The Carlton was originally started as the Carlton Elite Hotel Grand Restaurant and Café, which is why you may hear the restaurant still referred to as the "Hotel Carlton." (The hotel was turned into a conference center in the 1990s). The restaurant, under the direction of Markus and Daniela Segmueller-Reuss, re-opened in 1999 with a bright, lovely Art Deco interior design, an extensive wine cellar that has received awards from Wine Spectator, and a party room.
Being close to the banking district, the Carlton is packed at lunch with well-dressed businessmen and women. By around 2pm, the lunch crowds thin out, making the Carlton a great place to enjoy a late lunch, and the restaurant gets busy again at dinner. In warm weather, outdoor seating is available.
I enjoyed a three-course luncheon from the prix-fixe menu. I had a very good pumpkin appetizer, and my dining companion had risotto with shaved truffles, which was delicious. I went on to have a chicken dish with mushrooms, cream sauce, and noodles. Look for the dessert item with ananas - no, it's not bananas! It's skewers of pineapple that have been coated with a beer batter and fried, served with ice cream. This may sound unusual, and you're right. But it's also fantastic! All of Carlton's food was superb, and it was enjoyed with an Allegria Bianco, a white varietal wine from the southern Ticino region.
Their wine list is extensive; something can be found for every taste and budget. If the list seems overwhelming, let your waiter know what you're interested in and they will make on-target recommendations. The staff is very friendly and knowledgable.
But the Carlton is more than just great food and wine; they also offer fun activities for socializing. They're well-known for their "Five after Six" weekly party, which happens on Tuesday nights after work - during warm weather, the restaurant and patio are jam-packed, and even in colder weather, hundreds of Zurich's urban professionals come out to see and be seen and to have a great time. On Saturday nights, they offer "Eat to the Beat," where, for a fixed price, you enjoy a three-course meal and also get admission to a couple clubs around the area. (As the cover charge for some Zurich clubs can get quite pricy, this is a very good deal.)
If all this isn't enough, Wednesday through Saturday in the afternoon (2:30pm to 5pm), you can enjoy their English high tea for CHF 32 (approx $25) or make a reservation for a private or group wine degustation.
October 27, 2005
From journal Zurich - Downtown Switzerland