GOING OUT IN ZURICH
A good lunch can be as hard to find as a great artwork. The gallery owner Gregor Staiger knows where to go. He recommends the best socialist breakfast, a very old restaurant, the paradessence of Swiss food and a few places to explore the very famous Badi (bathing) culture. Plus: he is also hosting a bar with the gallery's neighbours during the opening of Manifesta.
The thing about breakfast being the most important meal of the day is a total lie, but you need to start the day somehow. If you want to make it count, you will want to have your first coffee next to multi-tiered wedding cakes at Caredda, a fifth generation Italian confectioner that expanded some time ago and also runs a café. You can buy your filled cornetti at the confectioner’s and get your coffee at the bar next door. But since you are having breakfast at a confectioner’s, why not have sfogliatelle for breakfast? These cream puffs are a work of art:
If you prefer your breakfast more ideological you may enjoy Le Mur. It’s a tiny socialist (or linksalternativ, as we would call it here) café that holds about four people and is the perfect place to think about the gentrification of the area while leafing through a volume by Althusser - or a newspaper, if you are a lightweight.
At the latest around lunchtime you will remember that Zurich is not an inexpensive place. If you enjoyed your socialist breakfast but think you need a course correction and don’t mind taking out a mortgage, old-school Casa Ferlin’s bowtied waiters serve Italian fare mostly to men in suits. The restaurant is over 100 years old and a bit stuck in the 80s, which also means that you should order a bottle of wine with lunch and be sleepy late into the afternoon.
Phuket Asia Center could hardly be more different. It is perfect for eating Thai food in plastic chairs on the sidewalk and there are no men in suits anywhere to be seen. It’s also a good option for dinner, especially if you like the occasional reminder that you are in the red-light district. This is what it looks like when it’s closed:
If you want to look at art then you find yourself in the neighborhood around the Löwenbräu with little time for lunch. The terribly named Tokyo Tapas has nothing to do with Spain, but has good sushi and udon soup. It’s in the Markthalle, which has very limited seating available, but if the weather plays along there are benches outside.
What about if the weather is nice and you're waiting for the 6pm openings? Well, there’s a lake where you could explore Badi-culture (Badi - short for Badeanstalt, i.e., public baths) and some good options are Seebad Enge or Utoquai. Or, Carmen says, you could go to the old botanical garden.
Once you’ve made it through the day, go to Kokoro for Japanese, La Baracca for Italian (I recommended you sit on the terrace – inside you may blow out your eardrums) or, Carmen says, Mesob – which is an Ethiopian place where you eat with your fingers. Having spent a day in Zurich, you may also be yearning for some Swiss food, which is often actually less pretentious or ambitious versions of French food, depending on the place, and not always all about molten cheese. The restaurant Eichhörnli is one of my favorites. It’s simple, the service is nice, the food is nice, the owner is nice, and there are murals of squirrels. After this, you step outside, turn to the left, and you’ll have about fifty bars to choose from within a quarter-mile.
Nightlife? If there is a main destination it’s probably Longstreet Bar – it will depend which night of the week it is and it’s entirely possible that you will spend more time standing on the plaza outside, which is good people watching any time of day. Generally standing in front of bars is popular – as is going to a random bar that caters the least to anything or anyone fashionable – Chicago Bar is always a good option.
During the gallery and Manifesta openings in Zurich, we are also hosting a bar at Limmatstrasse 268 together with our neighbours – Galerie Francesca Pia, the Parkett exhibition space, and the publisher Patrick Frey. The bar is run by the restaurant Zum Goldenen Fass (hey, that’s another good one) from 9 to 11 June opening each day at 5pm.
Galerie Gregor Staiger was founded in 2010 with a focus on emerging and mid-career artists and regular programming exploring performative and feminist art as well as discourse in figurative painting. The gallery just opened a new exhibition with John Finneran, Adele Röder, Lucy Stein and Jessica Warboys in time for the Zurich Art Weekend and will present Swiss artist Vittorio Brodmann and Florian Germann at Liste Art Fair in Basel next week.
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