FESTIVE EATS AND DRINKS IN GENEVA
by Chené Koscielny
Are you looking for different, new and cosy restaurants and wine bars to try in Geneva this festive season? We have recently discovered or re-discovered some great options ranging from unique dining experiences to a wine bar catering for the true wine connoisseur.
Here is our list.
NEW: THE CHEESEBOAT – a hip, intimate fondue dining experience on the lake
Do you love fondue and you love the lake? We do and we love the idea of the cheeseboat – a brand new restaurant which opened this week! Forget chalet and cosy- this is a very different fondue experience.
NOTE: The Cheeseboat will be open on New Year’s Eve and for a credit of CHF120 you can choose what you’d like off the menu, including drinks.
Situated right in front of the Kempinski – there can be no better spot to watch the fireworks from this year! BOOK NOW.
THE ATMOSPHERE – NOT COSY, CHALET!
We’re talking about a romantic, intimate dining experience on a 30-metre long vintage boat constructed in Vevey in 1960 with seating for 50 people and offering spectacular views of the illuminated lakeside area and lake. The boat is moored off the Quai du Mont Blanc opposite the Brunswick museum – between hotel Beau Rivage and Hotel de la Paix. You’ll easily spot it as it’s lit up and you can reach it through a public ladder.
We love the hip take on fondue eating – with black and white photographs around the interior of the boat of celebrities with famous quotes applied to fondue eating! \
CHAMPAGNE, WHISKY AND NON-ALCOHOLIC FONDUES
The menu comprises an impressive selection of fondues, including champagne, whisky, non-alcoholic and vegan fondue (lactose free cheese).
The cheese fondue is prepared (moitie-moitie) with cheese from Fribourg and Blanc-de-Blanc. Additions include herbs, rose petals, truffles or a 12-year-old whisky. It is served with chunks of black and white bread and starters include dried meat and pickled onions.
We tried the rose petal fondue, which was generous, creamy and lovely. The religieuse – the bit when they scrape off the last bits of cheese into a crust is prepared with scrambled egg = and is yummy.
Dessert options include lime cheesecake (we loved this), carrot cake or meringue with cream.
Fondue prices range from from CHF24 -34 for the fondue (200g per person) The drinks menu includes a wide variety of appetisers, wine, spirits, soft drinks and hot drinks. Group bookings can be made for 6 to 20 people.
The Cheeseboat is the result of a collaboration between two players on the Geneva nautical scene: Balthazar Witzig, owner of Genevaboats and Bérengère Claudé, manager of SWISSBOAT.
From October till March, seven days a week from 19h till 23h.
Nearby parking – Parking des Alpes, Rue Adhémar-Fabri and Hotel Kempinski – Rue de la Cloche. TPG stops – Rue du Mont Blanc – in both directions.
Bookings can be made 7/7 – 12/24
by telephone on + 41 79 153 74 74
or via email:
QU’IMPORTE – for late night eating, vin chaud by the fireplace
If you haven’t been to Qu’importe in Carouge for a while, it’s time to revisit this wine bar/restaurant during the festive period. Enjoy a vin chaud or a lovely glass of red wine in front of the fireplace. It’s so cosy and decorated for a lovely festive ambiance.
Apart from the traditional tapas, the bar now also offers more substantial sharing plates – created by Michelin-starred chef Yoann Caloué of the nearby Flacon restaurant, which belongs to the same owners as Qu’importe.
We love the breaded oxtail with tartare dip, wild boar shank on a bed of polenta and the pan-fried foie gras with grape juice. Prices range from CHF9-25 per plate.
FOOD UNTIL MIDNIGHT
If you’re out partying – note that Qu’Importe will be one of the few places where you can get food until midnight!
The downstairs room can be rented for private functions.
The restaurant will exceptionally be open on Saturday, the 21st December from 4pm, so you can warm up after your shopping trip.
1 Rue Ancienne, Carouge
ARAKEL – for the true wine connoisseur and festive cocktails
Arakel in Eaux-Vives (open since July) is no ordinary wine bar.
Passionate about wines, Arakel Sedef, Swiss owner of Armenian origin, who has trained at the hotel school in Lausanne and worked in renowned restaurants, proposes one of the best wine menus in town, coupled with gastronomic tapas and sharing plates.
