My parents in Japan love traveling to various parts of the world to hike in nature. Switzerland has been their hiking destination for many years.
But, although their loving daughter lives in a beautiful suburb of Zürich surrounded by nature, they prefer flying into Geneva or Milano. Since my Swiss wedding more than a decade ago, they have skipped Zürich completely as they head to Zermatt or Grindelwald instead.
Don’t my parents care about how I live? Their answer: "French and Italian restaurants offer a more tasty variety than the pricey veal-in-a-creamy-sauce-with-potatoes dish in Zürich."
They probably mean Zürcher Geschnetzeltes with Rösti. Sure, I am offended but I secretly agreed with their frugal gourmet point of view - until Restaurant eCHo invited us for a proper Swiss dinner.
Modern Swiss Cuisine at Restaurant eCHo
At first glance, Dimitri grins at the menu written in Swiss German. I try to read the menu out loud, pronouncing words such as Chrut und Chäs (baby leaf salad garnished with thinly sliced cheese) or es gfüllts Güggeli (corn fed chicken breast with a roast apple filling).
But we end up giggling about my attempts and as for a menu in Änglisch (English). Perfect!
Swissness is echoing throughout the menu. There are plenty of authentic Swiss dishes, including cheese fondue (available year round). All dishes are based on original recipes, and we love the presentation. One hidden perk: If you order the Salsiz platter as an appetizer, you will get a complimentary Swiss army knife.
Three courses for 69 francs
By any means, their "3 for 69" offer is a deal for Zürich: Any starter, main course and dessert from the regular menu - including meat on a hot stone! Plus, unlimited refills of white and red wine from the Swiss wine buffet, for a flat 69 francs.
Tonight, our wine selection included several crisp Chasselas whites, such as Chasselas de Genève. "Oishii!" (that's Japanese for "delicious!")
At the table next to ours, some locals are treating an Asian friend on a visit in Zürich. Other guests on this weekday night are a world traveling family and a couple of business outings. For one reason or another, they all chose Restaurant eCHo at the Zürich Marriott Hotel for their charming Swiss menu and Alpine decor.
Gretli the Cow
The Swissness theme does not stop with the decor. One of the black and white wall pictures features Gretli, the heaviest member of the eCHo team. We are told that the restaurant's own cow lives on a farm in the canton of Nidwalden. All the cheese products at eCHo feature her milk - how cool is that?
Sure, the idea that a single cow from a particular alpine pasture is in charge of supplying all the cheese may be a stretch. But Gretli exists in real life, and her happy milk makes the cheese that much more enjoyable.
We have had hits and misses with hotel restaurants, but we can recommend eCHo in a heartbeat!