Where to eat (and drink!) in Basel

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 where to eat and drink in Basel including our favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and bars to you!

Best Coffee Shops in Basel

Kaffe 1777– This cafe is tucked away in a beautiful cobblestoned courtyard right off of the city square. When the weather is nice, it’s the perfect place to work outdoors. They model themselves after the Viennese coffee houses and and make a killer cappuccino. Bonus: Kaffe 1777 is attached to a lovely library so if the weather turns or it gets too busy, you can easily take refuge there. Extra bonus: On many days, you’ll hear the sounds of a nearby orchestra practicing.

where to eat in basel kaffe 1777 basel

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 in basel mitte cafe

Where to Eat in Basel

Best Brunch in Basel

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 we knew we’d discovered our new go-to brunch spot. Located in in the Badischer Bahnhoff railway station, they have everything you could want, from inventive egg dishes to waffles, meat and cheese plates, and fresh juices.

where to eat in basel les garecons restaurant

Zum Kuss When it’s too beautiful to be indoors, head to Zum Kuss. It’s located on a charming little park and you can sit outside and enjoy their mouth-watering cakes in the sunshine.  

where to eat in basel zum kuss

Best Lunch Spots in Basel

Kaffe 1777– In addition to being an ideal 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!

where to eat in basel kaffe 1777

Kombüse– In the summer, Kombuse opens as part of the Mitte establishment (see photo above). 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.

where to eat in basel marktplatz piadina

The Piadina stand in Marktplatz

Zum Schmale Wurf– Go here to enjoy the view of the Rhine on a nice day. They serve delicious pastas and salads on a pleasant terrace.

where to eat in basel rhine bicycles

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 as soon as it’s ready.

noohn restaurant where to eat in basel

Best Dinner Restaurants in Basel

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.

cheval blanc Les Trois Rois where to eat in basel

La Brasserie – Also located in Les Trois Rois, La Brasserie is a little more low-key than Cheval Blanc but still a fine dining experience. This romantic restaurant offers incredible dishes and a view of the Rhine at night. Their pork dish is simply sublime.

Les Trois Rois la brasserie where to eat in basel

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.

walliser kanne wiener schnitzel where to eat in basel

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 terrace also offers fantastic people watching on the promenade and a breathtaking view of the river.

krafft restaurant where to eat in basel

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.

acqua restaurant where to eat in basel

Bon Vivant – The concept of Bon Vivant is simple: a constantly changing daily menu prepared in an open kitchen using the region’s best seasonal ingredients. Take a date here or go with friends and sit back and relax. Word of advice: Go with the recommended wine pairings, you won’t regret it.

bon vivant restaurant where to eat in basel

Restaurant Schloss Bottmingen This restaurant is located in a completely intact 13th century castle just outside of Basel. It’s an intimate, upscale restaurant serving inspired French cuisine. Go here on a date because what’s more romantic than dining in a castle??

bottmingen castle switzerland where to eat in basel

Where to Drink in Basel

Best Bars in Basel

Werk 8– Located in an old machine factory, this hip restaurant and bar is a great place to bring a big 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 really good.

werk 8 bar where to drink in basel

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 vibes with a drink in your hand and your feet in the sand. You’ll immediately feel transported to the tropics.

sandoase where to drink in basel

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.

landestelle where to drink in basel

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 word of warning, the lines can get very long when the weather is nice so we soon learned to BYOB!

Flora Buvette where to drink in basel

Check out my top 10 things to do in Basel here!

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where to eat and drink in basel

where to eat and drink in basel

If you found this guide helpful or have something to add, I’d love to hear from you!


My Top 10 Things to Do in Basel

Before moving to Basel in April, I had never been to the city or even to Switzerland. Upon my arrival, I dove right into exploring my new home. From my first day walking around the city square and along the Rhine, I fell in love with Basel. It’s a charming city full of winding alleys, pastel buildings with brightly colored shutters, and bikes along the river. It’s also one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Walking around Old Town Basel you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time.

Basel is not only picturesque, it’s also steeped in culture. Despite its small size, Basel is known as the “cultural capital of Switzerland“ and the city lives and breathes art and culture. In fact, many of its cultural institutions and events, such as Art Basel, are internationally acclaimed.

