June 2005

My Basel: dealer Iwan Wirth on his Basel highlights

The insider scoop on where to find the best food and company

Iwan Wirth

Iwan Wirth

My favourite restaurant is Chez Donati. It’s an Italian restaurant on the Rhine and it’s really fabulous. During Art Basel I go there 99% of the time—we have a table there every night: you have to book it a year in advance for that week. It’s the only place in Switzerland where I eat spaghetti vongole and my starter is this incredible prosciutto crudo filled with truffle cream—I always overdo it and eat two, but I shouldn’t!

Chez Donati, 48 St. Johanns-Vorstadt

The other place where I very often meet people during Art Basel is the Kronenhalle in Zurich. (For me Basel and Zurich are almost interchangeable—particularly now that I am based in London.) The Kronenhalle is over 100 years old and has an incredible collection: fantastic works by Soutine, Léger, Picasso, Vuillard, Kandinsky. Chagall designed the menu and Diego Giacometti designed the bar.

Kronenhalle, Rämistrasse 4

The other thing I always try and do in Basel is to swim across the Rhine. I go in above the Mittelbrücke but I never manage to cross the river. I always go in the morning, at night it would be dangerous, especially after a heavy dinner at the Donati!

• Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as "My Basel by Iwan Wirth"