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/

Sources:

Chiang Mai Thai (Geneva, Switzerland)

We have had some sombre weather in Switzerland, so what’s better than going out for lunch trying some great food? The restaurant we initially wanted to visit was closed, but fortunately Chiang Mai, a Thai restaurant was open! I have been lucky enough to taste some great Thai food so the bar was set high.

Table at Chiang Mai Thai
Ready to eat!

Like many restaurants, there is a daily (lunch) menu, consisting of a starter and a main. While the daily menu was not vegan, it could be veganised. In general, in every  dish the meat could replaced with tofu.  Nice! To get a full picture of what was available, we had the daily and some items from the general menu.

Spring rolls at Chiang Mai Thai
Spring rolls

The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed, but it was a bit dark inside. We started with the spring rolls (from the daily menu) and thod pak (vegetable cakes). The spring rolls were great, very crunchy and not overly greasy.  The thod pak reminded me a bit of Indian pakoras, they were not very doughy, and contained several vegetables; courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, and onion.

 

Thod pak at Chiang Mai Thai
Beautiful dish! Vegetables cakes with sauce.

For our main course we had a curry with tofu subbed from the daily menu, and sautéed noodles with vegetables and tofu  (goei thew phad phak). The curry had a nice mix of sweet coconut flavour with the spiciness from the curry. The sautéed noodles were tasty, and a lot. There was a lot of vegetables in there as well, so that is good.

Tofu curry at Chiang Mai Thai
Tofu curry

As I hoped, Chiang Mai has several vegan desserts! The mango- sticky rice dessert I hoped to try was not available due to absence of sticky rice, so we got just the mango. We also tried a rice banana combination, which was interesting and sweet.

Noodles at Chiang Mai Thai
Huge heap of noodles with veggies and tofu

Price wise…well it is the centre of Geneva, so it is not cheap, but it is not extreme either, especially if you choose the daily menu. The service was good, and the staff was also accommodating when it came to adjusting dishes.

Dessert at Chiang Mai Thai
Dessert of rice and banana
Type of place: Thai restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website : https://www.facebook.com/Chiang-Mai-Thai-Restaurant-164757043539008/

Zara 2001 (Geneva, Switzerland)

The first time I had Ethiopian food was in Geneva, one of the first posts on this blog (Awash) and I really enjoyed it. Zara2001 is another Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant in Geneva. The interior is very nice, with African art on the wall. Some of the tables were relatively low, and there is not a lot of space. Also it was a bit chilly.

Zara2001 Interior
Table at Zara2001

The food is predominantly Ethiopian, though there are a few Indian dishes on the menu as well.  There is a clear section on the menu which is vegetarian (meaning vegan in this case) which lists four dishes. Three of those dishes can be served in a combination plate, which we had, because choosing is hard.

Injera at a table in Zara2001
Injera with salad and sauce served on the large plate

The dishes that were included in the combination plate are a spinach stew with spices and peppers, tumtumo: lentils with garlic and spices, and alecha: potatoes with carrots, green beans and cabbage. The latter is a bit more spicy. Unlike at Awash the dishes are not served directly on the injera, but came in separate bowls. The injera comes with salad and some spicy sauce. We also got a second plate with more injera.

Alecha, spinach and tumtumo at Zara2001
Alecha, spinach and tumtumo (sorry for the blurry photo…I am a bad food blogger…)

The service was a bit slow, even though the restaurant was empty. We did come at a strange time though, between lunch and dinner. The food was good and the price reasonable. I still need to practise eating with injera, so I think I’ll explore some more Ethiopian restaurants!

 

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

Website (French) : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caf%C3%A9-Zara-2001/164600906888464

Le Cèdres du Liban (Geneva, Switzerland)

The Middle-Eastern cuisine is well-known (and loved!) for the vegan staples falafel and hummus. While Geneva boasts already several Lebanese places, with diverse price ranges and qualities, another Lebanese restaurant in Paquis recently opened.

Le Cèdres du Liban is definitively more “up scale” than many of other Lebanese eateries which are more of the kebab fast-food/snackbar type places. The interior is stylish and minimalistic, with Arabic music playing. There is a small terrace outside and several tables inside both on ground level and on the first floor. However, when we visited the first floor was closed.

Table at le cedres du liba
Ready to eat…

On the menu a vegan and vegetarian mezze plate are clearly marked. The vegan one has 6 and the vegetarian one 8 small dishes. There are also full-plate options but I like these sampler plates. Also none of the full plates were vegan (or even vegetarian, for that matter)

The vegan plate had two types of dips: hummus and moutabal (baba ghanoush). Their hummus was good, it was not overly oily as some places make their hummus. Additionally there was a small bowl with tabouleh, 3 falafels, some moussaka and  1 warak arise (rice-stuffed leaf). I thought that one was specifically interesting, I hadn’t had one before at a Lebanese place. The plate comes with a small basket of wrapped flatbread.

Vegan mezze at le cedres du liban
Mezze!

Drink-wise, apart from the standard juice and soda pop, there are 2 Middle-Eastern drinks: Ayran (yoghurt-based) and Jallab, which is made with rose water and date syrup. I am not sure if they have vegan dessert options. If I go back, which I plan too, I’ll update this post with more info.

The portions were generous and the dishes were good. Unfortunately the bread was very cold, like it had been recently defrosted.

Mint tea at le cedres du liban
Warming sweet mint tea

Overall we had some bad timing: the heater in the restaurant was broken. Outside was 10 °C and inside it was quite chilly. The service was friendly but not great. We had to wait a while for our food (and it was not busy)  and we never got a chance to order more drinks. We did get some free mint tea to compensate. The price for the food was very reasonable overall.

 

Type of place: Lebanese restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: ?

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

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

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/