Hospitality | Monocle

thumbnail text

Alma Hotel

This small but elegant stopover in Zürich’s lakeside Seefeld neighbourhood is ready to welcome visitors to the city with its all-female team and luxurious offerings. This accommodation feels like an urban oasis with a quiet rose garden, pastel-coloured rooms and a pitched-beam spa on the top floor with an adjoining terrace that overlooks Lake Zürich. As one of the oldest hotels in the area (it has welcomed guests since 1970, reopening under the current name and owners in 2000) Alma has remained fresh. Breakfasts are vegetarian and organic, with produce selected from local suppliers, while the hotel’s 16 rooms are recently renovated – think wooden parquet floors, modern furnishings and large, majestic windows.

Marktgasse Hotel

Minutes away from St Peter’s church in Zürich’s historic cobbled old town is Marktgasse Hotel. One of the city’s oldest inns, this stylish urban outpost mixes Scandinavian design with Swiss elegance courtesy of Basel-based architects Miller & Maranta and interior designers Kessler & Kessler and IDA14. The 39-room hotel is warm, welcoming and family friendly, with comfortable common areas and a no-fuss aesthetic that gives it a home-from-home feel. You can also find one of Zürich’s most exciting bars and restaurants, Baltho, which serves locally brewed beers and signature cocktails made with natural botanicals. For those seeking extra indulgence, Marktgasse is a two-minute walk from the Hamam Fitness and Wellness Park, which is accessible for guests free of charge.



On the bank of the river Limmat, Nude stands out with its yellow tables, floor-to-ceiling A-frame windows and casual chatter. The café terrace sits on the riverside gravel path, making it a favourite gathering spot for locals – it is not uncommon to see seated coffee-drinkers greeting familiar faces as they pass by. Although often busy and situated in the popular Wipkingen quarter of the city, the café always feels spacious indoors and out. Nude is part of an award-winning concrete building designed by Estudio Barozzi Veiga which it shares with Tanzhaus Zürich. While that performing arts centre takes a summer hiatus, the café remains open year-round, which makes it a trusty location for a good coffee and respite from the bustling city.


Alfresco aperitifs at Nude

Gelati Tellhof

Summer in Zürich isn’t complete without a cone and a scoop of something deliciously cold. Beneath a black-and-white awning in Zürich’s Kreis 4 neighbourhood is the perfect place to stop for just that. Gelati Tellhof is owned by Daniel Kissling, who started serving Italian ice cream from his mobile stand at Riesbach harbour more than 25 years ago. In 2017 he and his sister opened this newer parlour, which serves 30 different handmade sorbets and ice creams with a friendly smile. Try the blood orange or the sky blue fio di latte flavours. As a bonus, each selection comes with a complimentary “mini scoop”, which can be enjoyed in the light-filled space or on the breezy terrace.


Outside Gelati Tellhof


Founded by chef Zineb Hattab with a focus on globally inspired plant-based dishes, this restaurant in the Wiedikon district offers a menu that is guided by the seasons. “Or sometimes it’s a walk in the market, a chat with farmers, or a memory of something that we ate as children,” says Hattab. KLE’s philosophy is inspired by the chef-founder’s parents, who left Morocco “with nothing but their strong working values”. Hattab says that this allowed them to achieve everything they set their minds to, a spirit that continues here. After a two-month renovation, KLE reopened with a refreshed interior, ready for the summer crowd.


Corner table at KLE


At first glance Osso appears to be a casual dinner spot. Peruse the menu or settle in for a meal and its small details and undeniable quality become clear. The main feature of the open kitchen is the grill, while the restaurant’s attitude and approach is to be environmentally conscious (most ingredients are locally-sourced). Osso offers lunch and dinner throughout the week with a brunch-and-dinner focus on the weekends. With views over Langstrasse and relaxed interiors of wooden chairs, Scandinavian pendant light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows, Osso is a place that diners will want to stay a while.


The casual charms of Osso

The Nest

Where else is a summer evening in Zürich better spent than from the city’s best rooftop bar overlooking the old city and the lake? The Nest rests atop the boutique hotel Storchen, and is known by locals as a summer hotspot. It is open from early spring to the end of October, catering to the sunset crowd and closing around 10pm. The terrace has a distinct Mediterranean feel with classic cocktails like negroni and Amaretto sour served alongside a menu of light dishes. While the rooftop bar operates a first come, first served policy and only opens in good weather, snagging a table and spending an evening en haut is well worth a spontaneous visit.


Bar Lupo

Downtown Zürich has witnessed a proliferation of casual new hospitality concepts over the past two years – and Bar Lupo is one of the best. With one foot in Berlin’s techno scene (the yellow PVC curtains mean that the conservatory sits somewhere between a club and a cabaret) and a strong essence of Italianità, Bar Lupo has the persona of a modern speakeasy, served with a side of fresh spaghetti. Opened in 2022, this contemporary gastrobar concept was thought up by a trio of seasoned entrepreneurs: Swiss bartender Claudio Sacchi of nearby Bar Sacchi fame, Swiss-Filipino restaurateur Patrick Schindler and German bartender Armin Azadpour. Comforting antipasti lines the stomach here: think decadent Sicilian arancini, whipped stracciatella with strawberries and basil and plump polpette heaped in nutty pecorino. Saachi’s speciality is the Señorita cocktail, a fiery mix of tequila, apricot juice and citrus, topped with distilled drops of chilli oil that disperse with each potent sip.


The Señorita is a Bar Lupo speciality

Brasserie Süd

The weekend brunch particularly sets this light-filled, elegant restaurant apart. Think buttery croissants, homemade granola and the perfect flat white. Opened by local duo Nenad Mlinarevic and Valentin Diem in December, the bright space has quickly become a favourite thanks to its delicious fare, intimate bar and welcoming interior.


Share on:






Go back: Contents



sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio


  • The Big Interview