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/

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/

Wurst & Moritz (Bern, Switzerland)

So for my real-life job I occasionally visit cities around Switzerland. I have been in Bern to meet with colleagues quite regularly, and of course we also need to eat while we are there ! Most of the time we go to the same place (Tibits ❤) but occasionally we branch out. One of my dear co-workers suggested going to Wurst & Moritz and I thought they were joking…a sausage place?? Turns out there totally are vegan sausages at Wurst & Moritz! Me and my vegetarian co-worker were happy to try those.

wurstmortiz_interior2

The concept of Wurst & Moritz is simple; they serve sausages (Currywurst), sides (fries, salad, etc) and sauce. And drinks, of course. The place itself can be found in a small food court next to Bern main station. There is a small area where you can sit, and it is very casually decorated with darts and a fuss ball table.

Veggie sausage and fries at Wurst und Moritz
Veggie sausage and fries!

The vegan sausage is served with classic sauce, the other sauces are not guaranteed to be vegan. The fries are very nice, crispy and properly salted. It is a great option if you just want to have some hearty, junky food.

Inside Wurst und Moritz

Wurst&Moritz do not serve vegan desserts, but in the same food court you can find a cafe, Coffee Fellows, which serves coffee (with milk alternatives!) and vegan apple pie!

Beers at Wurst & Moritz
Beers on the bar
Type of place: Sausage and beer place
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (German):  http://wurstundmoritzbern.ch/

Tibits (Bern, Switzerland)

Sometimes I hear people say that it is hard to be vegetarian or vegan in Switzerland. These people are very wrong. I hope I presented enough arguments already for my statement on this blog, and today I will present my strongest argument yet.

Tibits outside

Today, let’s talk about Tibits.

This chain of vegetarian restaurants was developed in collaboration with Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the World (since 1898!) which is located in Zurich. I have visited Hiltl as well, and to be honest I kind of prefer Tibits, it is a bit more relaxed, casual and less overwhelming in choice 🙂

Vegan croissants at Tibtis
Vegan croissants (the dinkel gipfel and laugen gipfel) at breakfast and brunch!

Tibits has locations in several cities in the German part of Switzerland (location in Lausanne to open December this year!) and there are 2 Tibits in London. The name is derived from the English ‘Tid Bits’, and the concept is that of ‘Vegetarian Fast-food Restaurants’. Don’t be fooled though, this is no snackbar* quality, this is good food; freshly made, with seasonal ingredients (many pumpkin dishes in the autumn!)  and local where possible. The ‘fast’-part is however true! You serve yourself from the buffet, and pay by weight. Tibits also does catering and take-away. They have published cookbooks, and they also sell special kitchen knives, bags and other merch.

Tibits Merch
Cookbooks, drinks, bags and yoga mats

I have visited Tibits in Bern several times, since I occasionally have to go to Bern for the day job. My non-vegan colleagues also enjoy the food at Tibits, by the way, it is certainly not just for the veggies amongst us. In general the restaurant is always very busy, with all sorts of different people, from young to old, families, groups of friends, etc. The atmosphere is relaxed, with jazzy music in the background.

Pastries at Tibits
Cakes, including a vegan muffin

Actually, I have been wanting to make this post since forever, but when at my day job I felt a bit awkward writing a review and making many photos (the secret double life of a food blogger :)). So I visited Tibits on the weekend, on Sunday to be precise. (Most, if not all, Tibits locations are open all day every day) On Sunday there is a brunch menu until 14:30. The other days there is breakfast until 10.

Bread at Tibits
Bread for breakfast/brunch

Brunch means there was a combination of breakfast foods (vegan croissants!!), and more lunch-type items available. Everything is vegetarian, lots is vegan and all dishes are labelled with common allergens. And yes there are desserts!

Starters at Tibits
Starter/salad portion of the buffet with the sign indicating the Nutritional info markers
Salads at Tibits
Salads, on top some cereals

So as mentioned Tibits is a buffet-style restaurant, there is no table service. You go to the buffet, load up your plate, go to the bar and pay based on the weight. Since I cannot start with describing everything on the buffet, I just made a bunch of pictures and hopefully they’ll speak for themselves.

Desserts at Tibits
Some of the desserts, berry compote, creme of fruits and the mango chunks in the background. (And a lost kelp salad in between)
More desserts at Tibits
The chocolate-abricot squares are vegan and so, so good

Everything I had at Tibits was tasty and there is a large variety of different foods, ranging from vegan shakshuka, to falafel, to baked potatoes, to bread salad, vegan sausages,  Indian-inspired dishes such as samosas, Mexican-inspired food like chilli… There are often also surprising dishes, and vegan/vegetarian variations on traditional Swiss food(which tends to be heavy on the meat & cheese).

Tibits food
Choosing is hard…(classic tatar, mais salad, sweet potato with cranberry sauce, piece of almond ‘cheese’,…)

Tibits offers a variety of cold drinks, such as lemonades and juices, but you can also get some tap water for free. For hot drinks there are coffees (and yes, you can get soy milk!), teas, and even vegan hot chocolate! At the bar there are also some additional pastries, such as the beautiful vegan lemon drizzle pie, and snack boxes later during the day. Last time I also spotted several ice creams.

Coffee and pie at Tibits
“Schale” (coffee with soy milk) and a piece of lemon pie ❤

I cannot recommend Tibits enough, it combines delicious food with a nice casual atmosphere,  lots of (clearly labelled!) vegan options and always something new to try.

Type of place: vegetarian/vegan buffet
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!
Website (German) : https://www.tibits.ch/de/

 

* See my post on the Vegan Junkfood Bar

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/