Haus Hiltl, the oldest continuously running vegetarian restaurant in the world, is a Zurichattraction that no vegetarian should miss. It has been recognised by the Guinness WorldRecords for the same. Haus Hiltl has a legacy that started in 1898, and is now run by the fourth generation of the Hiltl family.
The family prides itself with its 120 years saga of good, green food, started by Ambrosius Hiltl in 1898 as Vegetarierheim and Abstinence-Café. It did not become an overnight success story, with Ambrosius moving the operations to a new building outside the city. It was again revamped in 1925, eventually making the Swiss move from the regular vegetarian options of hash browns and vegetables. Circa 1950, and imagine scouring the Swiss food markets forcoriander, turmeric, cumin seeds and the like; so yes, Hiltl never had an easy journey.
The struggle was very much real till 1951, till the 3rd and 4th generation started handling the operations, for the world stopped looking at vegetarian fare as something best suited for just hippies!
One look at the menu and vegetarians, including me, would be whooping in delight. The food here is a very fine mix of Indian, Mediterranean, Swiss and Asian flavours, and offers quite a lot for the vegans as well. Their green spreads are so loved in a country influenced by German cuisine that you have eight branches of Hiltl in Zurich to choose from. Once in, you can hearty vegetarian versions of classic Swiss dishes as well, including its much loved Zürcher geschnetzeltes.
You can also sign up for a vegetarian butchery class, that goes by the name of Meat the Green! Then, there are more classes, and you can very well imagine the fun with the names, Native Superfoods, Magical Morocco, Orient Express, World of Spices, Vietnam Pho & Co, Margrith Hilts Indian Kitchen Vegan Love Story!
The next time you are in Zurich and craving for a lavish vegetarian/vegan spread, go for Hiltl’s buffet, where you can customise your meal and pay by weight! This is also your go-to place if cooking classes interest you, and you are keen to get behind the stove and learn the art of cocktails, desserts, vegan spreads and more.