Places to eat and food shop in Geneva

I'm going to be working in Geneva (Switzerland, not NY) for about three months this summer. Do any Food52ers know the area, or have restaurant or any food related (or non-food!) recommendations? I'll probably also be traveling around the region, and have various family and friends coming to visit for special meals, so any thoughts are welcome!

  • Posted by: LucyS
  • April 30, 2012


Shuna L. April 30, 2012
You might also check out for tours of off-the-beaten-and-famous-track bakeries & chocolate shops. Kerrin is a good friend of mine-- she is knowledgeable, fluent, American and excited to show people around.
LucyS April 30, 2012
lloreen, thank you SO much! This is so helpful and great to get recommendations. Unfortunately I won't have a car but I'm hoping to do a lot of foot and public transportation exploration - and I think my parents are renting a car when they visit. If you think of anything else, please do let me know! I'm looking forward to being there and I want to get the most out of exploration. I really appreciate all your reminiscences!
LeBec F. April 30, 2012
Were I you, I would go to

Look for a list of their international boards, go to the one for you, and post your question there. Locals will have good advice for you. I always rely on chowhound when i travel. Also the Gault Millaud(sp) guides
lloreen April 30, 2012
Your question made me reminisce :) I remembered one more good address for you: La Petite Sirène, which is in a small town on the French side of the lake. It is run by a nice Norwegian woman, I believe. The specialty is filets de perche, a small white fish which is caught fresh out of the lake that morning (lac léman or lac de genève, depending on which side of the border you are asking), lightly battered and fried, and served with butter and lemon. There is a beautiful view from the terrace. I believe there is a boat that will take you there, though I always drove. Reservations are essential and make sure that perche are in season. I cannot remember exactly when they are available, but I think the summer will be just about right.
It is not the most innovative, marvelous cuisine, but it is a beloved, local tradition and you really cannot beat the view on a clear, sunny afternoon, or the freshness of the fish, for that matter.
lloreen April 30, 2012
Oh, and if you can read French, go to a bookstore when you arrive and ask if they have a dining guide for some of the new restaurants. My boyfriend had one that listed the trendier little, out of the way places and a few were very good, though not remarkable enough that I remember their names. I do remember a few that had young chefs and kind of interesting, fresh French cuisine. Ask around. There is a really nice bookstore in the old city (the winding, cobble stone part on the hill).
Also, if you want to check out the Genevan scene, go for an apero or a morning coffee to the cafés in the square on the top of the old city. Each cafe has its own particular clientele (native Genevans versus wealth international versus teens) It is a fun place to people watch.
Oh! And if you want to treat an out of town guest to Sunday brunch, the orangerie in the main park is quite nice. They have a big brunch buffet - expensive, but a fun treat.
lloreen April 30, 2012
I have spent a lot of weekends and part of the summer in Geneva and honestly, it is not a foodie mecca. However, there are several fun, but expensive farmer's markets where you can get nice produce in the summer. If you are there in the summer, the nicest place to eat a casual meal is the Bain des Paquis, the public bathing area along the lake. It is a cafeteria style place run by a coop of underemployed young Swiss people. They serve nice salads and a plat du jour, which is usually very tasty, for only 10 francs, I believe. The wine and beer are cheap as well and you can have a picnic on the side of the lake, jumping in for a refreshing dip whenever the mood strikes. It is packed with Swiss families and groups of international young people every evening and weekend. I think it is the liveliest, most relaxed place in the city and a good place to strike up a conversation and get more travel tips!
If you have a car, you might drive into France for your grocery shopping. It is considerably cheaper and it fun to check out the bakeries in the villages along the border. Switzerland is incredibly expensive, so a lot of people who work in Geneve live in France, or else drive over to stock up on groceries at the French supermarkets.
Also, if you have a car you can be in the South of France in about 5 hours, which isn't too far to go for an excellent culinary weekend, in my opinion ;) It is a beautiful drive. Try the Route Napoleon, which is a winding road that Napoleon marched through on his way to try to reclaim Paris after escaping exile. The countryside is gorgeous and you will wander through some lovely village markets where you can stock up on picnic supplies.
If I were you, I would save my money to travel around and perhaps have a celebration dinner in Paris or the Aix. Of course, Geneva is full of super-wealthy middle-eastern families who come for the summer to stay in their chalets, so you can find very expensive and, no doubt excellent formal dining. Also, there is an outbranch of La Durée by the train station, I believe. But if you are looking for more innovative cuisine, travel.
Otherwise, it is a beautiful city in the summer and a good starting point for hiking trips and travel. Check out easyjet early if you want to get some good deals. Also, if you plan to travel to Paris and can buy your train tickets in France, it is cheaper for some reason.
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