OUR GUIDE TO NEW RESTAURANTS IN GENEVA IN 2020
by Chené Koscielny, Alana Dunsmore and Laura from Let’s Explore.
Tired of being ripped off or disappointed by mediocre restaurant meals at eye-watering prices? So are we – that’s why we scour the ever-changing local restaurant scene, searching for the best new experiences – combining great food, inspiring interiors, innovative menus and that elusive ingredient: the smiling waiter. We don’t mind paying, but we do want value for our money.
There is no excuse for bland, tasteless, overpriced meals and bad service.
Vote with your feet – if you’re not happy, tell them, tell us, tell everyone! There are enough good restaurant owners, who do their homework, know their customers who don’t need to resort to discount voucher schemes to get bums on seats.
Also read our New Eateries to try in 2019 article – which had nearly 20,000 views last year.
A French brasserie with a modern-twist – a very positive surprise!
The ambiance is stylish and upmarket – yet, easy-going. It has a modern feel and an innovative menu.
The brasserie also offers brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and is open on Mondays, unlike other restaurants in the area.
In typical French brasserie fashion, the tables are intimate enough, so you can spy on your neighbour’s lunch (a fabulous looking beef tartare in our case) or on their conversation, if you should so wish.(uninspiring in our case). When the sun’s out, you can sit outside on the terrace, from where you may spot the Jet d’Eau.
RABBIT TERRINE AND OCTOPUS BOWL
For starters we tried the homemade rosemary-infused terrine de lapin served with crostini and mesclun. I’d never tried rabbit before and it was simply out of this world. (CHF12)
We also tested the braised cauliflower flavoured with curry, parmesan and horseradish. Unusual and so tasty. (CHF13)
For the main course, my partner opted for the impressive signature octopus bowl, which also includes quinoa, avocado, black radish, fennel, beetroot and a sumac-lemon vinaigrette. (CHF28) This dish scored 10 out of 10 for looks and taste.
PAIN PERDU EXCEPTIONNELLE!
I highly, highly recommend the vegetarian version of the Pain Perdu brioche (CHF18). It features a slightly sweet homemade brioche with melted goats cheese and avocado, as well as fresh fig and nuts – it was an amazingly beautiful combination.
The burgers we spotted did cause some food-envy.
DO TRY THIS RESTAURANT – excellent food, good vibe, very reasonable for Geneva. You will not feel ripped off. The lovely young French owner, Alexandra, who hails from Lyon, named the restaurant after her brother Max, who encouraged her to follow her passion for food and open this restaurant. Thank you, Max!
38 Rue du 31 Decembre, Eaux-Vive
We’d heard varying reviews about this relatively new Greek restaurant in Eaux-Vives ranging from “fabulous” to “horrible!” So, naturally we had to try it.
The ambiance is chilled Greek taverna sans beach and lapping waves obviously, and it is tastefully done in hues of blue with quirky touches such as straw baskets on the ceiling and plates against the wall. The maître-d was suitably polite, but our waiter couldn’t have been more gushing and he knew the menu like the back of his hand.
The menu is traditional Greek fare – with a Mediterranean fusion angle.
For starters, we shared the trilogy of dips (tzatziki, taramasalata and roasted aubergine dip) with grilled pita bread, which was generous and very satisfying. (CHF16)
We also tried the fried zucchini chips with a mint yoghurt dip. (CHF12)
One of our main courses from the seafood part of the menu was a sashimi de seiche (cuttlefish) – a special for the day – served with a tasty condiment of capers, tomato and olives. Very fresh and delicious. (CHF25)
From the land section of the menu, we chose moussaka (unusually, the meat was more like pulled lamb as opposed to the more traditional minced lamb), but it was scrummy. (CHF25)
TRIO OF CAKE
A trio of desserts including a cheesecake, lemon cake and walnut cake was not necessary, but hit the spot. The walnut cake could have been a bit more moist, in our humble opinion, but we wouldn’t split hairs about it.
Perfectly pleasant ambiance and generous portions of tasty food. The prices are reasonable and the plates are shareable.
All round pleasantness. We happily recommend Khora to friends for a sociable and relaxed lunch or dinner.
UPDATE:: Unfortunately, when we tried this restaurant a second time we were not as impressed. The calamari main course was very tough and rubbery and the service was friendly, but very slow.
Give them a try as the ambiance is great, but sadly the rest can be a bit hit and miss.
