When people think of Seefeld, Iroquois is one of the restaurants that will come to mind. It is an ideal place for lunch, dinner or a relaxed after work drink. Designed in the style of an American country-house, Iroquois has become prominent through its Californian inspired Tex-Mex cuisine as well as the classic burgers. Offering a wide selection, patrons can order Zurich’s largest burger here – either to share or… not. Seating 66 inside and 110 outside, this place is hiving year round – though especially during summer. Its proximity to Lake Zurich makes it popular for weekend chillers enjoying a cocktail outside. Indoor seating – especially in winter – can get a bit scarce; so make sure to book a table ahead of time. The booking made for a table on a weekday lunch was easy. It all happened online by filling out the necessary details and entering a code, which Iroquois sent to my mobile number. Following that a booking confirmation was sent out stating all the details. I could have just called of course…. Upon arrival the restaurant is almost full. Quickly I am seated at the booked table and asked whether I’d like a drink. I decide to check out the menu first and end up ordering a house special Ginger Apple Yootea (5 dl CHF 5.50) – the Jasmine Green Yootea is out. My friend makes do with a Coke (2.5 dl CHF 4.20). While some patrons are settling up, more enter the establishment and at the same time our food order is taken – a pretty casual and friendly affair. The lunch menus smoked salmon wrap or couscous (both at around CHF 20.-) sound interesting but I opt for the Galloway Beef Burger with Chips (CHF 26.00) nevertheless. My friend orders the Goat Cheese Burger with Chips (CHF 28.50). Both burgers are available with a choice of three different buns, the meat cooked to specification. Despite the restaurant being fairly busy, the food arrives within 20 minutes – this is great as it makes popping out for a quick lunch possible. So… The food looks good, served on a rustic wooden board and the chips neatly kept in a metal bucket. The fresh mince paddy is cooked medium as specified and the garnishes – lettuce, onions and tomato – are served on the side. The sesame bun deserves a special mention! Toasted perfectly and definitely not spongy – just the way a burger bun should be. The chips – chunky with a bit of skin left on the sides – taste good although we decide to add some more salt. A selection of homemade Bohemia sauces – including tomato ketchup and BBQ – are available on the table. By the time we’re done with our meal and hour has passed. It’s about 13:30 and the restaurant is clearing out a bit. Settling up the bill totals to CHF 64.20 for both – not too bad for a hearty lunch in the centre of Zurich.
A friendly welcome upon entering the establishment always makes a difference. We take a seat at one of the front cooking areas right by the Teppan grill. The restaurant is fairly quiet on a Wednesday evening. Located in the heart of Zurich’s financial district, this place seems to be one that attracts crowds for lunch and directly after work. Looking around, the whisk-shaped lamps and minimalistic furniture creates a modern and urban atmosphere – at the same time preserving the Asian atmosphere. The gigantic Kuala Lumpur MRT (public transport) map quickly catches my attention. In the background a movie about the city is playing on repeat. Memories of my time in Kuala Lumpur…With a fairly wide selection of Asian brews, I opt for the Tiger Beer (3 dl CHF 7.00) while my friend orders a Weizen (3 dl CHF 7.00). There is a misunderstanding with the drinks order, which however was handled very well by the front-of-house staff. The correct drinks were served following a friendly apology. That’s how to do it! Skimming through the dinner menu the choice is an obvious one. All-you-can-eat Teppanyaki (CHF 49.90 per person) it is! We start with a hearty Miso Soup, which is included in the all-you-can-eat arrangement. The first set of grilled dishes is a mix of different specialties offered. These include chicken, beef, pork, prawns and salmon. Allowing flexibility, patrons can select and omit from the platters as desired. Steamed rice and egg-fried-rice is served as a side dish. The smell of what’s on the grill slowly diffuses in the room around us. The dishes arrive – a feast for all senses. A variety of sauces – including some spicy ones – as well as ginger and fried garlic are available to indulge in. If you overdo it with the chilli, it’s good to know that tap water is available free of charge. While the chicken has been grilled well, I added more seasoning to them. My personal favourite has to be the beef and salmon, whose taste suggests good quality cuts. The tofu on the grill is also a combination that works very well.The total bill amounts to CHF 113.80 and so we leave the KL Teppanyaki satisfied and very full indeed. The friendly downtown casual Asian grill restaurant that blends Japan’s Teppanyaki dishes with KL style grill culture is not only a place for a quick lunch.
