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/

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.

persepolis_dish1
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 (?)  : https://www.facebook.com/ResPersepolis/

 

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/

Homous & co (Geneva, Switzerland)

Homous & co is a Lebanese take-out located at two different places in Geneva. It was started by two brothers, who were inspired by their father who wanted to let the world discover the taste of Lebanese cuisine. Unfortunately their father couldn’t open the restaurant of his dreams, but the brothers did so in his honour.

Cold mezzes on display at Homous & co
Packaged dishes at Homous & Co.. hummus, moutabal and falafel on the top row, below tabouleh and kofte (the only non-vegan item here)

The food is freshly made every morning and packaged. All dishes are displayed, you pick  what you want, and pay. Any warm dishes are heated afterwards. The vegan and vegetarian choices are clearly labelled, which is always a plus! We were a bit late for lunch, and there was actually not so much food left. Drink-wise there is coffee, mint tea and soft drinks available, unfortunately the mint tea was gone already!

Food at Homous & co
Yum!

On the ground floor there is not a lot of space to sit, but there is a larger room upstairs, which was pretty empty when we arrived. The interior is modern, and there was Arabic music playing. The room was not very cosy, but not unpleasant either. Homous & co is clearly more of a take-away/fancy-fast-food place.

Zaalouk at Homous& co
Zaalouk … I love this stuff!

There was a lot of choice and we wanted to try everything! For cold mezzes we got: hummus, moutabal, sabanegh (a spinach dish, which was very good) and zaalouk (an aubergine dish). The warm mezzes we got were rice with lentils and falafel (with vegan sauce). And of course we got some flat bread as well. Unfortunately there are no vegan desserts.

Food at Homous & co
Flat bread, hummus, falafel and sabanegh, my favourite still life

The food is good, not exceptional. I really liked to see some other dishes rather than the standard hummus/tabouleh (I do love those too). I had never tried the spinach dish, and I loved the zaalouk!

I really like the concept of Homous & Co, and you get good value for money, which is always a good thing. I do have to say I dislike pre-packaged food like this. I assume it is great for take-out, but if you eat it at the place itself it is not the best for the environment. Another minor complaint: it is difficult to gauge how much flat bread is needed!

Type of place: Lebanese, take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

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

Nyala Barka (Geneva, Switzerland)

Can you tell I am loving Ethiopian food? The third of its category on this blog! Small spoiler: for lunch this might be my favourite Ethiopian place…let’s get going!

The name of the restaurant is derived from a type of antelope, the mountain nyala, which lives in the mountains of Ethiopia. The nyala is important in Ethiopian culture, being for example on the 10-ct coin. Unfortunately, the existence of these animals is threatened (due to e.g. illegal hunting and habitat destruction), but efforts have been put in place to halt this.

Drinks at Nyala Barka

I visited Nyala Barka for lunch, together with my favourite partner-in-crime. The restaurant is large, with African elements in the decoration. At the end of the room there is a bar. There’s a lot of carton boxes which gives a bit of a messy appearance.

 

We had a starter of sambousas, a dough triangle stuffed with vegetables and lentils. They had to be eaten by hand, which was a bit of a challenge since they were hot! Maybe we had to be more patient. They tasted good though, the dough was nice and crunchy.

Sambousas at Nyala Barka
Vegetable stuffed sambousas

The vegan menu consists of several different dishes; two with lentils, a potato dish, one with spinach and one with chick peas. For the tasting menu you get three of these, depending on the day. There are less injera served with it compared to Awash and Zara 2001 but for lunch I found it okay. We got the spinach, potato and one lentil dish.

Injera at Nyala Barka
Injera with lentils, potato and spinach stews, and salad

There were three desserts available, of which at least one, the fruit salad, might be vegan. I didn’t want to have a dessert, so I didn’t ask about it.

 

Nyala Barka might well be my new favourite Ethiopian restaurant in Geneva, when looking at price, quality, atmosphere and location. I will definitively go back!

Type of place: Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: ??

Website (French) : http://www.nyalabarka.ch/

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