One of the reasons people like to travel is to try out new things and gain new experiences. Trying out new and unusual food is among those travel adventures.
As far as Swiss cuisine is concerned, there are not many typically Swiss meals. Many would even deny the existence of traditional Swiss dishes. Swiss cuisine is influenced by the cuisines of the countries surrounding it.
French and Italian, clearly, had the greatest impact on the culinary aspect of Switzerland. However, it doesn’t affect it in any way. Switzerland is quite popular among tourists and it is a challenge to find a free spot in any of the restaurants around the country without prior reservation.
Geneva is one of the most multicultural and international cities in Switzerland, if not in Europe. Many international organizations are placed here, including the International Committee of Red Cross, World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders, the United Nations headquarters, Interpeace, and many others.
There are almost 200,000 citizens in Geneva of which half are the expats. It is the city of diversity and people of almost all nationalities have found home here. This had a great impact on the variety of dishes offered.
When in Geneva, you can indulge in French, Italian, German, Turkish, Arabic, African, Asian and all other delicious and hearty meals. But, there is one that actually is a typical Swiss dish – a cheese fondue. Read further to find out where you can enjoy this melted pleasure in Geneva.
The top 5 restaurants in Geneva in our humble opinion are:
1. Restaurant Vieux-Bois
Placed in the heart of the diplomatic district of Geneva, the restaurant Vieux-Bois has the most ideal location. Opposite the Museum of the Red Cross and next to the United Nations headquarters, it welcomes high-end customers including delegations from international organizations, political, economic or artistic personalities.
This magnificent 18th-century mansion placed in a beautiful Ariana Park boasts with six versatile rooms with multiple configurations and a private terrace in a beautiful garden. Bathing in the natural light, it serves a perfect setting for all business meetings or prestigious cocktail dinners, to an elegant wedding as its new L’Entre’Actes restaurant can accommodate up to 200 guests.
This is the restaurant of the cookery school in Geneva, Ecole Hoteliere, and all the delicious food is cooked and served by the students. The waiting staff could not be more helpful and polite. The accompanying wines, all from the Canton of Geneva, come from a very carefully thought-out wine list, befitting a restaurant of this caliber.
This is the place you cannot afford to miss.
2. La Suisse Steam paddle boat
If you long for some past times, this restaurant is an excellent place for you. Belle Epoque paddle boats date from the early 20th century and offer comfort and nostalgia to its passengers.
La Suisse is one of the remained steamboats cruising on Lake Geneva, offering an unforgettable experience. A ticket for the 1st class includes meals – a special lunch or dinner.
Inside, there is the “Salon Belle Epoque” resembling the famous Titanic. There you can indulge in a carved-out loaf of bread filled with melted cheese. This dish comes with a sauce with meat chops and more cheese to dip in. For a more romantic trip, order your meal on the boat deck and enjoy the view of the sunset on the horizon and its reflection in the calm lake.
La Suisse Steam paddle boat is operative only from mid-June to mid-September and it cruises three times a day with each trip lasting for three hours. It takes its guests from Lausanne to St. Gingolph and on to Chillon before returning to Lausanne via the Lavaux.
Lausanne is less than an hour away from Geneva and it would be a shame to miss this delightful experience. To complete this journey, rent a limousine from Geneva to Lausanne to arrive at the port right on time to catch the boat’s departure. Can you imagine a more romantic honeymoon or anniversary celebration?
3. Windows Restaurant
The name says it all. This restaurant boasts a large glass door and floor-to-ceiling windows with wooden frame. The ambiance is impeccable, service exceptional and its cuisine divine. An extensive wine list is curated by the talented sommelier.
The restaurant and its menu, featuring many of Ms. Tollman’s signature dishes, are the result of the owner’s perennial experience in the kitchen and from traveling around the world.
Using the highest quality and seasonal ingredients, the cooks instill passion and care in every meal, plating it in an interesting and eye-catching way.
Fascinating panoramic views of the Lake Geneva, its most famous landmark Jet d’Eau, and Mont Blanc in the distance, make the Windows Restaurant an ideal place for intimate gatherings with friends and family.
L’Obesrvatoire, a private wing of the restaurant with such a symbolic name, is also available for private use, but it can serve for exclusive purposes as well.
The restaurant is available for large celebratory banquets too, just make sure to make a reservation quite in advance because it is very popular and jam-packed day and night.
4. Café du Soleil
This is one of the oldest restaurants in Geneva. Its age is estimated at 400 years. It is a bit away from the city, but quite popular both with locals and tourists. The restaurant offers a varied menu to satisfy everybody’s taste and daily specials for lunch made with love.
However, it is the most famous for serving delicious malakoffs and the best fondue in Geneva, even the one prepared with cognac. The building is charismatic with a great buzz about the place. The atmosphere inside is refreshing and unpretentious.
The staff is incredibly warm and helpful providing a high-quality service. If the front patio is unavailable, sit on the upstairs balcony in the shade of the lime trees to relax and enjoy the poetic scenery along with delicious meals paired with tasty wines.
5. Uncommon restaurant to visit in Geneva – Intensus
Intensus is not a common restaurant. Its location is secret, you find it out only 24h before the dinner. When you arrive, you are greeted by the chef and staff and you are welcomed to their special universe. You are immediately served a drink to make you feel more comfortable.
There is only one table with nine seats and you are having an exclusive dining experience with 8 strangers who soon become your friends. The chef, Olivier, then takes you on a gastronomic journey. Your senses are traveling from Asia to Latin America via Europe.
You can feel the passion and the constant attempt to innovate, with a touch of Molecular influence. If you are lucky, the chef might take to his wine cellar where you can admire his impressive collection of wine. Each dish he prepares is meticulously paired with a wine to create surprise, pleasure, and discovery.
An evening spent in Intensus is not a simple dinner, it is a unique and incredible experience. Prepare yourself for an intense night.
What is your favorite restaurant in Geneva?
We hope you enjoyed our 5 best restaurants in Geneva list.
Geneva is an amazing city which can satisfy the needs and fulfill the expectations of even the pickiest characters. It offers a wide range of attractions, restaurants, and activities you can choose from for an unforgettable time in this city whether you are here for a day or two or a local looking for some thrill.