For posterity before my final sad and sentimental Geneva post, I wanted to post and share some of my favorite spots for others and for our own eventual return to James’ hometown! This has taken me forever to write purely because it sort of stings just thinking about it. I so miss this walkable life, wandering around the city after just stepping outside my door with James in the stroller — sometimes singularly focused on a yummy croissant and a steaming hot flat white, after a night of little sleep.
Off the top – I have mentioned here that eating out in general in Geneva is expensive – there’s no way around it. Even McDonald’s will set you back 20 CHF (but it’s grass fed beef!) – but the quality is 99% of the time top-knotch.
For your morning (coffee) buzz…
I picked up this adorable coffee map in one of my favorites, Oh Martine! that highlights some of my favorite caffeine hits.
I can personally endorse all of the below 😉 – you’ll find lots of these recommendations focus on service, having loyalty cards, discounting for bringing your own cup (is this a relic of pre-Covid life?!) and serve decaf ha! I was pregnant or nursing the majority of my time in Geneva, so my priorities are clear!
- Granola – several locations but the one near Rive was my main jam. Love their coconut milk capuccinos, protein balls and chia-tella bowls. Service varies from who is working 😉 some of them mock French learners, others are very kind! Has loyalty cards and discounts for your own cup ✔️
- Birdie – for “serious” coffee drinkers in Plainpalais, very Brooklyn vibe from the mustaches to black letterboards – which snarkily sometimes extends to service (and signs about how real baristas don’t serve decaf, blah blah)
- Coutume – really nice place for breakfast in Plainpalais, creative lattes, loved the salted caramel pancakes!
- Luma – a tiny front shop in Eaux-Vives, with a larger seating area in the back! Not entirely stroller friendly, but really nice servers, and happily provide recommendations and serve decaf!
- Chou – adorable desserts in Eaux-Vives! Not the kind of place you would hang out for hours, but a nice place to grab a treat and walk by the lake.
- Lazy Cat – a small but cozy spot in Eaux-Vives with no decaf options, but a nice ambiance and servers
- Boreal – tons of locations! Servers have always been a delight, encourage poor French, and serve decaf. Has loyalty cards and discounts for your own cup ✔️
- Oh Martine! My absolute favorite chai latte, flat white, and salad and tartine in town. All day long the (very nice) baristas play 90s R&B and it feels like a (not snobby) Brooklyn. Has loyalty cards and discounts for your own cup ✔️
A place I love that DIDN’T make this map is Alive in Eaux-Vives. I mentioned it in one of my very first posts! The food is *wow* levels of expensive, but you can get a really creamy coconut/oat/almond/hazelnut/any non-dairy milk under the sun style latte that is really satisfying.
Herstreet in Eaux-Vives also has a really nice cafe and is designed to be a “one-stop shop” for moms – it houses a co-working space, a lovely boutique, exercise studio, Montessori childcare center, and cafe! The concept is great – I took some wonderful postnatal workout classes there and enjoyed the cafe lattes, but execution is still getting there – I found some of the childcare workers a bit smug and there to be too many miscommunications about their scheduling.
For something more substantial…
Some of our favorite lunch and dinner spots!
the best value in town….
15.90 CHF for a half roast chicken, and basically all you can eat fries, and salad at Chez Ma Cousine. We would often go here after touring around Old Town with guests! It’s delicious, reliable, and perfectly priced.
When you’re craving Mexican…
Tacqueria Los Cunados in Eaux-Vives – a great spicy margarita and really reasonable small plates!
For an Italian kick near the lake:
Pizzeria da Paolo – a favorite in our friend group because what you see is what you get! Great pasta dishes and pizza, lovely service, strong value.
For a relaxing friday night with the family:
Luigia – this place could not be more kid-friendly and the pizza is great!
Goblet S’Argent . There are lots of popular burger spots in Geneva – NY milkshake favorite Black Tap, Hamburger Foundation, etc. But we adored this place and were crushed when they were closed for the pandemic throughout the end of our time in Geneva, so we were never able to say goodbye! Not only are the burgers delicious (prime Swiss Simmental beef) and the fries on point – even if the food was awful we would probably still frequently come for the sweetest servers in Geneva. They absolutely didn’t know our names, but LOVED James so much and are always stopping us to say hi to him if we were out for a walk, or scolded us if we came out for dinner without him ha!
For the best fondue:
Cafe du Soleil has had our favorite fondue in Geneva. However, it’s not directly downtown and does not serve raclette, so for geographic ease as well as menu diversity, we more commonly take guests to…
Les Amures – an Old Town classic. A minute from the St. Pierre Cathedral, delicious *everything*, and old-school in the best way.
For the best Sweetgreen substitute
Elsalad – not inexpensive at all but as close as you can get to an Earth Bowl in Geneva! Also, to balance out all that kale is a great dessert selection- the chocolate crinkle cookie (oh my gosh.) They speak beautiful English here as well!
Unamido – we’ve tried them all and this one takes the cake!
Le Phenix was across the street from us and a delight! They are open Sundays – uncommon in Geneva – so it was always a great fall-back after a weekend of travel if our fridge was bare or it was far too hot to turn the oven on after being away.
For great cocktails and date night:
(the very unfortunately named) Eat Me Geneva – they have rotating cuisine from the six major (populated) continents. Really thoughtful service and we’ve always been pleased with our choices. Great cocktails and mocktails when pregnant!
For confidence ordering in French (and excellent steak frites)
Relais d’ Entrecote – right in Rive – no reservations so line up at 7pm! There’s only one thing on the menu – steak frites and salad and their special sauce. So you can order in French and freel really good about yourself since you only need to say bleu (barely cooked) saignant (very medium rare) a point (medium) or bien cuit (well done.) Order bien cuit at your own risk of getting an eye roll in return.
Favorite neighborhood spot…
IMHO, there are not enough brasseries in Geneva. I really loved Max – simple, delicious, humble food and wine served minimally but beautifully. Just lounge with friends and watch the world walk on by from your sidewalk bistro chair.
But – the very best thing you can do (and one of the things we miss the most) was just hitting the grocery store for baguettes, cheese, olives, and wine and walking right to Parc La Grange (around the corner from our apartment) and sitting outside on a blanket in the sun for hours with our little boy. It’s still a huge adjustment for us to get in the car for every.little.thing and you just don’t have the same community setting (or views) even in our beautiful new home of West Chester, Pennsylvania. That’s easily the best meal in Geneva – no contest. We’ll think back on those “lazy” meals and days fondly and always!
Last post coming up soon 😞