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!

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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

Digestifs

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!

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