Passing the restaurant on a regular basis I have come to notice that there is always a humble crowd of people gathered outside Bohemia – in summer even more so of course. Walking through the bar section upon entering we were soon greeted by a friendly member of staff who showed us to our table in the restaurant area. Despite the restaurant’s occupancy level of approximately 75% the menu cards were brought to us in good time and the service didn’t seem rushed at any stage of the evening. The interior of the restaurant has been designed and decorated tastefully to suit the American brasserie concept. The background music as well as the hustling and bustling sounds coming from the bar give the place a certain vibrancy – yet they aren’t intrusive. The open view towards the grill station – where the chefs work their magic – provides a joyous forecast, making you hungry while waiting for your meal. After a brief intermission the main course is served. The Irish Rack of Lamb (300 g at CHF 48.00) was tender on the inside and slightly crusty on the edges – just how I like it. The side-order chips were portioned generously. Following the waitress’ recommendation I opted for the red wine sauce to accompany the lamb. This complemented the meat well, although I believe there would have been more exciting options on the menu to select from. The Argentinian Black Angus Filet Mignon beef (220 g at CHF 62.00) with roasted seasonal vegetables as a side was ordered medium-rare and was very tender indeed. The waitress recommended the Chimichurri sauce – which is really more of an oil – to go with the filet. The balanced mix of fresh herbs and garlic tasted delicious but at the same time did not overpower the meat. Our evening is rounded off with a coffee (CHF 4.50), which was served elegantly on a tray accompanied with water and a sweet treat. Our total bill for the two of us including two coke beverages (CHF 4.50 each) – which by the way were served with lemon and ice – totaled to CHF 156.50. So… if you like your meat done properly and appreciate friendly and professional service as well as a good atmosphere to accompany your meal you should nip into Bohemia one night – or for lunch of course – and order what takes your fancy. Bohemia also offers an à la carte brunch at weekends.
Korner Burger, located in the financial district of Zurich, has gained a reputation for its Swiss Highland Beef that makes up its legendary gourmet burgers. Korner prides itself on its high quality and locally sourced ingredients. Offering a change of scene during a business lunch, Korner Burger seems to be a popular choice for dinner as well (the restaurant is open every day except Sundays). Easily accessible by public transport (Stockerstrasse), the restaurant does not have private parking spaces. Public parking spaces however, can be found in the area (although… it is the city of Zurich, so maybe just hop on public transport). There is not much that gives away what is going on inside Korner Burger. “Life’s too short for bad coffee” are the only giveaways on the board outside the restaurant. While it may cause some people to mistake the restaurant for a coffeehouse, it definitely sparks curiosity as to what the fuss inside is all about… To the left of the entrance an outdoor patio area with two despondent tables serve as a reminder that those sunny summer days will at one point be back to bless the city. Waiting for my friend outside the restaurant it struck me that this place is well-maintained. Then I noticed the kitchen, which is located underground. I interpreted the untinted