8 Avenue Pictet de Rochemont, Eaux-Vive
Another great addition to the already vibrant Eaux-Vives food scene. If you like Mediterranean and Lebanese food, add this to your list of places to try. Chefmezze aims to bring together the two culinary cultures by creating dishes to satisfy all palates. Also providing the opportunity to discover new flavours.
GOOD – TIME FOOD: SHARING DISHES
In true fashion of this type of cuisine it’s a perfect place to go with friends or family. They have a wide range of hot or cold dishes, all very affordable and created perfectly to be shared!
THE ATMOSPHERE SETS THE STAGE FOR CHATTER
This cozy restaurant is perfectly located steps away from the Jet d’eau making it perfect for the finish of a stroll along the lake. The interior is modern with clean lines and the ambiance – welcoming and relaxing. Spot the large utensils not intended for eating – the kids will love the wacky décor!
MEZZE FROIDS AND CHAUDS
You will find all your Mediterranean faves on the menu and we tried the houmous and falafels, which were tasty, though not exceptional. The fromage cigars, on the other hand, were very interesting and are a must for cheese lovers.
NOTE: Open for brunch and on Sundays!
Definitely worth trying. The food, service and ambiance are good. Admittedly we agreed it wouldn’t become a regular for us but we enjoyed the experience and food, no regrets.
Rue du 31 Décembre 8, Eaux-Vive
Who doesn’t love a good Italian? Luigas has been one of our favourite family restaurants for years. The same owners just opened a new concept ByLÙ (by Luiga) just opposite the Alhambra, bringing you an affordable, non-stop Italian city restaurant/épicerie. The focus is on fresh, homemade Italian fare, which can be enjoyed on the spot or just as easily as takeaways or delivered to your door.
WORD GOT OUT
We popped in for lunch. Even though the café has only been open since February, people were queu-ing to get in. Word has clearly got out. The décor is festive with overhead fairy lights and wall art – one wall is covered with imitation plants.
The menu offers Italian staples tried and tested at Luigas, such as pizzas and pastas, as well as paninos, club sandwiches and a choice of main courses.
We started with a Picantella pizza, with a signature crispy crust – topped with tomato sauce, fior di latte, piquante salami and pecorino. (CHF23). This was everything you’d expect from a pizza and more and the crust will stay crispy – even as a takeaway! Definitely recommended.
Next up we tried two paninos – BRUCE: with fried chicken, avocado and salad and the JCSS: fresh ground beef – with all the trimmings. (CHF14). These are huge and satisfying – and for only CHF4 extra you can have the double version! Great for hangovers, we imagine.
SPAGHETTI À LA MAMA
Our pasta choices included the classic Miracolati – spaghetti with tomato, basil and virgin olive oil (CHF14) and the Napolese Nerano , spaghetti with courgette frites and provolone cheese. (CHF16) Both were really tasty.
We ended our meal over a cannolo Siciliano – a strong coffee with a creamy beaten sugar on top – no milk.
TOP TIP: For breakfast you can enjoy homemade pastries, yoghurt and you can order a cute takeaway breakfast box (with juice, savoury and sweet pastries, joghurt and fruit and a hot drink).(CHF15)
Great way to start the day!
As with Luiga, you can’t reserve a table – but you won’t wait long as the kitchen is efficient and we can’t fault the service.
A great new addition to Geneva – somewhere between an Italian épicerie and a restaurant – offering affordable, quality food and excellent service. By the way – the restaurant has a jukebox with hundreds of Italian, French and English songs to choose from to listen to while you enjoy your apéro and watch chefs doing their thing. Great idea.
6 Rue de la Rotisserie, City Centre
Know your foam from your body, your hop from your malt when it comes to craft beer? You’ll love la Taproom – a unique new concept, which opened in Geneva in December.
READ our full review here
Located in the somewhat hidden, alternative and very hip, Les Grottes area behind the train station, the Taproom’s industrial, Miami-style vibe immediately draws you in.
You’ll be welcomed by two personable young guys; co-owners Gregoire (French) and Nicolas (French-Brazilian born in Venezuela).
Be prepared to be wowed by the impressive display of 40-something taps behind the bar counter, offering no less than 20 different flavours and strengths of craft beers, as well as a variety of cocktails and wine. Everything is on tap!
We tried the Pale Ale – American by Cloudwater Brew Co. with 4% ABV. Described as ‘a beer for everyday moments, for when you’re just relaxing and chatting with friends, this beer aims to give a balance between new wave hops, yeast esters and easy drinkability.’
As one of us was still doing Dry January, we also tested a non-alcoholic cold brewed Yerba Mate ice tea with vanilla – which was very enjoyable. Taproom serves light snacks, such as a tasty humus and pita and planchettes of cold meats and cheese.
