The Best of the Wurst

If you’re a sports fan, then you’ll know that Swiss tennis player (legend) Roger Federer is in England right now, hoping to bring home another Wimbledon title.  But you may not know that he and wife Mirka were in Zürich about 2 weeks ago, in line for a wurst. The buzz went wild here about the city’s best sausage.  If Federer’s first choice is not enough proof, then what is?

“Twenty centimeters long, with a total of 500 kilo calories and 33 grams of fat.”  That’s how the group at Zürich’s Vorderer Sternen Grill brags about its bratwurst on their website.  I doubt a public relations agency in America would use the same approach. Perhaps they would rather talk about the fact that this sausage stand serves Anne Mae Bullock, aka Tina Turner, and even the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos.  But most importantly, my guess would be that they feed about 99% of all of Zürich! Included on almost every restaurant list and compilation of top Zürich attractions, this unpretentious stand boasts the “best bratwurst in Zürich.”  And it’s not just a tourist destination, it’s a local favorite – hence the lines reminiscent of New York’s Magnolia Bakery or Paris’ L’As du Fallafel.  The lines don’t detract, and they go super fast.

Ask the outgoing and always smiling men manning the grill, and they’ll tell you that their bratwurst is for Zürich exactly what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris or the Golden Gate Bridge is for San Francisco.  An icon.  Halit, above, is a charmer, and along with your sausage, you’re guaranteed a laugh or two for sure.

Vorderer Sternen Grill, Zürich, Switzerland

The menu is not long; it’s really just a matter of a simple question – pork or pork/veal. The item that gets all the raves is the St. Galler Bratwurst, the thinner grayish sausage, made of a mixture of veal and pork.  The fatter and reddish sausage is the Servelat, made entirely of pork.  Both come with a little paper cup of a rather strong yellow mustard.  You have been warned: a little goes a long way.  Plus a crusty bread roll, real hard on the outside and soft and doughy within, and you’re set.  They get their bread from Gold Bakery, which has been making their signature roll since 1907, and many say they’re the best rolls in town.  So sausage in one hand, bread in the other – you’ll look like a local in no time.  As for eating said bread roll without amassing a generous collection of crumbs around you, that I have yet to figure out.

Sitting above the sausages lined up on the grill are also half chickens, which come with the same Gold bread rolls as well as Russian dressing.  Juicy and flavorful (and deliciously greasy), the chicken is also an excellent option.  You might be surprised to know that there is in fact a vegetarian option too: a warm pita filled with lettuce, tomatoes and Russian dressing.  That much is clear.  I am less certain about the exact makeup of the large pieces that resemble chicken, but are in fact made from corn.  It’s actually quite tasty, if a bit mysterious.  Potato salad is the other way to go.

Vorderer Sternen Grill, Zürich, Switzerland Vorderer Sternen Grill, Zürich, Switzerland

Either way, you’ll either eat standing up as most people do, over a little cocktail table, or grab a seat at a table, where you can also order drinks.  Beer seems to be the default! But how to drink it when you’ve got a sausage in one hand, and your bread in the other….?  I’m open to suggestions.

Vorderer Sternen Grill
at Bellevueplatz
Theaterstrasse 22
8001 Zürich
Sunday to Thursday: 10:30am – midnight
Friday to Saturday: 10:30 – 1:00am

28 Responses to “The Best of the Wurst”

  1. Stéphanie says:

    Voila un endroit dans lequel Cédric serait aussi heureux qu’un poisson dans l’eau!!!

  2. Tina says:

    I have totally eaten there! Kinda on accident really. Since it’s next door to the Globus Cafe where I was going to eat, I got sidetracked and stopped there.

    Best Wurst of my life!!! No joke. I miss that mustard!!! Thanks for the post about it!

  3. Susan says:

    I love this place. I have taken many visitors to Zurich there, to enjoy a brat – now I can tell them that Roger Federer did too! Rats, I wish I had been a witness to that. By the way, great blog. I found it thru Swisstory.

  4. Kerrin says:

    Stéphanie, c’est tout simple – faut venir avec Cédric (et Naïs bien sur)! On irait manger des wursts ensemble !

    Tina, funny that you ended up there by accident! Your nose and belly must have had an inkling that it was a good place to eat! Of course, nothing bad about Globus either! And wow, the best wurst of your life, now that’s a statement, so glad you enjoyed the post !

    Susan, glad to hear you’re a fan too ! And I am so with you – there’s nary a friend that visits us that we don’t take for a wurst there! I totally wish I went when Federer did! Can you imagine – just being on line behind or in front of him! Apparently he was on his cell phone the whole time and Mirka took care of the ordering! ha!

