The Restaurant at the Dolder

Based in Zurich’s most beautiful Hotel “The Restaurant” at Dolder is distinct in many ways. It is by far Zurich’s most luxurious restaurant. it is also the only one in Zurich to boast two Michelin stars. Lastly,  “The Restaurant” has been on my culinary to do list longer than any other restaurant. Good things come to those who wait and I have finally made it. To make good things better it was all the more fun as I was taken there on a surprise dinner for a  special occasion.  What better way to end this fabulous year 2015 than by sharing my review of this last culinary bastion.

Ambiance: The decor in the very spacious dining room is elegant, luxurious yet understated with silver colored wallpaper and Bordeaux read chairs. Paintings by  Ferdinand Hodler are discreetly placed on the wall. The ambiance is traditional, serene and sophisticated and wonderfully unagitated. The interior design seems to have been boilt down to its upscale, elegant minimum. The warm colours combined with the dim lightling is eye soothing. The large assortment of wines carefully arranged in a glass cabinet on the other hand is eye catching. So is the exquisite chandelier. To top it off there is the terrace boasts an amazing view of Zurich. While we are seated at our table I ask myself what it is about the interior that seems so particularly pleasing. The answer, I suppose , is rather simple. that “The restaurant” is traditional without being stiffy, it is luxurious without being loud or tacky and it is stylish yet true to its roots.

The menu: The Restaurant offers a 12 course tasting menu, an 8 and a 5 course menu, a Vegetarian menu and a la carte We opt for the 5 course menu. Prior to starting our dinner we are presented a cotton cube which is transformed into a towel as soon as it makes contact with water (admittedly a bit of an old trick)  a variety of breads and what seems like a never ending array of  amuse bouches including a delectable egg served with spinach and white Alba truffle which masters the fusion of various delicious ingredients to result in harmonic perfection.

Just when I silently give my regards to the gods of haute cuisine for having made me skip lunch we are finally served our first real course, dived scallops with caviar and peanuts. The texture and aesthetic presentation are flawless however the dish lacks the wow effect. Next is a Norway lobster served with vanilla. This is an interesting dish and the combination represents the chef’s passion for unusual ingredients matched together to produce an unconventional result. We continue with a turbot from Brittany served with watercress and anchovies which is somewhat uninspiring but are delighted by the subsequent dish, deer served with turnips and cep mushrooms. Not a huge game fan I am relieved by the subtle taste of the deer. If I would have known that game can taste this good I would have ordered it earlier.

We end the official part of our dinner with a composition of light apple and green peaches fused with macadamia nut and basil, all artfully presented and simply devouring. Satisfactorily satiated we are ready for our coffee but chef Heiko has other plans with us and  before we can even realize it we are served a sheer army of deserts including delicious pralines and quietly curse the limits of our stomach volume.

The service: Staff at the Dolder is professionally friendly and discreet. They might come across less personable than in other establishments however this is done in an effort not to interfere with their guests private space and therefore represents the general attitude displayed at the Dolder.

The wines: Opening the wine list in an establishment of this price range can be a rather scary business. Those of you who ever had to choose a reasonably priced wine in a decisively overpriced wine list  trying to find a decent choice somewhere between the Dole and the Mouton Rothschild while feeling their palms start to transpire, will appreciate how thankful I am whenever I am presented a well sorted AND realistically priced wine list. Well, “The Restaurant” has an enormous, well sorted list which provides sufficient economic choices but also a great selection if you feel like splurging.

Conclusion: The Restaurant is a true 2 Michelin star restaurant. Heiko Nieders imaginative and opulent cuisine  full of complex textures and flavors is certainly worthwhile a visit.

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