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.
Who made it here made it everywhere. No, we are not talking about New York but about Zurich. To be precise, we are talking about cheese fondues in Zurich. This Helvetian specialty is heavy stuff - heavy too eat because melted cheese sticks and heavy to digest because you feel the fondue's effect even days afterwards. And yet, if you don't honour the Caquelon you are not worth to visit Switzerland. The fondue pot is a must for all Swiss, and if you want to become a cheese adept you have to visit the Fribourger Fonduestübli. You'll pay some 20 Francs for it but considering the quantity that's not really bad. Besides, you've saved your next meal, for sure. Bread with fondue is important but you won't be able to eat the pearl onions and forget about the potatoes. Tough ones go for a mousse au chocolat afterwards but all the others ask for the digestif card and choose the one that has the best effect. If you regret your decision be assured: The Fonduestübli has been melting cheese for 30 years, so you will survive!
Eating like a pig but not eating pork. The latter applies to the Tibits, because you won't spot a pig or any other animal here. But relax: Nobody eats like a pig here either. Yet the vegetarian restaurant favours a casual atmosphere. Guests may serve themselves at a buffet, but that doesn't mean that meals taste like canteen food. Instead of boring cordon-bleu like mainstream meals you are offered fresh vegetarian dishes: Bircher muesli in the morning, gingered tomato soup for lunch, organic sandwiches in the evening. You won't find more seasonal and regional food anywhere. Prices depend on the weight of your food. 100 grams from the buffet cost 4.10 Francs. Does it come as a surprise that vegetarian food gets increasingly popular? Even in London they know the Tibits Take Away by now. The idea stems from the three brothers Reto, Christian and Daniel Frey. They were supported by the Haus Hiltl, a restaurant having specialized in vegetarian food since 1898.
STAY in Zurich:
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.
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.
Everything's a bit artsy here, a bit casual and easy-going. The Hotel Seegarten adapts to the vicinity of the lake, pouring oil on troubled water with its famous calm before the storm. The Seefeld district is not a quiet one, after all. Many bars, stores and galleries demand a high degree of shopping discipline, weigh heavy on credit cards and make visitors dizzy with shopping frenzy. We recommend you keep your nerve and quickly check into the Seegarten Hotel because there you will be able to catch your breath. Its Mediterranean flair, its rattan furniture and the terracotta floors make the world appear much more relaxed. No wonder that the hotel became a pilgrimage shrine for the stressed-out. Among the media and advertising trades the hotel enjoys great popularity. Apart from its nice atmosphere you can also enjoy delicious culinary treats dished up by Restaurant Latino, very leisurely and stress-free, of course. You will seldom find a more uncomplicated hotel than the Seefeld in clockwork Switzerland. Double rooms from 187 Euros per night.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Marek Krynski thought "Why not?" in 1992 and applied for the permit of a demonstration on love & peace at the police. The result: 1,000 ravers, seven cars and angry politicians. In 1994, they tried to forbid the Street Parade but nobody had expected the public outcry that ensued. Eventually, the police gave in under public pressure, allowing 30,000 ravers the party of their lives. Nothing much has changed today. You can still hear the whistles and the roll of the drums in Zurich's downtown area every August. World-famous DJs are taking part. And still people dance for world's peace. In 2010, 650,000 party people participated when DJ Hell, Paul Kalkbrenner and Fedde le Grand proved their skills at the turntables despite cloudbursts. But this time there was a minute's silence for the victims of the Love Parade. All of a sudden there was complete silence onstage and in the Love Mobiles. But the show must go on: Also in 2012 Zurich's streets will resound from the shrill, loud and above all peaceful celebrating of thousands of ravers.
Jeremie Maret, Lenny Staples and Christian Weber are the initiators of The Proposal in a Zurich backyard in the district Wiedikon. Since autumn 2011 the gallery has been housing new art projects - proposals, that is creative offers and suggestions which are both pool for ideas for further artistic works as well as exhibition objects on sale. In the past there has been a big, ballooned plastic man who filled the whole gallery space, towered up europallets in the courtyard symbolising the quest for meaning in life or faint freckles on textiles. Until summer 2012 The Proposal exhibits three more proposals followed by a retrospective. Beside its function as exhibition space The Proposal also serves as a Bed & Breakfast for up to four guests. They sleep either in the room right next or also in the exhibition, or in a Peugeot bus J7 from 1977, located in the courtyard.
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.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
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.
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.
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.