Friday, February 5, 2010

Spotted by Locals Archive: Bürkliplatz Flohmarkt - Zurich's Best Known Fleamarket

It’s Saturday morning. You just had your cup of coffee. The sun is shining on the lake, and you are strolling down the promenade without a care in the world. What could make this day better? Well one amazing bargain of course!

The best place to do a bit of bargain hunting and antique shopping is the Bürkliplatz Flohmarkt. Positioned perfectly between the Zürisee and the start of the Bahnhofstrasse, this most famous of flea-markets in Zürich is begging you to wander on by. I love to check out the jewelry, vintage clothes, old postcards, Swiss paraphernalia (think huge cowbells and copper pots), and your expected garden-variety junk and nick-knacks.

Make sure you have your bargaining hat on though as contrary to most shopping etiquette in Switzerland, it is okay to do a bit of haggling here – even if they refuse to drop their prices, you can try! Make sure you visit the stand with all the cowbells – I have it on good authority if you buy a big bell, you might get a small one thrown in for free! And if you need a bit of mid-bargain-hunting nourishment, a sausage stand is usually just a stone’s throw away. Happy hunting!
Details about this spot
Bürkliplatz Flohmarkt | Relaxing, Shopping
Bürkliplatz | Kreis 1 City (area map) | +41444117350
May – Oct Sat 08:00 – 16:00
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spotted by Locals Archive: Bodega Espanola - Tapas muy deliciosas

Tapas are all the rage now, and while the trend has not fully hit Zurich, there are a few restaurants here and there where you can experience a fully authentic Spanish tapas experience – and Bodega Espanola is the best in Niederdorf.

Downstairs in the dimly lit, rustic tapas bar you can get drinks and tapas at any time, while upstairs a full menu is on offer (no tapas). After you find a seat and order a big jug of sangria, have a wander up to the tapas case and pick out a few nibbles of your liking. The friendly guys behind the bar will tell you what everything is and arrange it neatly on a plate and bring it to your table.

Try a Spanish tortilla, which is more like an omelet and not at all like a Mexican tortilla, with eggs, potatoes, onions and herbs. Delicious! You can also not go wrong with an assortment of olives, chorizo and some roasted eggplant. Tapas are just 5 CHF per plate to live a little and try something new!
Come early in the evening for an appetizer… tables fill up quickly!
Details about this spot
Bodega Espanola | Bars, Snacks, Restaurants (Spanish) | Plate of tapas CHF 5.00
Münstergasse 15 | Kreis 1 City (area map) | +41442512310
11:30 – 14:00 & 18:00 – 23:00 daily
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spotted by Locals Archive: Balthazar Cafe - Amazing Studel & Hot Chocolate

Despite being situated in an elite location, just 100 meters from the Bahnhof (train station), this little cafe remains quaint and inviting. In the winter especially the cafe is warm and cozy, and if there is no room inside or downstairs (smoking section) you are always welcome to snuggle up with the sheepskin chair covers outside. In summer, hundreds of chairs are lined up outside – so simply take your seat and you are in for a treat. This is where you can do some of Zurich’s best people-watching right on the infamous Bahnhofstrasse!

It is hard to miss the cafe’s pastry specialties on one of the carts strategically placed near the entrance – a not to miss being the homemade Apfel-Strudel. Oh the delicate pastry, warm apples, and vanilla sauce made with real vanilla bean are calling my name now (6.90 CHF + no skimping on the 2.50 CHF sauce). Or go nuts with my new favorite and try it with the Cinnamon Glaze! It is devine! What was that? The homemade hot chocolate (6.50 CHF) is more your thing? That’s okay, too. I sometimes have them together and call it a week. In summer, I recommend a big Weiss Bier (beer).

Don’t worry – they serve a wide selection of coffees, sandwiches, cakes, and even champagne so everyone can find something to suit at this darling cafe.

Details about this spot
Balthazar Cafe | Coffee & tea | Apfel-Strudel CHF 6.80
Bahnhofstrasse 104 | Kreis 1 City (area map) | +41442117866
Mon – Fri 06:30 – 22:00, Sat 08:00 – 22:00, Sun 10:00 – 19:00
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spotted by Locals Archive: Bäckerei-Konditorei Stocker

This is one of my all-time favorite bakeries in Zurich. If you go by on a weekday, they have a table out the front with all sorts of lovely baked goods such that you can easily swing by on your way to work or to your next engagement and grab a delicious, fresh baked something on the way. There is usually a line but they mean business here so it will go quickly.

On a weekday, and only on weekdays, make sure you try one of the excellent pretzels on offer. I like the one with sunflower seeds but they have several flavors – perhaps one for each day? They seem to have more croissants and rolls with nuts and seeds on a weekday, and more loaf like breads and delicate pastries on the weekends. But I dig it – it allows you to try something new no matter what day of the week!
They have some amazing specialty cakes, too, and they have their own brand of gelato or ice cream in the warmer months. Try something new! You cannot go wrong at this bakery near the Stadelhofen train station. (ps. this is a chain, so you can also find these babies in the Hauptbahnhof – or main train station – if you are not near Stadelhofen…)

Details about this spot
Bäckerei-Konditorei Stocker | Snacks | Sunflower seed pretzel CHF 3.50
Stadelhoferstrasse 22 | Kreis 8 Seefeld (area map) | +410442612663
Mon – Fri 06:00 – 18:00, Sat 07:00 – 18:00
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