WHERE TO EAT THE BEST BOA BUNS, DUMPLINGS AND NOODLES IN GENEVA – OUR FAVOURITES!
by Gaëlle Forget
During 2017 and 2018 Geneva embraced a number of new Asian food trends, and we were blessed with the opening of a number of delicious alternatives in the heart of town.
For those who missed it, let me bring you up to speed.
This year, bao is all the rage in Geneva. A bao is a type of Vietnamese bun made with yeast dumpling, which is filled with meat or vegetarian toppings. It is usually steamed.
BAO STEAM KITCHEN
The newest addition to the Asian scene in Geneva is Bao Steam Kitchen. The restaurant’s décor is modern and elegant, and their specialties are bao, dim sum and soup dumplings, or Xiaolongbao, an all-time favourite of mine!
Xiaolongbao is a steamed bun filled with hot soup. At Bao Steam Kitchen, the dim sum are tasty and fresh. The prices are reasonable for the quality of the food and service, which is warm, attentive and friendly – and the wine selection is outstanding! As with all restaurants “of the moment”, making a reservation in advance is recommended, as Bao Steam Kitchen has become very popular. Book a table by the bar and watch the chef work his magic…
Bao Steam Kitchen
Chemin du 23-août 28
Tuesday to Saturday (11:30 am – 2pm; 6:30pm – 10pm)
Bao Canteen is the fast food option for bao in Geneva. With its street food vibe, it caters best to young people and students. You order at the counter, take a number and grab a seat in the Asian inspired cafeteria – the friendly wait staff will bring you your order. Their Super Tiger Menu (CHF 21.90) includes a drink, a choice of soup or seaweed salad, and two baos.
I had the slow cooked pork and the spicy beef baos; it was good enough for a quick lunch on the go. For something more elaborate, I would recommend looking further afield. They also do sweet and decadent bao waffles topped with ice-cream and various toppings – we couldn’t fit one in, but word on the street is that they’re super yummy!
rue du Conseil-Général 11
Monday to Saturday (11:30 am – 9:30pm)
Ramen is a Japanese dish, which consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, sometimes flavoured with soy or miso sauce, with savoury toppings such as sliced pork, boiled egg, beans and spring onions.
In Geneva, you can try this delicacy at several great locations. I have two favorites: Yukiguni and Susuru.
Yukiguni has one of the most authentic ramen in Geneva in my opinion. The restaurant is small and cosy, which makes it a great spot for when the weather turns for the worse. One of their cooks is from Hokkaido, and some of the wait staff speak Japanese. The classic ramen is set at CHF 22 and their menu also includes Kirin, a Japanese beer, on draft.
Yukiguni has become very popular, and does not take reservations – so I suggest arriving early to beat the crowd.
Boulevard James-Fazy 4Bis
Monday to Friday (11:30 am – 2pm; 6:30pm – 10pm), Saturday and Sunday (12pm – 3pm; 7pm – 10pm)
Susuru wins top prize for the best location, the best interior design and overall atmosphere, with very positive vibes. In the summer, their side terrace is incredible, as it makes you feel like you have traveled somewhere far away from Geneva. In the kitchen, everything is made from scratch, including the noodles, which are made in-house with a machine directly imported from Japan.
Rue du Stand 35
Monday to Saturday (12pm – 2pm; 7pm – 10:30pm); closed on Sunday
Another restaurant with two branches in the city specialising in Japanese Udon and Ramen noodles in a delicious broth. Read our review here.
UKIYO NOODLE BAR & RESTAURANT, 6 route de Frontenex, 1207 Genève (or 6, place De-Grenus, 1201 Genève).
12.00am-2.30pm & 6.30pm-10.00pm Tuesday to Saturday.
RAMEN AND BOA BUNS MARATHON
Umamido is definitely in the “Top 3” of the best ramen restaurants in Geneva. The restaurant opened in late 2017 in the Plainpalais area, and while my favorite is Yukiguni, Umamido (the path towards tastiness in Japanese) is a very good option.
Their ramen is made from wheat noodles, plunged in a broth of a thousand flavours. I can recommend the Kara Miso Ramen, which is served in a spicy broth – it was full to the brim with flavor. If spicy food is not your cup of tea, the Chef Ramen is the highlight of their menu. Portions are quite large, so make sure to come with an empty stomach and a big appetite.
In addition to ramen, Umamido’s menu also offers the now famous bao buns, with a choice of a generous portion of sizzling pork, or their homemade kimchi. Some claim that they have the best pork bao buns in town; you should come check it out for yourself.
The décor is modern yet simple, with fresh cut flowers on the table to liven up an otherwise minimalistic space. The only downside to this lovely restaurant is that it is quite small. They don’t take reservations and it is always very busy, so you might wait for a while before being seated.
Boulevard Carl-Vogt 63
Monday to Friday (11:30am – 2pm; 6:30pm – 10pm), Saturday (12pm – 2:30pm; 6:30pm – 10pm), closed on Sunday
ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI AND COCKTAILS – WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
Lola isn’t a well-known bar in town. It is located in the Paquis neighborhood, right next door to the popular Mexican restaurant El Catrin. From Tuesday to Friday (6pm – 8pm), Lola holds its own happy hour: all-you-can-eat sushi for just CHF 25. It is a great deal considering the high quality sushi on offer, which is made on the spot, especially for you – and the portions are quite large. In addition to happy hour, you can also order dim sum, gyoza (both at CHF 9 for four), ramen noodles (starting at CHF 18 for vegetarian and CHF 21 for pork) and bao (CHF 6.90 each).
The atmosphere at this stylish restaurant is very cozy, with comfortable couches and rattan chairs with blankets. I had wine, but the cocktails (CHF 16) looked very enticing. We went on a Tuesday evening and it was rather quiet, which was great for catching up with friends. I would recommend going for a romantic yet casual first date. It does not strike me as a place to go party with a bunch of friends, but rather for a laidback and relaxed evening. I was pleasantly surprised by this place, and can only recommend it.
Rue de Richemont 9
Tuesday to Wednesday (11am – 2pm; 5pm – 12am), Thursday to Friday (11am – 2pm; 5pm – 2am), Saturday (6pm – 12am) ; closed on Sunday and Monday