WHERE TO BRUNCH IN GENEVA
Whether you prefer greasy or super-healthy, continental or full English, à la carte sophistication or an over-indulgent buffet – a satisfying brunch which won’t cost half your month’s wages, can make or break your weekend.
And if you’re craving a good bagel for brunch – also check out our bagel guide.
Our contributors share some of their favourite brunch spots. Feel free to share yours with us below in comments or on Facebook.
‘ENGLISH MAN’ IN GENEVA
by Celeste Kew
Smart waiters in black suits, white table-clothed tables and lots of seafood on display – my first impression of Cafe du Centre in the courtyard of Place du Molard (opposite Globus). I had often walked by, but never gave it a second glance due to having two small children with me. However, one day my husband spotted a sign saying that they do a full English breakfast – hoorah!
This is the one thing we have missed since leaving England, so we decided to try it out and we were very pleasantly surprised.
The brunch menu has a wide selection of pastries (croissants, pain au chocolat, almond croissants and even chocolate chip muffins); eggs (florentine, benedict or fried). Options are available for the health conscious, such as the ‘healthy combo’ – a fresh fruit salad, bircher muesli, blueberry pancakes and Greek yoghurt. The menu has a good combination of both English and American styled breakfasts.
My children tend to go for the blueberry pancakes, while I can never pass up on a full English breakfast! Aptly named ‘The English Man’, it consists of 2 Cumberland sausages, 2 rashers of streaky bacon, 2 fried eggs, a grilled tomato, fried potatoes and even baked beans! Since it is brunch, I try to sneak in a cheeky glass of champagne – well we are celebrating the fact we’re eating a real full English breakfast in Switzerland!
And does the breakfast live up to its name? Well, we keep going back for more!
WHERE: Café du Centre, Place du Molard 5, 1204 Genève.
WHEN: Every Sunday from 10.30am-4pm.
COST: The English Man CHF27.50, Blueberry Pancakes CHF8.50 – click here to see the full menu in English.
by Chené Koscielny
If you’re looking for the traditional English fry-up, this is not it. And although we all love our bacon and eggs as much as the next Anglophone family, the Italian-style brunch at Vicolo39 at the Auberge Communale de Carouge, ticks quite a few boxes for us.
The main courses include pasta with fresh mussels, margarita pizza, chicken with potatoes and loads of vegetable side dishes. The dishes change to reflect seasonal products, but the concept of cold meats and cheese, pasta and pizza stays the same.
Pudding is a treat with a variety of Italian cakes and pastries, as well as a selection of fruit.
You could fill up your plate as often as you like – important with two strapping teenagers – and we had a few refills of juice and coffee. Even my fussy 8-year-old was happy with pizza, cold meat, cheese, fruit and cake.
The service was friendly and the venue itself is tastefully decorated. On a sunny day – you can sit outside in the terrace, which is beautiful and offers a tiny play area for kids.
At CHF35 per person and CHF15 for children between the ages of 5 and 12, we found the bill less painful than usual when dining out en-famille in Geneva.
WHERE: Vicolo39, 39 rue Ancienne, 1227 Carouge.
WHEN: Every Sunday from 11.30am-3pm.
COST: CHF35, Children (5-12 years old) CHF15.
by Vivian Holding
Personally, I’m not one for a large eat as much as you like brunch buffet – you know, where you need to overindulge to get your money’s worth! Luckily I’ve found the perfect place for Sunday brunch at Birdie after a stroll around the food market in Plainpalais – located close by, in the very trendy, arty Bains part of town.
I opt always for one of two items from the menu – the strongest contender is always their Birdie Brekkie. Delicious avocado on toast, served with smoked salmon, a poached egg, salad, small wedge of cheese and a little dessert pot – at just under CHF20, or if I want to go for something a little less filling, I choose their scrummy apple porridge at CHF9.90 – a mix of oatmeal, almonds, apple, milk and honey.
