EAT in Zurich:
Aura in the Alte Börse in Zurich stands for a restaurant, bar, smoker's lounge and big event hall. It's the work area inhabited by Joachim Karsten, well-known in the city for his work at Tao's on Bahnhofstraße which was given a European-Asian cuisine by him. At Aura in the financial districts it's a bit more meaty - BBQ specials (like blade steak, bison filet or burger) are grilled on the open barbecue in front of the guests' eyes, according to the guests' wishes. Fish lovers' palates are tickled by salmon steaks, zander filets or lobster with tomato-basil-butter. And for dessert (which by the way opens the menu) they serve apple-blueberry-clafouits or caramel flan. This meal wants to be digested well - that's why you head to the second floor of the venue - to the Smoker's Lounge or the bar. By the way, Aura has been furnished by Evelyne Haussener. She is mother of the CEO of the Tao group that - apart from Aura - comprises Tao as well as the clubs Indochine and Icon.
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.
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!
SIGHTS in Zurich:
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.
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.
The photographer Ganz once built the first residential building here when the street was still unheard of. People thought he was crazy. Today, you would see dollar signs in his eyes if you think of the horrendous rental prices here. You have to pay some 4,000 Swiss Francs per square metre and year today, if you want to live in Europe's most expensive district. Money lies in and under the street here. The renowned Swiss banks have conquered this place in the sun, stashing away the money that makes the world go round underneath. But not only Credit Suisse and Zurich National Bank are worth visiting the street but also the magnificent Art Nouveau buildings. And where elsewhere houses mushroom up together with soaring prices, Zurich implemented strict building regulations. All the houses are 18 metres high, not more and not less than that. Swiss precision work? Sure, and in addition to the monumental facades accommodating banking secrecy, you'll find 2,500 metres of window shops, 180 stores and 200 lime trees. You won't find more elegance elsewhere.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A butcher's shop in the past, the hotel today serves breakfast until 16:00 daily. Are all the guests late risers? Perhaps. But it might have something to do with the rooms' names as well: "Williams", "Kirsche", "Zwätschgge", "Pflümli" or "Quitte" forebode nothing good (being names of schnapps altogether). Is the Kafischnaps a hotel for alcoholics? No, it's not. While the rooms are named after schnapps types, you don't get a hangover from the lovingly decorated rooms. Beyond pompous luxury chains one is devoted to working with the things that are within reach - and has a toast on them. Speaking about "beyond": While the Kafischnaps is not located in the direct centre, prices are beyond those of rents in the popular district. And if you have missed out on breakfast you can still enjoy the puff paste pies with hearty filling and have schnapps with them in a relaxed atmosphere. The sights can wait. Double room from approx. 36 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.