windows as a good sign. A sign that there is nothing to hide! A sign that the hosts take pride in what goes on in the kitchen! A showcase! As more and more burgers are being prepared alongside fries and other goodness, I begin feeling the February wind. I’m getting hungrier by the minute and am looking forward to a good burger. My friend arrives and we scout for a table for two. After about a minute’s wait at the little reception table designed to welcome the patrons, we are greeted by a friendly waiter who escorts us to a table. The ‘reserved’ sign disappears as he takes it away (we thought we’d try our luck and thus chose not to book a table). The menu sits at the sleekly arranged wooded table ready to be explored. The atmosphere is cheerful, dappa… yet casual. Reading the menu I feel that the lights could be turned up a notch if it were for me… but my friend felt that it was almost too bright – so let’s just say, it’s difficult to please everyone… We placed our order for the starters and main course. The waitress ensured that we were aware that the rhubarb-schorle (3 dl CHF 5.50) is served with fresh mint and ice. Very thoughtful. Personally, I decided to stick to a more conventional brew – the wheat beer Turbinenbräu Start (5 dl CHF 8.00). It is clear that the staff at this place know the menu well, as advice and answers to our curious questions were given on numerous occasions. However, I did expect to be asked how I would like the meat to be cooked – but this did not happen. The starter arrives – we decided to share a plate of nachos (CHF 9.50). This was definitely the right choice – as opposed to a traditional mountain full of nachos, these were portioned perfectly. A nice sour cream addition leaves you wanting more. Not burnt, no clumps of cheese, not over-salted – they seem to have gotten this just right. The waitress asked us whether we were ready for the burgers – and sure thing we were! We decided to order The Kraut (handmade beef burger, Korner Sauce, organic bacon, coleslaw, fried egg, roasted onions and salad leaf) (CHF 24.50) and the Cheese Please (handmade beef burger, Korner Sauce, swiss cheese and salad leaf) (CHF 22.00). The burgers were cooked well and the buns were a perfect match. The rest of the garnishing is left on the side of the plate, allowing you to add as you please. The accompanied sauces are all homemade. Having particularly enjoyed the Garlic Mayo (CHF 2.50), the BBQ Sauce (CHF 2.50) at Korner seems to have a strong tomato base. The Korner Fries (CHF 5.50) and Onion Rings (CHF 5.50) were not necessarily the highlight of the meal (some chips were overcooked and others slightly undercooked, the onion rings were fairly greasy).After a little pause we decided that we would satisfy our sweet tooth. The monthly special Toblerone Mousse (CHF 7.50) – that’s what it was going to be… Attentively served, decorated with an eye for detail, tasty and yet not too rich… The Espresso (CHF 4.00) at Korner Burger is served with a complimentary mini-brownie. Sometimes it’s the little things in life…As the restaurant is slowly emptying, the upbeat instrumental music is becoming more noticeable. The bill arrives promptly after asking for it. Our dinner for the two of us totals to CHF 105.00. While there are cheaper places to eat burgers in Zurich, the carefully selected menu and the high-quality ingredients are obviously appreciated by burger lovers. The attentive staff are friendly, helpful and professional and the atmosphere fits the concept of this urban burger eatery. A great place to be, no matter whether for lunch or dinner.
