Switzerland's banking capital Zürich works hard Monday to Friday, but its weekends are about winding down - and there’s no better way to relax than a long, well-earned brunch.
With cafes, coffeehouses and restaurants keeping the chow and caffeine coming until long after noon, the best late breakfasts range from a classic Swiss farmer’s brunch to Middle Eastern delights like shakshuka (eggs poached in a chilli and tomato sauce). Here’s where to get your fill, but don’t forget that the Swiss tend to make reservations, so book ahead where possible.
The cold brew trendsetters
Situated in the heart of Zürich's oldest nightlife area Niederdörfli, Henrici (cafe-henrici.ch) was one of the first cafes in the city to focus on the art of brewing coffee and it still boasts some of the best flat whites in town. The brunches are pleasingly energising too – try the açaí bowl (açaí, apples, guarana, banana and bio-granola) with a hardy cold-brewed coffee.
Amour by the river
Situated by the river Limmat, Franzos (franzos.ch) serves a French-style brunch. Mornings here are about indulgent espressos, delightfully flaky pastries and watching the world waltz by from its tiny, shaded terrace. This light, airy bistro, which serves breakfast all day at the weekend, also has a nose for strong, pungent cheeses.
A Moroccan escape
Moroccan restaurant Maison Blunt (maison-blunt.ch) has been a busy breakfast stop for years. They offer a wide range of breakfasts in trendy District 4, from a standard bread basket with jam and butter to savoury salmon and cheese boards. Their masterpiece however is the oriental breakfast: a huge platter of Middle Eastern delights such as hummus, feta, olives and cucumber mint salad. Add a fresh mint tea or homemade lemonade for complete rejuvenation.
Deluxe museum dining
Spitz (restaurantspitz.ch) is about location as well as delicious food. Located inside a former exhibition hall at the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, the restaurant has a terrace that spills out into a courtyard and a menu made up from high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Many dishes here are delivered with a culinary twist, including some very moreish salmon and crème fraîche croissants.
Where it’s all about the bread
Zürich may be Switzerland’s financial capital, yet at Bank (bankzuerich.ch) – a former counting house turned spacious café-bar – the chefs are more interested in bread than bills. The old entrance hall has been converted into an airy, industrial-inspired space with pink girders and exposed pipework, where the rustle of newspapers is not uncommon. The café has its own branch of Zürich's organic bakery John Baker, so plump for anything that comes with bread. The Helvetia Breakfast (bread, croissants, homemade jam, butter, cheese, ham, eggs with spinach, smoked salmon, muesli and fresh orange juice) is belt-bursting stuff.
The rock n roll breakfast
Roughly decorated and gleefully dark, Stubä (stube.me) is one of those alluring hangouts where you can sip a New York Sour at midnight and return for brunch the very next morning. Strong coffee and a belly-rumbling line-up of hangover supplies (eggs, sizzling bacon, tangy cheeses) will get you going again, but don’t miss their homemade waffles which can be as saintly (fruit compote) or as sinful (chocolate sauce, cream and almonds) as you need.
A small French fancy
Café des Amis is a cute little hideout near the Wipkingen district. It has a delightful bistro-style interior with wooden chairs and wrought iron railings, but if the weather is decent, try and nab a seat outside. The brunches here have a French twist; try their selection of delicious crêpes. Booking is essential.
Cakes, cookies, pastries
Right next to the famous Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich's finance district, Babu's Bakery (babus.ch) offers a welcome escape from the shove and bustle of downtown with a luscious array of cakes, cookies and pastries. Adorned with mismatched furniture, hanging plants and grandma’s crockery, it is easy to spend hours here devouring devilish waffles, freshly-cooked omelettes and cup after cup of good coffee.
Breakfast with a Middle Eastern twist
With geometric wallpaper and chandeliers that hang like shining pendants from the ceiling, the stylishly furnished, family-friendly Grand Café Locherguet (lochergut.net) is a real head turner. It also does one of the best brunches in Zürich. The menu jet-sets around the Middle East and has turned shakshuka (eggs poached in a chilli and tomato sauce) into a local favourite, but it still has space for classics like avocado on toast.
An artsy home from home
Next to the lovely Bäckeranlage park, Kafi fürDich (furdich.ch) offers a hearty breakfast in artsy surroundings. With a laid-back atmosphere, you’ll mainly find locals enjoying their weekends here, delving into a brunch buffet piled high with yogurts, fresh fruit, thick soft breads, wafer-thin meats, rich cheeses, crumbling pastries and plenty of fried options too.