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Ondine

Any good eats in Geneva, Switzerland?

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Hi there everyone!

I just thought I'd post on behalf of my brother who has uprooted himself from Down Under to fly all the way to Geneva for his new job. He's just started to get settled and has a place to live and a car, and is loudly (by email) bewailing the novel (to him) profusion of snow. :biggrin:

He knows I'm a regular on food sites online and asked me to recommend any restaurants/cafes in his area. I personally drew a blank and could only find the odd Fodor link. I really should have come to eGullet first, shouldn't I? :laugh:

So having done a bit of a thread hunt, I was wondering if anyone out there can recommend any good eats (all budgets really) in Geneva? I've seen other threads but they mostly seemed to deal with other Swiss cities like Zurich. He's pretty good with driving and public transport, and keeps normal business hours.

Where's good? :smile:

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Budgets and Geneva don't seem to go together really. This is a beautiful city but really caters for the well-heeled.

A few overnights there in recent years have produced nothing memorable. If I have to go to Geneva for a few days, I find it preferable to stay in France and commute. Towards Annecy, there are several good choices and he should be able to dig up something on the French forum. If I lived in Geneva, I could easily imagine driving the 50 km or so to Annecy for a trip to the market (one of the best in France) and lunch by the lake. I have even known people to live in Annecy and commute to work in Geneva because of cots and life-quality reasons.

If your brother finds he has something serious to celebrate tell him to head in the other direction towards Lausanne to visit Freddy Girardet's old place in Crisier. Freddy is long retired and the new owner is Philippe Rochat. http://www.philippe-rochat.ch/

I don't know what has happened in recent years but for perhaps a quarter of a century, Girardet's was considered to be one of the best restaurants in Europe. It was certainly a destination restaurant and the one time I eat there was in the company of a small group who made an annual prilgrimage to Freddy (somebody had dropped out at a late stage and I got the nod.) The food was rich and based on complex classic recipes - lots of cream, foie gras, truffles! The place was not cheap then but had a relaxed unpretentious elegance that did not intimidate. Freddy came himself from the kitchen to the table and explained and advised about the meal.

I know this may be of little use but if I find something useful for the French side, I'll let you know.

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I used to work there from time to time, and I liked "Le Petit Lyonnais" a lot, in Plainpalais.

Good unpretentious lyonnais food.

Quiet in the evening, and very busy at lunch.

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Thank you balex and kerriar! I was wondering why I wasn't getting any responses to my question, and now I know why.

When I said "all budgets" I meant I was asking for recommendations of any kind, from the neighbourhood take-away type to temples of gastronomy. Anything, really, as long as it's good. :biggrin:

My brother will probably like 'Le Petit Lyonnais', I think. He's been emailing me with amazed comments about the produce in the markets. He's never seen wild boar before, and here he is having sanglier sausages for dinner! :smile:

And he'd never seen snow in quantity before either. I definitely heard about that one. :rolleyes:

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I am looking for a place to dine in geneva with emphasis on food over fancy presentation. good wines would help. It would be nice to spend under 100 dollars for two. RR

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Hello ...

I'm new to egullet and (fairly) new Geneva area -- moved here (actually to France, just 2 km from the border) in August. This is also a response to Ondine's post of a while back in which she asked for suggestions for her brother, newly arrived in Geneva ...

Of course, G. is a super-expensive city and -- unlike, say, New York -- doesn't have many mid-range options if you're not in the mood to spend a fortune. Even a "mid-range" meal here costs a small fortune! So that $100 meal you're searching for, RRainey, is hard to find -- or maybe I just haven't found it yet ...

I was never a fondue fan -- memories of '70s era Magic Pan in U.S., etc. -- but since move here, have had to become one in order to survive! ... And I've found that there's a huge range -- head to charming Carouge neighborhood for tomato fondue at Au Vieux Carouge, which altho smoky as all get out, is justifiably renowned for its fondue. The tomato is much more interesting, in my view, than the "nature." It's served with boiled little potatoes instead of bread, which I like a lot. Ask for a small plate of cornichons and pickled onions (which is usually served with "assiette valaisienne" but not always with fondue -- the assiette is a plate of cold sliced charcuterie). You can prevent that horrible I'm-going-to-die post-fondue feeling by ordering only one fondue for 2 or 3 people, and then an assiette valaisienne or something else light!

Super cheap fondue can be had at the Bains des Paquis -- which is one of the seven wonders of Geneva, if not the world! I've so far only been in warm weather, but am actually going tonight to check out the fondue. Of course, you have to ignore the swans and other bird life on the lake in this time of La Grippe Aviare, so if you're squeamish or prudent, maybe this isn't the best time to go. (Call me non-squeamish or foolhardy!) Ondine, your brother should check out the Bains if he hasn't already -- esp when spring comes. It's a lakefront beach in the heart of the city, with a stony beach, a raft to swim out to, a great "buvette" for snacks and meals and an after-swim glass of wine. In winter, you can get a massage, walk out the jetty and look at the lake, and have a fondue ... Great place.

When I first moved here and didn't know the city at all, we stumbled into a nice neighborhood place in Eaux Vives called Opera Bouffe -- haven't been back, but if memory serves, it had a varied and interesting menu, not as heavy as G. restaurants often are, and was reasonably priced.

In the park in Eaux Vives, there's a recently redone restaurant that's supposed to be good but very expensive. In same bldg is a less expensive, and also supposedly good, brasserie, that I've been meaning to try.

Cafe des Negotiants in Carouge is also on my to-try list: I've heard: great wine cellar, horrible service. Would be curious to hear reactions if anyone goes there.

