SIGHTS in Zurich:
Bürkliplatz is known for its flee market mainly. It's the souvenir hunters and antiques dealers that flock here in search of lost treasures. But that's not all this hub of Zurich lifestyles has in store for you. Bürkliplatz is also the starting point for the Zurich CityRunning event and it's the place for florists who present their colourful varieties of plants every Tuesday. During winter time, Bürkliplatz is the venue of candle-makers and right behind it you find Lake Zurich and Bellevueplatz, the very centre of Zurich. And have you seen the UFO there? UFO? Yes, in the middle of the tram tracks there is a flying saucer, once a tram shelter, but now an Italian café. Zurich is different, after all. At the café they serve you espresso already at five in the morning, and if you are still not sure what time it is, ask the Lake Zurich flower clock.
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.
Summer, sun and barbecue: Can you imagine anything more beautiful than staring into the flames over a refined beer, while the Argentine steak grills on the barbecue? While the Swiss call it grillage and not grill, the ritual is the same: Put on the "Kiss-the-cook" apron, fetch your grill tongs, open a beer and you will be far away from the daily grind right away. Zurich offers a total of 13 barbecue sites where chefs can test their skills at grilling. One is GZ Schindlergut above Obere Letten. Between rare and medium you will even have time for a soccer game on the charming field right next to the site. And when the last sausage has finally been eaten we recommend a midnight's swim in the Limmat river which is part of the Zurich summer anyway.
EAT in Zurich:
Sausage reigns supreme here: 35 tons of it is eaten at the Zeughauskeller annually. Thin or thick, short or long, in rings, slices or in one piece, sausage is always served with potato salad, mustard and usually beer at the traditional restaurant. And if you are fed up with it have a sausage salad, smoked ham or a "Bürgermeister Schwert" (marinated baby beef paillards wound around a sword). Talking about swords: If you ask yourself why your meal is surrounded by all those weapons, here's the answer: The halberds on the wall pay tribute to the Zeughauskeller's bloody history. In the past, the Zeughauskeller accommodated the booty from the Burgundian Wars, i.e. weapons of all kinds, even Wilhelm Tell's crossbow is rumoured to have been spotted here. You can see a copy of it on the walls of this quaint restaurant, while you are enjoying a hearty serving of sausage, of course.
A typical American diner with typical megalomania: Here, cholesterol junkies can enjoy the biggest burger in town. "Big Mama" is not apt for single eaters though. 2-4 persons can easily take a nip from the beef with bacon and cheese. If you still order side dishes you are either the chief or very hungry. But what else is on the menu? Tex-Mex of the finest, naturally. Chilli, nachos and tortillas are the restaurant's specialties, and also the Swiss like them. Don't ask how your stomach feels afterwards, but if you treat yourself to burgers every once in a while you can't do anything wrong. Only the lunches are slightly more European: Bratwurst, Greek salad and hash browns, while being less American, still taste good. The evening programme is a further highlight at the Iroquois: While having your meal at the bar you can watch the current soccer games on a giant screen. What's an American bar without sports TV anyway?
Neni at 25hours
Haya Molcho goes Zurich. But don't worry, she obviously stays in Vienna too. The Israeli-Austrian celebrity chef makes a present to the Limmat city with her coriander, thyme and chutney creations that are served at Neni in the 25hours hotel. Neni - that stands for the name of her four sons: Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv and Ilan. Three of them work for the family business because cooking is a joint ritual for the Molchos. In order to make everything authentically Neni-like in Zurich, Haya has personally trained the kitchen staff around Peter Schüler and even revealed some of her culinary secrets. The former all find their way into the pot and result in an international culinary mix: Persian, Russian, Arabic, Moroccan, Turkish, Romanian, French, Spanish, German, Austrian and Swiss. Put more practically: fennel-pomegranate salad with roasted nuts and stained salmon. Enjoy your meal!