Most people have arrived back from their summer holidays. School has started again. It’s that time of the year where many expats arrive in Zurich. For some, the move has been a long awaited one. Other newbies would have never thought they’d be in Zurich for the second half of 2013. Assuming that housing and schooling for the children has already been arranged, what’s next now that you’re here!?Most newly-arrived expats enter the phase of exploration right at the beginning. Go local! Check out the shops, the restaurants, the surroundings. Travel to the places you read about within Switzerland – after all, is there anywhere in Switzerland that will take you more than five hours to get to by train?After realising that the train ride has cost you a small fortune – unless one already has an SBB half-fare card – most people enter the phase of getting organised. This happens fairly quickly. But what comes first and is there anything you should be aware of?Register with your local council: The first thing you should do is register with your local ‘Gemeinde’ – or city council if you live directly in town. You will receive a welcome packet with all the vital information like the opening hours of the council, when the recycling is collected and where to dispose of certain goods. You may also want to ask questions relating to your pension scheme (AHV). Although the local councils do not manage this sector they will be able to provide you with fundamental information and refer you to the appropriate councils for more in-depth inquiries. Each ‘Gemeinde’ has a website. Similar to the information pack this is generally only available in German. If you’re lucky you will even get a complementary calendar and a sticker featuring your local council’s emblem. But don’t get used to the generosity… Money matters: Whether you are in Zurich because of them, or whether other professional opportunities have drawn you to Switzerland’s financial capital, everyone has heard of those famous – and sometimes controversially portrayed – Swiss banks. Setting up a private current account seems to be one of the fundamental things to do whenever moving to a new place. What bank you decide to trust is of course up to you. The big international two – UBS and Credit Suisse – may be the right option for you if you are looking for international banking solutions. Naturally, all documents are available in English. The Zurich Cantonal Bank (ZKB) is the bank of the canton of Zurich. Each canton in Switzerland has a bank – it wouldn’t be Switzerland otherwise! The Zurich Cantonal Bank is the largest cantonal bank within Switzerland and is also the country’s fourth largest. Retailers Migros and Coop also offer banking solutions. For people who prefer more local banks that are smaller in size, check out Raiffeisen and Clientis – although you may not find a lot of English around when interacting.There is an ample amount of private banks specialising in wealth management, asset management as well as offering other financial solutions. Julius Bär, Bank Vontobel, Bank Sarasin and HSBC being a couple worth mentioning. Insure your health: While everybody living in Switzerland is required to purchase health insurance by law, there are numerous companies offering such services. So… which one do you choose? Well… that would depend on what you are looking for. Basic health insurance will cover expenses related to essential health care. Premiums vary depending on company and the deductible (‘franchise’) that is selected. With a high deductible (by Swiss law a maximum of CHF 2,500.-) premiums are generally lower, with a low deductible (by Swiss law a minimum CHF 300.-) the monthly premiums are higher. Experts often recommend to select either a very high deductible – and save premium rates if medical services are scarcely used – or a very high deductible – and have the certainty that most medical expenses beyond your deductible amount will be covered. Alongside basic health insurance additional cover is also offered by all health insurance companies. While premium rates are higher when insured privately, it might make sense to look into these services as they often offer attractive additional cover – like paying for the gym membership – as part of their schemes to promote a healthy lifestyle. SWICA is one of a handful of health insurance companies that offers all correspondence in English. They are known to be one of the most established health insurance companies in Switzerland offering quality services and have done so to 598,587 clients in 2012. Most health insurance companies will require you to state your GP practice. An English-speaking GP is located in Zurich-Stadelhofen (www.drangelacaddick.com). Check out the following links to find out more about some of the more established health insurance companies in the country… www.swica.ch www.helsana.ch www.sanitas.ch www.css.ch www.mutuel.ch You can’t avoid those telecommunication companies: Some people decide they want a landline as well as a mobile phone contract. Others may just opt for one of the above. Aren’t you lucky that Swisscom offers both!? As the leading provider in telecommunications within Switzerland, Swisscom is a safe bet. Despite charging slightly higher tariffs than its competitors Orange and Sunrise, having used Swisscom for the past 13 years seems to have been the right choice. A reliable network, all documents available in English, including the customer service unit on a free hotline any day between 06:00 and midnight. Swisscom – as well as most of its competitors – offer internet as well as digital TV solutions (the most diverse selection of English channels is on Swisscom TV, in case you wanted to avoid setting up a digital satellite by Sky). Whatever provider and plan you decide to go with, the advice is to compare and avoid long-term contracts that tie you down. Especially at the beginning of your time here… www.swisscom.ch www.orange.ch www.sunrise.ch If you need..…to rent or purchase real-estate – www.homegate.ch …to purchase a car – www.autoscout.ch ..to buy a train ticket online – www.sbb.ch …to buy a ticket for public transport within the Zurich region online – www.zvv.ch …to compare prices in a given sector – www.comparis.ch