The Capital of the canton of the same name is located at the southern most tip of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. From here it is only a stone's throw to France and Italy. Not only is the UN's European headquarters here, Geneva is home to most international organisations after New York. The International Red Cross also operates from Geneva. The City is the cradle of watchmaking and the capital of chocolate - both things Switzerland is famous for. Many congresses are held in the city. It is the most international city in Switzerland which is also noticeable in the wide range of restaurants whose menus reflect its eclectic nature.
Besides Swiss specialities, there are Italian restaurants, French speciality restaurants and even Nikkei Cuisine with their amazing taste of Teriyaki Sauce also has a loyal customer base in this lovely Swiss City. Names like 'Seasons Hôtel des Bergues' and 'Le chat botte' make the hearts of the culinary-minded beat faster. Whether you want to eat such unusual specialities as tuna tartar and zucchini flower or love the traditional dessert 'panna cotta' - you will find it here. The lake attracts visitors with its magnificent Jet d'eau, whose fountain throws 500 litres of water per second 140 metres into the sky. From some establishments you can enjoy the view over drinks and cocktails.
In addition to excellent restaurants, you will also find cafés, bars and the odd bistro where you can indulge in delicious snacks, a salad and other dishes. The impeccable service of the best food temples in the Old Town will stay in your memory for a long time.
Is there a dish that Geneva is known for?
There is even more than one dish that the region is known for.
A classic is the aromatic cheese fondue. The local version is refined with delicious Gruyère and with fine mushrooms, such as morels or mushrooms. Usually you dip bread on a long fork into the melted cheese that sits in a pot on a 'rechaud'.
Cardon de Genève / Cardon genevois
The thistle-like vegetable is reminiscent of artichokes. The Genevese love to eat this dish as a gratin with a béchamel sauce, perfect for cold days.
Longeole is a pork sausage seasoned with fennel seeds, curing salt and pepper. At first glance, the sausage looks like a dry sausage. But longeole cannot be eaten straight away, it has to be cooked in boiling water for two to three hours beforehand. It goes well with potato gratin or salad.
Rissoles aux poires
Rissoles aux poires are dumplings filled with cooking pears and deep-fried. Traditionally, rissoles aux poires are eaten at Christmas time. The special taste is given by the cooking pears, which are cooked either in sugar water or in red wine and spiced with cinnamon. Depending on the variation, sultanas or other spices may be added to the filling.
Le gâteau aux pruneaux du jeûne
In keeping with Geneva's Day of Repentance and Prayer, the "Jeûne fédéral", this plum cake is served. The Swiss holiday is celebrated in Geneva on the Thursday after the first Sunday in September, fitting for the high season of the plum.
Here are the 12 best locations for lovely wine, fabulous cuisine, good quality meals in and around the Old Town of Geneva.
The vegan heart of the city beats here. On the menu, vegans will find fresh, seasonal and local products that are turned into internationally inspired delicacies. For breakfast, there's raw Bircher muesli, chia pudding or avocado toast - optionally gluten-free. If it's particularly hot, lunch can be served with gaspacho, summer rolls or a wrap. A dessert rounds off the meal. Everything at 'Alive' is attractively presented, because the eye eats with you. The prices are mid-range. In the superfood store, you can stock up on the right goodies right away. A yoga and Pilates studio complete the Life Style restaurant near the lakeshore.
OU BIEN ENCORE
Here, too, all dishes on the small menu can be arranged vegan - gluten intolerance and other intolerances are also taken into account. 'Ou bien encore' specialises in the sweet pleasures of life, so ideally you come here to enjoy a tartelette, cheesecake or brownies. The café is located in the Village Suisse. The proximity to France is palpable - in the names of the cafés and eateries as well as on the menus. It helps to speak french in this part of Switzerland.
HÔTEL PRÉSIDENT WILSON
There are two restaurants worth mentioning at this historic location: the 'Arabesque' and the 'Bayview by Michel Roth'. The latter has a Michelin star, a 18/20 rating in the Guide Gault&Millau and is one of the best restaurants in town. Here, French cooking is of the highest standard and the meal is rounded off with a delicacy from the pastry chef, Didier Steudler. The menu is accompanied by an exquisite wine selection. On Sunday guests can have brunch with warm and cold dishes at the 'Bayview'. For 98 CHF you can feast between 12:00 and 14:00.
Arabesque' is a Lebanese restaurant in the same hotel. Here you will be spoilt with grilled meat and fish and the famous mezze, Lebanese dips, the oriental tapas. The chef also comes up with something special for dessert: Ashta ice cream in different flavours.
The second-hand shop 'Paire' is colourful. But the really special thing here is that every 6 months the whole shop is redecorated and the entire furnishings, including the crockery, are sold. The Shop turns into a 'brocante'. At 'Paire' you can simply have a coffee or later a cocktail and in between browse through the clothes that adorn the shop. Croissants are served here with every course and everything looks delicious and colourful. From Tuesday to Friday, the Afterwork Menu offers burgers of all kinds.
