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Spoiling myself in Geneva with good food: Restaurant review on Café Papon

With my dance school still on Easter break, I decided to go to yoga class with my friends last night. The class wasn’t as advanced as our usual Tuesday or Saturday yoga class but we found ourselves starving like crazy after the class. Usually, we either treat ourselves to a steak or thai dinner after a hard yoga class. Last night, we decided to try something new. As we walked around the Old Town, trying to figure out a good restaurant, my friend remembered that a friend highly recommended Café Papon. We thought it was pretty pricy at first for a random after-yoga dinner. Nevertheless, we were famished and we saw foie gras in their menu.

The restaurant is perfectly situated in the Old Town with short walking distance to buses and tram lines (the closest bus/tram line I saw was Place de Neuve). It’s a bit of an uphill walk but it’s a short one if you’re coming from Place de Neuve/Parc des Bastions area. The restaurant has a classic and charming ambiance. We had our table inside the restaurant but I bet in the summer or on warmer days, their terrace would be amazing.

Foie gras de canard au torchon, financier au citron confit

Foie gras de canard au torchon, financier au citron confit

One of my food guilty pleasures is foie gras so, the moment I saw foie gras in their menu, I knew what to get for my entrée. The foie gras was big enough for 2 persons (there were 2 big slices of foie gras, sweet bread, and citron confit) and I unfortunately couldn’t finish mine because I was worried I won’t have space for my main dish. The foie gras was amazing – probably the best I’ve had in Geneva so far – but I wasn’t a big fan of the sweet bread. For my main dish, I had the sea bass fillet. It was perfect – it was light, perfectly-seasoned, and moist. I also like how they put extra effort in plating our dishes beautifully. For our wine, we had a Swiss sauvignon blanc – it was average but we didn’t really want to spend much on the wine since it was just a random dinner for us.

For the foie gras entrée, sea bass filet, and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, we paid 80 chf each (there were 3 of us and we all got the same food). I know it sounds ridiculously expensive but considering the food we had and that the restaurant is in a good location in the Old Town, for me, it’s a normal price. I don’t mind paying for good quality food and excellent service.

Aside from good food, the service was excellent too. We had a friendly and very helpful waiter and the service was fast. We couldn’t decide what type of white wine we’d like to have and when we hesitantly ordered a bottle of a certain wine, the waiter offered to let us taste the wine first (usually, they open the bottle you asked and have you taste it but that puts you in an awkward position of saying no to a freshly opened bottle of wine you chose). Me and my other friend didn’t like the wine so our waiter brought us another one.

Overall, I definitely will come back to this restaurant and recommend it to others. I think this is a perfect restaurant if you have visiting friends or colleagues because you get to walk around the Old Town then have a nice dinner after.

Café Papon is located at Rue Henri Fazy 1 Geneva 1204.

Restaurant Review: Le Scandale

Le Scandale

24 rue de Lausanne

 

This is probably the first time I wrote a bad review on anything. I usually avoid ranting or complaining in my blog because basically, if a restaurant or hotel is too bad, I wouldn’t even bother writing about it at all.  However, I thought my experience at Le Scandale last night deserves an exception.

Although I’ve been to Le Scandale for drinks before, it was my first time to try their restaurant last night and I must say, I’m probably not going to go there again to eat.

Location and Accessibility (4/5)

Le Scandale is well located, probably 2 or 3-minute walk from Gare Cornavin (train station), along rue de Lausanne.

Food (3/5)

I had their 4 fromages pizza last night and for me, it was mediocre – it wasn’t bad but not worth CHF 18.00 pizza. I love pizzas and I don’t mind paying more than CHF 20 for a pizza before – but it has to be worth it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing special about the pizza I had so, I was pretty much disappointed. For me, there are a lot more Italian restaurants in the area that serves cheaper but better quality pizzas.

Ambiance (2.5/5)

It’s a confused restaurant/bar. It’s a venue that has a restaurant on one side and a huge bar. The place can get packed and loud.

Price (2/5)

As mentioned earlier, I find that the pizza I had was quite expensive for its mediocre quality.

Service (1/5)

If there’s one award I can give to this restaurant, it will be the worst-service-I’ve-ever-had-in-Geneva award. In my 4 yrs in Geneva, I’m already used to the type of customer service they usually have here. With this, I always come to a new place with realistic expectations on customer service.

