by Vivian Holding
Want to treat yourself to a special meal? Fancy trying one of Geneva’s Michelin star restaurants but in a not too stuffy atmosphere? As usual a recommendation from friends, led me to book a table for two at La Bottega.
One of only 17 restaurants in Geneva to hold a Michelin star, La Bottega has taken over from where Petrus was once located on rue de la Corraterie, close to Place Neuve. This newly renovated restaurant has an air of modern minimalism, mixed with a traditional Italianate style. While the open kitchen is definitely the focal point of the restaurant, the oversized antique map hanging against faux-brick walls, the oak tables and the black hanging pendant lights all bring warmth, helping to create an extremely relaxing atmosphere.
Chef Francesco Gasbarro’s passion for cooking was born when as a teenager he began to work in local kitchens in his home town of Florence. Later, he made the decision to open his own restaurant in the residential neighbourhood of Campo di Marte in Florence, using Italian and Tuscan traditions to produce dishes with a modern touch, using only the very best ingredients. The decision to open La Bottega has already reaped its benefits as it was awarded its first Michelin Star in the 2016 Swiss edition.
We were greeted by the wonderfully friendly Luca Contrini upon arrival, who showed us to our table and took our order for our aperitif – two glasses of Prosecco.
La Bottega offers an à la carte menu, as well as two set tasting menus – the five course ‘apprentice menu’ (which was our choice), or the seven course ‘master menu’. Wine is sourced from smaller specialist Italian producers, with wine pairings for the menu recommended by their Wine Director Antonio Federico.
When choosing a tasting menu, you leave the choice of dishes to the chef, with the chief aim for them to produce dishes that are not only delicious in their own right, but that work well together as a whole menu. Any strong likes/dislikes or allergies are best to be confirmed in advance with the restaurant when booking your table.
For us, this wasn’t an issue, so from then on we let ourselves be transported to foodie heaven starting with an amuse bouche, followed by a starter, then fish, pasta and main courses, finishing with dessert and petit-fours. As part of the theatre of gastronomy that goes with any Michelin starred restaurant, all dishes were beautifully presented on the most delightful range of stoneware bowls and plates by the incredibly talented Italian ceramicist Gesù Ruggero from Arrezzo, Italy. An essence of rose was sprayed over my dessert at the table from a beautiful old fashioned cut glass perfume bottle and I savoured it using one of the most beautiful spoons I’ve ever seen (see photo).
So after an amuse bouche, five courses and finishing off with petit-fours, what was our verdict? Every dish was well executed, beautifully presented and extremely tasty, my favourites were the pasta and main courses – which is very unlike me with my sweet tooth. As a tasting menu I found it as a whole perfectly balanced – light, but extremely satisfying. The whole atmosphere of this place and exemplary service leave you with no doubt why they deserve wholeheartedly their Michelin star.
I think the photos say it all – go and try it!
21 rue de la Corraterie, 1204 Genève. Telephone 022 736 1000.