What’s more, Basel is located in the heart of Europe with Germany and France just across the border. It’s a clean, safe city that is easy to navigate by foot, bike, or public transportation, making your visit all the more enjoyable. So put Basel on your bucket list and while there, use this guide to discover the very best that Basel has to offer!

rhine basel

1. Discover Old Town Basel

On every corner of Old Town Basel you will find buildings dating back as far as the 15th century. Wander the streets and get lost amongst the winding alleys, picturesque buildings, and elaborate fountains. You’ll feel like you just walked into a fairytale! Don’t miss the Spalentor, the city’s most magnificent medieval gate, and the impressive Basler Münster (Basel Cathedral) with its red sandstone walls, colorful roof tiles, and twin towers.

2. Immerse yourself in art at the Beyeler Foundation

Visiting the Beyeler Foundation is a must-do for any art lover. The Beyeler’s collection of classical modernism is internationally renowned and its current Monet exhibit is a real treat. After touring the museum, enjoy the foundation’s lush gardens where art, architecture, and nature are united.

beyeler foundation basel

beyeler foundation basel

3. Experience old-world luxury at Les Trois Rois

A visit to Basel is not complete without experiencing Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois. Les Trois Rois, or The Three Kings, is Basel’s nicest hotel and one of Europe’s oldest. Founded in 1681 as an inn for gentlemen and rebuilt in 1844 as a Grand Hotel, Les Trois Rois’ guest book reads like a who’s who of world history. Situated directly on the banks of the Rhine, Les Trois Rois boasts one of the city’s best views. At night, the hotel is completely lit up and it glows in the most magical way. If you’re willing to splurge, have dinner at three Michelin star gourmet restaurant Cheval Blanc (read about my birthday dinner at Cheval Blanc here). If you want something more low-key but still a special fine dining experience, La Brasserie is another fantastic option. You can also stop in for tea or a drink and soak up the old-world glamour of this grand hotel.

Cheval Blanc Restaurant basel

Cheval Blanc Restaurant

Les Trois Rois basel

Les Trois Rois from the bridge

Les Trois Rois basel

4. Explore Marktplatz

Basel’s market square is dominated by the imposing bright red City Hall. Peak into the inner courtyard of this 500-year-old building which continues to serve as the seat of government of the Basel-Stadt Canton today. During the week, the square is transformed into a market full of fresh produce, flowers, meats and cheeses, and food stands. My favorite food stand is Piadina which serves up their namesake, a thin Italian flatbread with cheese, meat and vegetables.

marktplatz basel

5. Take a dip in the Rhine

When the temperature soars, the Rhine is the only place to be (especially since air conditioning is almost nonexistent in Basel). The Rhine becomes full of life with people grilling on the steps, drinking beers, and hanging out with friends. In the summer months, the Rhine is dotted with what the locals call “fish.” These fish-shaped floats keep your belongings safe and dry while you float down the river. Get yourself one and join in on the fun!

rhine basel summer

Spot the fish!

6. Visit the quirky Tinguely Museum

This hands-on art museum contains the works of Jean Tinguely, a famous Swiss sculptor who created intricate sculptural machines out of junk. Tinguely’s interactive, moving art is fun for children and adults alike. Also, the museum’s park on the Rhine makes for a great setting for some of his massive works.

tinguely museum basel

tinguely museum basel art

One of Tinguely’s massive, interactive moving art pieces

7. Enjoy top-notch restaurants and bars

The Swiss take their food seriously and Basel has many great restaurants to choose from. After living there for four months I still didn’t get to go everywhere on my list! While in Basel, take advantage of the Swiss love for all things local and organic and treat yourself to some seriously memorable meals. Top on my list: the baguettes at Kaffe 1777, the Wiener Schnitzel at Walliser Kanne, the meat and veggie plate at Landestelle, and the cocktails at Werk 8. For more recommendations, check out my food and drink guide for Basel.

werk 8 bar basel

8. Spend an afternoon at the Vitra Design Campus

Vitra is a Swiss furniture company that manufactures some of the most internationally renowned furniture designs. But Vitra not only makes furniture, it also has its own Campus with buildings by prominent architects such as Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid. Today the campus serves as a fully operational production site and as a field of experimentation for architecture and design. Located about 20 minutes outside of Basel, Vitra’s sprawling, otherworldly Campus is open to the public and it is a must-see. While there, make sure you stop by VitraHaus, Vitra’s flagship store. At VitraHaus, you can see their furniture in different settings and try out their latest contemporary designs. There’s even an all-pink Alice in Wonderland themed room which is not to be missed.

vitra design campus basel vitrahaus basel alice in wonderland pink vitrahaus chain design basel vitra design campus basel party

Read about Vitra’s famous Summer Party during Art Basel here.

