As a vegetarian, not having a particularly wide range of dining options in a destination is hardly an unusual experience when travelling. Therefore, eating in Restaurant Hiltl, which offers a huge selection of excellent meat free fare, has been a real pleasure that I have endeavoured to make the most of whilst in Zürich.
Surprisingly, the award winning establishment is now over 100 years old, and has evolved from being the eccentric idea of one Ambrosius Hiltl into the present day local institution that is run by his great-grandson, and which is incredibly and justifiably popular, even with usually omnivorous customers. It is located quite close to Bahnhofstrasse in a quite large building, both storeys of which are nicely bright and airy, thanks to a fairly recent refurbishment.
Although the décor does combine with the friendly service and relaxed atmosphere to create a very pleasant environment indeed, it is the cuisine that really deserves attention. Having to pick something from the whole of an extensive menu is for me a novel situation, albeit a difficult one too because of the overall high quality of the numerous alternatives. The à la Carte choices include a wide variety of fare from various cuisines, such as mushroom stroganoff and tofu schnitzel, whilst a personal favourite is undoubtedly the mouth watering gambozola rösti, which is a wonderful interpretation of the quintessentially Swiss German dish.
However, the house speciality and also probably the biggest gastronomic attraction for most people is the impressive buffet that features over 30 different dishes. During the evenings, it has a distinctly Indian flavour, which has always proved to be good enough to satisfy the cravings of a curry addict like myself. Meanwhile, a very nice and slightly cheaper thing to do on a sunny day is to take some food away for a fine picnic.