Veal meat again? On the trail of Wienerschnitzel in the Swiss Alps

Tenderise a fillet of veal, coat it in breadcrumbs then fry it and you’ve created one of central Europe’s best-known dishes—Wienerschnitzel. We sent our top schnitzel hunter into the Swiss Alps to track down the best examples of the dish in Interlaken and restaurants in the surrounding Jungfrau region.

Writes Barry Stephen

Isn’t schitzel Austrian cuisine?

The Swiss are best known for their delicious cheese fondues, raclettes plus potato-based röstis.

Wienerschnitzel has its roots in neighbouring Austria. It’s a style of schnitzel that originated in Vienna. Nonetheless, many Swiss restaurants serve the popular dish and our chief headline writer was adamant we needed a schnitzel-based story.

Some aficionados argue that true Wiener Schnitzel has to be made within Vienna’s city limits using veal. They roll their eyes at menus using the term elsewhere, arguing it should be termed ‘Viennese style schnitzel’ (Schnitzel nach Wiener Art in German, not Wiener Schnitzel). Thankfully, most people though don’t give a hoot about such semantics, so long as the dish that’s served is tasty and the portion is hearty.

After a hearty main course how about a slice of Apfelstrudel?

After a hearty main course how about a slice of Apfelstrudel? Don’t worry, you’ll walk off the calories.

Top restaurants in and around Interlaken

The search for quality food saw our man ride mountain railways, funiculars and hike for kilometres along scenic trails. These are five of the restaurants our roving reporter visited while in Switzerland:

Restaurant Crystal on the Jungfraujoch

We banned our man from writing that eating in the Jungfrau‘s Restaurant Crystal was a top experience or the height of European cuisine.  Nor did we allow him to pun on ‘high dining’ or mention that it took his career of reviewing restaurants to new heights. At 3,454 metres above sea level—11,333 feet—the air temperature outside can be below freezing even on sunny summer days.

A mountain of Swiss chocolate.

A mountain of Swiss chocolate.

The Jungfraujoch is known as the Top of Europe and its fine-dining Restaurant Crystal seats up to 110 guests. Wienerschnitzel is just one of the offerings on a menu that also features steak prepared with a dash of ice label whisky aged in wood barrels within the glacier.

Our man ordered a plate of Zurich-style geschnetzeltes (meaning ‘chopped’) veal served with a salad and seasonal vegetables.

Book well-ahead (a week or so if possible) and request a window seat for memorable views over the Aletsch Glacier.

Zurich style geschnetzeltes served at the Restaurant Crystal.

Zurich style geschnetzeltes served at the Restaurant Crystal.

Panorama Restaurant Harder Kulm

The restaurant on the Harder Kulm mountain overlooks the surrounding valley, known locally as the Bödeli, from a height of 1,322 metres above sea level—that’s just 23 metres below the altitude of peak of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. On clear evenings you can dine with views of the Jungfrau, which reaches 4,158 metres into the sky.

The Panorama Restaurant Harder Kulm. Shame about the weather!

The Panorama Restaurant Harder Kulm and beer garden.

The menu features Wienerschnitzel but if you’re hungry after a day’s hiking why not try one of the 650 gram cordon bleus of pork steak, cheese and ham. Fancy something local and traditional? Order an Älpler Rösti featuring a fried egg.

Steak, fries and seasonal vegetables.

Steak, fries and seasonal vegetables.

Even if you’re not in the mood for dining, riding up the Harder Kulm mountainside in the Harderbahn funicular and the outstanding views make this a good place to pause for a drink.

"Don't go up the cow! Penalty $50" reads the sign on the cow's back.

“Don’t go up the cow! Penalty $50” reads the sign on the cow’s back.

Restaurant Stadthaus in Unterseen

This lively restaurant is located in a historic building on the cobbled, town hall square of Unterseen, a five-minute walk, across the River Aare, from the centre of Interlaken. Flick through the menu and you’ll see that the likes of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Felix Mendelssohn have dined here ahead of you.

The Wienerschnitzel at the Restaurant Stadthaus is made from veal of local Simmenthal calves and served with a cranberry sauce. The pommes—chips or French fries to the English speaking world—are served with a dash of herbs and a fine grating of alp cheese. It’s a fabulous combination.

If you enjoy downing a local beer with your food, then order a Stedtlibier, brewed in Unterseen. A half-litre is known here as a chübu while a 30 centilitre measure is a stange. If you fancy just a taste then go for a tschürgeli, a 20 centilitre measure.

Wienerschnitzel with cranberry sauce. As enjoyed by Goethe?

Wienerschnitzel with cranberry sauce. As enjoyed by Goethe?

Ox Restaurant and Grill

The smart, modern Ox Restaurant and Grill is must for meat-lovers visiting Interlaken. You can choose to dine indoors or take a seat on the terrace, on the marketplace.

There’s no Wienerschnitzel on the menu but, should you be so willing, you could always plump for a veal or horse steak in preference to beef-based dishes. The succulent T-bone steak weighs in at a hefty 400 grams.

Our man chose tartare of beef served alongside toast drizzled with truffle oil. He washed it down with a Rivella red. That’s not a wine, it’s one of the varieties of Switzerland’s best-known soft drink. Carbonated and refreshing, Rivella is made from milk whey, a by-product of cheese production.

Feeling raw? How about a steak tartare?

Feeling raw? How about steak tartare?

Hotel Schynige Platte

The family-run Hotel Schynige Platte, at 1,967 metres above sea level, has a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and terrace seating. Tables overlook the icy peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains.

Alpine scenery on a summer's day.

Alpine scenery on a summer’s day.

Alphorn players perform 150 days a year at the restaurant, which lies near the colourful Botanical Alpine Garden.

Purists, be prepared, the schnitzel served here is made from pork rather than veal. If you enjoy a cheese and charcuterie selection tuck into the Urchiges Älplerbrett platter.

Wienerschnitzel made with pork.

Wienerschnitzel made with pork.

Information about the region & country

Find out more about Interlaken via the Interlaken Tourism website.

See the Jungfrau website to learn more about region’s mountains and transport network.

Check the MySwitzerland site for tourism ideas about the country as a whole.

All aboard for a meal on the mountain? The Jungfraujoch railway.

All aboard for a meal on the mountain? The Jungfraubahn railway.

12 Comments

  1. Olli Carrol says:

    Thank you for the post. I will check some of these restaurants during my visit.

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    • Thanks for that comment, mate. If it was your writing tool that you used there it didn’t impress us here at the MannedUp HQ. We searched Google for ‘gogle’ but didn’t come up with your recommendation.

  3. Great stuff. I luuuuurve MannedUp!

  4. Andy Catlin says:

    Nice post, I adore this site.

  5. Margret Snale says:

    Thanks for this post. It provides me with exactly the information I was looking for ahead of my trip to Switzerland.

  6. Bastian Goodman says:

    I was looking at some of your content on this website and think this website is rattlingly informative! Keep posting.

  7. Maria Joseph says:

    I thought Switzerland was known for wonderful cheeses? How about a feature on cheese, please?

  8. Heidi Ruffin says:

    Thanks for the excellent info. I enjoyed a big piece of meat while I was in Interlaken and enjoyed every mouthful.

  9. Teresa Jones says:

    What is it about guys and meat? I wish you were all vegetarian and took no interest in soccer or other sports.

  10. Alan Fairfax says:

    I popped to a couple of these restaurants while visiting Interlaken over Easter. Thank you so much.

  11. I see this headline has been copied and used elsewhere. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery!

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