cheap eats Geneva


by Chené Koscielny

Finding somewhere reasonably priced to eat (cheap even), when you are showing visiting family and friends around town, can be hard (after all, Geneva is not known for its cheap restaurants).  It becomes doubly difficult when you are a large group of people, often with some very fussy eaters.  One of the following restaurants is sure to please, whilst coming in on budget.


Street Beirut

This modern, bright, light and airy restaurant located in Plainpalais is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere in what feels like a real street cafe in the funky part of the Lebanese capital, whilst enjoying a reasonably priced lunch or dinner.

With Lebanese sandwiches starting at only 8CHF, salads from 12-14CHF or something more filling around the 17-27CHF mark, the food is really affordable for Geneva. Add to that their non-stop flexible opening hours (perfect for late lunchers, early evening diners and even very late in the evening diners) and a menu that caters equally for vegetarians and meat-eaters – I’m sure you’ll love this little piece of Beirut too.

This modern, bright, light and airy restaurant located in Plainpalais is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere in what feels like a real street cafe in the funky part of the Lebanese capital, whilst enjoying a reasonably priced lunch or dinner.



Croc Orient

Every week people from every nationality queue at the market stall of a very unusual couple for a taste of their fresh, homemade falafels, taboulé, galettes sprinkled with olive oil and za’atar (a spice mix of thyme, sesame seeds, oregano and sumac), served with filling of hummus, aubergine puree, beef, lamb or labneh (a thick yoghurt cheese) and fresh tomatoes and onions.

The stall is run by unusual couple Raya Elhajhasan (Palestinian) and Ozi Salma (Isreali) who are a shining example of how people from different cultures and religions can live in peace.

Visit Croc’Orient during the Plainpalais market on Sundays.

Read our full review here.



La Buvette des Bains

cheap eats Geneva One of the cheapest and best places to eat in town with an amazing ambiance and fabulous views of the Jet d’Eau, the Rade and the Old Town, this is top of my list of cheap eats.

Located on the Bains des Pâquis, this Fourchette Verte* restaurant/café offers a healthy, balanced and varied selection of dishes (offering vegetarian, gluten free as well as lactose free meals) and favours the use of locally sourced products.


Offering a daily Plat du Jour (vegetarian version also available) at 14chf, all year round salads are available priced at 12-14chf, soup at 5chf and fondues in the winter at 23chf per head (includes fresh fruit salad dessert). It’s also a good place to take your guests for coffee/cake as their prices are so reasonable.

Please note: They take cash only.  No reservations are taken. An entry fee of 2chf per person is charged during the summer months (May-September) to access the beach and restaurant.

* Fourchette Verte is a health label awarded to restaurants that offer a balanced dish of the day, while respecting the criteria of the Swiss food pyramid., 30 quai du Mont-Blanc, 1201 Genève.  Telephone: 022 738 16 16.


Chez ma Cousine

Roast chicken is the star of the show here (unsurprisingly as their tagline is ‘On y Mange du Poulet’ which translates to ‘We eat chicken there’.  Half a spit-roasted chicken served with Provencal potatoes and green salad offers fantastic value at 15.90chf (1/4 chicken at 10.50chf for children under 10 years old). They also offer some delicious salads (Caesar, Indian Chicken, Chicken Thai), as well as vegetarian salad options of Endive and Roquefort or Goats Cheese.  Avoid asking for the dessert menu if you are trying to keep the cost of the bill down as it is a very long and very very tempting – meringues with double cream, profiteroles, cassata, chocolate mousse, crème brülée, fondant au chocolat, tarte tatin, ice cream and ice cream sundaes… (ranging from 2.80chf for a scoop of ice cream to 10.20chf for a sundae).

Chez ma Cousine’s first restaurant opened over 17 years ago in the Old Town at Place du Bourg de Four. They now have three locations (the other two are located in the St Gervais area (near to Manor/Cornavin) and in Petit-Saconnex).

Take away is also available, so why not take your meal down to the lakeside or to the Parc des Bastions for an alfresco lunch?

Reservations are not available at the Old Town location, so avoid peak times if possible.  The St Gervais restaurant takes reservations evenings only and at Petit-Saconnex, reservations are taken for both lunch and dinner.

Vieille Ville – 6 Place du Bourg de Four, 1204 Genève

St Gervais – 5 rue Lissignol, 1201 Genève (telephone: 022 731 98 98)

Petit-Saconnex – 2 chemin du Petit-Saconnex, 1209 Genève (telephone: 022 733 7985)


Le Radar de Poche

This place is a recent find, thanks to a friend inviting me to lunch close to where she works. Located just off the Place du Bourg de Four in the old town, this small cafe is full of charm and a magnet for lawyers (the Palais de Justice is in the same street) as well as students, thanks to its reputation for reasonably priced and delicious pasta dishes, as well as salads, desserts and drinks. Open early for coffee and viennoiseries (from 6.15am), through to lunch and then drinks/tapas in the afternoon/evening (until 8pm).

Lunchtime menu consists of a plat du jour, a large selection of pasta dishes, as well as salads.  All dishes are available to take away.

When we visited, my friend chose penne with a slightly spicy Harristo sauce at 13chf, I chose the Salade Radar, a Chinese style salad with salad leaves, Chinese vegetables, sautéed chicken with sesame seeds and asparagus at 15chf.  We shared a moelleux au chocolat at 5chf.

Very popular and understandably so, so book in advance.


8 rue des Chaudronniers, 1204 Genève.  Telephone: 022 311 36 68.


Manora Restaurant

Located on the top floor of Manor department store close to Cornavin, this self-service restaurant offers such a wide variety of choice it’s a great option for groups with fussy eaters.  Everything is freshly made in-house, whilst some items are freshly cooked to order.  The huge selection includes salads, soups, pizza, quiches, Chinese food, pasta counter, grilled meat and fish, as well as delicious pastries and cakes. It can get extremely busy during the lunchtime peak of noon-1.30pm, so aim to arrive outside of these hours if possible, as finding seating can be problematic.

Manor, rue de Cornavin 6, 1201 Genève.  Telephone: 022 909 4699.



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