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A Guide to Eating and Drinking in Zurich

A Swiss Fondue

It would probably be stretching things a little to say that eating, drinking and nightlife in Zurich are necessarily world-renowned. But, as is so often the case with preconceptions, the truth of the matter is actually rather different.

Leaving aside all the upmarket restaurants (Zurich, after all, is a pretty well-to-do place), there are a surprising number of cheap food options in the city. Most of these can be snaffled up in the Niederdorf district, where there’s a variety of street stalls to choose from as you wander about.

For a slight step up from fast-food, 'wurst' (sausage) and 'rosti' (roasted potatoes topped with cheese and bacon) are a particular favorite and rarely cost a great deal. And if you must try the Swiss specialty, there are naturally any number of places where you can get your hands on some cheese fondue; 'raclette', which is melted cheese served with potatoes and ham, is also popular - but neither are particularly cheap.

The Old Town is the main hub of Zurich nightlife, with many bars to be found on Niederdorfstrasse and Oberdorfstrasse. Zurich also has a number of decent beer halls and, although they can’t compete with their Bavarian equivalents, there’s still plenty of beer, food and drunken fun to be had here.

As the night advances, the former red light district of Langstrasse (to the west of the city) is the place to head. It’s worth bearing in mind that in Switzerland ‘nightclubs’ usually feature erotic dancing, while ‘discos’ and ‘dance clubs’ are the less seedy alternative.

In any case, Langstrasse has a fair few of both, with a concentration of places to choose around Schiffbaustrasse and Geroldstrasse. For the best of the music scene, on the other hand, there are also a number of alternative spots in the city’s industrial quarter to the northwest.

When you get down to it, a night out in Zurich may not quite be able to match Barcelona or Berlin for chic nocturnal excess. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time of it all the same!

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