From the terrace of 'Il Vero' you have a magnificent view of Lake Geneva (il lago) - ideal for a romantic dinner for two. The food temple is part of the Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva. The chef, Giancarlo Pagano cooks Italian food and the main courses range from CHF 30 to 64. The wine list presents wines from Argentina, France, Chile, Italy and Switzerland.
The café 'Oh Martine!' is first and foremost a speciality coffee shop. Both the coffee and the milks are organic and fair trade. All the other hot drinks are also made from exquisite ingredients - Macha Latte, Milkshakes, Golden Latte and all the others. On the website of 'Oh Martine!' you can see many colourful latte specialities. Salads, tartines and breakfast are the dishes the café offers. Go here for the décor, the tartines and most of all to have coffee!
Just looking at the pain au chocolat on the homepage of 'Sawerdō' makes your mouth water. The café can be booked exclusively for an event, allowing you to enjoy the great food in the company of friends. The name of the restaurant is based on the English word 'sourdough', the name for a bread made from a pre- dough of rye, which is slowly matured and gently processed. Most of the dishes are therefore bread-based. If you haven't had Sourdough before, you should definitely come here and might become a regular.
At 'Max' there is a brunch menu between 9:00 and 11:00 on weekdays. For dinner later in the day, you can also sit on the pavement and enjoy a balmy summer evening with tartare, a bowl or a fish or meat dish. The dessert menu deserves your attention. The restaurant is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
The ambience at 'Chez Marcel' is sensational. In the cool New York style eatery just one street away from the lake in the Eaux-Vives-Lac district, brunch is served from Monday to Sunday. The kitchen is open continuously from 10:00 to 17:00. For brunch, there is a wide selection of sweet and savoury dishes. If you eat a starter, main course and dessert, you can expect to pay CHF50 per person.
THE HAMBURGER FOUNDATION
Pure hamburger - no frills. Fans of real, simple burgers will get their money's worth at 'The Hamburger Foundation'. From the pure food truck business, a branch has emerged that shines cleanly in metal and glass. The burgers can be enjoyed on the spot, as take-away or delivered.
LE CHAT BOTTÉ
Dominique Gauthier is the chef at this Michelin-starred restaurant on Lake Geneva, which you have a wonderful view of while enjoying delicacies. A special feature of one of the top restaurants geneve is the Chef's Table, where up to 8 people dine in the presents of the chefs in the kitchen and experience first-hand the preparation of the menu created for you. This experience far surpasses that of an open kitchen, not only because the menu has been designed especially for you, but also because the atmosphere in a restaurant kitchen is naturally something very special and the service is exclusive. This experience costs CHF 280 per person, excluding drinks.
IL LAGO AT THE SEASONS HOTEL DES BERGUES
This restaurant, which also has a Michelin star, is dedicated to Italian cuisine. The service at the seasons hotel in the Old Town is splendid. You can have lunch from Tuesday to Friday between 12:00 and 14:00 and come for dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays between 19:00 and 21:00. Chef Massimiliano Sena offers a signature menu for lunch for CHF95. In true Italian style, dinner includes a risotto or pasta dish as a second starter before the main course, which features meat or fish as the main ingredient. The restaurant is particularly proud of the locality of the food used, almost all of which is grown and produced in the Geneva area.
What are the stars all about and how do you get them?
The Michelin Guide first existed (in 1900 in France) as a guide for petrol stations and garages, after all Michelin is a tyre manufacturer. This developed into what is now the best-known hotel and restaurant guide. In 1923, gastronomic recommendations began and the stars (called macarons in French) were added in 1926. The following explanation can be read in the Guide Michelin about the classification of the stars: "One star is awarded for "a cuisine full of finesse - worth a stop! Two stars for "a top experience - worth a diversion!", the maximum number three stands for "a unique cuisine - worth a trip!".
In 2021, there were 131 restaurants worldwide that held three of the coveted stars, because in fact it is a restaurant that gets the coveted award and not the chef. If the chef of a restaurant changes, the star remains, but the new chef has to 'defend' the star. If an establishment closes, the stars are lost.
Dining in a starred restaurant is always an experience for people whose palate is refined enough to appreciate the assortment of flavours on the plate. Often the atmosphere is upscale, but street food stalls in Singapore have also received a star simply because the food there is authentic and delicious.
Geneva is a wonderful cosmopolitan city with a wide range of restaurants, cafés and bistros. Whether you spend more time here or just a few days, you will appreciate the city's culinary offerings. But not only the culinary scene deserves your attention - the unique setting is also enjoyable.
The lake itself offers ample opportunities for all kinds of water sports all year round. An hour and a half away is the small town of Gryères, where the cheese of the same name is made. A trip there is not only worthwhile for cheese lovers, but also for lovers of old villages and chocolate, because there is also a chocolate factory here.
Winter is of course especially enjoyable with many ski arenas in the area. Only 65 km away is Praz de Lys. It's less crowded than Chamonix or Portes du Soleil and less expensive but equally amazing. It's high enough to have an amazing view of the Mont Blanc and the closeness to Geneva makes it the perfect winter getaway.
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