‘Let’s grab a coffee!’ is not just about drinking coffee, but more so a social activity engrained in our culture. May it be for a leisurely afternoon with a friend or a moment to yourself, I think there is something magic about sitting in a café. Whether you are people watching, deep in conversation or as I often do, working on the computer, the buzzing sounds of voices and laughter and the background noises of the coffee machine and dishes are strangely inspiring and as for me, spark my creativity.
No matter where I am, I simply love discovering (new) cafés, so as I continue to explore my favourite town in Switzerland (shhh… don’t tell my Basel friends I said so…), I decided to explore some of the best cafés Zurich has to offer. There are plenty to chose from and I am just getting started…
Below are some of my recent finds, which are as diverse as Zurich itself.
Café 1842 (previously Café Schober)
Even though we are told to live in the moment, sometimes it is nice to reminisce and think about the ‚good old days’. This is something you can certainly do at Café 1842 in the Niederdorf in Zurich. It’s like stepping back in time, into an era long gone, when Switzerland was a Helvetic Republic and people were traveling in carriages. The cake shop was found in 1842 and has certainly maintained its old world charms all the way into the 21st century. After you have overcome the greatest challenges of all, namely selecting one of the many beautifully ornamented cakes, you are confronted with the choice of where to sit. There is the red and gold French baroque style lounge, the Belle Epoque lounge featuring a hand painted wallpaper depicting an exotic landscape, the bistrot area, as well as an inner courtyard and a terrace during the summer months. On the other hand, if it is during the cooler months you are visiting, then don’t miss their hot chocolate, especially the one with a shot of espresso – now that’s the kind of drink that gives me wings…
The recently renovated Milchbar (literally ‘milk bar’) near Paradeplatz is an architectural gem with a beautiful hidden courtyard and stunning arcades featuring a striking antique chandelier from a Paris flee market. The interiors, a mix of shabby chic, vintage and industrial elements, nicely blend in with the classical architecture. The contorted rooms are spread over 2 buildings and set over two floors which invite you to explore. The Milchbar, also titled ‘Gaumenfreudenhaus’ (literally ‘house of joy for the palate’) offers a variety of gastronomic delights. First and foremost, it’s all about the coffee. Your coffee will be brewed to suit your taste by no one less than the Swiss Barista champion, Nina Rimpl. Apart from coffee for connoisseurs, there are specialty teas, healthy green juices and exquisite wines as well as a number of small dishes including cold cuts, cheeses, home made breads and antipasti. It’s the perfect place for coffee and newspaper in the morning, lunch with a friend or a drink after work. For those with little time on their hands, check out the deli food and wine section which has got lots of special treats in store for you.
Hin und Weg (Gare)
The name Hin und Weg (this café no longer exists), which could be translated as ‘in and out’ and the first impression as you walk past may be somewhat misleading. Whereas it is indeed a place to grab a quick bite, it’s also a place that makes you want to hang out for a while. Quick, but healthy food in a pleasant environment seems to be the motto, offering a wide range of freshly prepared salads and sandwiches to its lunchtime visitors. The Hin und Weg Gare (gare meaning train station) is located on the new stretch of the large-scale development behind the main station, the Europaallee. The interior successfully takes reference to its environment with a mix of urban industrial and vintage, combining the famed Tolix chairs with old foldable wood chairs, concrete with geometric patterned tiles on the floor, oversized industrial pendant lights and white subway tiles on the walls. Even though it feels like a rather hectic place at first, especially around lunchtime, it’s easy to lose track of time once you have managed to grab a table. The nearly floor-to-ceiling windows feature a changing display of oversized flowers, herbs and other decor according to season, which add a very homely feeling to the otherwise urban industrial environment. The innovative founders of the Hin und Weg, also run Hin und Weg Depot near Kalkbreite and the Hin und Weg Voiture on wheels during the summer time.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post and feel tempted to check out these places during your next visit to Zurich. What are your favourite cafés in Switzerland? Is there any café or restaurant you would like me to check out and write about? Please feel free to leave your comments below!