This small, hip restaurant just outside central downtown Zurich has one of the best wine lists in town, including over 1200 bottles of natural and rare wines. It’s one of currently twelve Michelin one-star restaurants in Zurich. Reflecting on the experience, we don’t recall being offered a printed menu, although there is an a la carte menu, but we did peruse the extensive wine list. The server took note of any food restrictions, then proceeded to delight us with each course.
Some of the more memorable courses were the fried yucca strips with truffle aioli, the pork carpaccio with truffles, and the very specific potato from a very specific potato farmer. Similar to the slightly pink chicken served at Wermut, we were surprised to be offered pork carpaccio. It was absolutely not cooked to FDA guidelines, but we truly enjoyed it and lived to tell about it.
We fell in love with venison in Scotland, and Maison Manesse’s Austrian deer with parsley spaetzle is likely the best we’ve ever had. Between the perfectly executed food, thoughtful wine pairings, and un-fussy service, Maison Manesse turned out to be one of our favorite dining experiences in Switzerland.
In keeping with the restaurant’s laid back vibe, the last course on the menu, “DIY Marshmallows” consisted of two marshmallows, served with a flaming pot so you could toast them at the table.
Maison Manesse was the highlight of our Zurich dining experiences, and consistent with our thoughts in this article from Zurich and this article on Paris, further evidence that San Francisco restaurants are overpriced and underwhelming. It also reinforced our belief that the U.S. Michelin inspectors’ standards are much lower than their European counterparts. It also proved that Michelin-starred restaurants can be fun.
Not to belabor the point, but we’ll just close with the observation that our experience at Maison Manesse was objectively better than any we’ve had at any restaurant in San Francisco, and the price for two tasting menus, including wine pairings, was less than the price of a tasting menu for one at a 2-star San Francisco restaurant.
Maison Manesse, Hopfenstrasse 2, 8045 Zürich, Switzerland