Postcard From Tom: Zurich

Sunday, December 5, 2004

For a sweet taste of Zurich, you can't top a frothy cup of hot chocolate in the second-floor salon of Spruengli (Parade Platz, 011-41-1-224-4711), the Swiss city's revered chocolatier. Make time as well for these dining destinations:

CASA FERLIN (Stampfenbachstrasse 38, 011-41-1-362-3509)

Just a short walk from the main train station is this intimate Italian dining room, which opened in 1907 and whose specialties run to lovely, handmade pasta (meat-filled ravioli in a light wash of butter sauce is supernal) and such classics as beef Rossini, a juicy beef filet crowned with foie gras and black truffles. Red is the color of the thick drapes, the pretty table lamps, the waiters' vests and the Italian wine you should drink. Entrees $20-$45.

KRONENHALLE (Ramistrasse 4, 011-41-1-251-6669)

A feast for the eyes as well as the tongue, Kronenhalle showcases works by Matisse and Picasso on the walls while delivering Swiss specialties to its tables. Seek out the luscious air-dried beef, veal steak with fat morel mushrooms and tender calf's liver, better for the roesti (hash browns gone to heaven) or tiny dumplings that accompany the entrees. One of Zurich's most sought-out dining rooms, Kronenhalle is conveniently located next to another treasure, the Kunsthaus, or fine arts museum. Entrees $24-$48.

ZUNFTHAUS ZUR ZIMMERLEUTEN (Limmatquai 40, 011-41-1-250-5362)

The tiny ground-floor pub (Kueferstube) of this elegant restaurant on the Limmat River is where you'll want to find yourself on your first or last night in Zurich. Ancient beams, stone walls and flickering candles create a romantic air, while the cooking honors tradition with local freshwater fish, rabbit and (my pick) deer prepared "grandmother style," with glazed chestnuts, crisp bacon and tangy red cabbage. Entrees $17-$30.

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