Be Kind Cafe (Geneva, Switzerland)

Exterior of Be Kind Cafe
Bio, vegan, home-made

This cute café in Geneva has opened only a few weeks ago! I had read about the opening of Be Kind Cafe, and since the initial opening coincided with a day I was off of work, I was excited to visit! Unfortunately, the opening was postponed due to water issues.  It took a while before I could visit, since they are only open during the week and I have a full-time job in another city. So when I finally had the chance to be in Geneva around lunchtime, of course I directly wanted to visit the Be Kind Cafe!

Counter at Be Kind Cafe
Cookies on the counter!

Be Kind Cafe offers breakfast foods, coffee and pastries, and lunch. There is a daily lunch menu, with some standard items but the exact ingredients are different per day, and change depending on the season and availability, since they use almost exclusively biological and local products. There are some larger dishes, like a burger and a savoury pie, and smaller foods like sandwiches and soups. For drinks there are juices, hot drinks like coffee and tea, but also wine and beer. You can eat in the café itself, but they also do take-away. The atmosphere of the café is very relaxed, it was quite spacious, hip and still cosy. A place to sit with a nice cup of coffee and a delicious vegan meal.

Inside the cafe
A relaxed, cosy atmosphere

When I visited I tried the daily bagel with a side of roasted potato wedges. The bagel was on the smaller side, and contained salad, roasted pumpkin, vegan ‘ricotta’ and almonds. The tastes went very well together! The bagel bread is very tasty and toasted rather than soft. The potatoes were well-seasoned, large, nice and crunchy.

Be kind Cafe food
Bagel with a side of potato

For a drink I tried the kefir with figs. I know kefir as a yogurt-product, but this was rather a fermented fruit juice.

Bagel close-up at Be Kind Cafe
The bagel was properly stuffed with vegetable goodness !

There are several desserts available, there are some standard on the menu but there are also some daily variations. I tried the apple crumble with oats, with vanilla ice cream on top. With it, a coffee of course 🙂 The crumble was great!

Dessert at Be Kind Cafe
Apple crumble with oats and vanilla ice cream

I really like the Be Kind Cafe, the food is good and service great! The only downside is that they are only open on weekdays. I really do have to get back one day for their breakfast menu though; vegan croissants! Also I’d love to try the vegan burger they offer. And the other cookies I didn’t try yet…so yes, I will be back 🙂

Type of place: breakfast, lunch, café
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French): https://www.bekindcafe.ch/

N & Co by Quinte & Sens (Vevey, Switzerland)

netco_exterior

Quinte & Sens is a shop in Vevey which sells biological products. Attached to it is N&Co, a small café. The entrance to the shop is at on one side of the block, N&Co has its own entrance in a pedestrian area at the other side. (You can also pass through the shop to get to the café)

Food at N&Co
Vegan pastries and savoury snacks!

The café is small, with some seats inside and a small terrace. The food in N & Co is touted to be 100% vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free. They use a lot of local, and of course biological products.

There is a counter with some savoury items, a glass display with pastries and sandwiches, a small refrigerated area with pre-made and pre-packaged dishes and drinks, and a salad bar where you can compose your own salad. You order at the counter, pay, and they bring your food after heating it. N&Co does a lot of take-out too, from what I could see when I visited. It was quite busy actually.

Salad bar at N&Co
Salad bar

It was a bit unclear to me if they serve vegetarian or vegan-only food, but when we visited and asked, we were told all the food was vegan! We tried a piece of broccoli savoury pie, empanadas and a lentil salad (from the refrigerated area). All of those got heated (also the lentil salad…I guess it was not a salad 🙂 )  Unfortunately the reheating of the lentil salad was not very thorough, some parts were flaming hot and others were actually cold.  That is too bad since the salad itself was pretty tasty.

Lentil salad at N&Co
Lentil dish

I never really tasted empanadas until I visited New York, were I found a lot of vegan ones and I ate a ton of them. They are generally very tasty, so I was excited to try them! The empanadas at N&Co were okay but lacked a bit of spiciness to me. Maybe because I got used to the spicy NYC version 🙂

Empanadas at N&Co
Empanadas!

My absolute favourite was however the broccoli tart. Apart from broccoli it also has nuts, seeds and mushrooms, which added a nice, earthy taste.

For desserts we choose a prune pie (tarte aux prunes) and a muffin. I really like the prune pie, it was fresh, and not too sweet. The muffin is nice, but quite dense.

We got all the food at once, I guess because we ordered all at the same time. The food ordering process was …. chaotic. But I will talk more about that in a moment.

