Zurich Kreis by Kreis: Kreis 3
In the first of this new series, Zurich Kreis by Kreis, Claudia Kaufmann, an Australian native but Zurich resident, takes us on a guided tour of the various “Kreis” or districts that make up Zurich. Starting with Kreis 3, Claudia points out the notable features of this popular Zurich district.
The antenna tower atop Uetliberg is visible from many places in Zürich, and provides a great view of the city. Underneath the peak, at the bottom of the mountain lies Bühlkirche. Completed in 1896, its verdigris spire and shining blue clock face look down on Zürich-Wiedikon. From this vantage point most of the district is visible, and it’s the perfect place to watch Kreis 3 start its day.
Kreis 3 lies to the south west of the city centre and is bordered by the river Sihl and parts of the Albis mountain range. It comprises Sihlfeld, Alt-Wiedikon and Friesenberg and is overlooked by Bühlkirche and behind this, Zürich’s “very own mountain” Uetliberg. Wiedikon became part of the city of Zürich in 1893 and it is now home to around 47,000 people.
Today, the district is mostly residential. If you wander through the streets of Kreis 3 (which I highly recommend) you’ll find numerous green spaces filled with picnicking families and school children, as well as a large number of cranes. Buildings all over the district are being renovated as a new generation moves in, although there are still a number of quartier restaurants catering for long term inhabitants. Kreis 3 is also home to Europe’s largest Jewish population (when combined with Enge).
Thanks largely to Uetliberg, Kreis 3 is 30% forest and 15% meadows. The district can be used as a base to explore the hiking trails up and around Uto Kulm, which provides a wonderful escape from the city, as well some wonderful views, while being easily accessible.
Friedhof Sihlfeld is another great destination for anyone looking to take a break from asphalt and apartments in Kreis 3. The cemetery is beautifully calming with well-maintained grounds and is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle. It is also home to Switzerland’s oldest (now decommissioned) crematorium and was the city’s first non-denominational cemetery. Johanna Spyri (author of Heidi) and Red Cross founder Henri Dunant are buried here.
In addition to providing some wonderful outdoor sights, the district offers a large number of antique stores, with some vintage clothing shops thrown in as well. The shopping centre SihlCity, on the banks of the Sihl has many of the same high street stores found in the city centre but without the crowds.
After all the walking and shopping you’ll need something to eat and Kreis 3 isn’t short of dining options. Almost a third of the residents in Kreis 3 were born outside of Switzerland. This has resulted in a number of good international restaurants.
When I first came to Zürich, over 5 years ago, I was disappointed in the lack of non-Swiss dining options available. Either that has changed recently or I was looking in the wrong places. Wiedikon is home to a number of authentic and very satisfying Asian restaurants. You can find Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Indian and Japanese food. Mexican and Spanish cuisine is also available, as well as perennial Swiss, Italian and French favourites.
Fivespice on Weststrasse is a Thai restaurant with great food and ridiculously large portions. The daily lunch menu is good value with a changing range of curries and noodle dishes. While Chez Nhan on Kehlhofstrasse lives up to its motto ‘life’s too short to eat a tasteless soup’ by offering the tastiest (albeit only) Vietnamese soup I’ve eaten in Switzerland.
Tapas and Friends is a tiny and affordable tapas bar popular with Spanish expats living in Zürich. Their menu changes frequently and they are open 6 evenings a week from 5pm and they also do take aways. Their “Gambas with rosemary” (above) and roasted green peppers are to die for.
Benzin und Koffein on Aemtlerstrasse has a range of homemade bagels, muffins and granola accompanied by a dizzying array of coffee blends. It also offers something of a rarity in Zürich – a flat white. This coffee is made by adding steamed milk to a shot of espresso but is smaller and therefore stronger than a cappuccino or latte. Ask your antipodean friends if you’re not sure, or better yet – try one for yourself.
If breakfast is what you’re looking for go no further than Zum Guten Glück, this small restaurant on Stationsstrasse makes delicious waffles, pancakes – both sweet and savoury, and pufferli. Pufferli are small pancakes, served here with a choice of toppings. Their menu also includes a ‘hangover breakfast’ for when needs must.
King’s Curry, next to Bahnhof Wiedikon on Freyastrasse, is a good option for Indian food. The service is friendly and the midday buffet offers the chance to sample a wide range of menu items, there is also a vegetarian option available. In the evenings, an à la carte menu is available. If you’re having trouble deciding on just one dish the “degustation menu” includes four curries and a variety of side dishes.
The district can easily be reached from the city centre in 5-10 minutes by public transport or around 40 minutes on foot. It is lively with a diverse cultural mix, but without the sometimes frenetic pace of the city. Next time you feel like exploring head to Kreis 3 and see what you can discover.
With thanks to Claudia Kaufmann for the first article in the series “Zurich Kreis by Kreis”. Stay tuned to find out more about Zurich in this monthly column. Claudia studied Journalism at the University of Adelaide and at the University of South Australia and is now embarking on a freelance writing career.
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