Le pain quotidien (Geneva, Switzerland)

Terrace outside of le Pain Quotidien in Geneva
Outside of le Pain Quotidien in Geneva

 

A few weeks ago we were out and about in Geneva, looking for a place to eat a small lunch. I knew that le Pain Quotidien has several vegan options, I like bread, so I wanted to check it out! I was under the impression that le Pain Quotidien is pretty common in Switzerland, but that was actually not the case. But it turned out that we were close to the Geneva LPQ somehow, so that was a nice coincidence.

Le Pain Quotidien (“the daily bread”) is an international chain restaurant of Belgian origin. In Switzerland you can find them in Geneva, Lausanne and Zürich.  LPQ consists of an actual bakery, where you can buy your baguettes and breads, and a place where you can sit and have a coffee with breakfast, brunch (not vegan) or lunch. They serve pastries, salads, sandwiches and ‘plates’. For drinks there is coffee (no soy milk, at least not in the Geneva location), tea, juices, and a variety of other cold drinks.

Their menu card clearly notes the vegetarian and vegan options, which is very nice. There are quite some options actually, which all looked nice, so this review is the result of 2 visits. Else I couldn’t have eaten all of it 🙂

Guacamole "snack" at LPQ in Geneva
Guacamole with bread

The first time it was very warm inside, so we sat outside on the terrace. It was very windy outside, but the temperature was still comfortable enough. There were several jams on the table (fig, rhubarb and strawberry) which seemed vegan. We ordered the daily juice (orange, apple and blueberry) with two small dishes: hummus and guacamole with several breads.

Hummus with bread at LPQ in Geneva
Hummus with bread

The hummus and guac were good, but they could have supplied a bit more bread as the ratio topping-to-bread was a off.  The menu offers two vegan desserts:  a fruit salad and a chia pudding. We shared the chia pudding, which has a nice creamy consistency, which was topped with fresh fruits. It was not overtly sweet, which I personally prefer.

Chia pudding dessert with fresh strawberries at LPQ in Geneva
Chia pudding dessert with fresh strawberries

The second time we went in more hungry. This time we sat inside, where it was less warm but the coffee machine broke so they had no warm drinks. Oh well, these things happen. We got an ice tea and lemonade to go with the food. We tried a hummus and grilled veggies sandwich and a quinoa plate. The sandwich is nice, and quite big. The quinoa plate is loaded! It comes with carrots, quinoa, gaucamole, two types of hummus and several delicious slices of bread with nuts.

Sandwich with grilled veggies at LPQ in Geneva
Sandwich with grilled veggies

The price of LPQ is a bit higher than many other bakeries, but not all bakeries offer so many (clearly-marked) vegan options nor the possibility to sit down. Overall the atmosphere is very relaxed.

Quinoa plate at LPQ in Geneva
Quinoa plate, on the left there is the quinoa (red) with the red and standard hummus and guacamole underneath
Type of place: bakery
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (English, French, German)* : http://www.lepainquotidien.ch

* The menu is different in different countries

Camoma Veggie Take Away & Pizzeria L’Angelo (Venice, Italy)

For a while I doubted if I should make this post since I want to have a positive tone on this blog. But I also want to write about less than ideal experiences. Honesty is important. And sometimes things are just disappointing, and that is okay.

Still I want to leave a positive note in there, so today a double review. Let’s get the bad out of the way before we get to the good.

Boat, channel and houses in Venice
Sunny day in Venice

Like many vegetarians&vegans I use the site Happycow.net to get an idea about the vegan options when visiting a new city/country. I never plan to -only- visit vegan places. But if I visit a new city that I might not visit again soon, and there is a great vegan place, I don’t want to miss out on it!
Also, it is good to have a bit of a feel how “present” veganism in a city. Say there are 2 bistro’s with vegan options, and nothing else. Then I know I might need to prepare a bit harder. In my opinion there are vegan options almost everywhere, but preparation is key to having a good time.

