I was hungry, and even worse behind schedule in my self-guided whirlwind 4-hour layover tour of Zürich.
To make matters worse, Zeughauskeller, the place where I was recommended to go try that most famous of Zürich plates, Zürcher Geschnetzeltes mit Butterrösti, boasted a 2-hour wait in line! There was no way I’d be able to make my connecting flight if I braved that queue.
Plan B activated: Hopping into the nearest taxi, I asked the driver (in very broken Swiss German) to take me to any eatery where the meats and potatoes of Switzerland are served - without having to wait. He laughed and replied to me in perfect English (how’d he know I spoke English?) that most other restaurants besides Zeughauskeller (which tends to be touristy) would likely offer immediate seating. He then added that he’d take me to a nearby local favorite, if that was okay with me.
Sold. Down the side alleys of the Bahnhofstrasse we shot.
The cab driver dropped me off only two minutes later (and seventeen Swiss francs poorer) on the other side of the river Limmat. “You’re looking for Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten. Good Swiss food there. And no line,” he extolled as I paid my fare.
Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten occupies the second story in a medieval guild house which is rich in history. Gutted by fire in 2007, and then rebuilt to its original standards, the plentifully wood-paneled (and near-empty) guild hall / dining room was a welcome sight for sore eyes.
Coats of Arms of the various historical guilds display prominently along the staircase leading up to the restaurant.
The server was a young but stern-looking chap. I politely relayed my need to have a quick Swiss meal, as I had a flight to catch. True to my request, he almost immediately and briskly handed me the menu. Outstanding.
Mythos is a nice white table wine from eastern Switzerland…
Bread and butter: I was hoping more for the traditional braided Zopf bread, but was informed that it was served on weekends only…
A nice view of the 11th-century Kirche Fraumünster, adjacent to the bridge Münsterbrücke, as I dined…
Amuse bouche: Carrot and ginger soup… Very refreshing.
Tableside preparation of my entrée…
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes mit Butterrösti: Sliced veal (Zürich-style), served with classic Swiss Rösti (frittered potatoes). The dish was perfectly seasoned. The potato and veal are in great harmony on the palate, both in texture and in flavor! Delicious!
Dessert time!!! Those wacky Swiss guildmaster bankers know how to party!
Coupe Nesselrode: Meringue, ice cream, and chestnut vermicelli topped with cream… Maybe chestnuts just taste better when the temperature is near-freezing outside. I can easily see why this is the most popular dessert at Zunfthaus zum Zimmerleuten.
An expedient yet terrific meal! This taste of the Canton of Zürich (does this mean it’s “Canton”ese food?!) wasn’t cheap by any means (nothing is cheap in Zürich, it would appear). But, I did end up making my connecting flight on time. God bless the Swiss and their efficiency.
Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten
+41 44 250 53 63