When Julian and I moved to Basel, we found ourselves faced with a plethora of dining options. The only problem was, it was a bit of a struggle figuring out where to go. In Switzerland, eating out is outrageously expensive so we wanted to make sure that when we did eat out, it was worth the price. It took us several months to find those special places that we kept returning to time and time again. Now I want to pass our carefully curated list of favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and bars to you!
Where to get your caffeine fix
Kaffe 1777– This cafe is tucked away in a beautiful cobblestoned courtyard right off of the city square. When the weather is nice, this is the perfect place to work outdoors. They model themselves after the Viennese coffee houses and and make a killer cappuccino. Bonus: They are attached to a great library so if the weather turns or it gets too busy, you can easily take refuge there. Extra bonus: On many days, you’ll be treated to the sound of a nearby orchestra.
Mitte– Located in what was once the Swiss National Bank, Mitte is a spacious establishment where you can hang out, work, have lunch and get coffee. But don’t feel obligated to buy anything, Mitte is a nonprofit with a mission to support the local community and culture so they are happy for you to just enjoy the space. They take their coffee seriously and make one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had.
Where to Eat
Les Garecons– It took us a while to find a good brunch place that didn’t break the bank. But once we tried Les Garecons in the Badischer Bahnhoff railway station, we knew we’d discovered our new go-to brunch spot. They have everything you could want, from inventive egg dishes to waffles, meat and cheese plates, and fresh juices.
Zum Kuss– When it’s too beautiful to be indoors, head to Zum Kuss. It’s located on a great little park and you can sit outside and enjoy their mouth-watering cakes and coffee in the sunshine.
Kaffe 1777– In addition to being a great work spot, Kaffe 1777 is also one of my favorite places for lunch. Their build-your-own baguette and salad menus are full of yummy options. All of the ingredients are fresh and local and their bread is to die for. Don’t skip their iced tea!
Kombüse– In the summer, Kombuse opens as part of the Mitte establishment. They serve regional, seasonal and organic lunches such as paninis, pizza, salads and a special of the day. Sit outside and people watch as you enjoy your lunch. Get there early or you’ll miss out!
Piadina Stand– Every weekday Marktplatz (the city square) is transformed into a market full of fresh produce, flowers, meats and cheeses, and food stands. Piadina is one of these stands. They serve up their namesake, Piadina, a thin Italian flatbread with cheese, meat and vegetables. A prosciutto Piadina (my favorite) will run you about $15 but that’s about the cheapest lunch you’ll find in Basel.
Zum Schmale Wurf– Located right on the Rhine, this restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy the view of the water on a nice day. They serve delicious pastas and salads on a pleasant terrace.
Noohn– If you’re craving Asian, Noohn is the place for you. Noohn is a swanky, beautifully designed space with a bar, lounge, sushi bar, restaurant garden, and a roof terrace. They have a large selection of Asian fusion dishes, from sushi to flavorful curries, and their portions are generous. It also makes for a quick lunch as you pick up your food at the counter as soon as it’s ready.
Cheval Blanc – Dining at this three-Michelin-star restaurant in the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois was such an incredible culinary experience, I wrote a whole post on it! Cheval Blanc is one of my all-time favorite restaurants but it should definitely be reserved for special occasions.
La Brasserie – Also located in Les Trois Rois, La Brasserie is a little more low-key than Cheval Blanc but is still a special fine dining experience. This romantic restaurants offers incredible dishes and a view of the Rhine at night. Their pork dish is simply sublime.
Walliser Kanne– Our local friend took us here promising the best Wiener Schnitzel in Switzerland and this traditional Swiss restaurant certainly delivered. FYI their Wiener Schnitzel is absolutely enormous so I’d recommend splitting with a friend.
Krafft Basel – On summer nights, Krafft is the most popular restaurant along the Rhine. With their perfectly cooked filets, flavorful pasta, and extensive wine list, it’s easy to see why. Their large also terrace offers great people watching on the promenade and a breathtaking view of the river.
Acqua– This trendy Italian restaurant in a renovated old water plant is the place to see and be seen in Basel. The rustic brick walls, opulent chandeliers, and slick modern furnitures create a posh and romantic space and the food does not disappoint.
Bon Vivant – The concept of Bon Vivant is simple: a constantly changing daily menu offers the best seasonal ingredients of the region. The food is prepared in an open kitchen so you feel as though you’re being cooked for in your home. Take a date here or go with friends and sit back and relax. Word of advice: Go with the restaurant’s recommended wine pairings, you won’t regret it.
Restaurant Schloss Bottmingen– A quick tram ride outside of Basel is Bottmingen Castle. Dating from the 13th century, it is one of the few such buildings in Switzerland that are still intact. For my last meal in Switzerland Julian and I went here because what’s more romantic than dining in a castle?? Though I assumed the castle would be a tourist trap, I was pleasantly surprised to find I was mistaken. It’s an intimate, upscale locals spot serving creative and inspired French cuisine.
Where to Drink
Werk 8– Located in an old machine factory, this cool restaurant and bar is super spacious both inside and out and is a great place for a group. The bartenders are true experts at their craft and they mix up the best cocktails in town. Go for sunset and climb the old factory stairs up, up, up for an awesome view of the city. The food is also delish.
Sandoase– As a beach girl, I was a bit skeptical of a tropical beach bar in Basel but it totally works! At Sandoase, enjoy the chill beach vibes with a tropical drink in your hand and your feet in the sand. You’ll immediately feel transported to the tropics.
Landestelle– This open-air restaurant and bar is Basel’s happening spot in the summer. Located in the industrial part of the city, it’s off of the main thoroughfare but well worth the trek. Food and beer are served in little wooden sheds by the river and the vibe is hip and relaxed. Get the regional plate full of fresh local veggies, hummus and meat to share with a friend and leave feeling happy and satisfied.
Buvettes along the Rhine– The buvettes, or refreshment stalls, open up for the summer season to serve Baselers enjoying the Rhine. They always have a few local beers on tap and some serve bar food such as burgers and fries. A warning, when the weather is nice the lines can get very long so we soon learned to BYOB!
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If you find this guide helpful or have something to add, I’d love to hear from you! Also, read my top 10 things to do in Basel here!