Food at N&Co
Piece of broccoli pie, prune tart and muffin

If you order food you can get some iced tea for free with it, but they also serve other drinks like juices. We decided to go with the tea (mostly because of aforementioned confusion, we were not comfortable ordering something else).

So, the service. I don’t like being negative, and I want to stress that this was a single visit. Most reviews I read online don’t mention the service at all, or say that it’s great so I think we just got unlucky. But I also want to be honest. The service in the café, when I visited, was not good. It was quite busy and there was only one staff member, so I understand he couldn’t keep up with the people. But the way he reacted was rude and borderline unstable.

When we arrived at N&Co the staff member was on the phone behind the counter.  Assuming he was busy we waited with ordering while checking out the food stuffs on display and trying to make a choice. It all looked good! While still on the phone, the staff member urged us to order anyway. The ordering process was very chaotic, we had to say several times what we wanted. So the moment I wanted to pay he quoted the price. But. He overcharged us by 60CHF (!!!), since he had mis-typed one of the prices(!). Even in Switzerland, that amount is ridiculous. This more than doubled our total ! And he didn’t blink at quoting us that price either.  I noticed the discrepancy and I refused to pay until he had given us the proper bill. He urged us to sit down and resolve it later, since it was busy. However, he was being very rude about it, and behaved erratically. We sat down, got the food. But it was uncomfortable. I am not saying customer is king, but we felt like we were inconveniencing this guy.

After eating our food I again tried to pay and this time we got the right price.  The staff member, now calmed down, apologised for the mix-up and we got our desserts comped because he screwed up before.

Tea at N&Co
Home made, unsweetened iced tea

So yeah, the food was great but the service made it hard to enjoy. It just felt uncomfortable.  If I am in Vevey I might pop by to see who is at the counter and order again. But I won’t go out of my way to visit. There are too many other good places!

Type of place:  café/lunch
Completely vegan:  ?
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French) : http://quinte-et-sens.bio/

Green Gorilla (Geneva, Switzerland)

Green Gorilla logo

Okay story time! I tried to go to Green Gorilla several times actually. Green Gorilla posits themselves as a superfood place so I assumed they had at least some vegan food items. (Also because gorilla’s are mostly vegetarian!) They sells juices, smoothies, pastries, smart bars, vegan cookies, coffees and ‘bowls’. The latter are mostly pre-made and wrapped. So, the first time I wanted to visit, I was a bit late for lunch (13:30) and there was almost no food left in the shop. They are open the whole day, so that was a bit surprising. I noticed that they actually do not have so many vegan options; there is an açaí bowl and I believe a pre-made salad with veggies.

Interior at Green Gorilla
Vegan cookies!

The next time I went they were closed since they were moving to another location! But it turned out there is a second nearby location in Globus, a large department store. To find the Green Gorilla there is not straight forward, it is part of a gym/wellness place on the 4th floor, and if you don’t know it is there you won’t find it.

Interior at Green Gorilla

The place itself is very beautiful, there is a great roof terrace and it is very lounge-y (probably because it is in a fancy wellness centre 🙂 )

Smoothies at Green Gorilla
Blueberry love and Green gorilla smoothies! Raw vegan ball hiding in the back

So this time we were on time for lunch, but again most of the pre-made food was gone already. Fortunately, we could still try the açaí bowl, it was being made on the spot, it didn’t take long. I was with my favourite lunch partner, my husband (food blogging is easier with more people since you can try more things!) We both had a smoothie; the Green gorilla (banana, apple, avocado, mint, spinach, spirulina, ginger and dates) and the Blueberry love (blue berries, strawberries, vanilla, coconut, castor oil (?) and dates). The smoothies were seriously next level, they were delicious, huge, and decorated with fruit (great for pictures but made eating them a bit complex) I believe all smoothies are sweetened with dates, which I personally didn’t think was very necessary. We also tried two small vegan raw balls from ‘La smart truffe’ , while waiting for our açaí bowl.

Açaí bowl at Green Gorilla
Açaí bowl with banana, strawberries and coconut topping

The acai bowl was pretty but a bit disappointing at the same time. It is a basically a smoothie in a bowl with fruits on top. Size-wise it was much smaller than the smoothies we just had. It was tasty, and we did feel superhealthy afterwards, so there is that. I would go back for the smoothies for sure!