Image of vegan sandwiches and drinks at Camoma Veggie Take Away
Vegan sandwiches and drinks at Camoma Veggie Take Away

Camoma was listed as a vegan place, though the reviews already stated it was in fact not purely vegan. Still, the reports of vegan lasagna and vegan tiramisu made me curious! So I went there and it was just, not good. The person working there directly told us that only the sandwiches were vegan. And they were just very disappointing. It was standard white bread, no crust, with filling. Sure it was ~okay~ but not exciting. There were four variations of this breads and they all tasted kind of similar. At first I thought we were at the wrong place, but no. This was really it.
There was no lasagna, no tiramisu or any other pastry. No coffee. The woman working there seemed upset with us visiting. (We could sit there, by the way, it it is not just a take-out) I hope someone can chime in, maybe they had a bad day and there was no stock? It is just not a place I’d recommend as there are so many more great places. Vegan and non-vegan.

Type of place: Vegetarian take-out
Completely vegan: no
Website (Italian): https://www.facebook.com/camomaveggievenezia/

Image of display with vegan sandwich with "rice cheese" at pizzaria l'Angelo
Vegan sandwich with “rice cheese” at pizzeria l’Angelo

Anyway, let’s turn the bad into a good. When walking around a bit dissatisfied by those sad sandwiches, we bumped into a small take-out place which had a whole row of vegan sandwiches! They were labelled vegan, and they had “fake cheese” and “fake meat’. It was very nice, and quite a surprise! While many vegans are aware of the existence of vegan cheese, I almost never saw it used in products outside of vegan-only places.

Menu board at pizzeria l'Angelo showing several vegan pizzas
Menu with several vegan pizza options!

Choosing was hard, there was actually more available than I initially noticed. Apart from the sandwiches there are also several types of vegan pizza available. And all for a good price!

Vegan and non-vegan sandwiches in the display at pizzeria l'Angelo
Vegan and non-vegan sandwiches on display

Type of place: Pizza & Panini takeout
Completely vegan: no
Website (Italian): https://www.facebook.com/Pizzeria-LAngelo-158009690894595/

Hotel Malibran (Venice, Italy)

Venice is full of cute little spots and terraces where you can sit and soak up the sun (when available) with a nice drink or some food. While looking for a nice place to grab lunch we found a small square with three restaurants. We decided on the Hotel Malibran, as a glance on the menu card revealed several vegan options: a starter, 2 pasta variations and a pizza Marinara (tomato sauce with oregano and garlic).

The view from the terrace at Hotel Malibran
The view from the terrace

While Italian cuisine might not look like it in the form we mostly see it outside of Italy (cheese!), it is generally quite vegan friendly. Almost every Italian restaurant will offer at least one dish which is vegan or can be made vegan by leaving out the Parmesan. That dish is either pasta with tomato sauce, or pasta with garlic-oil sauce. As I had mentioned in my post on the Pizza Leggera , if the pizza is made from scratch it can often easily be made vegan. Unless the pizza is heavily cheese-based this is generally a good option.

Starter at Hotel Malibran consisting of several grilled vegetables
Grilled vegetables: eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots, courgette and potato.

After we sat down at Malibran, we got some breads and a drink. Since it was lunch time and we needed to keep some stomach space for all the other delicious food available, we shared the vegan starter, which was grilled vegetables. Interestingly there was a potato among the vegetables. Haven’t seen that before!

Pasta with tomato sauce at Hotel Malibran
Pasta with tomato sauce

For our main course we wanted to try a pasta and a pizza. You know, to get a well-rounded review. For the pasta we choose the spaghetti with tomato sauce. For the pizza we decided to get adventurous. Sure, there is a vegan pizza, but let’s up the ante a bit. The vegetarian pizza Vegetariana has grilled veggies and mozzarella, so we asked for that one without mozzarella. Interestingly, the grilled veggies were the same as those of the starter (yes, also the carrot and the potato). Well, you cannot blame them for being efficient. It was very tasty. Now I do not know if they put some additional veggies to make up for the lack of mozzarella, but overall it was just good stuff.

