|Geneva : Inexpensive and mid-range restaurants|
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There’s almost limitless choice in inexpensive and mid-range dining, with good-value, characterful places just off the main streets in all corners of the city. Excellent self-service dining is to be had at the huge Manora, 4 Rue de Cornavin: with such a fast customer turnover, its food is actually very fresh as well as rock-bottom cheap and you can easily stuff yourself for Fr.11.
Station area and Les Pâquis
Le Diwane, 6 Rue de Zurich (022/732 73 91). Excellent, authentically prepared Arabic cuisine. A meal of classy mezze is about Fr.25, or you can blowout and order the entire menu for Fr.160 – either way, don’t miss the delicious maamoul afterwards. July–Sept daily noon–12.30am; Oct–June Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm & 7–10.30pm, Sat 7–10.30pm.
El Mektoub, 5 Rue Chaponnière (022/738 70 31). Discreet central hideaway for quality North African cooking in a pleasant ambience. Excellent couscous and a wealth of tajines are Fr.30–35, with a handful of veggie options too. Closed Sun.
Jeck’s, 14 Rue de Neuchâtel (022/731 33 03). Small Thai place, with nice wood-and-rattan decor and surprisingly affordable quality cooking (Fr.25–30, or Fr.15 at lunch). House speciality is a range of Singaporean dishes, mixing influences from Malaysia, China and India. Closed Sat lunch.
Au Petit Chalet, 6 Rue Chaponnière. Unpretentious city-centre Swiss place for fondues, Rösti and pizza (Fr.20–25) in a refreshingly untouristic dark-wood setting. Closed Mon.
Teranga, 38bis Rue de Zurich (022/731 15 22). Tiny backstreet Senegalese place, attractively decorated, with good service and great food, including plantains, yassa (braised chicken in onion sauce) and fresh ginger juice. Around Fr.25. Closed Sat lunch & Sun.
Old Town area and Plainpalais
Cave Valaisanne/Chalet Suisse, Place du Cirque. Touristically minded place for those seeking that authentic fondue experience. The chalet side is all dim lights, dark wood-beamed interior and endless Swiss kitsch; the cave side less contrived and so slightly less grating. The food is fine at both, and affordable (Fr.20 or so), but neither is what you might call heart-warming.
La Favola, 15 Rue Jean Calvin (022/311 74 37). Charming little family-run restaurant on a cobbled Old Town alley, with a small menu of choice Ticinese specialities to dally over in an atmospheric setting. A romantic evening tête-à-tête could touch Fr.45 each; lunches much less. Closed Sat lunch & Sun.
Hang Zhou, 19 Rue de la Coulouvrenière (022/781 41 47). Excellent inexpensive Chinese, with a full vegetarian menu and dim sum galore (Fr.13–23). Closed Sun.
Kantine, in Artamis squat community, off Boulevard de St-Georges. On the far left side, tucked among the graffitied warehouses and studios of Artamis, divey Kantine offers one of the cheapest meals in Geneva, home-made food in big portions for Fr.10. Roughly Mon–Fri 11am–4pm, maybe later, maybe earlier.
Le Pied de Cochon, 4 Place du Bourg-de-Four (022/310 47 97). Bow-tied waiters bustle their way between the tinkling cutlery of one of Geneva’s best-loved bistros, serving meaty Genevois and Lyonnais gutliners (Fr.35), including the namesake grilled pigs’ trotters, to a clientele not short of a centime or two.
Taverne de la Madeleine, 20 Rue Toutes-Âmes. Quite possibly the oldest restaurant in the city, now an alcohol-free café-bistro, serving only lunches – unreconstructed home-made fare (Fr.15) – in a tiny old dining room below the Old Town. Closed Sun.
Vesuvio, 7 Rue Cherbuliez (022/736 30 40). Eaux-Vives is full of Italian restaurants, but this is one of the best, boasting fresh-made pasta, a wood-fired pizza oven, relaxed open decor and friendly service. Meals are not expensive, mostly under Fr.20. Closed Sat lunch, Sun & Mon.
Le Bourse, 7 Place du Marché, Carouge. Celebrated café-brasserie in the heart of Carouge, with a wide, heavily fishy menu, taking in moules and huitres as well as a protein-packed marmite du pêcheur (Fisherman’s Pot; Fr.35). Fondue, salads and steak help out less briny diners, and a quality lunch menu can be had for Fr.15. Closed Sun & Mon.
La Cuccagna, Place du Temple, Carouge. Quality among Carouge’s high-class cuisine that won’t break the bank, with simple, delicious pizza and pasta dishes for Fr.25 or so.
Sawasdee, 24 Avenue Cardinal Mermillod, Carouge (022/300 08 42). Best Thai in Geneva, with calm, attentive service, simply exquisite food and a bill at the end of it to lighten your spirits: a mere Fr.15–18 for lunch, twice that in the evening. Definitely worth the tram ride.
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