Last night, we waited for almost an hour for our food to get served because it seemed like the kitchen forgot to make our orders. This happens. What really upset me was how the waiters dealt with us. After waiting for a while, I politely (even smiling) asked one of the waiters if he can check our orders because it’s been almost an hour. The waiter told me “it’s not my problem. I did not take your order”. Then, he walked away from our table and vanished. Finally, our food was served to us and I told the waiter serving us (again, smiling) “merci. Was our order not placed earlier?” The waiter responded to me also with “well, that’s not my problem”. My friends and I were dumbstruck with the waiters’ rudeness. After a while, we heard one of the ladies at the table behind us arguing with one of the rude waiters and we can hear that she was totally upset on something and the waiter went to argue further with her. That’s when I realized that this place should be reviewed so that hopefully such unprofessionalism will be addressed by management.

Overall Rating (2.5/5)

Overall, I don’t recommend this restaurant based on our experience with its unprofessional waiters. If I’m going to spend such amount for mediocre food, the last thing I need will be such arrogant services. Perhaps, we caught them on a bad night but as a paying customer, that shouldn’t be an excuse for bad attitude.

CARNIVOR DU CENTRE: For the Weekend Dinner

Entrecote Beurre Carnivor at CHF 37.00

Carnivor du Centre
rue Neuve-du-Molard 11
Geneva 1204

I had dinner with a friend last Saturday and up to the last minute, we weren’t sure where we were going. We agreed on one thing though – we wanted to have steak that night. The famous entrecôte places were not an option for some reasons but we recalled that there’s this steak place that we would always pass by in Mollard. That’s how we ended up at Carnivor du Centre for dinner.

Location (4.5/5)

Carnivor du Centre is located at rue Neuve-du-Molard 11. I always refer to that area as the shopping area. Getting there from Gare Cornavin is easy – Bus 8 (bus stop: Metropole) or Bus 3, 5, and tram 14 (get off at Bel-Air and walk or hop into Tram 12 heading towards Moillesulaz and get off at Molard). This is a perfect place for a Saturday night dinner with friends because it is close to the Old Town where you can have a nice walk (on not-so-chilly nights) or a nice drink after dinner.

Food (3.5/5)

I had their entrecôte with their house butter (entrecôte beurre carnivor). The dish goes with a salad (mix greens with French dressing, slices of parmigiano, and some nuts – I think they were almonds) and fries and veggies as sides.

The salad was okay – I would’ve preferred a balsamic vinaigrette as a dressing though. The fries were really good (properly salted and fried just the way I like them). The thing was, the portion of the fries and veggies were too small – especially the veggies. The veggies didn’t seem like a side dish, but more like a misplaced cut carrots and 3 slices of zuccinies. I could’ve traded my veggies for an extra portion of fries actually.

The entrecôte was of good portion and cooked in a perfect “medium” (I hate it when you ask for medium and they give your steak bleeding all over the plate). It was very tender and well seasoned too. The house butter was interesting – I’m guessing it had a generous amount of pepper and some basil and thyme (I can be wrong though) but it has a little kick of spice. I actually like it, too bad they only put a small portion of it on top of the entrecôte. So, the house butter, just like the side dishes, weren’t enough to fully enjoy the dish.

Ambiance (4/5)

The tables are quite small and quite close to the other tables BUT way better than the other famous entrecôte places in Geneva such as the Cafe de Paris or Relais. The restaurant was packed but it wasn’t noisy at all. Our table was at the extension area so I could barely see the actual restaurant – it looked pretty cozy though.

Price (3.5/5)

The entrecôte with their house butter was CHF 37.00 and a glass of their vins ouverts (I think for the red wine, they had gamay de Geneve that night which was actually good) was something like CHf 3.60. For a restaurant in that part of Geneva, I say it’s quite reasonable. If only they served a more generous portion of the butter and fries (as I said, I don’t care about the veggies), I would’ve given it a 4/5.

Service (3.5/5)

I was satisfied with their service. The servers were friendly and our food were served pretty quick. My only comment though was towards the end of our meal, it took a long time for them to give us the dessert menu and take our dessert order. Thus, my friend and I decided to just ask for the bill and go somewhere else for dessert and a coffee.

Overall (3.8/5)

Overall, despite my comments on the food portions, I’d say it was still a good discovery for me. As I said, the restaurant is strategically located close to the Old Town. So, for Saturday nights, this restaurant is perfect for a proper dinner before hitting the bars (for me, this is a good restaurant to take your date before hitting a bar at the old town or catching a last full show at the Rialto). This is also a nice place to grab lunch before or after shopping (as I said this is within the shopping area). However, if you are looking for a an entrecôte meal that is to-die-for, I’ll take you to another restaurant.

