Geneva is well known for the quality and diversity of its restaurants and given its proximity to the French border, it is hardly surprising that it boasts such a large number of authentic French establishments. Ranging from exquisite, luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants to homey bistros, the line-up of Francophone joints in Geneva is nothing short of brilliant. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best.
The Café Brasserie des Commerçants, owned by a real Niçois who has only recently moved to Geneva, exudes a real southern French feel, uniting fresh Mediterranean ingredients with French finesse in a comfortable, welcoming ambiance. The quality of the menu is superb, with exquisite yet generous dishes, including succulent lamb and perfectly cooked red mullet. There is also a wide range of interesting southern French wines on offer and the staff are at hand to give expert advice with pairing.
Step out of the Swiss world and into the genuine Lyonnais experience offered by the Bistrot du Boeuf Rouge. This cosy, inviting restaurant offers a wide range of authentic Lyonnais dishes, including perfectly cooked steaks, a range of classic andouillettes and the famous Lyonnais sausage. All of these can be enjoyed in a traditional setting with staff who really know what they’re talking about. For those in search of traditional French food, served generously and with passion, this is the perfect spot.
With a beautiful terrace overlooking the sparkling Lake Geneva, Le Chat-Botté’s panoramic views are perfectly matched by its faultless cuisine. Each dish has been expertly created by the masterful Michelin-starred chef Dominique Gauthier, and with a menu that changes each season, it will never cease to surprise guests with its creativity and originality. It also offers an extensive wine list accompanied by an extremely knowledgeable sommelier. In short, the luxurious ambiance and impeccable service here make any meal feel like a special occasion.
Ideally placed just a few streets back from the Jardins Anglais, Comme un Bouchon welcomes guests with its authentic Lyonnais cuisine. Dishes include some succulent pork and, of course, frog legs, yet these traditional courses often have an interesting and creative twist, such as the addition of a chorizo cream or a pepper coulis. What’s more, the folk here have managed to recreate the feeling of an intimate and authentic French bistro.
Though located quite far out from the centre, in the interesting area of Plan-Les-Ouates, Café de la Place is certainly worth the journey. Its creative, daily-changing menus give traditional French recipes an exotic twist (think in the ilk of asparagus panacotta), while all dishes are beautifully presented with truly artistic fair. A real celebration of interesting textures and flavours in a lovely atmosphere, Café de la Place is indulgence for the senses.
In a warm and bright setting, located in the charming quarter of Plainpalais, L’Echalotte feels like a typical French bistro, with its informal, bustling atmosphere. With daily-changing, original menus, including vegetarian dishes as well as some classics such as coq au vin, it is a great way to have a French gastronomic adventure without breaking the bank. All-in-all, a delightful, authentic experience.
A Michelin-starred delight, Bayview, true to its name, complements its elegant and sumptuous fine-dining with magnificent views of Geneva’s famous lake. World-class chef Michel Roth has created fascinating menus that unite unusual and inventive flavours such as haddock and watermelon, or blue lobster and nectarine. The delicate amuses bouches are as delicious as the main courses and everything is accompanied by a selection of some of the finest wines in the country. Put simply, not to be missed.
Though slightly out of the way of the city centre, this bistro is certainly worth a visit. Directly inspired by Lyon and its famous bouchon restaurants, Le Comptoir Canaille uses traditional methods of cooking in its typically Lyonnais menu, including a beef tartare and a steak entrecôte. While not necessarily elegant food, this is a place in which you can enjoy a warm, homely atmosphere and a hearty French meal.
Serving truly sumptuous food in a buzzing, Francophone setting, Restaurant Voyageurs offers a range of delicious, traditional dishes, using unusual but very typical French ingredients, from wild boar to frogs’ legs. The menus here change to suit fresh ingredients, delivered or caught on the day, including mouth-watering sole and filet de perches plucked from Lake Geneva itself.