While you can expect to see Basel’s restaurants truly come to life and fill up in a blink of an eye during Messe Basel, don’t underestimate their magnificent and exceptionally flavorsome appeal throughout the year. Outstanding in every aspect, each of these 5 remarkable restaurants draws in demanding clientele from across the globe with a keen interest in culinary excellence that is easily satiated with fine dining masterpieces. The culinary scene in Basel is thriving not just because of the enormous international influence but also thanks to the overall Swiss approach to perfecting things. From classic French fine dining to comforting Italian flavors and bursts of gastronomic fireworks, you can taste it all!
The strong French influence can be felt throughout the country. Yet in Basel, which is set on the very Swiss border with France and Germany, this is particularly true. Schloss Bottmingen is a charmer both inside and out. With a strong resemblance to a French châteaux, this moated medieval castle isn’t just a Swiss national heritage attraction but also home to one of the finest restaurants in the country. Celebrating exceptional classic French fine dining cuisine, Chef de Cuisine Guy Wallyn and Chef Patisserie Alain Schmidlin create real wonders that will leave you in awe. Perfect both for private dinners and impressing your business partners, Schloss Bottmingen is a must-try. Expect seasonal dishes with regional ingredients, and complementing flavors with a unique twist. During the warmer months, you can enjoy a meal under the leafy cover of trees on the outdoor terrace. The indoor spaces, however, are no less impressive – they are decorated to fit royalty. Start with a refreshing spring scallop carpaccio with Granny Smith apple before moving on to mouth-watering trilogies of veal, paired with some of the world’s finest wines.
Set within the magnificent and luxurious Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, Cheval Blanc is a 3 Michelin Star restaurant delivering exceptional French cuisine in a dreamy setting. The gourmet restaurant is lead by Chef de Cuisine Peter Knogl, who together with a team of world-class professionals create a concord of aromas, colors, and harmonious flavors. Cheval Blanc is not only a Michelin-acclaimed restaurant but among the 100 best restaurants in the world. The French gourmet cuisine is infused with Mediterranean and Asian influences thus creating a truly unique result. Here everything starts with ingredients in their purest form – unless they are the best that nature can deliver, you will not find it here. Perfectly-balanced flavors, textures, and aromas are there to complete each other. Every bite is an experience. The menu is refreshing and unique – expect to see Breton lobster, smoked eel, Wagyu beef, and Périgord truffles and dive into the remarkable 5 or 6-course menu that Cheval Blanc offers.
Around the corner from Les Trois Rois yet a part of this grand hotel, you will find Basel’s best Italian-inspired restaurant that has also earned Michelin acclaim. For more than 60 years this legendary establishment has attracted guests both local and foreign expecting to dive into the exhilarating flavors and aromas of exceptional cooking. Chez Donati is a meeting point for gourmets and bon vivants and the setting exudes traditional Italian warmth and timeless sophistication. Relaxed yet colorful is not only the dining space but also the menu itself – featuring Italian classics like a range of antipasti and a fantastic range of pasta dishes, gnocchi, and meat and fish creations. During the summer months, there are a few tables available on the Rhine-facing terrace and it’s worth booking well in advance.
Multi award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurant Bel Etage is yet another bright gem in the Basel dining scene. Set within Der Teufelhof Basel hotel, Bel Etage celebrates uncomplicated, market-based gourmet cuisine with a French influence. The restaurant within the art hotel occupies four interconnecting rooms that can accommodate up to 80 people at the same time. The setting is light, elegant, and beautiful, and the same goes for all the fantastic dishes on the menu with a versatile selection of à-la-carte dishes and various menus rounded off by exciting wines. During summer, the restaurant moves to the courtyard of the Gallery Hotel where guests dine on the summer terrace under the shade of a sun shelter. Begin your evening by choosing either the tender duckling breast from Appenzell or sweet potato soup with veal sweetbreads and truffle ragout. The Swiss king pike-perch braised on the skin with garlic and saffron sauce is something truly otherworldly – pair it with a glass of refreshing white wine from nearby France.
Taking a creative spin on classic fine dining, Atelier, the other acclaimed Der Teufelhof Basel restaurant, allows their guests the freedom to put together their own favorite menu à la carte. Since the hotel where the restaurant is set is heavily art-themed, the same carries through to the restaurant where the guest is more than just a customer. Guests can actively participate in an ongoing artistic project and are cordially invited to complete art pieces started by Basel-based artist Tarek. Restaurant’s specialty is a veal cutlet supplied by Jenzer, the traditional butchers from Arlesheim. Served with fried potatoes and wild peppers jus, this is a classic dish that you won’t be able to find that easily elsewhere. Additionally, the restaurant boasts an impressive wine list containing around 400 mainly European wines.