Regarding reservations, my friend and I didn’t have one but we managed to get a table. Perhaps, for a bigger group, having a reservation is ideal on a Saturday night considering the place was pretty packed at around 20.30ish.

For more information on Carnivor du Centre, you can visit them at their website at http://www.carnivor.ch/.

RESTAURANT LA BROCHE: It’s All About the Ambiance

20121202-193520.jpgRemember in my first blog post ever, I mentioned that a group of friends and I started a group activity that aims to try out a restaurant in Geneva (or somewhere close to Geneva) that all of us have never been to? Well, after our first activity at Les Ralais l’Entrecote 9 or 10 months ago, we never really had a follow up activity. You see, all of us work in an emergency-related department/unit and dang, this has been a year of conflict emergencies! Thus, we never really had a chance to get together until a month ago.

Our dinner at Restaurant La Broche had 3 purposes: to resume our little eating group activity, celebrate 2 birthdays, and celebrate Halloween (sort of, I don’t really celebrate Halloween). And with those 3 reasons, I’d say La Broche was the perfect restaurant for us.

Location (4.5/5)

Restaurant La Broche is located at rue du Stand 36 Geneva 1204. Getting there through public transportation is very easy. You can take trams 14 (P+R Bernex) and 15, or buses 1 and 5 – get off at the Stand stop and walk a block. Stand is actually a nice area – it’s close to the shopping area but it’s not so much crowded compared to the town centre. There’s also a nice latino club next to the Restaurant so it’s perfect for a Friday night out. The Restaurant has a free parking at night. Although my only comment about the Restaurant’s parking was that my friends told me they had to look for another parking area because it was closed when they tried to access it. Perhaps my suggestion would be: call and ask for directions to access their parking area in advance.

Food (4/5)

Their specialty is their roasted chicken. However, since I eat roasted chicken practically at least 2x a week (because one of my favourite everyday restaurant is Chez ma cuisine) I ordered their lamb.

For starter (comes with the menu), we had salad greens with walnuts and parmigiano. For me, I love the salad – it was light, simple, but very good. Don’t miss out their bread – all of us were raving on how freshly baked and yummy their bread was.

As mentioned, for my entree, I had a roasted lamb with what seems to me was something like a port wine reduction sauce. I chose fries and roasted zucchini for my side dishes (you get to pick 2 from their list). The lamb was really good and I say they have the best shoe-string fries I’ve ever had in Geneva, so far!

For dessert, I had a fondant au chocolat, which I think is also called volcano or lava cake. Again, it was very good! However, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve made a fondant au chocolat with the same quality – and I’m not exactly good at baking.

So, if all the food were good, why am I not giving a perfect score? Well, here’s the thing: all were good but nothing special (except for the fries). You see, the Restaurant is beautiful and has so much character – glass ceiling, stone walls, romantic setting. I guess, the ambiance builds up certain expectations that the food is going to be gastronomically perfect as well.

Ambiance (5/5)

This is probably one of the most beautiful restaurant that I’ve been to in Geneva. As mentioned earlier, the Restaurant has glass ceiling so on a beautiful night, you could literally be dinning under the stars. The stone walls are said to be centuries old. Some of my friends commented that it’s a bit too dark but for me, it’s part of its beauty – you’re supposed to be having a candle-lit dinner anyway. I see comments from other people that the place can be too noisy if it gets crowded, I didn’t actually get that. I guess it helps to come in early?

Price (3.5/5)

This is the part where my friends and I agreed to disagree. All of my friends thought the price is okay considering we are in Geneva. I paid something like CHF 50 and I felt like the food was not that special for it’s price. I remember having a Châteaubriand steak with Bérnaise sauce at St-Moritz earlier this year and the dish alone was CHF 55 per person but it was so good, so special, that I gladly paid CHF 55 for it. But as for my friends, the ambiance justified the price. So I guess it is justified if you look at it that way. But as for me, food quality and taste is a big factor on how I say if the pricing is justified or not. For La Broche, it’s not that bad but I don’t find it as reasonable either.

