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Zeughauskeller

This restaurant is often criticized for being popular with tourists, and it's true that you'll often see American or British visitors peering at the menu outside. But whenever I've dined at Zeughauskeller, the majority of the patrons around me have been Swiss. On my most recent visit, my tablemates were two English businessmen, a pair of men in their 20s speaking Züritüütsch, a Swiss businessman in his 40s, and an older local gentleman who obviously was a regular customer.

History and atmosphere are two reasons for the Zeughauskeller's popularity. The building---a former armory--is at least 500 years old, with a beer hall on the premises since 1926. The restaurant occupies a huge room with stone columns and massive roof beams. Pikes and swords adorn the walls, an artillery piece hangs above the bar, and the main doorway has an anti-aircraft gun overhead. Most of the tables hold six or more people, with strangers sharing tables. (It's polite to nod a greeting to the diner opposite you, but your fellow patrons may be discomfited if you try to strike up a conversation.)

During my most recent trip to the Zeughauskeller, I ornered Wienerschnitzel mit Rösti. The breaded veal cutlet was crisp and tasty, and the Rösti potato cake was good (though perhaps a less flavorful than the Rösti at Bierhalle Kropf). The prices were fairly reasonable by Swiss standards.

The service at Zeughauskeller can be hurried and a little harried, and my waitress snapped at me when she misinterpreted my request for the bill as a signal for another beer.

Verdict: Filling meals and good beer in a convenient location for shoppers at Paradeplatz, but be prepared for crowds, noise, and brusque service.

Zeughauskeller
Bahnhofstrasse 28 at Paradeplatz
Zürich
Telephone: 01 211 2690
www.zeughauskeller.ch

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Zürich Beer Halls:
Introduction Zeughauskeller
Bierhalle Kropf Rheinfelder Bierhaus