Zurich-HorseFilets-LaSalle
Horse fillet with garlic at LaSalle in Zürich. (Photo courtesy of LaSalle Restaurant.)

Located between the River Limmat and the railroad tracks that run northwest of the bustling Zürich Hauptbahnhof train station, Zürich West is a neighborhood crackling with rogue energy. Abandoned warehouses and garages have been brought back to life as vibrant businesses, and locals and visitors alike are flocking to these places for creative and culinary rejuvenation. True, the scene here in Kreis 5 may look and feel a bit grittier than the rest of the pristine city, but that’s all part of the charm. Here are five restaurants and bars that are making Zürich West one of the world’s most stylish (and of course, delicious) travel destinations:

Zurich-Frau Gerolds Garten
Summer is understandably a popular time of year at the open-air bar and restaurant Frau Gerolds Garten. (Photo courtesy of Frau Gerolds Garten.)

Frau Gerolds Garten Restaurant
Since opening in the summer of 2012, this open-air restaurant, bar and gathering space has quickly become one of the city’s most beloved hangouts. During the warmer months, it’s decked out with canvas tents, long benches and shipping containers — which have been stylishly repurposed as the bar, kitchen and terrace — making it an ideal spot to meet over cold beers and grilled sausages. (Plus, the prices are fairly forgiving for the city.) While summer may be the busiest time of year, visiting in winter is not without its own special set of charms. A seasonal restaurant (reminiscent of a chalet) offers blankets and a fireplace, where you can warm up as the locals do over piping pots of savory and sweet fondues. Geroldstrasse 23, 8005 Zürich; +41 78 971 67 64; fraugerold.ch/gastronomie

Gerold Chuchi
Like the rest of the world, owners Marco Pero and Sebastian Woloschanowski know that when you’re on the road, pinching your pennies, or really tipsy, there are few things more comforting than burgers and pastas done simply and right. Whether you decide to dine outdoors under the quirky umbrella display or in the cozy, dimly lit dining room, you’ll be rewarded with warm, easygoing service and equally approachable food. The pastas are all handmade daily, from the pappardelle to the tortellonis. But if you’re exceptionally hungry (or drunk), why not try the famous burger? A local beef patty is grilled to order and loaded with Gruyère cheese, signature sauce, coleslaw, roasted shallots, arugula, tomato and cucumbers. On a sesame seed bun, of course. Geroldstrasse 5 8005 Zürich; +41 79 282 55 85; geroldchuchi.ch

Zurich-Markthalle
At Markthalle, an indoor market and restaurant, the daily menu is handwritten, offering the 10 freshest proteins available. (Photo courtesy of Restaurant Markthalle.)

Markthalle and Restaurant Markthalle
For even the most seasoned traveler, Viadukt is a destination that wows. Because what used to be a withering railway viaduct has been smartly reimagined as a hip clutch of retail businesses like Markthalle, an indoor food market and eponymous restaurant. Spirited epicureans will go giddy for the 15 purveyors specializing in kitchen staples, from local honey to fresh-cut flowers to organic beef. And for those not in the mood to cook at home, there’s Restaurant Markthalle. Every day the menu is handwritten, detailing the market’s 10 freshest proteins, where they’re sourced from and how they’re prepared. (On a recent visit, I had three gorgeously grilled Portuguese sardines finished with a tomato vinaigrette.) Limmatstrasse 231 8005 Zürich; +41 44 382 36 55; im-viadukt.ch/en/markthalle

Schiffbau, a former shipbuilding factory, also houses a theater, bar, and jazz club. (Photo credit: Nick Schweers)
Schiffbau, a former shipbuilding factory, also houses a theater, a bar, and a jazz club. (Photo: Nick Schweers.)

LaSalle
Located in the Schiffbau — the former shipbuilding factory also houses a prominent theater (Schauspielhaus Zürich), a trendy bar (Nietturm Bar), and a beloved jazz club (Moods) — this is where culture and cuisine collide. It’s impossible not to fawn over the design, with its soaring ceilings, oversized white chandelier and massive cubic glass structure containing the restaurant. Because many of the building’s original bones (like the steel beams and brick walls) were left intact, the space manages to feel honest, industrial, and polished all at once. The menu leans Italian and French (think beef tartare, vegetarian raviolis, and veal cutlets), but there are some surprises, too. The popular horse fillet (not a typo) topped with crispy fried garlic is a top seller. Schiffbaustrasse 4, 8005 Zürich; +41 44 258 70 71; lasalle-restaurant.ch/en

Les Halles
Practically every corner of this eclectic spot is covered with vintage knickknacks, mismatched furniture and old posters. (There are even bicycles dangling from the ceiling.) While it looks rough around the edges, no one seems to mind one bit, thanks to the warm and lively vibes. For a casual drink, linger at the bar and chat up the friendly bartenders with your perfectly poured pint. Or snag a seat outdoors to get in on some fun people-watching. And for some of the best moules frites in town — there are three types to choose from: white wine, tomato and “natural” — simply pay at the counter for a satisfying, fuss-free meal that will be brought to you in mere minutes. Pfingstweidstr, 6 8005 Zürich; +41 44 273 11 25; les-halles.ch