Only one day time. To get to know Basel culturally, historically and of course culinary was the program. And what does Basel have to offer for vegans and non-vegans?
I did not know that Basel is such a beautiful city. Thanks to a good friend I had the opportunity to discover different facets of this place where the Swiss, French and German borders meet. A ride on the small ferry across the Rhine and the tower ascent of the Basel Minster, I can highly recommend. That way you get to see Basel from the lowest and the highest point.
We met at the main station and walked from there to the city hall. It was Friday and there are regular friday for future demos in Basel too. We followed the crowd for a while and went along the Freie Straße, the market square with the beautiful town hall, across the Mittlere Brücke (middle bridge) and then separated from the demo on the other side of the Rhine and lunched in the Rheingasse.
I have to admit that when you hear Eiscafe (ice cream parlour) you certainly will not think of lunch first. In fact, we cold-shouldered the ice cream in the true sense of the word and passed by the ice cream shop which is just to the left of the entrance. A long narrow room leads to the back and further into the idyllic courtyard, which is pleasantly cool in summer. Here we sat down and ate a wonderful quiche with green salad (12 CHF/11 EUR). We had a large glass of organic “Süßmost” (fresh natural apple juice, 6 CHF/5.50 EUR).
In addition to the apparently very popular ice cream (“glacé” in Swiss German) there are various alternating cakes and quiches on offer at Acero.
Many of the dishes are vegan and also marked accordingly.
We had take-away dessert – an Engadine nut cake – put on our hands. With the cake we went to the Rhein bank which was only a few meters away. There we sat down on a staircase in the sun and enjoyed our dessert. Curious and hungry sparrows and pigeons included.
A very nice restaurant with friendly service and for swiss conditions quite cheap.
Za Zaa – oriental soul food
Before we went on towards Zurich, we got ourselfs a falafel wrap at Za Zaa Barfi in Gerbergasse 87. Za Zaa has four branches in Basel. The vegan, vegetarian and meat restaurant at Petersgraben 15 is the largest with about 120 seats. The branch in Gerbergasse in which we have been has 50 seats and offers vegetarian and vegan food. At Erasmusplatz 16 there is a small branch without seats that is 100% vegan. Soon another small branch in Spalenvorstadt 12 will open offering vegetarian and vegan dishes.
A good tip for all friends of the oriental cuisine. Since I live in Berlin, I am of course a little bit spoiled, as far as falafel is concerned. But Za Zaa’s were pretty good. When I come back to Basel I would like to come here for a real meal. There are many cold and warm mezze variations which they will put you on the table and then everyone can pick any food to their heart’s content.
Info – Za Zaa – oriental soul food
Za Zaa Petersgraben (vegan, vegetarian, meat)
Address: Petersgraben 15, 4051 Basel
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 9 am – 11 pm
Phone: +41 (0)61 501 80 44
Za Zaa Barfi (vegan & vegetarian)
Address: Gerbergasse 87, 4051 Basel
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 10 am – 9 pm
Phone: +41 (0)61 501 85 44
Za Zaa Spalen (vegan & vegetarian)
Address: Spalenvorstadt 12, 4051 Basel
Opening hours: tba
Za Zaa Erasmus (vegan)
Address: Erasmusplatz 16, 4057 Basel
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 9 am – 11 pm
What else is there in Basel for vegans and non-vegans?
Unfortunately, there was not enough time for more restaurants on one day. But I have the feeling that in Basel vegans and non-vegans can go out and have a nice meal together quite easily. And, Basel I’ll definitely be back.
Of course I have to mention a specialty from Basel. Basler Läckerli are a kind of gingerbread, at least the consistency and the taste reminded me a lot of it. As it is quite often the case with traditional dishes, Läckerli also offers many different recipes.
Incidentally, the original is vegan – if you now disregard the honey, which is vegan or non-vegan depending on the point of view. The main ingredients are wheat flour, honey, sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, lemon and orange peel.
We tried two variants. The first was the one from Läckerli Huus (see photo) in the branch at Greifenstraße 2, right next to Mittlerer Brücke (middle bridge). This one is a little firmer in consistency and relatively flat. The second one was from Basler Fyynkoscht in Gerbergasse 79. These Basler Läckerli were a bit thicker and softer. Both tasted good and it felt like I was at Christmas time.
Are you interested in more city information in Switzerland?
After “Basel For Vegans And Non-vegans” I wrote a detailed article about Geneva where I spent several days. Find out more about it here.
Would you like to travel to Basel cheaply and environmentally friendly? Then check out the offers from Deutsche Bahn! Find out more about their Saver fare Europe* or search directly for your best connection at bahn.com/en*! By the way, that’s how I traveled to Basel.
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