Posts tagged ‘Cheap’
A comment asked for some good ideas for low-cost dining out in Zurich. I gave it some thought and racked my brains for restaurants which serve you food at a proper table for a sit-down meal. I’ve ruled out any place which is takeout only, simply for the fact that dining implies spending time and sitting down. Another thing to keep in mind, that we’re aiming for a full meal with an appetizer, a main course and two drinks. We’re disqualifying any ordering a glass of tap water and dunking some bread in olive oil approaches even though I’d be interested to see how some places react. While there are a lot of cheap places, quality should also count and I’m ony listing places which I have tried and liked. The general rule of thumb remains, if you’re on a budget, go eat at restaurants for lunch where most places will have a set menu for less than 30 CHF.
Here you can get a decent sit-down meal as described for less than 50 CHF:
- Hot Pasta / Hot Pasta Due – to be fair I’ve been back to both places and if you get a good sauce it’s pretty good, cheap and still a proper sit-down restaurant.
- Johanniter Liver has a bad name in the us, I love it and at 13.90 for a portion with Roeschti you really can’t be that picky. Nice side effect you can get it until 3 am in the morning.
- Restaurant Markthalle at the Viadukt. I really like the busy vibe and if you don’t aim for the prime big cuts of meat, value for money is great here.
- Zeughauskeller – Salad, decent Sausage and a good potato salad, two beers for less than 40 CHF – plus a fantastic atmosphere
- Miracle – I haven’t been here, but food is said to be fantastic and so are prices.
- Ah Hua II is well known, a bit too crowded for my taste, but cheap and good food – I prefer the Viet Thai.
- Viet Thai from the outside looks a bit seedy, but great soups and cheap.
I reserved a table at the Riva for Brunch. We arrived and since the weather was beautiful I approached the wait staff and asked if I could dine outside. The waitresses fearfully looked at the boss, a stereotypical non-swiss, yet german native language speaker. He mumbled something, which upon asking what he said meant “Brunch. Inside.”. My remark that we’ll carry our plates from the buffet inside to the tables outside, led to a weird statement about exceeding his brunch capacity. It might be his buffet but it is my money, so I decided to leave and headed to the Rote Fabrik, to brunch at Ziegel Oh Lac. The key here is to arrive before 11:30, grab a nice table outside (shade, no shade, sun shade) and send someone inside to order at the buffet (remember your table number). Drinks you carry out yourself, food will be brought to your table. The crew is very friendly the vibe of the place is alternative as you’d expect at the Rote Fabrik. Food is good and mostly organic. Negative was the graham bread on the small breakfast plate (instead of two pieces of Zopf) and that I was given Caotina instead of the Ovomaltine which I’d asked for. If I order a Coke I don’t want Pepsi. 12 CHF for the small breakfast plate (incl a drink) and 14 CHF for scrambled eggs with bacon on toast is a very good deal. Certainly the guy from the Riva could learn a thing about how to run a business from the Collective organisation at the Ziegel oh Lac….
Looking for another great tasting hangover cure ? Vietnamese cuisine has the answer. Petit Saigon, near the Bahnhof Wiedikon offers just that. Instead of getting something from the precooked food in the main display case, the best bet is ordering something a la carte and waiting a couple of minutes. If you’ve never tasted a vietnamese summer roll, this is one of the staple foods and an absolute must try. Wrapped in rice paper, rice noodles, vegetables, chicken, shrimp and assorted herbs make this a sensational bite. Unlike the fried variants, this is light, tasty and refreshing. Pho (Soup) is a light and vitalising dish. Hot clear broth poured on beef slices and noodles . You add sprouts, vietnamese basil and lime juice as you please. The broth, the spicyness and the fresh taste will make you feel good and it stills your hunger. For 27 CHF (roll plus Pho) a good deal.
Update: Stephan is right it’s on Baeckerstrasse.
Finally real japanese food is starting to appear in Zurich. Ooki is a small place near Helvetiaplatz specialising in noodle soups. It has become very popular and on most nights it is advisable to make a reservation. The sake selection is rather small, so it’s a safe choice to stick to the Asahi beer. The typical Gyozas (essentially a type of dumpling) found in Zurich are some of the deep-frozen Migros Anna Best integrated meal solution type. Ooki has handmade, fresh Gyozas, with your choice of meat or vegetable. Together with some hot oil and some vinegar this is a lovely bite and a good showcase of the type of food here. You can choose other rice based appetizers, but the Gyoza is unbeaten. Japanese eat everything at once so without much delay we were served our soups. Of the four different flavours, which are available, the Miso variant was the best. Salty, balanced and with a strong Umami flavor. In the soup you’ll find beef, noodles, vegetables, and half an egg. For roughly 90 CHF for two, with apps, mains and a lot of alcohol (my little sister was the big drinker) you get a really good deal and excellent taste. Certainly a good alternative to eating a burger.
Early in the morning and before moving on to a innercity open air party on top of a parking garage hunger called. Outside of the Docas a couple of mobile snack vendors setup shop. For roughly 2 Euros they sell a form of Hamburger. The “Special” is full of vegetables such as salad and corn! On top some Pommes allumettes give it a whole lot of crunch. The burger patty is probably made out of stray harbour cats, but with lots of ketchup and mustard it doesn’t do any damage. Taking into account the hour of the day, it’s a decent snack.
Have you ever missed the times, where you’ve stumbled across a place and it was yours? Never full enough to warrant a reservation, but still sufficently packed to give you the impression it was busy. Zum guten Glueck used to be such a place located on Weststrasse. The influx of immigrants from a bigger country in the north with a government and tax system which encourages drinking beer on your subsidied couch are making these places fewer and fewer. Zum Guten Glück specialises on Crepes, obviously filled with different ingredients. The restaurant is split up into two sections – smoking and non. You place your order at the bar and they’ll serve you your food at your table. I was pleasantly surprised about the prices. I had a nice crepe with proscuitto and horseradish cream, salty and spicy, it went well with the Ovomaltine. I’m not sure what type of milk they used, but it wasn’t the regular UHT low fat, skimmed milk. It was a real nice and creamy milk making it a lovely Ovomaltine. I followed with a breakfast plate, nothing special, except that it was cheap. You get a nice decent breakfast here at low prices. We paid 42 CHF for 2 Crepe, 1 breakfast plate, 1 Ovomaltine, 1 Espresso and a coffee.
There’s a real strange looking place just next to the Goldbrunnenplatz called Restaurant Popcorn. It piked my curiosity since it has half a car sticking out wall and I felt liked giving it a try. I’m one of 3 people in the restaurant on a Tuesday lunch at 13:00. There are three menus costing 14, 16 and 18 CHF respectively, including a soup. If you compare this to eating at a McDonalds, where a Big Mac Menu (which won’t keep you going for the day) is going to come to 12 CHF, this sounds like a great deal to me. I was kind of wondering by looking at the menu since it looked very german, even though the place sells itself as a swiss specialities place. I opted for the Schnitzel Hamburg style with vegetables and fries. I was asked wether I want soup as well, which was a creamy fish soup from Hamburg, sounded strange but I gave it a go. A telltale bling comes from the microwave in the kitchen and a very watery clam chowder with a couple of fishbones arrives. No need for further comment. The Schnitzel was two breaded pieces of meat with two eggs sunny side up, accompanied by deep freeze vegetables and fries. The portion was large, the fries were seasoned nicely and the vegetables bland and boring. For 16 CHF exactly what you could expect. I just didnt’ quite get the idea of putting an sunny side up egg on a Schnitzel, that reminded me of a culinary sin. Finances:
Walking out I noticed a sign, which explains all the stange things on the menu: