WHERE TO EAT VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN IN GENEVA
by Gaëlle Forget
Main photograph credit: Cafe Mutin
It happens that some of my friends are vegetarian, pescetarian or vegan. The dilemma is always finding a restaurant that will satisfy everyone around the table. To avoid this headache going forward, I compiled a list of good vegetarian and vegan-friendly options around Geneva.
OU BIEN ENCORE
Ou Bien Encore was the first purely vegetarian and healthy eatery to open in Geneva – and for this, it deserves to be on top of my list. In the summer, it has a nice terrace and during wintertime, it is really cosy and cute inside. They do breakfast, lunch and brunch (Saturdays only). In the morning, on your way to work, you can grab a homemade granola with fresh fruit, and soy milk, regular milk or goat’s yogurt for CHF 7. They also offer vegan sandwiches ( CHF 9) and sandwiches without flour (CHF 8) for those who favour gluten free foods or people with gluten allergy. You will also find the ever popular avocado toast (CHF 9).
The restaurant also offers a selection of organic and seasonal foods. I personally find their lunch option a bit expensive, (their quinoa tajine is set at CHF 25), however, their daily menu, which comprises of a vegan sandwich and a choice of salad or a soup for (CHF 16) can be quite accommodating and filling if you are in the Quartier des Bains area. They allow you to bring your computer and work in there and there are power sockets available.
On Saturdays, the brunch starts at 11:30am; reserving ahead of time is recommended, as it gets quite crowded. For brunch, you will get several veggies dishes for CHF 28. Should you wish to add eggs to your meal, it will be an extra CHF 6.
They offer catering services upon request, and host a small grocery shelf in the shop, allowing you to purchase fresh, seasonal, organic, vegetarian and gluten free products.
Ou Bien Encore
Rue des Bains 61
Monday to Wednesday (8am – 7pm); Thursday (8am – 9pm), Friday (8am – 7:30pm), Saturday (10am – 4pm); closed on Sunday
Not too far from Ou Bien Encore, in Plainpalais, you can find Café Mutin, which is a 100% vegan restaurant. It is a quiet and cosy place that will bring comfort to your soul. The terrace and the overall décor and atmosphere are simply charming. The menu changes regularly depending on the seasonal and local products they can find. The food is good and the offer is creative.
The owners wanted to incorporate an ethical and environmental component to their restaurant by selecting only local and organic products, which are free from animal exploitation and abuse. For lunch, they have a limited menu composed of the dish of the day (CHF 20), the salad of the day or their vegan burger. For dinner, you can choose between four main dishes, including their vegan burger (CHF 24) or their eggplant and apricots tajine (CHF 28). They do brunch on Sundays only, and for CHF 39, they offer a savoury option, gluten free pancakes, fruit salad and the dessert of the day.
20 Boulevard de la Cluse
Wednesday to Friday (8am – 12am), Saturday (2pm – 12am) and Sunday (10:30am – 3pm)
BE KIND CAFÉ
Be Kind is located in the Jonction area. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly. The food is homemade, organic and vegan, and dishes on offer are tasty, well balanced and filling. The concept is to adapt French and world cuisine to vegan standards. Their food is composed of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, cereals, tofu and others.
They work almost exclusively with local products from the Geneva region. Sandrine and Charlotte, the owners, wanted to show that it is possible to make tasty food that is also healthy, ethical and environmentally sound. They only use recycled wrapping and packaging for all their food.
Be Kind offers only breakfast and lunch. For lunch, their dish of the day is set at CHF 21, whereas their salad of the day is at CHF 18, but you can also try the soup of the day for CHF 9, or their savory tart for CHF 16. Local beers and wine are also on the menu.
Rue David-Dufour 8
Monday to Friday (7am – 5pm); closed on Saturday and Sunday
Alive, headquartered in the hip and trendy Eaux-Vives neighbourhood, is much more than a vegan restaurant. It is a unique concept-store, which promotes a healthy lifestyle and offers a vegan kitchen, yoga, meditation and Pilates classes (CHF 30), personal training, life therapy, health store and much more.
The space organizes workshops on how to cook vegan (CHF 60) and how to detox (CHF 90). Their food is fresh, seasonal, organic and local, and also composed of natural food supplements, or “superfoods”. They offer brunch on Sundays starting at 11am for CHF 30.
The aim of the restaurant is to support patrons in regaining or maintaining good health and vitality, while respecting the daily needs of our bodies. It is hard to sum up Alive in a few words, as it is a way of life more than just a store. It is truly a one-of-a-kind type of place in Geneva: somewhere you will feel good and rejuvenated, where your body and mind will be in harmony.
Rue des Barques 2
Monday to Friday (7am – 8:30pm), Saturday (11am – 6pm) and Sunday (10am – 5pm)
MU-Food is the point of reference for vegan and vegetarian food in the Pâquis area. They offer fresh and local food issued from producers that do not use chemicals to treat their vegetables. The restaurant only offers vegetarian and vegan options, whereas their catering services also include non-vegetarian options from environmentally friendly farmers and producers. Most of the chef’s highly creative dishes are not only vegan but also gluten free; where this is not the case, the menu will indicate otherwise. To show their commitment to the environment, their producers are listed on their website for better transparency. The dish of the day is priced at CHF 21. It is cheaper if you decide to take it to go and to bring your own box (CHF 18.50), which truly is a great initiative to reduce waste from packaging.
Rue de Lausanne 59
Monday (11:30am – 2:30pm), Tuesday to Friday (11:30am – 2:30pm; 5pm – 12am), Saturday (6pm – 12am), closed on Sundays
Nestled right next door to MU-Food and conveniently located near the train station, Café Cacahuète opened in 2015, and has become a preferred take-away place for vegan, gluten and lactose free food. All the dishes are homemade every day by owners Caroline and Sophie, and are sourced from organic and local farmers.
Café Cacahuète offers vegan and gluten free burgers, vegetable bowls, a vegan detox box, healthy salads, smoothie bowls, and gluten free cookies. Some argue that they have the best vegan burger in town – as I haven’t tried them all, I will let you be the judge. It is more in the spirit of a coffee shop, as it only offers breakfast and lunch and it closes quite early. A big downside for me is that they are closed on weekends.
Rue de Lausanne 60
Monday to Friday (8am – 3:30pm), closed on Saturday and Sunday