- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- French Phrases
- German Phrases
Basel Restaurant Reviews
Classic but boundary pushing, bank breaking but exquisite gourmet cuisine has long been one of Basel's fortes, along with medium-priced but fine restaurants, with new trends popping up and disappearing in the blink of an eye. Snuggled between three countries, Basel has inherited the culinary interests of each, and excels with offering its own specialties and those of its neighbors … and beyond.
Eating out here, as anywhere in Switzerland, can be a costly delight, and top-of-the-range restaurants are plentiful. Stucki, a landmark establishment, has been renovated and remains the in place for gourmets, especially with its new trendy female chef. Zum Goldenen Sternen and Teufelhof never go out of fashion with their mouth-watering and boundary-challenging modern French-inflected cuisine. At the other end of the scale, you will never have to go far for a German-style sausage, Italian pasta, or mouth-watering desserts, as small local restaurants and cafés can be found on practically every street. Basel is, in fact, full of comfortable haunts. The city's down-to-earth fare owes its roots to the Germanic hordes who arrived here to rout the ancient Romans, bringing with them homey fare like schnitzel and Spätzli (tiny flour dumplings), all to be washed down with beer.
As for dining specialties, the proximity of the Rhine means that most Basel restaurants serve a variety of freshwater fish. If the city could claim a regional specialty, it would be salmon. (These days much of it is shipped in from elsewhere, but the Rhine variety is making a comeback.) The meaty fish is best served nach Basler Art (Basel-style), meaning in a white-wine marinade with fried onions on top. Try it with a bottle of the fruity local Riesling.
If you're on the Marktplatz, join other hungry shoppers standing in front of mobile kitchens, holding bare Wienerli (hot dogs) and dipping them into thick golden mustard. You should also indulge in Kaffee und Kuchen—the late-afternoon coffee break the neighboring Germans live for. But locals have their own version: instead of a large slice of creamed cake, they select tiny sweet pastries—two or three to a saucer—and may opt for a delicate Chinese tea instead of a Kaffee.
Asian fusion restaurants are newly popular, but these tend to come and go as do theme restaurants like the new Das Neue Rialto, which sells food and the designer furniture you sit on to eat it. This is a great concept in a city renowned for its art-filled atmosphere and, after all, this is Switzerland, where anything you sit on or see that takes your fancy you should be able to order to go, no?
For a satisfying and pocket-friendly lunch, supermarket canteens and many of the small local restaurants offer lunch specials (Tagesmenu). These are often a dish of the day accompanied by a starter or salad and maybe even a dessert and are the best way to eat well on a budget.
Note: Thanks to a law that came into effect on April 1, 2010, smoking is now banned in all restaurants in Basel; some venues provide separate smokers' lounges.
Browse Basel Restaurants
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Book the Munchnerhof Swiss Q 3 Nts in May Fr $282+/Nt Expedia
- May deal: RAMADA PLAZA Basel and Conference Center Fr $221+/Nt Save with Expedia, $25/night less
- Hot Deal on a 14 Nt Cruise! Uniworld Boutique Cruises Fr $5,479 Expedia
- Book 3 Nts in Basel this May Fr $129+/Nt — $129 Save with Expedia, $22/night less
- Hot Deal on a 9 Nt Cruise! Avalon Waterways Fr $3,561 — $3,561 Expedia