I don't know about you, but one thing I have found lacking in Switzerland is good old Mexican food.
But fear not, my burrito loving friends, as the Mayan gods have smiled upon our long-suffering souls and offered us a more casual and inexpensive alternative to Tres Amigos. In Zürich's old town, known to locals as Niederdörfli, two young Swiss women have opened Burrito District, a laid back and artsy (albeit small) restaurant sure to please Mexican food lovers who care about freshness and efficiency.
Burrito District opened in August 2016 on Preyergasse, just around the corner from the Rudolf-Brun-Brücke tram stop. Using locally sourced ingredients, they serve up Tex-Mex staples: Tacos and burritos can each be customized with several meat options such as chicken, pork and beef, as well as with feta and avocado for vegetarians.
The food options at Burrito District are simple and fresh.
The burritos are available in two sizes, as is a “burrito bowl” option, in which the ingredients are laid out in a bowl as opposed to a wrap, guaranteeing minimal spillage.
The tacos are wrapped in soft flour tortillas instead of the traditional hard-shell tacos that people see in the movies. (Apparently, this has caused some confusion amongst first-timers.) They can be ordered individually or in a set of three.
Both the burrito and taco are topped with three sauce options: Mild (sour cream), medium (chipotle) and spicy (habanero). Nachos are also available for under 5 francs and are accompanied by a container of your sauce of choice. Drink options include water, beer, homemade iced tea and organic soda.
So, how was the idea of Burrito District conceived?
I spoke with Olivia, one of the owners of Burrito District, and she told me that the concept was spawned simply because of their love of burritos and tacos. Having travelled through the US several times, they had developed a taste for Tex-Mex food and felt that Zurich was missing the casual, “fast-food” style that burrito and taco joints have in America.
They wanted something that would appeal to new-age customers. Something fresh and healthy that can be enjoyed either in a restaurant or as take-out food.
Swiss customers value fresh ingredients, so the two restaurateurs source local vegetables and meat products. In fact, they came up with their own recipes in order to include as many fresh ingredients as possible.
Another important aspect of Burrito District is the interior design and atmosphere. The walls are covered in urban, street-art-styled images and slogans, including the bathroom upstairs, which almost makes you feel like you are sitting in a restaurant in Wynwood or Williamsburg.
The music, which is possibly my favorite thing about Burrito District (apart from the food, of course), is a mix of old-school American hip-hop and Latino music. Not the Zumba kind, but rather the Spanish language hip-hop and some traditional Latin music.
Fans of the Netflix series "Narcos" will rejoice when they hear a remixed version of the theme song played over the speakers. It is certainly unlike anything you would hear in any other restaurant in Zürich, creating a vibe that adds to the youthful and hip appeal of Burrito District.
As the Swiss population is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, the demand for international cuisine as well as healthy, fresh food and efficient service is growing and becoming more hip.
Burrito District combines all these things and injects a much-needed dose of Central American flavor into Zürich’s coolest neighborhood.
(All photographs copyright Burrito District)