May 11, 2018
Rive Gauche is the chic bar-restaurant of the Hotel Baur au Lac, one of the grandest of Zurich’s ‘grande dames’, a hotel that sits in its own private park and is handy for both the city centre and the lake. The current ownership dates back four decades, though the hotel itself has been in the same family for generations, making it one of the most established venues in the city with a rich history that it’s justifiably proud of. Taking the place of the hotel’s former Grill Room, Rive Gauche is smooth and modern and far less stuffy than the hotel’s main restaurant, though hardly as casual as it claims, attracting a mix of hotel guests and the city’s moneyed young(ish) urbanites. An unassuming entrance hides a stylish if serious interior: lots of greys and beiges and other muted colours. The food is superb, with some amazing tasting menus if you feel like really splashing out there’s an emphasis on quality meat so the steaks are worth a try, though there are also some nice vegetarian options. They also have access to the hotel’s impressive wine cellar so oenophiles will be more than happy. The mood is sophisticated yet not uptight and service is excellent. The bar serves splendid cocktails, including an apple-laced William Tell, a top-notch Mai Tai and some inventive non-alcoholic concoctions, endearingly labelled Driver Drinks. The restaurant is open to midnight most nights though the bar serves till the early hours at the weekend, when you’ll often find hotel guests ending their evening with one last tipple before retiring to their well-appointed rooms.