Persepolis (Geneva, Switzerland)

Sometimes you go out for food and the enthusiasm of the staff lifts the whole experience. Sometimes there is a lack of enthusiasm and you have an okay or good time, either way. I  lived in Paris, I am totally okay with non-bubbly waiters.

And sometimes the enthusiasm overwhelms you, and you end up with a confusing experience. Guess what happened when I had lunch at Persepolis?


Of course it is the last one. Normally I only write about the service if it is very good or bad, but in the case of my recent lunch at Persepolis the service kinda overrode the whole event. Not that the food wasn’t good, because it was. But I had the most confusing restaurant experience in a few years. For one I have no idea what I ate, except that it was vegan, and I didn’t think I got what I actually tried to order!  In fact, I barely managed to order in the first place.

Interior at Persepolis
Like the art on the wall here

So let’s start at the beginning! Persepolis is an Iranian/Persian restaurant in Geneva. I think they just moved to a new location, so it was a bit messy. There is a terrace but it was busy so we opted to sit inside. The waiter turned off the TV upon our request, so there is something (seriously, once I ate at a place where the owner was watching a soccer game on the big screen. Talk about great ambiance…) On the menu there are several vegan options, we were told, for both mains and starters. They are not marked, by the way. And from what I could see of the “10 different vegan salads” about 2 were probably actually vegan. They also had dolmas which are usually vegan. Also for the mains there were also several dishes that seemed to be vegan.

Drinks at Persepolis
My drink is so vegan!


I may or may not have eaten one of the dishes from the menu. When I inquired about a specific dish,  the waiter insisted I try something special from the chef. The dish I wanted to try from the menu was supposed to come with tomatoes and rice. I tried to order 2 vegan dishes, as I was with my husband, and the waiter thought I was trying to order 2 dishes for myself, since unfortunately the waiter kept assuming my husband would try a meat dish.  I tried to clarify that I wanted the one special and the one from the menu, but in the end we got two “chef specials” (I think). I found out that I didn’t get the dish I actually ordered when the dish I got was not served with the tomatoes as it was advertised on the menu. But something more fancy, according to the waiter, and thus pricey, which I found out when I got the bill.

Mushroom stew at Persepolis
Rice with saffron and mushroom stew

The food we actually got was rice with two different stews. The food came out very fast, which made me wonder how “specially made” for us it really was. Normally the rice is served with butter, but we had it without, of course. One of the stews had tomatoes and aubergine, which was nice. The other was mushroom-based, and was very creamy and nicely spiced. The food was definitively good. The portions were reasonable in size.

Rice with eggplant stew

There were no desserts left when we were there, just ice creams. I don’t know if they would have something vegan, since I didn’t have a lot of time to actually look on the menu.

When the bill came I found out we were billed more than we expected. Upon inquiry we got ‘a special dish’ that was supposedly more expensive but that we supposedly got a discount for. It was not much more expensive but still weird.


A thing that really did bother me was that the waiter kept trying to push a meat dish on my husband,  even after he had said several times he wasn’t interested. The waiter even showed some meat dish that he was bringing to another customer to ask if my husband was ‘sure’ which is pretty bizarre. I think it had to do with the fact that I ordered the food (as I am the better French speaker) which obviously meant I was oppressing my poor husband. It was kind of painful.

Interior at Persepolis
Pretty decorations

So to summarize, the service was pretty intense. Too intense for me personally.  I had no clue if the dish I had was actually on the menu. I would have liked to try one of the vegan starters. The food itself was good, but not so great that I am willing to overlook the extra price tag. Of course I could have spoken up more, but when I go to a restaurant to review, I try to take the service and the food ‘as is’. I am a quite assertive person, but since the waiter was so happy and excited I decided to go for it. Still I am not sure if I was got ripped off, or if the waiter genuinely was trying to give us the best his place had to offer.


Type of place: Iranian/Persian Restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: maybe

Website (?)  :


Author: Sandra

Running, cats, sewing, vegan cooking and eating.

2 thoughts on “Persepolis (Geneva, Switzerland)”

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