When I first moved to Zurich in 2006, “brunch” was not quite in the Swiss vocabulary. Only a very few places offered brunch in Zurich on Sundays, and those places were typically always booked out by expats in search of pancakes, waffles, baked beans and the like which were not commonly offered by the more traditional Swiss establishments.
English and American culture has always been hugely popular in Switzerland, so it didn’t take long for der Brunch to become ingrained in the Swiss culture, and brunchen is now even a widely used verb in German. The quality, however, can vary greatly from place to place; I happen to think the best places for brunch are those which already specialise in making their own breads and pastries, but there are a few exceptions. Below are some of our favourite places to eat breakfast and brunch in Zurich, including tips for families dining with young children. Do you have a favourite place for brunch in Zurich?
Zypressenstrasse 115, 8004 Zürich
One of our favourite cafés in Zurich is the French-inspired Café du Bonheur in the Kreis 4 neighbourhood. Surrounded by old residential buildings and nestled on one side of Bullingerplatz with its impressive fountain, it is the sort of neighbourhood café which everyone wishes was tucked around the corner from their home. Brunch is served on weekends between 10.00 and 14.00, with a changing and seasonal menu. On our recent visit, we delighted in our serve of omelette with goat’s cheese and mushrooms, French toast with plum compote, as well as their delicious yoghurt with homemade granola and plum compote. The children were easily satisfied with their basket of fresh bread and French pastries. The café itself is quite cosy with a small number of wooden tables and mis-matched chairs (to go with the mis-matched vintage tableware), but in good weather, outdoor seating is also available. (In good weather, the service can also be a bit chaotic!)
? Being a neighbourhood café, they are very family-friendly. Part of the road in front of the restaurant is closed off to traffic, which gives children a bit of room to run around when the weather is nice. A high chair is available for small children, but there are no baby-changing facilities on site.
Mythenquai 61, 8002 Zürich
This is one of the few restaurants along Lake Zurich which is within walking distance from the city centre. With its sweeping views of Zurich city to the stunning alps in the distance, this is a lovely spot for brunch, lunch or dinner. The interior is reminiscent of a port-side diner off the coast of Nantucket, and we have always found the food to be deliciously-prepared. My favourite are their thick, fluffy pancakes, generously topped with crispy bacon and served with warm maple syrup on the side.
? The restaurant is quite spacious and will happily accommodate families with children and prams. Recently, a children’s corner was installed with books and toys and which will, no doubt, be a major drawcard for most families. There are baby-changing facilities on site.
Bahnhofstrasse 21, 8001 Zürich
For a traditional Swiss breakfast or brunch, Sprüngli is the place to visit. Their flagship store at Paradeplatz is where you can buy everything in their range from handmade chocolates, macarons and cakes to their freshly made breads, pastries and sandwiches. Upstairs is a grand café and restaurant serving excellent food with good old-fashioned service. On offer for brunch are their delicious breads and pastries, bircher muesli, local Swiss cheeses and cold cuts, as well a good assortment of cakes and sweets. Depending on the breakfast or brunch option which you choose, you can also order hot egg dishes (soft-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, omelettes) with a range of sides and fillings. Highly recommended are their classic bircher muesli and brioche filled with chocolate truffle. If you are not sure what to have for dessert, their Café Gourmande is a great option – a coffee or tea of your choice served with a few mini pâtisserie and macarons.
? The staff are very welcoming of children and babies, but the old-fashioned interior means that it can be a tight squeeze for prams and even high-chairs (but the staff will do what they can to accommodate). There are no baby-changing facilities on site. If your child wants ice-cream for dessert, the Coupe Kinderclown will tame any child. And if your child is lucky, the staff might treat them to a Luxemburgerli.
Römerhofplatz 5, 8032 Zürich
One of our favourite places to enjoy a simple breakfast is at Le Pain Quotidien, even when we are travelling abroad. The Zurich branch is located right next to the Dolderbahn in a pretty residential area where the locals like to visit for good coffee and even better breads and pastries. We love to order the Baguette Frühstück, a simple breakfast option consisting of toasted baguette served with a variety of jams and spreads, together with a hot drink. To this, we always order a Granola Parfait (crunchy granola served with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit), with an assortment of brioches and croissants. Several warm dishes can also be ordered from the menu, and I highly recommend their waffles, either as breakfast in itself or as a “dessert”.
