German, French, and Italian influences come together to form a cuisine unlike any other.
Swiss food as we know it today came about out of necessity: mountain living created the need for filling food that was easy to make and required few ingredients. The recipes that resulted from that need produced warm and hearty dishes that make for some great comfort food. If you’re looking to embrace the traditional Swiss food scene, here are six must-try Swiss dishes and where to find them in Zurich.
Originating from Bern, rösti is a fried grated potato dish reminiscent of latkes that makes the perfect savory snack. Rösti was originally only eaten for breakfast but has since become a standard side dish at many restaurants throughout the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland. Depending on the region you find them in, they might be topped with bacon, onion, or cheese. Find the best rösti in Zurich at Kronenhalle, a restaurant known for home-style cooking in an elegant atmosphere.
Named after the Alpine region it comes from, älplermakkaronen is a hearty pasta dish made with potatoes, cream, onions, and cheese. The pasta used is typically macaroni, hence the makkaronen part of the name. The meal was popular among shepherds because of its widely available ingredients and how filling it is, the same reasons it’s commonly eaten by the Swiss military today. Order älplermakkaronen at Swiss Chuchi Restaurant, an establishment that has been serving traditional Swiss cuisine since 1953.
Traditional Swiss bread braided with golden crust and a fluffy middle, zopf is a staple in Swiss homes all across the country. The bread is customarily eaten on Sunday mornings, but most people find it too good to limit to one day a week. One bite of the soft, buttery pastry and you’ll find it easy to understand why zopf is the most famous bread in Switzerland. Pick up a loaf baked to perfection at Hausammann Bakery, a local favorite among Zürchers.
Hüppen began as a dessert for the lower class because it only requires water, flour, and honey to be made. Today, however, there are countless flavors and fillings that have turned the light treat into a beloved part of Swiss tradition. There are even hüppen vending machines throughout Zurich on holidays. On a normal day, you can find hüppen at the Berg und Tal Market Store, an eco-friendly e. stablishment that sells all-natural food items.
5. Zürcher Geschnetzelte
Directly translating to “Zurich sliced meat,” Zürcher geschnetzelte is a classic Swiss dish dating back to 1947 that can still be found in most restaurants today. Thin strips of veal and mushrooms with cream and demiglace served with a heaping side of rösti gives this savory dish an uncontested spot on the must-try list. Try Zürcher geschnetzelte at Swiss Chuchi Restaurant, where it’s most popular.
You’ve probably heard of fondue, but did you know it originated from this small, Alpine country in central Europe? Classic fondue is bread dipped in a pot of melted cheese, most commonly shared. As a “melting pot” of cultures, it makes sense that Switzerland is the birthplace of such a meal. While this national dish of Switzerland became a trend in America in the 1970s, the earliest known fondue recipe dates all the way back to 1699. Alternative forms of fondue, such as chocolate fondue, have been popularized since then, making it a very versatile dish. Share some fondue with friends while in Zurich at Restaurant Le Dézaley, known for its world-famous fondue made with local cheese.