9. Relax in the city’s parks

If you need a break from sightseeing, head to one of the city’s many well-kept parks for a little R and R. In nice weather, the parks become a hub of activity with Baselers sunbathing, grilling with friends, and playing with their kids. We loved relaxing in Schützenmattpark, a leafy green park right by our apartment. If you’re lucky, a local stork will make an appearance! You can find more great parks in Basel here.

Schützenmattpark basel

Enjoying a sunny day in Schützenmattpark

basel aerial

As you can see, Basel is a very green city! Drone shot by Julian.

10. Wander around

Finally, just let yourself wander around the city. If you see an intriguing alley, take it. If you’re curious about what’s around the corner, see what’s around the corner! I discovered so many unexpected and delightful parts of the city simply by walking around and taking a few detours along the way. The best part is, Basel is small enough that you won’t get yourself truly lost. It’s also so safe that you don’t have to worry about running into harm’s way. So go explore! You just may stumble upon a few treasures 🙂

basel house flowers

spalenring basel

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top 10 things to do in basel

top 10 things to do in basel

If you find this list helpful or have something to add, I’d love to hear from you!


Art Basel 2017

anish kapoor art basel 2017

The Fair

If you’re into art, you know Art Basel is the world’s top art fair and a destination event for collectors, gallerists, curators, artists, and art lovers. Conceived by Basel gallerists in 1970, today Art Basel brings the international art world together with 291 of the world’s leading galleries showing the works of over 4,000 artists. In 2002, a Miami Beach show was launched and in 2013, a Hong Kong show was added. However, the Basel fair in June remains the main attraction on a global scale.

Last week, over 95,000 visitors from over 100 countries descended on the small Swiss city of Basel for the fair. For the past three months, I’ve been living in Basel and have been looking forward to this prestigious event. What’s cool about Art Basel is it’s more than just a fair. Over the years, it has inspired a region-wide art week. Cultural institutions offer special exhibitions and events, companies host parties, and local businesses run promotions. All of Basel becomes alive with the art buzz and it was exciting to be in the midst of it.

This year, Julian and I received preview tickets through his company. This means we had the opportunity to see the fair two days before it opened to the general public. The preview days are when the who’s who of the art world and high-net-worth individuals come together, compare notes, and network. It’s also when the collectors do their buying. This year the collectors were not afraid to spend the big bucks with many of the galleries reporting record sales. Personally, we were not at the fair to buy but we enjoyed viewing the exhibits without the large crowds and had a lot of fun people watching. If you want to see some outrageous fashions, go to Art Basel!

art basel messe

Unlimited Exhibition

Art Basel is absolutely immense and it would take several days to see everything. Julian and I went on two different evenings and were still unable to see it all. On the first evening, we attended the Unlimited Exhibition. In the fair’s words, Unlimited is Art Basel’s exhibition platform for projects that transcend the classical art-show stand, including massive sculpture and paintings, video projections, large-scale installations, and live performances. In my words, it’s like art on steroids.  

Below I have included some photos from this dramatic exhibition. While much of the power of these pieces comes from seeing their sheer size, movement, or physicality in person, I hope these photos will convey a sense of their scale and resonance. I am not an art critic so I will not add my personal opinions about these works. Besides, the great thing about art is it’s perceived differently by every person who comes into contact with it. Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to a piece of art, it’s your own interpretation. However, for exhibitions like Unlimited I would suggest going with a guide. A guide can give you the context behind the pieces, as well as the artist’s intent, and I personally think this makes for a much richer viewing experience.

art basel unlimited 2017

A 40-foot-long zeppelin, or blimp, that floats for 15 minutes around a fixed point and then comes back to earth.

art basel unlimited 2017

art basel unlimited 2017

Yes, these are real women covered in body paint

art basel unlimited 2017

art basel unlimited 2017

art basel unlimited 2017

art basel unlimited 2017

art basel unlimited 2017 jenny holzer

Jenny Holzer’s swinging metal beam displaying neon messages


On our second evening at the fair, Julian and I visited the Galleries sector. The Galleries is the “anchor” of the show with modern and contemporary works including paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations, prints, photography, video and digital art by more than 4,000 artists. In this section, works by many acclaimed artists such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor were for sale.