Service (4.5/5)

I was very satisfied with their service. The servers were very friendly. I heard some comments that the servers were not very helpful to them but I didn’t really feel that. I guess it is really an advantage coming in early (or at the opening), you’ll have everyone’s attention and energy (or at least most if them).

Overall (4.3/5)

Despite all of my ramblings on how the food was not special enough and how it is quite pricy, to be fair, I give it a 4.3/5 rating. In the end, it is still a good restaurant to bring your friends, family, or special someone for a special dinner. It is definitely not an everyday restaurant but as I said, it is okay for special occasions. If my family would visit me here and Geneva, it wouldn’t be my first choice though. By the way, the Restaurant also accepts big groups for a corporate event or something like that.

I heard they can get quite full in some days. Therefore, I highly recommend booking a table in advance.

For more information on La Broche, you can visit them at their website at http://www.restaurantlabroche.ch.

La Primavera : My Go-To Restaurant for My Lasagna Cravings

La Primavera is by far my favorite Italian Restaurant in Geneva. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a perfect restaurant – I’ve experienced bad service here but nothing that’ll stop me from coming back. Okay, I admit, this restaurant is just about 2 blocks from my apartment so convenience has a lot to do with it being my favorite Italian restaurant. Whenever I’m too lazy to cook or wash the dishes, I go to this restaurant. What I also love about this restaurant is their lasagna! I love their lasagna. I have been to several Italian restaurants in Geneva but I still find their lasagna the best (although I think their best sellers are their pizzas).

Location and Accessibility

This restaurant is located at Route de Meyrin 8, Geneva 1202. To get to this restaurant through public transformation, you can take the Tram 14 or Bus 3 and get off at the tram stop Servette (3rd stop if taking tram from the Gare Cornavin/Train Station). Walk further up a block along the tram line, passing by Domino’s pizza.

There are 2 things I like about this restaurant’s location: 1) As mentioned, it is close to my apartment; 2) It is not a touristy place at all

Lasagna from La Primavera

Food

Their food is pretty good. As I said, for me, they have the best lasagna in town and I always see a long queue of people ordering pizza for take-away on weekends. My favorites in La Primavera are the lasagna, carbonara, and Bolognese. For their pizza, I love the quatre fromage. They have a variety of salads, steaks, and sea food as well. But for the pasta and pizzas, I always find them good for 2 persons!

Ambiance

Well, if you’re looking for a restaurant with a good ambiance, this is not your place. As mentioned it not in a tourist area, therefore it has more of the “local pizzeria” vibe. It’s nice in the summer when you can have your meal at the terrace. Otherwise, during winter, it can get pretty crammed inside.

Price

The prices here are pretty good for Geneva’s usual restaurant prices. A pasta or a pizza that can be good for 2 persons costs between 17 – 20 swiss francs. This is also one of the reasons why I like this restaurant. A spaghetti carbonara is something like CHF 18.00 – usually, I eat half of its portion at the restaurant and take the rest home for packed lunch.

Service

The thing with this restaurant is that they don’t have consistency in their service. Twice, they got my order wrong (well, at the 2 instances when they got my order wrong, it was with the same waiter so it might be a person-thing rather than a restaurant-thing). At times, it will take them forever to take your order. But most of the time, they’re okay.

By the way, almost none of the waiters speak English at all so it might be a little challenging if none of you in the group can understand a little French or Italian.

Overall Rating

I’d give this restaurant a 4/5 despite of their lack of consistency in their services – for me, their location and food make up for it. This restaurant has become my go-to restaurant if all else fails therefore I must admit, I’m pretty biased here. For me, this is nice little place with good food and convenient location away from the touristy area of Geneva.

My quick recommendations in yes or no:

  1. If you have a visitor for one night, should you bring him/her to this restaurant? No.
  2. If you have a visitor staying in Geneva for 5 days and up, should you bring him/her to this restaurant? Yes.
  3. Should you have your first date in this restaurant? Yes.
  4. Should you celebrate your anniversary, birthday, or whatever special occasion  in this restaurant? Yes.
  5. Should you bring your kids to this restaurant? (kid, meaning 10 years old and below) Yes.
  6. Will I recommend this to expats in Geneva? Yes.
  7. Will I come back to this restaurant? Yes.

That’s it for now.

Ciao!

~I.

Les Relais de l’Entrecote: Steak it up!

