Taco Rico (Geneva, Switzerland)

Sign outside Taco Rico

Fresh, quick, authentic, delicious. That is how Taco Rico, a TexMex bistro in Geneva (at two locations) describes themselves. I cannot vouch for the third point, but the rest seems very much true.

Interior at Taco Rico

A while ago I wrote about the Burrito Brothers and there are some interesting parallels between the origin stories of both these places. The Burrito Brothers was founded by two Mexican-born, California-raised brothers. Taco Rico was inspired by a Swiss person staying in New York, who, after eating a delicious Mexican meal, decides to open a Mexican restaurant in Geneva since such a thing didn’t exist yet. The staff at Taco Rico was trained by a Mexican chef, and all food is home-made. The founders’ family also work in the restaurant.

Taco Rico
Ingredients for the filling the tacos

The ambiance of the place is quite nice, with cheerful 80s-90s music (a tad loud maybe). There is some nice art on the wall and comfortable seats. On the menu you can find the usual suspects; burritos (also available as salad), tacos, quesadillas and nachos. The nice thing is that for both the burrito and the taco a vegan *and* a vegetarian option is possible. Many burrito places offer just a vegetarian option!

Nachos with guacamole at Taco Rico
Nachos with guac because of course

When I visited I tried the vegan version of the burrito and the tacos, and nachos with guacamole. The filling is the same in both cases: basically everything that is available that is vegan, so rice, beans, corn, a bit of salad, tomato, onion, guacamole and peppers (you can pick & choose the ingredients as you prefer).  The spicy sauce is also optional, and there are several hot sauces available if you decide you need more spiciness. The burrito is pretty expertly wrapped, almost nothing fell out!

Burrito at Taco Rico
Expertly wrapped burrito with all the fillings

For drinks there are the soft-drinks, coffee, tea, beers and even Margarita’s. They serve some desserts, but nothing vegan.

Tacos at Taco Rico
Tacos!

Obviously, I cannot help but comparing Taco Rico with Burrito Brothers, since both places serve quite similar food at a similar price point. The variety of ingredients at the Burrito Brothers is larger, they have for example mushrooms as well, but they only have pre-defined combinations (obviously you can ask for stuff to be left out). For me, the big downside is that you have to pay (quite some) extra for guacamole, even if you leave out the cheese and sour cream from the vegetarian options.  Personally I preferred the ambiance at Taco Rico, it was just a bit less fast-foody, there is more space to sit and the chairs are more comfortable.

Hot sauces at Taco Rico
Need more spice?
Type of place:  Tex-mex Restaurant/take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (French) : http://www.tacorico.ch/index.html

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/

Planty (Geneva, Switzerland)

Sign at Que du Bonheur/Planty

A short post, but I think this place needs more recognition! Planty is a new small company bringing delicious plant-based pastries! They do catering, and have a food stall “Que de Bonheur”, which can be found at PlainPalais market in Geneva, on Tuesday and Friday (from 8:30 to 14:00). Planty is zero-waste, so you can bring your own container!

Pie at Planty
This pie ❤

At their food stall I tried a piece of quiche and a seitan wrap, the latter being assembled at the spot! Can recommend! Of course I also tried a piece of lemon pie and some chocolate chip cookies. And yes, they are tasty as they look!

Cookies at Planty/Que du Bonheur
Look at those cute tartelettes!

Occasionally the food stall is present at festivals, which are announced on their Facebook. They will be at Geneva’s vegan festival which is the 20 and 21 October, http://urbanvge.ch/festival-vegan-2018/  ! I went to the festival last year, and it was a HUGE success. It was so busy that it was almost impossible to enter the room in which it was held 😀  This year the festival will be 2 days, and I will definitively pop by!

Type of place: vegan food stall & caterer
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (English) : https://www.planty.ch/ and https://www.facebook.com/planty.ch/

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/

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

American Dream Diner (Geneva, Switzerland)

Bar at American Dream Diner
Step into a time machine

Stepping into the American Dream Diner in Geneva is like being transported to the USA in the 50ties. The chrome, the benches, the jukeboxes! Personally, it reminds me of the game Fallout. The American Dream Diner is inspired by old American Diners, and provides, as they call it, an escape from today’s complex world. While I don’t think life was more easy at that time, stepping into the Dream Diner is like stepping in a time capsule. But with vegan options! The interior is the real deal, imported from the US.

Interior at American Dream Diner

American Dream Diner can be found in Geneva, and soon they will open a second location in Geneva, and open in Nyon and Lausanne as well! There is also a small shop attached which sells American foodstuffs like Pop-tarts, non-food like magazines, but there is also a selection of for example Canadian items (also online: http://www.americanmarket.ch/)

Table at American Dream Diner
Paper straws in the background

The Diner serves ‘typical’ American food, like burgers, fries and hot dogs and they have vegan options for all the burgers! They can substitute both the patty and the cheese with a plant-based alternative. The patties are made in-house and are composed of among others wheat and soy. Also the hot dogs and Mexican Chili can be made vegan.  Interestingly they also serve salads, and those are not vegan. (Though I am sure you can ask for them to be made vegan)

Snacks at American Dream Diner
Fries, Onion rings with vegan dip, and chili fries with vegan cheese

So yes, there was a lot to try! We started with the onion rings, served with a vegan sauce and two types of fries, the American and chili “cheese” fries. The fries are nice and thick, the portions reasonable. We tried both the BBQ burger and the classic cheese burger in vegan form. The burgers are pretty big, and taste good, a bit mushroom-y I would say.

