Restaurants in Geneva
In Geneva food is serious. With over 1,000 restaurants, the city is the undisputed capital of cuisine in Switzerland. Local specialties include fondue, raclette, lake fish dishes, smoked sausage and a variety of casseroles. As an international city, Geneva also offers visitors the chance to sample food from around the world. Although many of Geneva’s most refined gourmet restaurants are quite pricey and formal, diners can enjoy Geneva’s more relaxed café culture at a reasonable price.
Tipping is not normally required. A service charge is usually included in the bill or indicated on the menu. Leaving spare change is a polite gesture sure to be appreciated. Of course you might want to leave more for truly outstanding service.
The Lake. The hotels and eateries around the lake feature some of the most decadent restaurants in Geneva with stunning views and first class service. Formal dress is encouraged in the evenings. Lunch specials are available during the day at much reduced prices.
The Paquis. Geneva’s most international district is home to some of Geneva’s best restaurants. Authentic Arabic, Thai, African and South American cafes are prevalent and low priced; but don’t expect to be able to pay with a credit card. Check out Rue de Berne for its late night kebabs.
The Old Town. Traditional Swiss eateries and cozy French cafes are tucked into every corner. Many offer a romantic candle-lit atmosphere in a uniquely medieval setting. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating at the more refined cafes.
Eaux Vives. Famous for its quality Italian eateries and shaded French cafes. Nearby Parc La Grange is also a great picnic spot.
Plainpalais. A university student area with lots of low-priced options. Take out available at many locations.
International District. Recommended during the lunchtime hours when you can observe power lunching bureaucrats in action.
Carouge. There is always something new to try in Carouge, home to the most trendy and experimental restaurants in the area. Follow the local crowds to find the latest “secret” treasure.
Recommended Restaurants and Cafes
Location: 5 rue châtelain, 1203 Genève
Tel. & fax: +41 (0) 22 340 2575
Open daily 8:00-23:00
L'Ambiance, previously named 'Faim?' is a hip, funky, spacious up-and-coming café-restaurant with Scandanavian inspired decor; it is situated close to the International organisations and only 100m from the Nash Rex Hotel. Dishes include soups, salads, sandwiches and its infamous burger which are all made from fresh produce (even the bread is home-made!). The beer comes from a small Swiss brewery hidden away in the Alps and the wine is imported from small French vineyards. faim? has also an excellent reputation for serving great cocktails including the best Cosmos in Geneva! Prices are very reasonable. Brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays, is an experience not to be missed. Vegetarian options available for lunch, dinner and brunch.
La Trattoria ($$)
Location: Rue de la Servette 1; 022 734 9476
Hours: 09:30 – 14:30, 17:30 – 24:00
Conveniently located near Gare Cornavin, you are sure never to go hungry at this down home Geneva favorite. Oven baked pizzas and pasta on the menu. Family owned and operated.
Location: Rue Pierre Fatio 10; 022 311 8033
Hours: 12:00 – 14:00, 19:15 – 22:00; Sat 12:00 – 14:00; Closed Sundays
Rich Italian food served in a formal but friendly environment. Reservations recommended.
Perle Du Lac ($$$)
Location: 128 Rue de Lausanne; 022 909 1020
Hours: 12:00 – 14:00, 19:30 – 22:00; Closed Mondays
Situated in lakeside Mon Repos Park, this refined yet unpretentious restaurant serves up a delectable mix of Swiss, French and German fare. Romantic interior and the best outdoor terrace in Geneva.
Location: Place de la Navigation 2, 022 544 5151
Hours: 18:00 – 23:30
A tourist mecca housed in a Swiss chalet and featuring live traditional Swiss music and yodeling nightly. Menu highlights include Cheese fondue and raclette. Chocolate fondue for dessert.
Chez Ma Cousine ($)
Location: Place due Bourg-de-Four 6; 022 310 9696
Hours: 11:30 – 23:30
The best value in Geneva. Healthy portions of roast chicken, potato wedges and salad, all for under SFr. 15. Centrally located in the old town.
Les 5 Portes ($$)
Location: Rue de Zurich 8; 022 731 8438
Hours: 12:00 – 14:00, 18:00 – 22:30
Trendy atmosphere with creative tapas and straightforward yet tasty main dishes.
Brasserie Lipp ($$)
Location: Rue de la Confédération 8; 022 311 1011
Hours: 11:45 – 00:15
Modeled after a Parisian brasserie and located on the ground floor of a shopping center, this Geneva hotspot is the consummate French bistro serving up all things French from pot-au-feu to charcuterie.
Café des Bains ($$$)
Location: Rue des Bains 26; 022 321 5798
Hours: 11:30 – 15:00, 18:00 – 00:30; Closed Mondays and Sundays
Located near Plaine des Plainpalais, this modern café has a knack for artistic presentation and a nose for French food. The seasonal menu is updated regularly with inspired new creations.
Le Pousse-pousse ($)
Location: Rue de l'Ecole-de-Médecine 2; 022 320 48 55
Hours: 11:30 – 22:00; Closed Sundays
“The Rickshaw” features a wide variety of Chinese dishes at a nice price. Take-out available.
Location: Rue de Richemont 9; 022 731 32 37
Hours: 12:00 – 14:00, 17:30 – 01:00; Closed Mondays
Thai and Asian fusion dishes served in a sleek, modern setting. Hip clientele. Friendly service.
Le Relais de L’Entrecote ($$)
Location: Rue du Rhone 49; 022 310 6004
Hours: 12:00 – 14:30, 19:00 – 23:00
Smoky, but full of character, this French style steakhouse is a refuge for red meat lovers.
Le Diwane ($$-$$$)
Location: Rue de Zurich 6; 022 732 7391
Hours: 12:00 – 14:30, 19:00 – 22:30 (Closed Sundays); 12:00 – 00:30 Daily (July – Sept)
Authentic Arabic cuisine. Set menus available. Don’t skip dessert.
La Diligence ($$)
Location: Rue Pecolat 2; 022 732 4495
Hours: 08:00 – 24:00
A colorful restaurant with ice cold margaritas and the best nachos in town. A sizable menu and portions to match.