I am going to tell you about that time when one restaurant ruined going to restaurants.
It even had a typo in its name. Thank you, Saltz, for making sure that everything I have eaten since tasted boring, bland, and kind of blah.
The tasteful design
The Saltz Restaurant at the Dolder Grand in Zürich beautifully combines Swissness with international design. Artist and designer Rolf Sachs attracts people’s attention with a mix of modern classics and traditional aesthetics - from wood to felt to climbing ropes, and the interior design pièce de résistance, the suspended half-ton boulder in the middle of the restaurant.
Yes, that's right. There is a boulder in the restaurant, surrounded by so much breathtaking scenery that makes you wonder: Was it put there intentionally to complement the Swissness with more rolling hills and snow-covered mountains than your Instagram feed can capture?
If you know some German, you might ask yourself why a fancy restaurant has a spelling mistake in their name. The German word for salt is spelled as Salz, after all. Let me give you my interpretation: Saltz does friendly service and delicious food to an (extra) T.
The tempting food
So, let’s talk about food: I am always a bit skeptical when it comes to dishes that combine all kinds of flavors and ingredients. More often than not, it looks like the chef used whatever was in the pantry. (That is why ketchup soufflé with chocolate and ice cubes is always an option when you come over to my place unannounced.)
But the Saltz kitchen crew, with Chef à la Carte Patrick Hetz, knows how to make a menu that is the perfect combination of international "I have always wanted to eat that" (like hamachi sashimi and wagyu tataki) and local "Man, I have not had that in a long time" (like Zürcher Geschnetzeltes or Rüeblitorte).
Top that off with 14 Gault Millau points, 250 different wines from Switzerland and Europe, and just the right amount of decoration so you never have to wonder if you should eat it or ask for a bunny bag. (That is not a thing, but maybe it should be.)
The talented staff
Let me get back to the service: It was friendly, polite, and simply excellent. Of course, you can argue that you should not expect anything else from a five-star establishment like the Dolder.
I agree, but the staff seemed truly genuine - and I am not just saying that because they knew about my mission. They were just as friendly to all the other guests.
My tasty verdict
Eating at Saltz is what I imagine flying first class must feel like. My taste buds flew first class and any other restaurant will now be that middle seat in economy class. Oh, how hard it will be to sit back!
I cannot tell you what to do, but I am going to anyway: Have a meal at Saltz. You do not have to wear fancy clothes, even though everything is more fun with fancy clothes. If you are not sure if you would feel comfortable - the knowledgeable and attentive staff will make sure you do.
You can sit in extremely comfortable chairs, can enjoy the view, think about the last time you ate in a triangle-shaped room, chuckle at the salt shaker collection by the entrance, the one yellow chair in a sea of non-yellow things, and the clocks on the wall.
Or you can wonder if the suspended boulder will ever drop on the floor. You can bring a date or a friend or just indulge in some people-watching or scenery-gazing. There is something for everyone, for any appetite and for almost every budget.
I am going to warn you, though: Once you have tasted the Saltz, it will be hard to live without it. (I made my next reservation after finishing my créme brulée.)
You can just come for the view, and you should definitely stay for a drink and maybe some finger food. Or a whole meal. Restaurant Saltz is open daily from 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM.
(Photographs copyright by Maria Grazia De Francesco at MAREE. Photography and Visual Design. This article was supported by Restaurant Saltz.)
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