art basel 2017

art basel 2017

art basel 2017

art basel 2017

art basel 2017

Exhibition Site

The second night we also took the time to walk around Messe Basel, the exhibition complex designed by renowned Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron. Messe Basel is a sight in itself. It is a modern architectural marvel and one of the most important exhibition centers in Europe. This year, its plaza had a carnival vibe with music, dancing, and games.

art basel messe

Photo credit: MCH Group

messe basel art basel 2017

messe basel art basel 2017


Besides the art, another reason to love Art Basel is the parties. Every night of the week there are multiple parties across town thrown by companies catering to Art Basel’s clientele. While Art Basel Miami is famous for its parties, the original Art Basel gives Miami a run for its money.

Vitra Summer Party

By far the coolest and most fun party we attended during Art Basel was Vitra’s annual Summer Party. Vitra is a Swiss furniture company that manufactures some of the works of the most internationally renowned furniture designers. But Vitra not only makes furniture, it also has its own Campus with buildings by prominent architects such as Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid. Today it serves simultaneously as a fully operational production site and as a field of experimentation for architecture and design. Ever since Julian took a tour of it, I had been dying to visit Vitra’s Campus.

Located just outside of Basel, Vitra’s sprawling, otherworldly Campus was the perfect setting for a huge summer party. It also had all of the elements of a killer party– great DJ, cool people, awesome setting, and never-ending free drinks.

vitra design campus summer party

vitra design campus summer party


Midway through the party, we took a break from dancing to visit VitraHaus. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, VitraHaus is not only an incredible building but also Vitra’s flagship store. It’s where you can view their furniture in different design styles, including Vitra’s classic pieces, such as the Eames chair, and their latest contemporary designs. I especially loved the all-pink Alice in Wonderland themed room which is both avant-garde and nostalgic. You can also try out their sofas and chairs for yourself. Even cooler, you can watch your own Lounge Chair be handcrafted in the Lounge Chair Atelier.

Photo credit: Arch Daily

vitrahaus vitrahaus vitrahaus vitrahaus

A party, however, is not the best time to see all that Vitra’s Campus has to offer. I hope to return soon for a full day of exploring this campus and its famous Design Museum.

What do you think of the art at Art Basel?? Comment below!


A Dinner to Remember at Cheval Blanc

In the week leading up to my birthday, Julian repeatedly told me he’d be taking me somewhere really special for my birthday dinner. The day of my birthday, he said I’d better not ruin my appetite because he was taking me to a local pizzeria and had been saving up to order three pizzas just for me! While I will happily eat pizza any night, I had a feeling he was pulling my leg. This feeling was confirmed when he told me to dress up (he said it was a fancy pizzeria 😂) but I still had no idea where we were going. It was only when we reached the Les Trois Rois hotel that I realized he was taking me to one of the best restaurants in the world, three Michelin star gourmet restaurant Cheval Blanc. Though Julian and I had eaten at Michelin starred restaurants before, Cheval Blanc was our first three star restaurant. It made it extra special to be able to enjoy this culinary experience together.

Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois

Cheval Blanc is located within Les Trois Rois, Basel’s nicest hotel and one of Europe’s oldest. Founded in 1681 as an inn for gentlemen and rebuilt in 1844 as a Grand Hotel, Les Trois Rois’ guest book reads like a who’s who of world history. Empress Michiko of Japan, Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth II, and Pablo Picasso have all enjoyed this hotel’s hospitality. Situated directly on the banks of the Rhine, Les Trois Rois also boasts one of the city’s best views. At night, the hotel is completely lit up and it glows in the most magical way.

les trois rois hotel night basel

Cheval Blanc Atmosphere

A few weeks ago, I had dinner at La Brasserie, another excellent restaurant at Les Trois Rois, without ever noticing Cheval Blanc. As it turns out, Cheval Blanc is tucked away in a discreet corner of the hotel. After being ushered through glass doors, I found myself in an exquisitely elegant room with high ceilings, ornate furniture, and striking chandeliers. Cheval Blanc is an intimate space with only eight tables. The candelabras at each table cast a warm glow over the room, creating an atmosphere of quiet refinement and making it the perfect romantic dinner setting.