  5. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Just saw the comments above. Interestingly, I was just thinking the other day how you would obviously speak fluent French. Speaking French is one of the things on my “things to do before I die” list. Yes, I have a list. I think the sentiment around advertising such outrageous calaories and fat content would be the same in Australia as America. But interestingly, we’re all the people who are the most overwieght so maybe we should be emblazing it bolding? BTW, love how you get such great pictures when you travel around.

  6. kelleyn says:

    Ooh you made me hungry and it is on 7:30 am here in the states. Anyway, we ate these worst all the time last summer when we were in Switzerland. Not from this particular location, but both sausauges are delish! Though I do perfer the German style rolls that go along with wurst in Germany. The Burli almost break your teeth.

  7. Kerrin says:

    Julia, not necessarily obvious. Mais oui, je parle francais ! But yes, I am bilingual – and in fact, Olivier and I only speak French together. Never English, nor Swiss German ! haha! And that’s great to have a list of things to do – including learning a foreign language. I love languages! And yes, totally interesting about Australia and America – avoiding such topics in advertising, yet more people overweight. Gotta love France, a country where the higher the fat content the more sought out – in products like butter for example.

    Kelleyn, glad to hear you’ve enjoyed these sausages before. And hey, sausages for breakfast are quite common, go for it ! 🙂 As for the bread, I have thought many a time that I was going to break my tooth on it ! I’ll have to try the wursts und brot across the border then.

  8. jen laceda says:

    Ooh, so many wursts! I’m in heaven!! Bacon and sausages are my (not-so) secret indulgence. Are curry wursts also available? I tasted one in Spain, and Heather of Heather and Her Travels has featured a whole post about curry wursts that got me obsessed with these sausages!

  9. Grilling Recipes says:

    This is one of the best titles to an article I have ever seen! I love places that brag about how bad their food is for you. That means it is delicious!

  10. kelleyn says:

    It’s me again. I finally got around to making the roll-ups, Strawberry. I couldn’t sell the kids on Ruhbarb. Anyway, I ended up using less sugar too. I just thought that heck I am trying to make these healthier what would happen if I use less sugar. I used 2 pounds of strawberries and 1 1/2 cups sugar. They were fantastic! Also, since it is so humid here right now I had to bake them longer, but I expected that. It was almost a shame to use the puree for these…I kept thinking boy this would make great jam. My kids are happy though. Thanks again for the recipe.

  11. Lani says:

    OK….you certainly have my vote on the best wurst. I just loved the wursts and the hot mustard…… Can’t wait to go back and taste them again! And where is Roger?

  12. Kerrin says:

    Jen, oooh, didn’t know you loved bacon and sausages so much! Yum! No curry wursts at this particular stand, but I am sure you can find them in tons of places around the city. I’m not a big curry fan, so it’s not something I look out for. I think they’re pretty common in Germany too, I think… I’m still curious to check out Heather’s post, thanks for the heads up!

    Grilling Recipes, thanks so much! I thought it was a really fun title, loved it when I though of it! ha ha! And yes it does happen often that the lower on the nutritional totem pole, well the more irresistible it is!

    Kelleyn, hello again! I am so so glad to hear you made the roll-ups with your kids – AND totally thrilled that it was a big success! Thank you so much for sharing. And perfect timing, Olivier and I were about to go strawberry picking today (if there are any strawberries left on the farms) – 2 pounds will be for roll-ups! Totally going to try your proportions above, thanks!

  13. katy says:

    I just had my first wurst in Kassel, Germany. The verdict – pretty darn good. I’m a total wimp about meat, sausage even more so. Eating the wurst was kind of a break though for me. 🙂 The sausages featured in your post look really good! Maybe I’ll make it to Zurich someday to try one for myself!

  14. jen laceda says:

    I just had to come back to this post. We are out of bacon & sausages this morning, so I thought to look at your photos to “fill me up”.

  15. julia says:

    oh, i love the brats in switzerland! so different from the ones in the u.s. 🙂 my boyfriend and i will have to try out this place. thanks for the recommendation!

  16. Steve says:

    No doubt about it – the best wursts I’ve ever eaten. And I agree with Grilling Recipes, fabulous title. Is it me, or is “Servelat” the perfect name for a popular sausage. Please tell me it’s pronounced “serve alot” :):). As for the roll mess problem, I say let the crumbs fall where they may. Awesome post, and of course, awesome pictures too. Oh, sorry you missed Roger. That would have been HUGE!

  17. Kerrin says:

    Katy, first wurst? That’s a big moment ! And especially if you deem yourself a wimp about meat, which I doubt. Not everyone eats wursts, so you’re way ahead of the game! When you come to Zürich, give a holler ! And definitely try this stand. When I get to Luxembourg, you’ll have to lead me in the right direction to. For the best of — everything!! 🙂

    Jen, you full ? 😉 Get thee to butcher. And soon ! ha ha!

