Like Barcelona and Gaudi’s masterful architecture or Milan and high fashion, Basel’s synonymity with incredible art is a global phenomenon. But it’s not just the works of Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh that make it one of Europe’s most vibrant cultural hotspots. Paintings, historic architecture and irresistible scenery can be pored over at every turn, especially inside its restaurants. Here are our favourite arty eateries where you can feed your appetite as well as your soul on you next visit to Basel. Bon appétit!
The one with the magnificent collection
After a busy day of gallery hopping, settle down at Brasserie Les Trois Rois, where a slew of artworks are brought to life inside this elegant wood-panelled restaurant. This popular city-centre venue serves Swiss and French brasserie specialities made with ingredients fresh from local markets, bearing testimony to the richness of Basel’s regional produce. It's been awarded 15 points from the prestigious French Gault Millau restaurant guide; there should be bonus marks for the magnificent Rhine view.
The one with the top-notch live scene
It may modestly claim to be nothing more than nine kitchens and one bar, but KLARA offers way more than that. This trendy food court in the heart of Kleinbasel combines high-quality gastronomy and entertainment. Alongside different cuisines from all over the world – from Argentinian and South American through sushi to Thai – KLARA’s live line-up has secured it a top slot on Basel’s cultural scene. Its lively mix of spoken word and book events, concerts, theatre performances and even a flea market means this is a spot culture fans won’t want to miss.
The one with the arty setting
In the heart of Basel’s old town, Restaurant Löwenzorn is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Kunstalle contemporary art space. After experiencing the venue’s cutting-edge exhibits, head to this historic building that's mentioned in documents as long ago as the 13th century. It’s been a restaurant since 1874 and serves a menu of traditional dishes alongside light, modern cuisine. Come summer, the idyllic courtyard is not to be missed.
The one with the theatre next door
Theater im Teufelhof has made its mark on Basel with a trailblazing programme of cabaret and satire, presented in its rather lovely theatre space. Round off the performance at the Restaurant Atelier next door with a choice of daily offerings chalked up on the board. The speciality here is veal cutlet, served with fried potatoes and jus of wild peppers. And if this rare treat isn’t enough to set your mouth watering, just consider the 400-strong wine list.
The one with art on tap
There’s a different kind of art on offer at the Fischerstube restaurant: the art of brewing. Basel has developed a keen reputation for its craft beers, and one of the best names is available at this Kleinbasel mainstay. The legendary Ueli beer is brewed here and can be enjoyed in the restaurant, underground in its historic vaults or in the beautiful beer garden. Care is equally lavished on the local seasonal menu too.
The one with maritime flair
Gannet is a restaurant that's as unique as its location. Built in the hull of the historic lightship, Gannet 1954, it sits in Basel's vibrant harbour district, Holzpark Klybeck. It's part of a cultural centre that hosts music, theatre and everything in between. The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons, showcasing the freshest local produce. The homemade pasta is a standout, along with a maritime themed drinks menu, all served up in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.
The one with the inspiring view
Another art lover’s favourite is Ufer7 – it's perched on the riverbank, with a wonderful view of the Rhine enough to inspire anyone. 'Urban Swissness' is the guiding principle here: fine cuisine with a regional influence given a modern twist, with an exquisite wine and beer list to boot. It's a great place to treat yourself after a visit to Galerie Ausstellungsraum Klingental’s experimental collection, which is just a short walk away.
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