Looking for a super-fresh, crunchy salad or wrap in Geneva? One that doesn’t consist merely of limp lettuce, tomato, cucumber and grated carrot – God forbid – grated cheese? What’s more, a salad that hasn’t been sitting in a fridge for days or that is so uninspiring it could make you weep with despair? This is where Elsa (who’s German) and Seb (who’s Swiss/American) come in. This inspiring young couple have transformed the lunch circuit in Geneva. Read on to find out how they got started, their plans for the future and Elsa’s tips for how to fold a non-spill wrap.
A mouth-watering menu of wraps and salads in Geneva
Elsalad offers both a takeaway and eat-in option of seasonally inspired, freshly made to order, deliciously crunchy and creative salads and wraps (this last is my personal favourite as the wrap enhances the combination of flavours).
THEIR SECRET: An exciting, creative mix of flavours and textures – with every bite!
Some menu options:
The Winter Cobb (most popular item on the menu) grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, sweet potatoes, oranges, almonds, cranberries and goats cheese. YUM!
Cali Wild Rice organic wild rice, grilled chicken, mango, avocado, coriander, jalapenos, coleslaw, tortilla chips and grated cheddar cheese (inspired by Elsa’s recent trip to Mexico).
The February Salad green lentils and mint, beetroot, cucumber, pomegranate, white cabbage, walnuts and feta cheese.
The Quinoa Crunch quinoa, peppers, cucumber, carrots, spring onions, mint, coriander and sesame seeds.
Chunky Chilli Beef chilli with beef strips, red kidney beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, salsa of avocado, tomato, red onion, yogurt and mint.
Thai Coconut Shrimp marinated shrimp, avocado, red cabbage, peppers, spring onions, peanut and coconut flakes.
All are priced at between 16-19chf each.
They also sell a fresh soup of the day, drinks (Bänz Fruit Juices, BonJu Green Smoothies, Urban Kombucha Ice Tea and Henniez Mineral Water) and for the sweet toothed Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies, Banana Bread and Gluten Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
What makes them different?
The focus is on local and seasonal ingredients, sourced from people they know and trust. Everything is freshly prepared daily, in their central kitchen every morning (only the wraps and bread are bought in). The prepped ingredients are delivered to the restaurant ready for the lunchtime rush and every salad or wrap is assembled in front of you. Any ingredient you dislike can be replaced with something else (a customer-focused detailed not often witnessed in Geneva!). Gluten-free bread is also offered, to go with your gluten free salad.
An office delivery service is now available, with deliveries by eco-friendly bicycle to local businesses.
Elsalad offer a loyalty rewards scheme – buy 10 wraps/salads and get your next one free. They are on first-name terms with the majority of their customers and bring new meaning to service with a smile to stressed out office workers.
Food truck beginnings
I discovered Elsalad by chance, when looking for food trucks in Geneva. They have become my go to place to try out reasonably priced, quick and tasty food around the World. They offer up-and-coming restaurateurs the chance to trial their menus to the public for a much lower start-up cost than opening restaurant. This is how I first came across Elsa and Seb, who met during their studies at the hospitality school in Lausanne. During an internship in New York, Elsa fell in love with the salad bars in the city and was impressed by how easy it was to find creative, fresh takeaway food. Back home she convinced Seb that fresh and healthy food was the next big thing for Switzerland. Et voila! Elsalad was born.
Initially, they ran a food truck in Lausanne two days a week, before quickly realising that Geneva was better suited to their business because of its more cosmopolitan crowd. They were researching suitable locations for a restaurant, only to be knocked back by the City of Calvin’s high prices. Undeterred, they applied for one of the much sought after places on the food truck scheme run by the Ville de Genève. Having secured the right to a stand, they invested in a new food truck, modifying it to suit their needs.
Their very own restaurant
At the same time, they surprised themselves by winning a highly contested bid to the Ville de Genève for premises, at a reduced rent in the recently regenerated rue d’Etuves – close to the Manor department store. In the space of a couple of months, Elsa and Seb gained a place on the Geneva food truck circuit (September 2014) and a restaurant (December 2014). A huge undertaking by any standard, but this energetic couple rose to the challenge! The food truck operates five days a week in five different locations around Geneva (check out their website for daily locations), as well as participating in the Geneva Street Food Festival and offering private hire of the truck for events.
Two years on and Elsalad has been such a huge success that the couple have opened their second restaurant. In addition to their popular lunch time service, they stay open at the weekend and for dinner too. Hurray! They chose Eaux-Vives as their location, as they already have a client base there thanks to the food truck circuit. Located at Carrefour de Villereuse 4 (by the entrance of the Villereuse car park), opposite Eaux-Vives 2000 shopping centre. The new restaurant offers a much larger seating area than their rue d’Etuves location.
It is great to see this lovely couple succeed in business, through passion, hard work, sound business ideas, amazing customer service and the most incredibly healthy food that has been missing in Geneva for so long.