Vegan pizza with grilled vegetables at hotel Malibran
Vegan pizza with grilled vegetables

Dessert-wise we were less lucky. There was lemon ice on the menu, but after verifying our waiter told us it did have milk. Fortunately they did have soy milk so I got a nice soy cappuccino to finish off.

Soy cappuccino at hotel Malibran
The older couple sitting next to us was very confused by me trying to make the perfect image of the cappuccino 🙂

Type of place: Restaurant, Hotel
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no
Website (Italian, French, English, German) : http://www.hotelmalibran.com/restaurant.html

Klara’s Kitchen (Zürich, Switzerland)

 

For work reasons I was in Zürich, a city that I really like. It is quite far from where I live, but it is worth the journey.

I had heard from my colleagues that there is a bakery very close to where we would meet that had vegan cakes and quinoa bowls. Last time I was nearby it was unfortunately closed and we got pasta instead (how unfortunate ;)) but today it was open! The bakery is very small, but there are a lot of options. Everything is either vegan or vegetarian.

Vegan wraps on offer at Klara's kitchen
Vegan wraps

They offer a warm dish, salads, wraps, soups, chia pudding, birchers, salads, coffee, tea, cakes, smoothies. I tried a dish of the daily menu: älplermagronen with vegan cheese. The älplermagronen is a traditional Swiss dish of potatoes, pasta and apple sauce with cheese and butter. Other dishes on the daily menu were a quinoa bowl with cashew cream and spinach soup.

I also got a sweet potato brownie and a piece of chocolate cake for research.  I liked that these were not overtly sweet.

Milk alternatives in the window of Klara's kitchen in Zurich
Klara’s kitchen
The Kitchen is only open during weekdays.
Type of place: Bakery /Take out
Completely vegan: no

Website ( German) : https://www.klaraskitchen.ch/

Burrito Brothers (Geneva, Switzerland)

The Burrito Brothers is a Swiss chain founded by Mexican-born and California-raised brothers. The dishes on offer reflect this heritage; a mix of Mexican recipes mixed with Californian street food style. Most of their dishes are meat-based but there are several vegetarian options which can be easily be prepared fully vegan. They do take–out as well.

In general, the Mexican cuisine is said to be easily ‘veganisable’. I haven’t eaten a lot of proper Mexican food, so I cannot really vouch for that, but that is something to keep in mind !

Table at Burrito Brothers in Geneva showing hot spicy sauces
Hot sauces at Burrito Brothers, Geneva

I have visited the Geneva and EPFL campus locations. The Burrito Brothers at the EPFL campus is in a food-court type space, so the sitting area is shared with several other restaurants. The Geneva location offers a more relaxed eating experience. You order downstairs, where the food is prepared, and there is a small area upstairs with tables. The food is then brought up to your table. The idea of the Burrito Brothers is very much street-style, so the food comes wrapped, in small baskets and you have to get your own utensils. The preparation is also very fast, in line with that philosophy.

The staff at the Geneva location were very pleasant and accommodating both times I visited. They are also quite knowledgeable; when I asked for the vegetarian burrito without sour cream and cheese they correctly deduced I was vegan 🙂  I have tried both vegetarian burritos (the Berkeley and the Presidio) in a vegan version (sour cream &  cheese replaced by guacamole) and the nachos with guacamole.

The first time I visited I believe I didn’t have to pay extra for subbing sour cream/cheese for guacamole, but the few times I visited after I had to pay 2.50Chf for the “added” guacamole, which is a bit unfortunate.

Nachos with guacamole at Burrito Brothers
Nachos with guacamole

Both the Presidio and the Berkeley have a base filling of rice, black beans, corn and pico de gallo. The Presidio has mushrooms in epazote (a type of Mexican herb) and the Berkeley has peppers and onions in addition to the base. While only the Berkeley is mentioned on the menu in the small “baby burrito” version, the staff were fine with making the Presidio as a small version too. The first time we went I was very hungry, but having half the nachos+guacamole plate and a normal-sized burrito was quite a lot of food! The next time we opted for the nachos+guac with two baby burritos (for two people) instead. So just a heads-up, you won’t leave this place hungry.

