First off, if you’ve never been to GAMPER (Nietengasse 1) and plan on visiting, go early because there are only 30 seats available, they don’t take reservations, and it’s one of Zurich’s hottest restaurants.
Absolute simplicity! That’s the only way I can describe GAMPER. Whether it has to do with their décor, number of positions on their menu, or even their website, it’s a level of stylish understatement with 100% authenticity and 0% pretentiousness.
Normally, restaurants with service staff draped in a black vest, black pants, white shirt and bowtie (OK, they don’t wear a bowtie), are a thing of yesteryear. But heck, even that is pulled off with a level of perfection that spending a few hours at GAMPER isn’t just a culinary highlight but makes you feel like you’re part of a perfectly orchestrated retro theatre piece. Not to mention, the staff is highly professional, soft-spoken, inviting and extremely knowledgeable in regards to their menu.
GAMPER offers two menu choices with a soup, salad and dessert. Regardless of what you choose, expect only the finest ingredients the region has to offer. The presentation, in my experience, is reminiscent of that offered by fine, rural restaurants in Tuscany, Piedmont, Burgundy or Bordeaux… practical with no chi-chi. But the flavours and aromas are absolutely explosive, the quality never a compromise.
A very long day and many restaurant visits later, we opted to actually skip the soup and go straight to the salad, followed by a braised regional beef on a bed of sweet potatoes. Neither dish left us wanting for more, they were pure perfection.
For our next dish we ordered a wine made by one of my favourite Swiss winemakers, Thomas Litwan’s 2013 Elfingen Rüeget Pinot Noir (Aargau). If you’re a Burgundy/Pinot Noir fan, and not yet familiar with Thomas’ wines, there’s not time like the present to get familiarised with them. I met Thomas and tried his wines for the first time at a tasting event in Zurich quite a few years ago, when he we just starting out. The first thing that came to mind was hearing a song or a band for the first time and knowing they were going to be legendary. Sometimes my instinct sinks a hole-in-one.
All in all, dinner at GAMPER was not only delectable, it was an experience. Professionalism, understatement, quality and friendliness, all top notch. What dining should be. When Christoph mentioned this was one of Zurich’s hottest dining spots, of course my expectations were quite high… but the GAMPER team managed to surpass them.
Due to the 100% regional menu, we decided to stay in Switzerland as well when it came to our wine choices. We kicked off our meal with an organic 2016 Chasselas by LA MAISON CARÉE AUVERNIER (Lake Neuenburg) – crisp, clean and bright – a perfect starter wine.
Tel. +41.(0)44.221 11 77