The capital city of Switzerland oozes charm. Or ‘cachet’ as the French would say. There is always something new to discover when exploring this hidden gem with Medieval roots.
The government convenes under the dome of the impressive Swiss Parliament Building, which stands tall over the city. The view from the terrace there is lovely, but you have to head to the rose garden or cathedral tower if you want to really admire the city in all its glory. Bern’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s no better way of capturing the magic of the place than visiting during the winter months. The lack of bright lights, billboards and department stores almost takes you back in time.
THE NEW OLD
Stand Looking for your new favourite eatery? Zum Äusseren Stand is a restaurant steeped in tradition. Did you know that the Swiss Constitution was approved here in the grand Empire Hall in 1848? Now it is the territory of Fabio Toffolon, a top young chef who has already been awarded a Michelin star. Lunch doesn’t get much fresher than the simple dishes served up here. And the evening brings a beautifully balanced gourmet menu served in a stylish setting. Classics with a modern twist? Asian-inspired fusion cuisine? The flavours and textures are spot on every time. – aeussererstand.ch
The sky’s the limit over the rooftops of Bern. Feel like you’re on top of the world as you take in the spectacular panoramic view over the Swiss capital from the Sky Terrace at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa. You can even spot the Alps on the horizon. You’ll find it hard not to relax with the chill-out music in the background and a cool drink in hand. The menu is bursting with yummy snacks, seasonal specials and traditional Swiss dishes. If you fancy a wintry treat, it doesn’t get much better than snuggling up under the glass-domed roof to share a cheese fondue. – schweizerhofbern.com
KING OF POP
By offering laid-back lunches at midday and casual dining in the evening, Markus Arnold, a young and creative chef who has been awarded a Michelin star, covers all foodie bases. Quick snacks, burgers, ramen bowls and healthy, modern dishes all feature on the lunch menu. After sunset he wows diners with his ever-changing culinary concepts in true pop-up fashion. Class and quality guaranteed whether it’s strictly local, seasonal produce or a Korean kick. This culinary chameleon never ceases to amaze with his latest twist on delicious dishes. – steinhalle.ch
No end of market stalls are set up in the city centre by the Parliament Building or the Münstergasse every Tuesday and Saturday, selling traditional fare and vegetables pulled up from the local fields. There are two incredible cheese stalls you won’t want to miss. Check out the exquisite range from Bruni and prepare to be wowed by young Jumi’s innovative cheese creations. – bernerwochenmarkt.ch
How about sidling up to a long bar amongst an animated crowd of locals and tourists from all walks of life? The bartenders are super passionate about their work. The cocktail menu features classics alongside exciting new creations using local and seasonal ingredients. The accompanying snack menu is another blend of tradition and innovation. And everything is served with a smile. – dietaube.ch
Bern is home to one of the longest covered shopping promenades in the whole of Europe. Just be sure to explore all the boutiques, bars and cafés in the arcades on foot. You never quite know what you’re going to find along the string of little shops selling all sorts of bona fide treasures. Culture vultures will be in their element in the city too. The musically minded are catered to with everything from an historical concert hall to basement music and cabaret venues. And then there are the museums… You won’t want to miss out on the Paul Klee Centre, the Museum of Communication and the legendary Bear Park in keeping with the city’s animal emblem. Once you’ve finished exploring Bern, take your pick from the long list of local excursions or head out into the spectacular alpine Jungfrau region.
VIBRANT VENUE NOUMI
A chilled-out hotspot for laid-back lunches and dinners at the grand Bellevue Palace. You’ll feel right at home from the moment you step inside this chic restaurant thanks to the friendly staff and mellow ambience. You can watch the talented chefs whip up your meal. Mix and match bowls, on trend street food staples, specials from the grill and fresh vegetarian creations for one or to share. bellevue-palace.ch
“Eat Switzerland, drink Switzerland” is the motto at Werkhof. The young restaurateurs celebrate local diversity and make delivering sophisticated dishes packed with intense flavours to the table look so simple. They forage for many of their ingredients and make a lot from scratch over a fire pit using traditional methods or in the open kitchen much to the delight of diners in the restaurant. – restaurantwerkhof.ch
This cultural and culinary establishment is the place to be in Bern. After the recent redesign and renovation work, the place has a cosmopolitan feel to it. Foodies won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer at the lovely café and its five restaurants. Will you try the menu at the brasserie, the Salon d’Or or the bistro bar? Perhaps you’ll dine at the Japanese chef’s table or at the multimedia guild table telling Berns culinary history. – casinobern.ch
It’s all very fin de siècle at the legendary Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa’s star attraction. Dubbed the home of the best Wiener Schnitzel in Switzerland by the GaultMillau Guide, Jack’s Brasserie is a popular eatery. And for good reason! A traditional dish of veal in a white wine and mushroom sauce? Bouillabaisse or choucroute perhaps? Or maybe something plant based instead? The vegetarian and vegan menu changes depending on what’s in season, but it’s always creative and delicious. – schweizerhofbern.com
BRILLIANT BRASSERIE VUE
A gorgeously glam urban brasserie in an historical setting. Cool crossover cuisine and laid back dining all day long. Top chef Gregor Zimmermann’s sensational neo-artisanal dishes are a celebration of the art of cooking. He uses Swiss produce almost exclusively in his tantalisingly tasty creations. Whether you order a brasserie classic with a twist, a fancy burger or a delicious vegan surprise. – bellevue-palace.ch
Words Claudio Del Principe
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