On Monday morning we had a few hours left in Zurich and only enough francs left for one meal. We'd spotted a vegetarian restaurant, Pot Au Vert, that opened at 11:30 so we skipped breakfast and wandered around the old town until it was ready for us.
Pot Au Vert is located on the first floor of a hotel and has a traditional, not-too-flashy feel about it. The head waiter conversed confidently with us in English and helped us through the menu, though the other staff member exchanged only German and kindly kept it basic.
There is a print copy of the menu in misspelt but completely readable English. It covers a range of cuisines - linguine and penne to falafel, curry and fried tofu - and it's unclear how much, if any, is vegan.
There's also a salad bar, although it's much more modest than the famous buffet at Hiltl - no more than a dozen bowls with a focus on fresh unadorned vegetables, then three lovely tangy dressings at the end. I scored a small plate as part of my order. We were also treated to some of the region's excellent bread. Seriously - a typical pre-meal slice in a casual restaurant in Switzerland is a worthy competitor to what many high-end Australian restaurants offer.
Michael chose the sliced quorn in a mushroom cream sauce with red cabbage and dumplings (24.50 CHF ~ AU$25.80). Don't be fooled by the angle of this photo; I'm pretty sure that plateful was way bigger than Michael's head. I could barely believe that he ate it all, though having had a taste I could understand trying! The dumplings had been fried in butter and seasoned perfectly, the quorn had a lovely sauce (albeit not quite as sophisticated as my Hiltl one) and the cabbage offered the right sour contrast.
I took a punt on a seasonal special, white asparagus covered in hollandaise sauce and served with parsley potatoes (20.80 CHF ~ $21.90). Michael had a good laugh at the overwhelming yellowness of this dish - he'd been eating a lot of yellow, carb-heavy food in Norway - but it was saved from flavour monotony by an excellent hollandaise. It sure gives simple steamed vegetables a kick!
Pot Au Vert is a comfortable and comforting venue for vegetarians in a fairly meat-focused city. It was a nice glimpse of homely Swiss food without the veal and sausage, and lined our stomachs well for the journey ahead.
Pot Au Vert
Limmatquai 142 CH-8001 Zürich
044 267 60 40
lunch 8.50-24.50 CHF (~AU$9-26)
Accessibility: Pot Au Vert is up a full flight of stairs and I did not notice any lift access. Within the restaurant tables are quite close together and the salad bar is at medium height. There's full table service and some of the staff are proficient in English.