Not being a big coffee drinker, it’s a cup of tea every time for me, although this place is well known for its great coffee – so coffee-aficionados, please feel free to try it out and let us know what you think!
In addition to their brunch items, there are plenty of other healthy options on the menu – from soups and salads. They also sell some very reasonably priced cakes at CHF3/4 each – from traditional cannelés, carrot cake, chocolate cake and banana cake as well as delicious chocolate chip cookies. So for the perfect Sunday, I take a stroll around the food market in Plainpalais and then head over to Birdie and settle in to read the Sunday paper – bliss!
WHERE: Birdie, 40 rue des Bains, 1205 Genève.
WHEN: The Birdie Brekkie and Apple Porridge are served all week long. Opening hours Tuesday-Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed Monday.
COST: From CHF9.90 to CHF20.
by Mel Goodman
My favourite brunch spot in Geneva is Ô Calme in Carouge – although on an average Sunday morning there, I’d have to say this place is more lively than calm! Nestled in the heart of Carouge along the rue Ancienne, it attracts an eclectic crowd from hipster students and young families to older generation Genevois.
As you cannot book, I would advise arriving close to the 10am opening to guarantee yourself a table. The menu is extremely comprehensive with 5 different brunch formulas – basically depending on how hungry you are. Their USP is the choice of a gluten-free option which include boiled eggs, pancakes, fruit and yoghurt and mixed salad plus juice and a hot drink (for CHF30). The menu as a whole is very competitively priced with formulas ranging from CHF23 to CHF38. An alcoholic option is available for those of you who like to start their day with something stronger. As an alternative, you can choose á la carte from a selection which includes pancakes, bircher muesli, scrambled eggs and plates of cheese. The panier of breads alone is worth ordering as the selection is fresh, varied and delicious and there is a small self-service buffet of jams and toppings to accompany each order. The oversize hot chocolates and creamy lattes will doubtless leave you satisfied for the rest of the day.
The waiting staff are helpful but busy, so go armed with ‘un petit peu de patience’. The bustling, homely ambiance enhanced by comfortable leather seating and tasteful artwork make it an ideal choice whoever you find yourself brunching with at the weekend.
WHERE: Ô Calme, 36 rue Ancienne, 1227 Carouge.
WHEN: Every Sunday from 10am-6pm.
COST: CHF23-CHF38. Click here for their menu.
BEST BACON FOR YOUR BUCK
by Sarah Scaddan
- Plenty of bacon
- Various cake options
- Really good coffee
- Not so extortionate that you can’t justify eating again until Wednesday
- Extra bacon
Working within these criteria, Le Cheval Blanc in Carouge is our restaurant of choice for long, lazy weekend brunches. This bar is lively (for Geneva – it’s all relative) at night and serves good tapas. In the day though, it is a comfortable, relaxed restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and not a whiff of stale beer.
It’s essential to book in advance. On a Saturday brunch is served 11am-2.30pm, and on Sunday there are two sittings; 10.30am-1pm and 1.30pm to late afternoon. The service is efficient and friendly, and you are not rushed from your table the moment you look like you have a food hangover.
On the brunch table:
Hot food: a selection of soups, sausages, bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles
Cold food: various salads, quiches, cheeses, breads
Desserts: Cakes, pastries, fruit tarts
My one and only grievance with the buffet is that the hot food serving dishes have separate lids that lift off, so in one hand you need to hold your plate, another hand serve yourself food, and somehow you have to find another hand to hold the lid of the serving dish? It’s a first world problem.
The price is CHF29 per person with as many trips to the buffet table as you like. Drinks are extra and children below 9 years old, only pay their age in CHFs.
WHERE: Le Cheval Blanc, 15 place de l’Octroi, 1227 Carouge.
WHEN: Saturday 11am-2.30pm, Sunday 10.30am-1pm and 1.30pm onwards.
COST: CHF29, children under 9 pay their age in CHFs. Click here for their menu.