Since this is my first post for this blog, I find it fitting that I write another “first”. Last Thursday, March 8, my colleagues, their spouses and I had a dinner at Les Relias de l’Entrecote. There, we established the “yet to be named eating club” in which the goal is to have dinner (or lunch) once a month in a restaurant where we’ve all never been to and rate it. It is a good way of discovering more good stuff in Geneva actually!

As mentioned, our first stop was Les Relais de l’Entrecote: a classic french steak and fries restaurant. They only have one item in their menu: wallnut salad to start then steak and fries. This is similar to Café de Paris but with an insanely good dessert menu.

Location and Accessibility 

The Restaurant is located at Rue de Rhone 49. Via local transportation, just take the Bus 8 and get off at Place du Port. It is actually right across Geneva’s famous flower clock but the entrance is at the back. Location and accessibility-wise, the Restaurant is perfect for me because my office is smacked in the middle of 2 Bus 8 stops and my apartment is almost stone-throw away from another Bus 8 stop. It is also conveniently  located within the shopping and tourist area.

TIP: The Restaurant does not take reservations, therefore I suggest being there not later than 15 minutes before they open, which is at 19.00H. We reached the restaurant at 18.47h last Thursday. At that time, there was only 1 guy in line so I thought: shoots! I was told to be here early so I told my colleagues that we should. I was about to get embarrassed for making my colleagues and their spouse stand outside, in the cold, when people started falling in line. After 5 minutes of waiting, we were all engaged in interesting conversations, my colleague told us: oh my! look at the line! When we turned around, we saw that there was a long line already.

Food 

As mentioned, for starters, we were served with a wallnut salad which I find nice – light, refreshing and delicious. After the salad was the main

event: The steak and fries are fantastic with a gracious serving size. At first, I thought: ummm, the serving is a bit small for its price. After cleaning out our plates, the waitress came to our table and served our second serving. Now that’s a lot! The steak sauce is worth the buzz. It is indeed one of the best steak sauce I’ve ever had. We also had a nice wine (too bad I didn’t get what it was).

After we were done with our steak and fries, we ordered desserts. I had their creme brulee, some had the profiterole and some had sorbet. The profiterole was highly suggested and my friends loved it. But for me, I really enjoyed their creme brulee. The serving is too big though!

TIP: Share desserts! after all that steak and fries, you’ll find it surprising that their desserts have huge portions – maybe it’s meant for sharing… I don’t know.

Ambiance

I like the character of the restaurant – very… Parisian. However, the Restaurant gets packed in minutes so forget about quiet, relaxing and intimate setting. The tables too are too close to each other that I was almost elbow to elbow with our neighbour table.  We were a group of 7 and it was difficult to have a group conversation with all the noise. Having said all these, I still don’t count these as negative traits of the restaurants – sure, these factors don’t give them the 5/5 star for ambiance but it’s not any lower than 3/5 stars for me either.

Price

I, unfortunately didn’t see the bill but we paid CHF 62.00 per person (including tip). It is expensive for a casual dinner out. However, considering the food we had – salad, steak, fries, wine and dessert – for me, it is still a value for the money. In fact, the Restaurant may even be a little cheaper than Cafe de Paris.

Service

I’ve seen a lot of comments on the Restaurant that the servers are not really friendly. Here’s the thing: it’s a very busy place! The service is ok: it is not impressively fast, but considering the number of people coming in and going out, I find the service pretty ok. The servers can understand a little English so for non-French speakers, this is pretty convenient. Don’t get offended too if they seem to be in a rush to get you off your table after eating – as I said, it is a very busy place; not  really meant for “hanging out”.

Overall Rating

Our “yet to be named eating club”, as a group, rated Les Relais de l’Entrecote with 4.2 out of 5, with 5 being the highest. Not bad for our first dinner! Individually, my overall rating of the Restaurant is 3.9.

My recommendations in yes or no:

  1. If you have a visitor for one night, should you bring him/her to this restaurant? No.
  2. If you have a visitor staying in Geneva for 5 days and up, should you bring him/her to this restaurant? Yes.
  3. Should you have your first date in this restaurant? No.
  4. Should you celebrate your anniversary, birthday, or whatever special occasion  in this restaurant? Yes.
  5. Should you bring your kids to this restaurant? (kid, meaning 10 years old and below) No.
  6. Will I recommend this to expats in Geneva? YES!
  7. Will I come back to this restaurant? Yes.

I hope you find this article useful or at least interesting. That’s all for now.

Ciao!

xx ~I.

Click here to check out Le Relais de l’Entrecote’s website for further information.