Dining out in Basel
Basel has a wide selection of restaurants, within walking distance of the city center. You can find most types of cuisine from different cultures, in addition to numerous places serving traditional Swiss dishes. Eating out in Basel can rather expensive, especially if you order meat dishes and the portion sizes are often small, relative to what you’d find in other countries, especially in North America, but are generally very tasty.
Tipping and Service in Basel
It is customary to add a few percent (2-5 percent), to the total of the bill, if the service was friendly and efficient. If the service is above and beyond, then 10% would be acceptable, but anything more than this is unusual. If you are not satisfied by the service you receive at a Basel restaurant, do not leave any tip. Restaurant staff are paid relatively well in Basel, compared to other countries!
Tipping being a small part of the server’s salary has its pluses and minuses. It means that no one will chase you down the street for only leaving 5% tip, but also means that some waiters and waitresses don’t always feel the need to provide a high standard of service. You shouldn’t expect to be treated as well as you might in some other countries, but your service experience should definitely be respectful (from both sides), accurate and efficient. No one will come to refill your drink every five minutes and water generally costs extra; your server will generally not engage in extraneous conversation (or flirt) with you.
It’s a good idea to reserve a table in advance, anywhere you go in Basel, if you’d like to guarantee yourself a seat, and show up on time for the reservation or it will generally be given away, especially if the place is popular.
Good places to eat in Basel
Everyone has distinct tastes in food, as well as what they expect in regards to price and service. It’s difficult to judge a restaurant unless you’ve had multiple dishes on their menu repeatedly. This makes talking about restaurants somewhat subjective. What I like, you might not enjoy, and the experiences I’ve had, might not be similar to what you get (different cooks, different servers, etc.).
I’m going to try out some restaurant reviews in Basel and post them here. If you are a restaurant that would like to be reviewed on the site, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org