Vegan Cheese burger at American Dream Diner
‘Cheese’ burger

To be honest, while the burgers tasted slightly different from each other (because different sauces were used) it was not really outspoken. I think this is because the vegan patties are the same and the difference between these two burgers is rather due to the type of cheese and the addition of bacon in the BBQ burger. Maybe the non-vegan counterparts also taste similar, I cannot really judge that 🙂

Food at American Dream Diner

There are also special drinks served like floats and milkshakes. Unfortunately these are not vegan.  There are also no vegan desserts.

The service was very good, the staff was very kind and helpful when it came to explaining the available vegan options. Also, they actually mentioned that they had no vegan desserts, which was quite thoughtful. Usually when I go somewhere, even if it is clear that I am vegan, I will be offered the dessert card even if there is nothing vegan on there. So extra points from me for this.

Interior at American Dream Diner
Even the bill is brought in style! Dunno if the candy is vegan though…

I really want to go back to the Diner ! The food was good, the atmosphere great, and I want to test out the vegan hot dogs as well!

Type of place:  American diner
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (French, English) : http://www.americandreamdiner.com/

Sajna (Geneva, Switzerland)

From this blog it might seem I go out for food a lot. While that is not entirely true (as  I have mentioned before 🙂 ) I don’t often revisit the same restaurants because I keep seeing new, interesting places I want to try.  But one of the few restaurants I have visited several times was not even on my blog! Until today, that is.

Interior at Sajna

The first time I went to Sajna, I had recently moved to Geneva, and I was supposed to meet some former colleagues for dinner. They asked me to pick a place because they were a bit unsure what places serve vegan food ! (If only my blog had existed at that time :D) Since I hadn’t visited any restaurants in Geneva yet, I decided to randomly pick an Indian restaurant (because I like Indian food) that was conveniently located. That is how I found Sajna! Of course I checked the menu online, which seemed promising. When I called to make a reservation, I asked about their vegan options, and I was assured that there was plenty of vegan food available. I was not disappointed!

Interior at Sajna

Sajna serves Bengali (eastern India/Bangladesh) dishes, and the more typical Indian restaurant dishes. What is kind of interesting is they have another branch of this restaurant in Bangladesh, which existed there before the Geneva location.

Appetizer at Sajna
Appetizer of papadums with 3 sauces (2 of which are vegan)

The interior is kind of typical Indian restaurant style. There are two rooms and a small terrace outside. However, the terrace is on a very noisy street, so that is not ideal. As often in Indian restaurants we got a papadum with 3 sauces for appetizer. Two of the sauces are vegan (the tamarind and the spicy chutney), and the other is with yogurt.

As mentioned there are plenty of vegetarian dishes, and some of those are vegan. In most cases, in the description on the menu it will say clearly whether the dish will have cream or paneer (cheese) but it won’t hurt to ask. The staff will happily sub non-vegan items like cream if requested. Another nice thing is that Sajna has vegan chapati (flat bread) !

Starters at Sajna
Mixed pakora (left) and samosa

We started with samosa and mixed pakora. The samosa have a nice shape, a sturdy dough exterior and are filled with slightly spicy potato mash. There are several types of pakora on the menu; you can also order just a set of one type but choosing is hard:), so we went for the mixed pakora and you get one of each type.  (In the menu description it says that it is a mixture of the potato, aubergine, cauliflower and onion pakora, but since there is also a paneer pakora, it won’t hurt to explicitly mention that you don’t want that one)

Mains at Sajna
Baighan bartha (left) and mixed vegetable korma with coconut milk. On the side safran rice and basmati rice. Not pictured: chapati

One of my favourite Indian dishes is the baigan bharta: grilled aubergine with tomatoes. This version is a little bit spicey, but so so good. We also got this time the mixed vegetable korma, which is normally not vegan (made with cream) but was made with coconut milk and cashews upon request. The coconut milk was pretty present in the taste and creaminess of the dish. It was naturally a bit sweet, and went well with the vegetables in the sauce. We also got chapati and rice with it.

Baighan Bartha at Sajna
Baighan bartha ❤

The service at Sajna is very good. They actually mention on their website that they are very willing to accommodate specific needs. It is always better to mention this upon reserving. But this time we didn’t reserve and they still made us the special korma sauce (it was not very busy when we were there, else we would probably not have asked it) Another time, when I did make a reservation beforehand,  I asked about dessert options and they actually prepared a dessert for me (kheer; a rice pudding with coconut milk)

So in summary, good food, great service, will visit again 🙂

Type of place: Indian Restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: upon request 🙂
Website (French, English) :http://www.sajna-restaurant.com/