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Ecco Restaurant – Zurich’s gourmet palace with a view

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Ecco Restaurant in the Hotel Atlantis by Giardino. At the foot of Zurich’s very own mountain called Üetliberg. Much buzzed about. Often praised. Does it live up to the promise? Let’s go check it out…

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The Giardino Hotel Group is justly famous for its refined hotel arts, something we knew enough to report on shortly after launching our travel blogger career. That time we made much of the Giardino Mountain (but obviously before I knew that food photos tend to have a yellow cast…).

For practical reasons, beautiful hotels often also come with superior restaurants: But, what Executive Chef Stefan Heilemann and his young kitchen brigade dish up here by the Üetliberg is well-nigh an unending parade of culinary highlights. Or call it a sequence of little and big dishes for the gods. But let’s take it one at a time…

It so happened that, on a gorgeous summer’s day, we also treated ourselves to a beautiful meal at Ecco. To let us eat a little more without upsetting our beauty sleep, we met for lunch instead of dinner. It leaves more leeway for digestion.

In hindsight, this revealed itself as a wise choice, for when Ecco announces a 5-course meal it means that the bustling servers feelingly appear at least 10 times with amuse-bouches, pre-amuse bouches, pre-appetizers and so on. Naturally, they do not count against the official 5 courses…

The butter here incidentally does not melt in the mouth because they froth it with buttermilk. Or serve it in a second bowl as smoked butter. Brutally seductive!  At all events, almost too much of a good thing: barely have you dipped into the pretty butter puff just once, already they proffer a pristine new one…

Butter frothed with buttermilk

Butter frothed with buttermilk and smoked butter

A bit about amuse-bouches and appetizers…

When a restaurant review dwells at length on a little thing like butter, the well-disposed reader can already see rough going ahead: if not reading this with a full stomach, he or she now ought to conveniently click ahead to a pizza delivery or something. I hereby assume no liability for any hunger attacks..

So, now into the fray, drawing on all our reserves!

Even while we are still all oohs and aahs about the spectacular view of Zurich or the elegant restaurant’s interior, the troops commanded by Stefan Heilemann are already working up little works of art like poached oysters or marinated anchovies.

But it could just as easily be watermelon between sheep’s cheese or a cannelone of calf. Or a smoked quail with fake champignon mousse, real champignon and bean.

Just a few amuse-bouches, that’s all…

Ecco Restaurant rooftop terrace with view of Zurich

Ecco Restaurant rooftop terrace with view of Zurich

Interior of Restaurant Ecco in the Atlantis by Giardino Hotel

Dazzlingly elegant interior

 

… on to the main dishes…

Naturally, the amuse-bouches are invariably served in small bites – no wish to compete with the main course – and always with an explanation of each ingredient and how prepared. I would not be surprised if the staff spends most of the preparation time memorizing the ingredients. In any event, for the most part I managed to get my photos shot while the menu creations were declaimed with drumrolls and fanfares.

It could be about salmon trout with crayfish on cauliflower, or also Dublin Bay prawn (a langoustine, in our book) with porcini and calf’s head. But then, it could just as well be an Atlantic sea bass with artichoke and chanterelle or Ormaling pork with pointed cabbage and apple.

And if that is not enough hyperbole for you, give the grained Wagyu beef a try.

To be sure, I should add, we were a party of four. Besides me, there was another young man, so that there was quite a bit of carnivorous devouring going on. Which accounts for the rather large number of dishes, considering it was “just a Sunday lunch.”

Ecco Restaurant Zurich: Salmon trout with crayfish on cauliflower

Salmon trout with crayfish on cauliflower

Ecco Restaurant Zurich: Dublin Bay prawn with porcini and calf's head

Dublin Bay prawn with porcini and calf’s head

Ecco Restaurant Zürich: Atlantic sea bass with artichoke and chanterelle

Atlantic sea bass with artichoke and chanterelle

Ecco Restaurant Zürich: Ormaling pork with pointed cabbage and apple

Ormaling pork with pointed cabbage and apple

Ecco Restaurant Zürich: Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef

Wow. Sheer poetry! Words fail us…

Each dish is not merely presented attractively, but it impresses as being coordinated to make you eager for the next course. Or a sip of wine, naturally!

Can’t go wrong with that! After all, the health fanatics always preach that you should stay well-hydrated

White wine and scissors for fresh cress

White wine with its cress bed and fitting scissors

… on to the desserts!

As is their wont in establishments with high aspirations, guests are not sent on their way after the main dish. Restaurant Ecco is no exception and the staff segues with a gentle smile into the dessert menu selection: those little cream cake slices really make a fine “in-between dessert“! Or perhaps you would prefer instead a little home-made ice cream?

As the final act, with help from watchmaker Hublot, they open a small jeweler’s case that holds a desert going by the explosive name Big Bang Tutti Frutti! All right, it is possible to end on a quieter note by settling for the Felchlin “Elvisia” chocolate with cherry and grains. 

And as the drawn-out luncheon then finally threatens to end with an espresso macchiato, the attentive hosts up the ante just one more notch with seductively filled pralines for us…

 

Dessert by Hublot: Big Bang Tutti Frutti

Hublot Big Bang Tutti Frutti dessert

Dessert: Felchlin "Elvisia" chocolate with cherry and grains

Felchlin “Elvisia” chocolate with cherry and grains

 

Executive Chef Stefan Heilemann with Zurich in the background

Kitchen magician: Executive Chef Stefan Heilemann

 

Terrace of the Restaurant Ecco im Atlantis by Giardino

The Restaurant Ecco terrace

The perfect Sunday menu! Or as we Italians say, “Ecco lo qua,” “there it is!”…

Price list

Logic has it that there is no paradise. These lucullan flights of fancy come with a price tag. And by no means a small one. But, still, it struck us as “well worth it.” If not every Sunday…

  • 3 course menu CHF 148
  • 4 course menu CHF 162
  • 5 course menu CHF 174
  • 6 course menu CHF 184
  • 7 course menu CHF 194
  • 8 course menu CHF 204

And if you go for the “chef’s special,” that is, the pan-fried entrecôte of Japanese Wagyu skirt, be prepared to plunk down an additional CHF 98. For 50 grams.

Address

Restaurant Ecco im Atlantis by Giardino Hotel
Döltschiweg 234
8055 Zürich

To the Restaurant website

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About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog travelmemo.com. In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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