Swissair (or the former SR) did have exceptional service in Business Class (I never had the opportunity to fly SR First). But, I also flew SR - LAX-ZRH, YUL-ZRH in economy, and found the service exactly as one would find it on-board BA, LH, AF and other european carriers.
The interiors on the MD-11, for one, seemed a bit out-dated, and the quality of food served was rather questionable. In all, I have flown SR 6 times. While I would place SR Business Class in the top 3 Euro Carriers, one must also look at Economy service when grading. SR, in many cases, is a bit over-rated. BUT,
that's just my personal observation.
In my opinion, and from personal experience, the one European carrier that fails to get its deserved praise is
Finnair. I have flown Finnair 3 times, and must say that this carrier not only has extremely clean and comfortable interiors, but as well exceptional in-flight service. The in-flight cuisine is absolutely wonderful.
If I had to cast a vote for my personal favourite Euro carrier, it would, without a doubt, go to Finnair.