Zurich boasts a plethora of eateries that cater to just about every nationality under the sun, including, of course, restaurants with strong French, German and Italian influences. Visitors should try the delicious traditional Christmas snack, Tirggel, which is a hard, thin and very sweet biscuit made from flour and honey. Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, a veal stew made with mushrooms, white wine and cream is a must while in Zurich, and visitors will notice potato Rosti is a popular local dish. Other famous exports not to be missed are, of course, the decadent and delicious Swiss chocolates as well as Swiss cheeses such as Emmental, Gruyere, Vacherin, and Appenzeller. Other famous Swiss culinary inventions include fondue and muesli. The left bank and right bank areas are where all the best restaurants can be found and it is customary to make reservations in advance. For special occasions, the restaurants at the top of the Uetliberg have fantastic views.
While watches, cuckoo-clocks and chocolate may be the traditional purchases on a visit to Zurich, there are also many upmarket boutiques and speciality stores for luxury shoppers to play in. The main shopping street is Bahnhofstrasse, which is home to department stores Globus and Jelmoli, and jewellery shops such as Bucherer and Beyer, as well as fashion shops such as H&M. Fine Swiss chocolates (including Frey and Lindt), Swiss Army knives, embroidery, linen, Swiss watches, and handmade clocks are available from shops such as Schweizer Heimatwerk and Confiserie Sprungli. At Zurich Hauptbahnhof, Shopville is a subway shopping centre offering Swiss souvenirs and fine wines. The Niederdorf district has trendy boutiques, 'modern' antiques and a few bookshops. Nearby, Schipfe is a street where artisans and craftsman offer quality and custom-made products. Elegant boutiques, department stores and speciality shops are clustered in the Old Town. International visitors may reclaim VAT but some conditions do apply.
A good way to start an evening is to visit one of the open-air bars, where revellers can enjoy a relaxing drink before heading out to the trendy Zurich-West area. The former industrial zone is home to some of the city's hottest underground bars and nightclubs. Visitors should also check out the Old Town, as it has a range of upmarket lounges and hotel bars. Formerly Zurich's red-light district of Langstrasse, it's the place to go for an edgier night of biker bars and strip clubs.