‘Elevated’ dining experiences in Switzerland | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

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I have been to an underground restaurant that’s submerged in water, surrounded by marine life. I’ve also been to one up in the air, on a flying dinner table that’s 50 meters above the ground. But the meals I recently had in Switzerland were on another level, virtually sky high.

UTO Kulm Restaurant in Zurich

Perched on top of car-free Uetliberg is UTO Kulm, a hotel and restaurant that towers over the rooftops of Zurich, as it is situated 871 m above sea level. The mountain is known for hiking and paragliding, but the dining experience is also quite memorable.

Offering picturesque views of Lake Zurich and the Alps, the restaurant, cleverly decked with glass windows, spoils you with choices between a seasonal à la carte menu (it was white asparagus season when we went and some options were a soup and a main with an array of sauces), a gourmet menu (that can consist of three to five courses) or a traditional meat fondue, which came with a spring salad.

Panorama restaurant

Panorama Restaurant in Interlaken

From the valley station of Interlaken, a funicular takes guests directly up to the top of the mountain, 1,322 m above sea level, in just 10 short minutes.

Called the Panorama, the restaurant can seat approximately 130 people, more than half of that outdoor where they have an unobstructed view of Interlaken, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, plus the world-famous triumvirate of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Panorama offers Swiss favorites such as cheese fondues (there’s a half Vacherin and half gruyere variant) as well as raclette, which you can add bacon to. But if you’re up for something interesting, get the Alpine-style macaroni, which is tubular al dente pasta with bacon, potato, onion, tossed in cheese cream and served with apple sauce.

Crystal Restaurant in Jungfraujoch
Crystal Restaurant in Jungfraujoch

Crystal Restaurant in Jungfraujoch

Topping off (no pun intended) both dining experiences is Crystal Restaurant in Jungfraujoch, which is famous for being the highest accessible railway in Europe.

It took a train and cable car ride for us to get to the saddle connecting the Bernese Alps, located 3,463 m above sea level. And after enjoying the ice tunnel, enduring a quick history lesson and getting our buttocks frozen at the Sphinx Observatory, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world, we cooled down and had hot lunch at the Crystal Restaurant, known for its contemporary Swiss cuisine.

The menu listed lobster bisque, veal schnitzel with fries and cranberries, and rosti, potato pancake, bacon, shoulder of ham and fried egg cloaked in melted cheese, as well as an extensive wine list. All courses came with stunning views of the majestic glaciers.

Other picturesque options

If you’re iffy about heights, then you can hop on the train and weave through mountains. The Golden Express is considered one of Switzerland’s most picturesque train routes. The journey takes you from Interlaken to Montreux up to four times a day, passing through Gstaad, Château-d’Oex and Montbovon.

Lunch on the Golden Express
Lunch on the Golden Express

And what better way to soak up the scenery than with a good meal, especially at the Prestige cabin, which seats only nine people, has swivel and reclinable heated leather seats and lots of space and privacy. For lunch, we had bread with charcuterie and a selection of cheeses, as well as a bar of chocolate and unlimited wine.

If lunch on the lake is more your thing, then grab a table in one of Switzerland’s belle époque paddle steamboats, which has different landing stations and routes, allowing guests to go to different places around Lac Leman or Geneva Lake, even to the side of neighboring France. People will see vineyard terraces, beaches, lakeside houses and even tennis courts by the water along the ride, which can be complemented with a 90-minute three-course meal with wine. The menu changes quarterly. On our trip, we indulged in tomato soup; white asparagus, cold cuts and side salad; fish with pea purée and eclair with berries.

When in Switzerland, don’t settle for just plain fondue when you can have satisfying servings of snow-capped mountains, bird’s eye view cityscapes and glistening lakes to go with it. INQSpecial thanks to Batiste Pilet and Nazrul Jumahat of Switzerland Tourism, and Gia Remulla and Imen Basrai of Heavens Portfolio.

Follow the author @fooddudeph in Instagram.


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