 

Wrapped burrito Berkely at Burrito Brothers
Baby burrito Berkely

I have not yet tried the soft taco plate or the salad, which might be made vegan. The quasadillas are always made with cheese, which is not so surprising:)

In addition they also offer some interesting drinks from the German soft-drink brand Fritz Kola with e.g. sparkly melon flavour. They also offer their burrito in bowl-form, so without the wrap, as a gluten-free option.

Type of place: Burrito Restaurant/Take out
Completely vegan: no

Website (English, French, German) : http://www.burritobrothers.ch/

Gelato Fantasy (Venice, Italy)

Image of the outside of Gelato Fantasy
Sign outside of Gelato Fantasy
Another day in Venice, another gelato !  Gelato Fantasy was quite busy when we visited and I can see why. They have a lot of interesting flavours like peanut butter and cheese cake, but most are unfortunately not vegan. They do have several vegan options, like raspberry, lemon and dark chocolate. (There’s also crêpes available but I didn’t inquire about those)
Ice cream flavours on display at Gelato Fantasy
A sample of the flavours available, including several vegan ones!
I asked about whether the cones were vegan and was informed the standard cones are not, however they do have vegan cones. I really like cones so I am always happy when vegan cones are available!
The staff knows about veganism (nice, saves time explaining) and they are also knowledgeable about allergies; I was asked if I was vegan or allergic, and was explained that in the latter case they’d explain potential cross-contamination.
Vegan cone with two scoops of icecream
Ice cream! Dark chocolate and lemon ^^
Type of place: Gelato
Completely vegan: no
Website (Italian): http://www.gelatofantasy.com/

Pizza Leggera (Geneva, Switzerland)

Sometimes you just want pizza. Or at least I do. I can’t speak for everyone! My dad makes great pizza, a large square one with a thick crust. He excels in interesting combinations, like tofu and rice (on the pizza yes, don’t knock it till you tried it!)

Due to a lack of nearby dads we ventured out to Pizza Leggera, a restaurant which is known to have vegan pizzas and pastas. They also have gluten-free options. Pizza Leggera is an international chain, with restaurants in Italy, Mexico and Switzerland.

There’s no menu on their web site. I expected they’d offer some traditional Italian pizzas, sans cheese, but I was curious if they’d use “fake cheese” as I had heard some places do. When we arrived we found that the restaurants seems to be a pretty traditional, so no “fake cheese”. They do however have some interesting and non-traditional toppings, such as tofu.

Vegan pizza with grilled veggies and tofu at Pizza Leggera
Pizza with grilled veggies and tofu
To be very honest, I think most pizza places will be able to provide a vegan pizza, since pizza dough is traditionally vegan (might not be true for “fast-food” pizza places like Domino’s by the way) and tomato sauce too. Then just add veggies or mushrooms and leave out the cheese.
Vegan pizza funghi at Pizza Leggera in Geneva
Pizza Funghi

Pizza Leggera has large stickers on the windows noting “Gluten-free” and “Vegan” options. Nice!  There is a terrace with roofing outside and a large seating area inside. We were pretty early, so service was quick. There were several dishes on the menu specifically marked as vegan. We had a pizza funghi and a pizza with grilled veggies and tofu. The pizza was surprisingly light, with a thin crust. I would recommend to try it, not just for the vegan pizza (I am sure the topping of the funghi pizza can be made similarly at other pizzarias) but for the special crust.

The big downside of this place? No vegan desserts 😦 And with the pizza being so much lighter than at most places, we definitively had some room for them!

There is of course tea and coffee available, but unfortunately no soy creamers.

Type of place: Italian restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (Italian, English, French, Mexican* ): http://www.pizzaleggera.com/

* they have restaurants in Mexico, but I guess that the language used for the Mexican version of the site is Spanish