The cocktail, wine and beer bar is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 4pm till midnight.
If you don’t know the Les Grottes area, this is a great place to start your evening – enjoying a few delicious craft beers. The atmosphere is hip, yet relaxed. The taps are beautiful and the beer out of this world.
13 Rue Les Grottes, Les Grottes
Whether you are looking for a new lunch or dinner spot or a lunch take away, this little restaurant/bar near Manor is great. The friendly staff will have you back in time for work and provide you with a “N#ice” relaxing experience in their cozy restaurant.
NO MAD RUSH
Don’t worry if you don’t have much time, you’ll be back to the office for that afternoon meeting with their set lunchtime meal. For around CHF19 you choose a salad, soup and wellington (option of beef, vegetable, and fish).
The goal of the chef is to ensure your experience is like nothing you’ve had before from adding a twist on the traditional salad to giving you something very different from what you expect a beef wellington should be. Here they push the boundaries of the traditional dishes.
BE YOUR OWN SOMMELIER
As soon as you enter the restaurant you will notice you are surrounded by wine bottles. If you do have time to eat in, you will be encouraged to roam the restaurant to choose whichever wine bottle interests you to accompany your lunch. Every bottle is clearly marked with the price so you will not be shocked when the bill comes. Many of the wines, of which the majority are bio, are available by the glass.
Chef Anatoly Komm regularly changes the menu depending on what is in season. Everything is delicious so can’t go wrong, but definitely finish with the crème brulée! Normally a red wine drinker, really enjoyed the bio Chasselas!
CLICK HERE to learn more about the dinner menu from a previous article.
Would we go back? Just please! Food, service and ambiance were great. It was a perfect way to spend a lunch date! We’re glad that neither of us had to rush off so we could enjoy every minute.
NOTE the food came quickly in case you do have to rush back to the office, you will definitely have plenty of time to enjoy your meal!
Rue des Etuves 1, City Centre
FRED BY FISKEBAR
We’re not a great fan of stuffy hotel bars with bland background music and staid interiors, but sometimes we can be tempted to try one which promises to go beyond the obvious.
FRED by Fiskebar – is such a bar.
Read our full review here.
Newly opened, next to popular Scandi eaterie, Fiskebar – this so-called art bar with a strong Nordic twist is worth popping in for an ‘interactive cocktail’. It’s more of an experience, than just an apéro in the bar – and we like it a lot.
If you fancy yourself a bit of a socialite, this will be right up your alley.
WHAT IS AN INTERACTIVE COCKTAIL ? YOU MAY WELL ASK
The eight handcrafted signature cocktails bring to life the visual arts through interactive mixology. Each cocktail has a story to tell, combining artistry with a fabled narrative, while herb-infused aquavits are served with traditional pipette.
WHAT WE TRIED
We tried the Freyja – a lovely violet-hued lavender infused girly cocktail with gin, verjuice and tonic and cardamom – topped with tiny blue butterfly pea flowers.
This one is said to have been inspired by a Nordic goddess of the same name who represented love and beauty and you’ll find an imagined painting of her behind the bar.
CHF26 – small price to pay for awakening your inner goddess, no?
This is obviously not cheap, but hey it’s a luxury hotel on a beautiful lake and as bars go, it’s pretty exceptional. Definitely worth trying or taking some eccentric guests to.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva
MAMA & ZITA
Newly opened restaurant Mama & Zita in Geneva’s Nations area perfectly combines different styles and flavours and is exactly what the area of the UN and International Organisations needed! A bistrot chic style restaurant, a relaxed breakfast (home-made pastries) and take-away lounge, and a relaxed after-work drinks area with tapas.
The two chefs at Mama & Zita are from Italy and Morocco and some of their friendly staff members lived in Greece. Together, they create beautifully presented and delicious Mediterranean dishes!
SIGNATURE DISH AND PIZZA TO DIE FOR
A signature dish on their evening menu is their mezze platter to share as a starter, which makes you travel from Greece to Morocco and Lebanon. We highly recommend you try this!
We also tried their pizza – lovely crust and just what the doctor ordered on a grey winter’s day. The impressive fondant of zucchini stuffed with a creamy
In case you don’t have time for a sit-down lunch, their take-away area has salads, focaccia & sandwiches, all in Mediterranean style.
READ OUR FULL REVIEW HERE
If you work on that side of the lake, this is a no brainer.
Lovely food, good quality and good service.
Chemin Louis-Dunant 13, Nations