May 16, 2012

out and about: kafischnaps

While I regroup after a month of Italy posts I thought I'd share a Zürich favorite. Kafischnaps is a wonderful low key café. It is not a hidden gem - crowded during lunch and on weekends - but it is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area or are just looking for a quiet place to spend the afternoon (it is quiet after the lunch rush). I know because I was there yesterday afternoon writing this post...

Kafischnaps :: website
Kornhausstrasse 57, 8037
Bus #32 & #33 Rotbuchstrasse, Tram #7, #11, #14, #15 Schaffhauserplatz
outdoor seating available
reservations accepted

The energy is good here. There are flowers on the countertop. The light fixtures are like medusa's hair, only metal with lightbulbs where snakeheads would otherwise be, and even though they don't undulate or rotate they seem to pull the room together. So do the black and white check tiles that climb up the walls. The wood tables and chairs, white saucers and clear cups and glasses add a touch of simplicity to the atmosphere. But what I love most are the big pane windows that make sitting here all day both feasible and enjoyable. 

The food service is simple, but surprisingly tasty and quiet reasonable. There are always daily specials and soups, but the staple menu revolves around Uufklappti Brot. Served on hulking slices of french country baguette, these are a version of an open-faced sandwich unlike any open-faced sandwich you've had before. Piled on the bread, hiding its existence, are wonderful mélanges of flavors, such as hummus and grilled vegetables over salad, goat cheese with honey and tomato tapenade, chicken curry with salad, and a few others, one of which includes bacon. I had the hummus and vegetables (pictured above) and it was a delicious mix of smooth and crunchy with enough bread to wipe up the remaining hummus. And at just 13.50chf ($14.50) it was a heck of deal (they range from 13.50chf - 16.00chf). 
If you are still hungry for dessert, or perhaps jsut stopped by for a coffee and a taste of something sweet, there are always pound-cake esq loaves sliced up (Zach and I once shared a delicious walnut slice) and sweet dessert cakes in the case (I've seen chocolate more than a few times). There are also always croissants, plain and chocolate, and if you don't want to get a whole dessert then order a tea and they will give you a little cookie with it. 

In terms of drinking they cover it all, from coffee and tea to wine, bear and Aperol spritz. You could easily stay here and transition from coffee time to tea time to cocktail time because they are open from 8am to midnight everyday, and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. And everyday really does mean everyday - they are open on Sundays, almost unheard of in Switzerland. 


  1. This place sounds fantastic! I love that you could spend all afternoon and evening there. I wish there was a place like that in my neighbourhood. I feel as though I'd get more work done if I didn't get so distracted thinking about what to make for dinner.

  2. Talley, before it became a café, or a 'Beiz' (Swiss-German and informal term for a restaurant, often meaning a rather ordinary one and not an exquisite site) as the owners use to call themselves, it used to be a butcher's shop, actually an old-fashioned one, architectonically spoken. Therefore the tiles!

    And don't forget the low-budget, but nicely designed rooms they offer, for any guest in the future.

    And there are a lot of cafés in Zurich being open on Sundays. And they often serve brunch until late afternoon on Sundays and/or Saturdays. Ok, it is rather a recent development, let's say of the last 20 years ;)

    You find two of them just a "Steinwurf entfernt" (a stone throw far away):

    Nordbrüggli (Swiss-German for the diminutive of Nordbrücke), to be found at the Nordbrücke SBB and bus stop. Two bus stops down from Kafischnapps. Younger than Kafischnapps and even a bit more alternative than KS.

    Café des amis, quite newly reopened, one bus stop from Kafischnapps, but the other bus street downwards.

    Tea Room/Blunt's, Kreis 5, a maroquean inspired café and restaurant with excellent brunch varieties on Sundays/Saturdays. Always fully crowded.

    Not far away: one of the two bars of the alternative cinema Riff Raff serves brunch until afternoon as well and a good alternative, if Blunt's is occupied.

    Forum in Kreis 4 has excellent brunch varieties as well.

    Don't forget the omnipresent Volkshaus that turned into an inside spot since its renovation/reopening about two years ago. Though rather a café-bar (with extreme high ceilings, for Zurich standards) and an always occupied restaurant, but opened on Sundays.

    The renowned Terrasse just next to Bellevue. But only for people, who think they are either beautiful, or rich at least ;) Though I am not sure about the brunch, but opened on Sundays anyhow.

    The just recently renovated Bohemian in Kreis 8 at Kreuzplatz.

    Just to mention a few … ;)