A reader has asked me for cheap places to eat in Zurich. Well, well, I have been thinking about it for more than a week now and that is a problem because Zurich is not a cheap city. Not for the normal tourist, not for the normal employee.
In the summer, one can go to the Migros or Coop, grab some bread, cheese, cold cuts, salad and fruits and have a picnic along the Limmat, the lake or in a park. Another option is to go to any good bakery and grab a sandwich, a salad, a müesli or a quiche (Wähe) and have it somewhere around. I like the Bäckerei Stocker down the HB. Finally you can as well go to a butcher shop, e.g. the one right next to the train station on Bahnhofstrasse 102: Metzgerei Traiteur Kauffmann and get something warm or cold, e.g. a Wurstweggen (sausage in a dough) or Canapé. It’s still very cheap, quite good, but you will have to stand somewhere and eat it which is a problem in the winter.
Now a lot of people will get a great sausage (don’t forget the Bürli- the bread) at Vorderer Sterne at Bellevue. The line-up is long, you still have to eat outside, but at least you are doing it with a lot of people. I can highly recommend it!
Cheap restaurants in Zurich will include the ones from Migros and Coop (e.g. Migros City next to Löwenplazt and Coop City on Bahnhofstrasse). Their food can be quite good and fresh. Another option would be to go to the University Mensas http://www.mensa.uzh.ch/ .But then it is not centrally located. As a guest, you will pay between CHF 10 and 16 for a meal.
For around CHF 15, you will get several Asian menus all around Kreis 4 and 5. The closest one to the HB would be Chiang Mai Thai on Josefstrasse 13 (see this post from the Blog Half the Sugar Bowl: http://www.halfthesugarbowl.com/2010/03/asian-grocery-stores-in-zurich-part-3.html). And then for about CHF 14 you will get a big sandwich (grosse Pide) at Manta Bar, Bahnhofstrasse 42. Prepare for a line-up, not much space inside to eat it (they have tables outside in the summer), a waiting time to warm up the sandwich, but it’s fresh and tastes great. My favorite one is the chicken and pesto. They always ask you if you want some chili oil in it, so be careful what you answer here!
If you like Japanese noodle soups and are around Stauffacher, you could try Ooki: http://www.ooki.ch/ at Bäckerstrasse 39. The place is very small, so you need to be ready to wait for a table, but the soups are great and cheap. There is not much more than soups though (some giozas and onigiris- which can be very filling as well!), so you need to like them. Drinks are expensive, but so are they everywhere else in the city. You can always ask for tap water. Some waiters are rude enough to give you a mean look, but usually it’s fine to ask.
Hope that helps Aaron and some others! If you have any other cheap spots you’d like to share, please do leave some comments.