? This is one of the most welcoming places to come with your children. A small selection of toys and books are provided to entertain the kids, and many high chairs are available to accommodate your tiny tots. Baby changing facilities are available on site.
Gasometerstrasse 5, 8005 Zürich
Maison Blunt is a Moroccan-inspired tearoom and restaurant, a short walk from the main train station in Zurich. There are several options for breakfast, including a traditional continental breakfast or something with a Moroccan twist. The Blunts Hausfrühstück (house breakfast) is an early morning mezze delight with small portions of hummus, feta purée, cucumber salad, yoghurt with fresh fruit, olives and dried fruits. Not your everyday breakfast in Zurich, but sometimes it’s nice to try something a bit different. For a more comprehensive review with photos, please see this post.
? Children are welcome, although the space can be a bit tight for prams. High-chairs are provided, as well as a baby-changing table.
Torgasse 3, 8001 Zürich
A long-standing favourite café of ours is Cakefriends near Bellevue. It’s a lovely little spot to grab coffee and cake, and the cake options are plentiful. They specialise mostly in loaf cakes in a multitude of flavours; one serve comes with two slices of your choice, together with a small pot of mousse or crème. But they also offer an all-day breakfast menu, as well as a delicious savoury menu, which includes a variety of quiches, soups and salads.
? Children are welcome, and a few prams can be accommodated. There are no baby changing facilities on site.
Löwenstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich
We have a love-hate relationship with Babu’s. First and foremost, their breakfast and brunch menu is excellent. This is the place to visit for the thickest and fluffiest pancakes you will ever taste. Their Rösti breakfast offerings are a lovely Swiss option, and their breads and pastries are among the best. The restaurant is also tastefully decorated with antique wooden tables and mis-matching chairs, all with a nod to French country living. The only downside to Babu’s is that they have become a victim of their own success; the place is so popular that empty seats are a rare find if you drop by spontaneously, and the restaurant atmosphere can sometimes feel like a mosh-pit. Reservations for brunch on weekends are only possible if you commit to their set brunch menu which starts from CHF 35 per person. In the absence of a reservation for brunch, be prepared to queue and jostle with others impatiently waiting for a table. Your best bet is to visit during the week – and around mid-morning – to enjoy their breakfast menu without the craziness of the weekend crowd.
? Prams are not welcome at Babu’s. In fact, they are the first (and only?) restaurant I know of in Zurich to have a sign at the door indicating that prams are not allowed inside between 11.00 and 14.00. At all other times, the restaurant is so crowded that, even if you found your way inside with the pram, you will be asked to remove your pram to the entrance or to leave it unattended outside. There are a few old-fashioned high chairs available for young children, and there are baby changing facilities in the ladies’ bathroom.
The following places are also worth visiting for brunch. They will be added to the list above once I have taken a decent photo!
This hugely popular vegetarian restaurant offers a delicious and healthy breakfast/brunch buffet. Their chocolate croissants are to die for! They are a premier family-friendly restaurant with books and and games to occupy the children. High chairs and baby-changing facilities are available on site.
Tibits NZZ Bistro
This is another vegetarian establishment with a focus on tasty and nutritious food. The service is friendly and there is a childrens’ corner where your little ones can entertain themselves with games and toys. High chairs and baby-changing facilities are available on site.
This restaurant is tucked away and nestled between large office buildings, offering a quiet and spacious location for brunch, lunch or dinner. At certain times (check with the restaurant first), childcare is provided for free to your children by appropriately-trained persons so you can enjoy your meal with fewer distractions. High chairs and baby-changing facilities are available on site.
This is one of the first places to offer brunch in Zurich and it remains a popular local institution. It had a make-over a few years ago and the interior is now reminiscent of an old-school American restaurant with its dark wood and taupe walls. Pretty much the full spectrum of brunch is available to order (pancakes, omelettes, baked beans, home fries, etc).
For a fancy option overlooking the Limmat and Old Town, this classic restaurant offers a luxurious brunch with first-class service. Prices start at CHF 78 per person or CHF 39 for children aged 6-12 years.