I never really think of Switzerland as being a pioneer in vegetarian cuisine. Yet the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant is in Zurich – the Hiltl Restaurant which opened in 1897.
It’s still in business today – in fact, there are several locations now throughout Zurich. All the restaurants are great places to eat and the current owner says that around 80% of his guests aren’t vegetarian. But the food is so good, that they don’t miss the meat at all. The Guinness Book of Records validates their claim to be the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world.
As someone who has been vegetarian since (oh dear, this makes me seem so old) about 1970, I see it as mildly amusing that following a vegetarian, or even vegan, diet is now seen as one of the positive moves we can make to be planet-friendly but the fabulous food available at Hiltl shows that a meat-free diet is not even remotely about deprivation.
Interestingly, one of the most popular features of Hiltl is its Indian food.
As if that alone isn’t a great reason to visit the restaurant, the fact that they have a cooking school where you can learn a huge variety of culinary skills might tempt you. They are also a responsible company – their vegetarian ethics mean that in the last hundred + years they have contributed to the health of the population and the planet.
They employ over 300 people from 80 nations and one of the principles laid out on their website is that they are ‘responsible towards the diverse creation of humankind, animals and nature’.
Meet the current member of the Hiltl family, Chef Rolf Hiltl, in the video below.
FIND THE ORIGINAL HILTL RESTAURANT
OTHER HILTL LOCATIONS IN ZURICH
Hiltl Vegimetzg Store
St. Annagasse 18,
Hiltl am Strand
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.