Type of place: health food/super food cafe
Completely vegan: no

Website : https://www.facebook.com/pg/greengorillacafe/

Vollpension (Vienna, Austria)

Interior at Vollpension
The inside of Vollpension is cozy and welcoming

Vollpension is a bakery, where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it is more than that. They call themselves a “generational coffee house”, a social enterprise to bring generations together. Their reasoning: in busy cities nowadays there is not a lot of room for  meaningful conversations between people, especially between generations. Quite some seniors in big cities in Austria (and other places) are lonely, and have a low income since it is harder for older people to find jobs. Vollpension is a social initiative to bring young and old together, to provide jobs and a social network to older people. About 60% of the employees at Vollpension are over 55. The idea of visiting Vollpension is like going to your grandparents, for a cup of tea and a piece of pie.

Cups at Vollpension
Mismatched coffee cups!

I love this initiative and I am not alone! For brunch Vollpension was super busy! If you plan to go, maybe reserve in advance to guarantee a spot. The idea of “grandmothers kitchen table” is also present in the interior. Mismatched cups, comfy chairs, cozy-kitchy furnitures and decorations…very welcoming! In the back pies are being baked by the seniors according to family recipes. They have actually published a book with recipes and stories from the bakers (only in German I believe)

Drinks at Vollpension
Coffee, orange juice and soy milk in the small can

We went for brunch on Sunday morning and as mentioned before, it was very busy. There was place on the terrace but it was a bit chilly. Fortunately there was still place at the ‘kitchen table’, a large table where several groups of people could sit. There is a vegan breakfast option; the ‘Kerndlfresser’, and a vegan bircher muesli. (These options are clearly marked on the menu ) Additionally there is soy milk for coffee and there are some vegan cakes! When I was there I believe there was no vegan option for the lunch or dinner, but the menu changes of course.

Vegan breakfast at Vollpension
Vegan breakfast: the kerndlfresser (if someone knows what that means, please leave a comment…I am curious!)

The Kerndlfresser consists of two slices of bread, from a Wiener bakery, oven-roasted veggies, carrot spread, a fruit salad and some raw veggies, all sprinkled with sunflower seeds. The veggies, aubergine, potato, zucchini, and cauli flower, are nice. I really liked the carrot spread, it also had pumpkin which gave an additional sweetness. The fruit salad consisted of melon and pine-apple, and was the least interesting part in my opinion. The bircher muesli is huge! The muesli itself is mixed with berries, then a grated apple layer, topped with some strawberries.

Bircher museli at Vollpension
Bircher museli

There are several cakes on the menu, but none are vegan. However, there were some more cakes available, among which a vegan lemon cake! It is very nice, so very fluffy and soft!

Vegan cake at Vollpension
Vegan lemon pie!

I really like this social initiative, and Vollpension is such a welcoming place! It is great to see that it is so successful. The food served at brunch was great! It would be nice if they could add some vegan options for the lunch, but after a brunch that size you won’t be hungry for a while anyway 🙂 Oh just one note, like several other places in Vienna, you can only pay with cash here!

 

Type of place:  Cafe/Bakery
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (German) : https://www.vollpension.wien/

Granola (Geneva, Switzerland)

Granola is a health food cafe in Geneva, which uses a lot of local, ethically sourced and seasonal products. They offer breakfast and lunch items, such as soups and poké bowls. They have coffee, juices and cakes ( sometimes do have vegan cakes, but not when I visited unfortunately) Delivery is possible too, via smood.ch.

Granola interior

 

The place is pretty cute. Inside there are several tables and a bar, and outside is a nice terrace.   Somehow it seemed to me like a place that would offer a lot of vegan items, because of  the hipster-factor (avocado toast! poké bowls!) and focus on health, but that was a bit of a disappointment. Later I read on their site that they offer food that is “hearty and delicious—almost like vegetarian food for nonvegetarians ” and I have to say I have no clue what that is supposed to mean, since most of the food they offer is not vegetarian at all. They also mention their focus on environment and plant-based food, so, it is a bit of a conflicting message.

Chia pudding at Granola
Chia tella without tella but with heaping of coconut flakes

Anyway, on the food!  I actually went there for the avocado toast (something that is not that common in Geneva!) but they were out of avocado. They also have an açai bowl, which is vegan, and a “chia tella”;  a chia pudding with banana, coconut milk and Nutella,  which can be made vegan if the Nutella is left out. I wanted to try the chia pudding, which was okay but not very special. I spotted later on the menu that they also have a Buddha bowl which seems vegan.

Energy balls at Granola
Vegan energy balls!

They do have several milk alternatives, and interesting hot drinks such as rose lattes, and liquid gold latte. And also matcha lattes and coffee. I had a latte with oat milk, which was pretty good.  There were some nice looking cakes, but none were vegan. However, at the ordering station I noticed some “energy balls”, which are in fact vegan!  I tried two, the espresso and the chocolate and they were good! Maybe more healthy than the cake 🙂

Coffee at Granola
Oat latte and energy balls

The service was good, it’s a nice place to sit with a coffee (and maybe a slice of vegan cake?) I would still like to try the avocado toast, because they are not so common in Geneva.