cheval blanc restaurant michelin basel

Aperitifs & Amuse Bouches

The meal began with a warm welcome from our server and an aperitif. On our waiter’s recommendation, I had a delicious glass of champagne and Julian had an Americano (his new favorite drink after our weekend in Milan). My champagne was a splendid accompaniment to the amuse bouches, or bite-sized hors d’œuvres selected by Cheval Blanc’s chef, the acclaimed Peter Knogl. Our first amuse bouche was a cucumber foam, yogurt, and pickled gleek combination. Sounds a bit odd but it was an incredible combination of flavors. Next came a salty and sweet macaron followed by cream of mushroom on top of Iberian ham and finally a mix of minced tuna, avocado, and radish. 

Unforgettable Wine

After selecting our main dishes, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle. We wanted to share a bottle of wine but since I had chosen meat and Julian fish, we could not decide whether to have white or red. Luckily, the sommelier had a solution. She suggested a half bottle of white wine to accompany our starters and Julian’s fish followed by a glass of red for my main dish. On the sommelier’s recommendation, we selected a Cervaro della Scala, a white wine from Italy. The first thing I noticed about this wine was its fragrance. It had an aroma reminiscent of honeysuckle. While it was a tad fruity, it was also woody and elegant with a long finish. It was unlike any white wine I had tried before and was truly unforgettable.

cheval blanc restaurant michelin basel

Unconventional Starters

For our starter, we had one of Julian’s favorites, foie gras. Though I am generally not a big fan, this duck foie gras accompanied by pineapple and green pepper was exceptional. On our server’s recommendation, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and order the smoked eel. Paired with beetroot, black garlic, and Wasabi, this dish turned my notion of smoked eel on its head. Needless to say I was very happy I had taken our server’s advice.

cheval blanc restaurant michelin basel Duck foie gras

Duck foie gras

cheval blanc basel restaurant michelin

Smoked eel

Sublime Main Plates

Next came our main courses. I ordered the Kobe beef (after all, it’s not everyday you turn 26!) and Julian ordered the red mullet filet. Both dishes were sublime. The vinaigrette of shallots and ocra paired beautifully with my tender beef. For Julian, the crispy scales of his mullet took the filet to the next level.

kobe beef cheval blanc basel restaurant michelin

Kobe beef

cheval blanc basel restaurant michelin red mullet

Red mullet filet

Delicious Dessert

Although we were quite full after our dishes, we didn’t dream of skipping dessert. It was a tough decision but we decided to go with the exotic chocolate with yozu. I’m a chocolate fanatic so I couldn’t resist trying Peter Knogl’s interpretation of a chocolate dessert. Yozu is a fragrant citrus from East Asia and its tart flavoring was the perfect compliment to the dark, rich Swiss chocolate.  

cheval blanc basel restaurant michelin chocolate

Our dinner at Cheval Blanc was one of those meals that you never want to end. Luckily, it just kept going and going. To our delight, after finishing our chocolate treat several mini desserts appeared. These included bite-sized chocolates and sweets, mousses, and delightful grapefruit macarons. Like the amuse bouches, I was amazed that something so small could be packed with so much flavor.

cheval blanc basel restaurant michelin dessert


To conclude our meal, we both ordered a digestif. For me, a Plum Liqueur and for Julian, a Poire Williams, a brandy made from the Williams pear. Unfortunately, all good things must end and so almost four hours after our meal began, it came to a close. Reluctant to leave the comfort of the Les Trois Rois, we stepped onto the balcony to enjoy the fresh night air and full moon reflecting over the Rhine.

les trois rois basel hotel

An Exceptional Culinary Experience

Julian and I agree our dinner at Cheval Blanc was one of, if not the best meal of our lives. While the food is superb, Cheval Blanc offers much more than a good meal. It offers its patrons an exceptional culinary experience where each bite surprises and delights you with its intricate combination of flavors and ingredients. This combined with the restaurant’s impeccable service and old world glamour make it abundantly clear why Cheval Blanc is one of the world’s best.

If you’re headed to Basel, also be sure to check out my list of favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and bars and my top 10 things to do in Basel!

Have you had an exceptional culinary experience? If so, where? Comment below!