STAY in Zurich:
The Hotel Zürichberg is well off with its top location: on a hill above the town, amidst rolling hills, meadows and woods, with a terrific view of Zurich and the lake. Here, guests can rest and recreate, protected from noise and stress. The Art Nouveau building's façade hides what awaits you inside: top-class design. Noble parquet floors, shades in mauve and red and great designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Jasper Morrison forebode only good things for a good night's sleep. And late sleepers and caffeine junkies have only to steps to walk before reaching their own Nespresso machine on their room. While George Clooney is not included, the noble Restaurant R21 has other goodies in store. The Mediterranean cuisine is almost as attractive as George. We recommend a glass of champagne on the breathtaking terrace of Zürichberg and lots of idleness. And if that's not enough for you, you can also set out on a discovery trip in the woods behind the hotel. Double room from 219 Euros per night.
In Zurich the world revolves around banks. And busy bankers best look for a hotel that furthers concentration, such as the Seehof. Here, business people may finally take a rest and keep a level head at the purist hotel. The design is slightly reserved some say. But others delight in the pure lines, the absence of pomp and the plain appearance. A bed, a table, a chair - do you need more than that? Okay, we will need some high-tech, too. And the furniture is best quality, too. The junior suite even boasts its own terrace, and a bath to feel good in with a beautiful bathtub. But still, even the upper floors are manageable as to sizes: 25 square metres feature only what needs to be there. The rest is bells and whistles anyway. This trend continues into the restaurant, which is often frequented by the local culture scene due to its vicinity to the opera. A titbit of sushi, little sashimi, well prepared by chef de cuisine Keisuke Takatori, who you may watch while he prepares his art. Conclusion: Dining and sleeping is well-portioned at the Seehof. But there's nothing wrong with it every once in a while. Double rooms from 211 Euros per night.
The Kindli is one of these honest hotels one likes to visit and likes to leave again. And one likes to remind it. Here, they've been in the hospitality business for 500 years already. While in former times the pious ones with their very pious thoughts flocked to the Christian hospice and its very pious landlord, today's guests wash away their sins on Grander water. They put their heads on Hästens pillows and pray that their credit cards last through their shopping sprees at Zurich's top designers around the corner. But also the restaurant is worth its price: While the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine has not much room for tight belts, it has made room for Hanny Fries, whose pictures are on the restaurant's wall. On the wine card you find the noblest champagne as well as red and white wines from all over the world. One thing for sure: With its fountain in front of the windows, its Laura Ashley style and the church bells in the morning, the Kindli is one of the most romantic hotels in town. Whether it's still as pious as in former times we can't say. Double room from 277 Euros per night.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
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.
André (Andi) Stutz is a true sunshine and king in his field. Together with his sisters Elsa and Maya, he runs the company Fabric Frontline since 1980 and offers an immense range of precious silks. Not only his deer friend Vivienne Westwood but also Chanel, Gucci and Givenchy count to his clients. Apart from offering fine silk, Stutz and his team also design and produce accessories like neckerchiefs, scarves, foulards and ties. The headquarters with its complete range of fabrics is located in Ankerstrasse 118, whereas the boutique can be reached at Bahnhofstrasse 25, offering fashion made of cashmere and silk. Pullovers, jackets, blouses and coats made of silk are shining brightly in rainbow colours as if they were competing against each other. The boutique itself, designed by Ugo Rondinone, is richly colourful as well. For those of you who want it most exclusive can buy a custom-tailored silk garment by André Stutz.
The bulky pelican in the label is fortunately not a guideline for the men's styling who stop by Pelikamo in Zurich. They rather come into the former bank house - only a few minutes away from Bahnhofstraße and the tradespersons - because of the straight menswear by Mismo, Lavenham, Aesop or Pelikamo. There are bilious green pants lying next to the pink sweater and the moss-green loafers - and everything looks impeccable. Evidently a woman had a hand in the store concept. Together with three men Mia Zeltner has opened Pelikamo in 2011. Apart from garments they also offer tartly scented candles and whiskey from a Swiss distillery. Between the fittings they let their male customers sit on the retro sofa and give them magazines to read - to reflect over certain matters. Randy Kündig, the kind soul at Pelikamo will bring an espresso. It might be possible that the suit trousers will still not fit after that. But that shouldn't be a problem as the in-house tailor will change the garment or make a new pair for you.