    Julia, I am not an expert on brats – but I imagine that they are way different than those in the US, and in any other country for that matter. Let me know when you guys go, if you like it.

    Steve, ok that is hysterical !! How did I never think of that — Serve A Lot ! But of course. And serve a lot of Servelat they do ! Love it. I’ll have to tell Halit about that, not sure he’ll get it though…! And yes, if I had seen Roger – wooh baby, that would have been HUGE !

  18. Amanda says:

    Hey! Haven’t been here yet. I kind of ODed on weisswurst like 5 months ago and I am slowly getting back into eating sausages here. (I couldn’t even look at them before.) Anyway, if I do come into Zürich in the next couple of weeks, will you please take me to this hot spot?

  19. Daddyo says:

    I agree with Julia, I love the “brats” in Switzerland too. But Kerrin, are the “brats” in Switzerland really different from those in the US? I happen to be an expert, having raised 2 of them, one being Kerrin. I’m her father. Ok, ok, couldn’t resist the joke. No, no, no… Kerrin was far from a brat. She was a very funny, thoughtful kid who absolutely loved life, especially chocolate. And she hasn’t changed all that much. I was awfully proud of her then, and perhaps even more so now. Can you imagine what it’s like for me (and Kerrin’s mom) to read all your wonderful comments. totally awesome!!! Thanks to you all. Remember Kerrin, that was just a joke :):)

  20. Anne-Marie says:

    Je vais à Zurich ce week-end. J’irai faire un tour du côté de la place Bellevue !

  21. Kerrin says:

    Amanda, you’ve got yourself a date ! Come to Zürich ! ! 🙂 And one thing to keep in mind, what usually comes with weisswursts (specialty in Munich) is sweet mustard. Be careful with the mustard here, it’s not sweet !

    Daddyo,… Dad ! First comment on the blog, welcome ! And thanks for clarifying for my readers that I was not in fact a brat (truth!). But of course, I know you – not one to miss an opportunity at a joke, especially a play on words. 😉 Thanks for the fabulous note !! And hey, you already know (and love) this wurst stand, remember?!

    Anne-Marie, bon voyage – et surtout, bon régal ! Si vous me voyez dans la queue pour ces wursts, dites bonjour !! 🙂

  22. Eleonora says:

    Je découvre un joli blog, bon enfant avec de l’humour, du plaisir, de la tendresse et c’est extra…Je suis de Strasbourg et j’ai vu ce gâteau célébre ” Kougloff “. Alors j’ai poussé ta porte….et c’est bonheur !!!!!

  23. Kerrin says:

    Eleonora, un très grand merci pour votre joli mot. Je suis ravie que vous ayez poussé sur ma porte, et que vous ayez trouvé de bonheur ! J’espère que vous continuerez de vous régaler ici. Mais quel régal que vous avez déja à Strasbourg, une ville que j’adore !! Et toute l’Alsace, ça c’est le bonheur pour moi… !

  24. Auditions cinéma says:

    Quel blogue charmant ! J’adore les wurst. Par chance, j’ai une boutique à un coin de rue qui en vend à toutes les sauces (la saucisse est dans le pain par contre, avec de la choucroute et de la moutarde forte). Est-ce qu’ils se mangent plutôt comme ça ailleurs dans le monde ou à votre façon (pain et saucisse séparés). J’habite au Québec (Canada)… ; )

  25. Switzerland: Where can I find the cheapest (10 CHF a meal) places to eat in Switzerland? - Quora says:

    […] "t bratwurst or cervelat at the notorious Vorderer Sternen Grill:….For 6 CHF you definitely get your money's worth…Trust me you will NOT be […]

  26. Theo says:

    The Kalbsbratwurst sausage from Vorderer Sternen is definitely legendary. So is the mustard. A really nasty one with a decent does of horseraddish. Be modest or you will have tears in your eyes. But I love it. The Bürli, though, are not the best what Zurich can offer in terms of bread rolls, rather hard and dry. The part that I wouldn’t miss. But sausage and mustard make up for it x times! Btw, The Grill has moved now by about 200m towards the Opera and the other side of the road. Not even the city’s most incredible sausage business seems to be capable (or willing) to pay skyrocketing high Zurich real estate rents… An Guata!

  27. Switzerland | Mmmm, sugar. It's all about the sweet things in life. says:

    […] GoWithOh who alerted me to the Sternen Grill’s existence by pointing me in the direction of this blog post. Anywhere that Roger Federer approves of is A-OK by […]

  28. Reno Lettau says:

    Dear Visitors,

    Traditional German Sausages in Zurich!
    Berlin Currywurst and Thüringer Bratwurst. Skip your trip to Germany. Eat German Street Food in Zurich!
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    Enjoy your stay!

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