Tradition meets Italianità | Restaurant Gotischer Saal, Haus zum Rüden
Really impressed by all the positive experiences with the guild houses of Zurich, we visited the restaurant “Gotischer Saal” in the “Haus zum Rüden” with great expectations. The venerable Haus zum Rüden is the guild house of the society “zur Constaffel” and is located in the old part of Zurich, directly facing the Limmat. On the first floor of the house, an association of noblemen built a tavern in which the Council occasionally met with approximately two hundred members between 1348 and 1400. The impressive feature of this tavern is the magnificent, eleven metre-wide curved wooden ceiling with the carved timber heads, which is today the restaurant „Gotischer Saal“.
History of the guild house „Haus zum Rüden”
The “Haus zum Rüden” (house of the hound) was built in 1348. The City of Zurich constructed the ground floor, an open arcade. The association of noblemen continued to evolve and was first mentioned in 1401 as the tavern society of the “Herren zum Rüden” (Gentlemen of Rüden), which was part of the “Constaffel”, a society that was founded during the “Zurich Craftsmens’ Revolution” of 1336. At that time citizens of Zurich who worked as craftsmen were divided into thirteen guilds, whereas all citizens with a higher social standing than the craftsmen, that is noblemen, knights and rich merchants, joined forces to form the Constaffel.
Since the 15th Century, the “Gentlemen of Rüden” have constituted the main group of the Constaffel, which acquired further groups of members depending on political, economic and societal circumstances, including those who were not accepted by the craftsmens’ guilds due to their status as outsiders (e.g. beggars, hangmen). In the 16th Century, the “Gentlemen of Rüden” adopted the name “Adelige Gesellschaft” [Noblemens’ Society]. In 1659 the Society had the top floors of the “Haus zum Rüden” demolished and erected in their place the originally rendered half-timbered house with the “Constaffel Room” and the small “Rüdenstübli”, which today function as banqueting facilities.
In 1868, shortly before their dissolution, the “Noblemens’ Society” sold the “Haus zum Rüden” to the City of Zurich. Constaffel and Zurich’s guilds had lost their public law functions in 1866, but continued to exist as traditional societies. One such society, the Constaffel Society, repurchased the house from the City in 1936 and subjected it to extensive renovations.
The restaurant “Gotischer Saal” is furnished with a great deal of attention to detail by the host family, Fam. Pecoraro, which is also reinforced by the homey atmosphere. The well-designed layout, open roof beams, and the lovely wood interior create a comfortable ambiance. The spectacular view over the Limmat and all the way to the Fraumünster church is rounding up this unique atmosphere.
The à la carte menu ranges from traditional and hearty dishes to Mediterranean and innovative creations. Seasonal and market-fresh specialties are offered each month with a special tasting menu, where you can choose between 3 to 6 courses. In addition, the menu can be enjoyed with the appropriate wine accompaniment.
We decided to try some dishes from the tasting menu accompanied by the right wines. To start off the evening, we got served an amuse-bouche in the form of a tuna tranche. The tuna tasted very fresh and was preserved in its original consistency. A raw and genuine taste and great in its simplicity.
As an appetizer, we opted for a kind of Parmigiana with eggplant, tomato, buffalo mozzarella and raw ham and for scallops with cauliflower, pumpernickel and hazelnut. In these dishes, the Italian influences of the hosts came to the fore. Beautifully prepared and really generous portions for a starter. These dishes aroused Mediterranean feelings in us and could also be enjoyed individually with a glass of wine in Tuscany. You could feel the love in the preparation and the warm feeling of being welcome that food sometimes awakens.
For the main courses, we chose cod with orange, Acquarello risotto, beetroot and fennel for one thing and lamb in tramezzini bread with gnocchi and bell pepper on the other hand.
The main courses captivated with innovative creations coupled with the interplay of different tastes and consistencies. The plates literally told a story and let us indulge in thoughts. A true dream.
For dessert, we were surprised by the recommendation of the very friendly and charming chef de service. And that was a real highlight. Homemade tiramisù prepared at the table by the capo himself: Giovanni Pecoraro. A fun and likeable experience.
The second recommendation turned out to be an arrangement of chocolate, banana and yuzu. Looked and tasted wonderful.
We were really impressed by the hospitality of the host and his team. We felt the lived passion and devotion, which made us feel very welcome. An all-round perfect evening, with perfect food, wine, service and some Italian “joie de vivre” in the heart of Zurich. This is how it should be. Certainly one of our favorite guildhalls in Zurich.
3-course menu CHF 95.00 with wine accompaniment CHF 128.00
4-course menu CHF 110.00 with wine accompaniment CHF 153.00
5-course menu CHF 125.00 with wine accompaniment CHF 177.00
6-course menu CHF 140.00 with wine accompaniment CHF 200.00
Haus zum Rüden
Phone: +41 44 261 95 66