The wine bar proposes more than 500 wines, from Burgundy and elsewhere in France, Switzerland and Italy, but also Slovakia and other parts of the world.
Here the wine lover can order a bottle of the finest wine ranging in price from CHF50 to CHF5000, but there are also around 15 types of quality wines available to order by the glass.
A bottle of 2015 La Romaneé Grand Cru from the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, Burgundy, at CHF4,000 is one of the dearest wines on the menu for the real connoisseur.
If you’re more in the mood for cocktails this festive season, Arakel has a great selection, as well as the finest whisky, cognac, vodka and chartreuse VEP (exceptionally prolonged aging) and what is rumoured to be the best tequila in the world.
To accompany this amazing wine and cocktail menu, choose from small gastronomic sharing plates or tapas prepared using refined products including a selection of cheeses from the fromagerie Jaquis Duttweiler, meat from the butcher Debarre and Decré and seafood products from Planet Caviar.
Temptations on the menu include carefully flavoured tuna tartare with tapioca chips, delicious caramel Gruyère, which has been ripened for 3 years, aged Boule de Lille or mimolette (similar in texture to Edam cheese) smoked swordfish, tarama blinis and dried duck breast and Jussy pork fillet as part of the charcuterie offering.
CHIC, BUT COMFORTABLE
The ambiance is modern, but at the same time welcoming, chic but also relaxed with comfortable blue velvet seating and very attentive and personal service, including a sommelier who can advise on the wines, without being too invasive.
17 Rue Henri-Blanvalet
BEAU RIVAGE ALPINE TERRACE – for a vintage gondola dining experience
If you’re looking for an unusual place to enjoy a fondue this winter – we recommend the pop-up Alpine terrace at Beau Rivage hotel. It’s also a lovely experience with guests from abroad.
Whether you ski or not, you’ll enjoy this cosy dining experience in a vintage gondola all the way from GStaad. (seven of these have been installed on the hotel’s terrace), complete with wintry decorations and heating!
Each gondola seats 4 people.
The fondues are delicious – choose from the moitie-moitie (half Vacherin and half Gruyère ) to champagne or mushroom fondue and even a black truffle fondue. They are reasonably priced for a luxury hotel and the portions are generous – from CHF32 for the standard fondue to CHF70 for the black truffle version.
Even though we shouldn’t have, we opted for dessert as we couldn’t resist the chocolate fondant with white Toblerone ice-cream and meringue, double cream of Gruyère cheese and red berries. Both are CHF18 and very, very yummy!
Quai du Mont Blanc 13
N#ICE TAPAS BAR – for gastronomic tapas with a twist
Near Manor in the rue des Etuves, another new wine bar has sprung up just in time for the festive season – this one is called N#ICE TAPAS BAR.
Famous Russian chef Anatoly Komm is behind this new concept bar, which proposes tapas with a twist. He is known for his avant-garde style of cooking and for recreating traditional dishes in an unexpected form.
The concept of N#ICE TAPAS is – a special method that allows the reproduction of a dish in a version that is high in vitamins, low in calories and presented in the form of an ice-cream.”
We enjoyed the parfait au foie gras – choux pastry garnished with foie gras mousse and squid ink cannoli garnished with carrot rillettes, Swiss cheese and Kimchi sauce, as well as scallops and sea urchin from the Trompe l’Oeil (illusion) section of the menu. The presentation is very unusual and a definite talking point.
From the chips menu we tried very tasty raw food tapioca chips with Asian-style beef tartar and kale, as well as chips with squid ink, carpaccio of sea food and ‘caviar.’
The creations section of the menu – has a choice of 6 dishes and we tried the seasonal vegetarian – cauliflower, broccoli, hummus and Japanese walnut sauce – option, which was divine.
For dessert we recommend the N#ice pot à la Suisse – double crème, meringue and berries. Delicious.
The wine selection includes a fine choice of bio wines
Prices range from CHF6 for the chips and ‘Illusion” tapas and CHF10 to CHF28 for the creations menu.
The restaurant will also be open for lunch and will offer as a speciality – wellington- puff pastry with fish, beef or vegetables served with grenailles potatoes and broccoli (around CHF15).
1 Rue des Etuves