In France, Auberge de Cessy (in town of Cessy) is GREAT. And the Sunday market in Divonne-les-Bains (my new hometown) is wonderful, although very expensive, and given the current furor over the book "Market Day in Provence," I'm wondering how much of the wonderful sutff I see every Sunday in the market is actually from small., local fermiers, as I"m clearly meant to hink. Hmmm ...

Last thought: in the basement level of theCornavin (the train station) is an Asian takeout place whose name I now forget, where Ondine's brother can get sushi, Thai noodles, Vietnamese spring rolls. Some of it's great, some so-so. And, by Genevois standsards, it's cheap!

Will be curious to hear other Geneva-area thoughts from anyone living here or passing through ...

Anne

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Turns out I'll be in Geneva for a day in a couple weeks...I'm looking for "what to eat" recommendations more than "where to eat"...I won't have very long at all to focus on eating, so I'll probably just end up dashing out for something. But what? Any streetfood/takeout recommendations are welcome. No limits in terms of style, spiciness, squeamishness, etc.

I'll be based at this address:

12 bd de la tour

1205 genève/ch

in case anyone has any neighborhood-specific "Where to eat" tips....

thanks!

mark


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Turns out I'll be in Geneva for a day in a couple weeks...I'm looking for "what to eat" recommendations more than "where to eat"...

Mark

The closest I can think of for street food would be a chunk of gruyere cheese and roasted chestnuts from the outdoor market on the left bank. Next would be fondue that is described above.

However, I can also recommend both the Brasserie de l'Hôtel de Ville on the left bank which is really near where you'll be staying and you can get in and out of quickly and Chez Jacky on the right bank but walking distance - the former for great frites and the latter for kind of funky dishes. Both are one knife/fork in the Michelin.

John

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Hey John,

Thanks a bunch for the response (and for all of the compendia that you're constantly doing....they've been invaluable).

It's looking like we've got a short drive to Geneva that day, so a sit-down dinner is a distinct possibility.

The Buvette des Bains looks great, but I can see the service being very slow...anyone know if this is the case?

The only downside I can see for Brasserie de l'Hôtel de Ville is that Frommer's recommends it... :raz:, haven't found an online menu yet.

Chez Jacky's menu looks nice (tho it seemed a bit expensive til I remembered that the prices were in CHF!)...

I'll let you know what happens...

mark


Edited by markemorse (log)

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It's looking like we've got a short drive to Geneva that day, so a sit-down dinner is a distinct possibility.

If you're coming from France there are some good places not far from Geneva too.

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:cool: Since you are in town try one of the most copied dishes on earth, whipped herb butter sauce with steak and french fries at The Café de Paris! Make sure to check out the area first for cigar smokers, unless you are one yourself! Have fun! :biggrin:

byron

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Yesterday's NYT had another of those "36 Hours in" Geneva, articles with oddly, few meals eaten. However, Finn-Olaf Jones did recommend the Restaurant des Armures for fondue, La Caravane Passe for couscous and Faim for a "modernist brunch."

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Let me revive this with the same question - except expanded to, say, a 40-minute drive out of Geneva in either Switzerland or France. Any favorites, new or old? We're looking to take some friends out of a nice September evening, so pleasant surroundings would be a plus.

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As you know, Geneva is right up against France there and Annecy is not far and though not a lot of members have reported lately Marc Veyrat's place is a "destination;" nor is it far to a place I love, the Ferme de Lormay in Grand-Bornand (at least in non-snowy weather) which closes Sept 8.

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Thanks for that. Veyrat is not really right for this trip - plus, my one visit there (admittedly some years ago) did not make me yearn to go back. I'll look into the Ferme de Lormay, however.

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In the end, we left the choice to our Geneva friends, and they've opted for Le Cigalon, at Thonex, a place they've been eager to try, and a fairly short drive from where they live. I'll post, briefly, when we've been - first week in September.

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On average, the food at Le Cigalon was okay, not more. Raw fish first courses, however, very good indeed, including sardines that were as tender and unctuous as matjes herring; excellent "tian" of anchovies and vegetables. Main-course dishes rather bland, some fish overcooked. Poor tomatoes, which surprised me.

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On a recent visit I had an opportunity to eat at some new and old places.

Soupçon, 8, place du Bourg-de-Four, 1204, in the old city. I only tried the most-interesting of the forced-choices: a fine carpaccio of bar with shredded daikon and a not-bad souris of what they assured me was Spring lamb, not aged mutton, with all sorts of chopped winter veggies, followed by a clever baba with (not rum but) lemoncello. We also had a surprisingly good local Cabernet.

The Café du Centre on the place du Molard 5, 1204. It was jammed as usual and its menu and chalkboard full of choices. My pal had bulots and I had what they called a salade lyonnaise that I ascertained was a classic salad frisee but it was not; it had more potato, tomato and croutons than frisee pieces, but it answered my need. Then we decided to order both the cod loin (dos) and sea bass loin (dos) and compare them; the sea bass (loup) came out way ahead. With 2 dls of a local Chardonnay and 2 coffees the bill was 109 SF.

Le Relais de l’Entrecote’s in the 6th and 8th, one of which just opened on the Bd du Montparnasse. There’s clearly a formula here that works; it too was packed by 12h15. The salad was quite good and the entrecote and fries better than those I had in Paris a while back which is puzzling. We had no desserts but coffee and a half bottle of French red wine and exited with a bill of 115.50 SF.

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I was in Annecy back in Sept/Oct 08 and managed to dig up a couple of photos while i'm at the office :D

We picked up some saucisson and some fruits and veg to have on a picnic later in the day. Including a saucisson of the aforementioned sanglier :P

gallery_53504_6483_79052.jpg

gallery_53504_6483_35679.jpg

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