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
The Boutique Roma has style, i.e. Belgian and not Italian style. While the name is somewhat misguiding, you may rest assured: What you buy here has a name. And a big one at that. You'll find Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester here. And they are not alone because Roma also hosts international designers together with the Belgian ones, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens or Haider Ackermann among them. If you have found the fitting noble outfit you can also leave your old sandals here. The new shoes come from Shoto, Fitzroy and Camper, the bags from Sak and Numero 10. And while SHE lives out her shopping frenzy, HE is also offered the fitting designer wear. Boutique Roma offers Royal Shirt, The Viridi-Anne and Georgio Brato for men. Once you leave the store you've shopped in three countries: Belgian designers on Swiss ground and with Italian names.
Where the world is still a disc, the world is fine. At the Zero Zero you won't find a double zero as it sells only the best the music world has in store. At the perhaps best-assorted and largest record store in town music fans will find anything their heart desires. A comprehensive discography of rock's history, a lot of reggae and much Indie is big here. Our tip: If you arrive here on Thursdays, DJ Rexx will advise you and he is a true expert. You cannot only buy records here but also the fitting streetwear. Labels like Superdry, Abercombie and Goorin are the right outfits for Hip Hop and Co. And if you own something that you don't need anymore you've found the right place, too. The Zero Zero buys anything in the fields of CD, DVD, records or games. They even pick up bulkier stuff at your home. There is one genre though that even deters the wildest record dealers: The store doesn't sell hits and they are not bought here either.
Here's another Swiss designer devoted to avant-garde: While not every woman will like Sissi Zöbeli's designer pieces, they are at least unique. The exclusive clothes are often a combination of jacket and long pants. That's why they perfectly fit the hard-working woman over 30, for whom they are tailored as well. The suits are casually combined with other designer labels. Genuine Sissi Zöbeli shoes match well with Anita Moser, T-shirts by Daniel Herman or jewellery by Ma Schellenberg. And the interior decoration matches excellently with the original style of the designer. The former butcher's shop was renovated with loving detail and has a kind of kitschy but wearable style. And, while avant-garde, the clothes that sell here are wearable as well. Sissi Zöbeli mixes jeans, plush, silk and cotton but always stays on the safe side. Her clothing is never too extravagant, even when the western shirt goes with the cotton skirt.