 

Type of place: juice bar and café

Completely vegan: no

Website (English) : http://www.granola-geneva.com

Zio (Geneva, Switzerland)

Zio is a lunch-dinner-bakery-take-way-etc in several locations in Geneva. I was specifically interested in one Zio after I spotted a sign saying that there was a vegan ‘plat du jour’ (e.g. daily menu) available for lunch! Unfortunately at that time I wasn’t aware there were, like, 10 Zio in Geneva, so it took a while to find the right one again! All Zio establishments are slightly different, some are more like bakeries and others more like cafés. While I am sure some of the other Zio also have vegan options, but I really want to try this specific one. This specific Zio (Vieille-Ville location) is only open for lunch during the week by the way.

Zio interior
Inside Zio

Long story short, I went to Zio for lunch to test their vegan ‘plat du jour’ !  Zio Vieille-Ville serves fresh juices, drinks and coffee. All food is pre-made and packaged. You pick from a display, where the vegan and vegetarian options are clearly labelled. If you eat the food in the restaurant itself it is reheated (if applicable) and served.

 

zio_drinks
Fresh juices

The place itself is a bit minimalist, with lounge music and a chill atmosphere. I do have to say the actual vegan ‘plat du jour’ was a bit disappointing that day. It was a lasagne with spinach and aubergine.  The lasagne was served with a few slices of bread. Sounds good right? Well actually it didn’t have lasagne leaves, I think the idea was that the aubergine took the place of the pastas. But why? Lasagne leaves are usually vegan. So it was more of a warm salad. Additionally, while tasty, the dish was salty. Really salty.

 

Lasagne at Zio
“Lasagne”

Overall I was disappointed by the lack of choice and the actual dish. Unfortunately there were also no vegan desserts.  Zio serves something different everyday I suppose, so maybe it was bad luck, but overall it wasn’t great. I think this was partially caused by the fact I was trying to get lunch here for a long time (“they advertise a vegan lunch! I must supported these initiatives!”) and then it kinda fell flat for me.

Type of place: “Cafeteria, restaurant, take-away, catering and bakery”
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French): https://www.zio-ge.ch/

Brunchroom (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Brunchroom in Amsterdam has been on my “places to try” list for a while now. The ‘problem’ is that a> I don’t go to Amsterdam that often, and b> Amsterdam has quite some choices for vegans, so my “to visit” list has been growing for a while! A few weeks ago I visited Amsterdam again and I decided that this time, I really had to go get some vegan waffles (!!).

Table at Brunchroom
Reading table

Brunchroom is a bit away from the Amsterdam city centre, but definitively within walking distance from the Central Station. The place is a bit small, but very cosy and cute. It was also quite busy! Fortunately we could still nab a spot at the reading table.

Interior at Brunchroom
Waffles are huge but I still don’t wanna share!

As the name implies, here brunch is served in many shapes; eggs, yoghurt, sandwiches, soups, waffles and a variety of drinks, such as coffee (milk alternatives available: soy and almond), tea, chocolate, juices and smoothies. Their menu changes a bit with the seasons, I noticed they still have the winter menu on their website. There are several vegan options, for the sandwiches, soups, smoothies and of course the waffles! There is also a vegan speciality coffee, the lavender latte. Of course, me and my trusted better half took it upon us to try to taste as much as we could!

Drinks at Brunchroom
How pretty do these look!

We tried both vegan smoothies that were available: the lambada (peach, coconut, banana, orange, turmeric) and the twist (beets, dates, strawberry and banana) They were delicious and thick, and presented so beautifully! The Lavender latte is an espresso with frothed hot coconut milk and lavender. I liked the concept, but I find the taste of coconut milk in coffee often too overpowering.

Drinks at Brunchroom
Nice details

For the waffles you can choose your own toppings, which are divided into a few groups based on the price. There are a lot of vegan options, and even vegan whipped cream! Choosing toppings took a while because there were so many options.  In the end I tried a combination of peanut butter and banana, a classic, with some additional pumpkin seeds. My husband tried peanut butter, fig jam and maple syrup. The waffles were delicious and thick, and huge!

Waffles at Brunchroom
Peanut butter-banana-pumpkin seed and peanut butter-fig jam-maple syrup

Even with so much other stuff to try in Amsterdam, I cannot wait to go back to the Brunchroom!

Type of place: Brunch/Breakfast
Completely vegan: no
Website (Dutch, English) : http://brunchroom.nl/