Delicious auberge food in a random village near Coppet
Auberge de Founex
It is amazing what you can find in small little hamlets that surround Coppet and Nyon. After a mixed hockey training session in nearby Coppet, a teammate suggested a drink in a nearby restaurant and so this is how I came to be introduced to this place, which is a hotel-restaurant outfit that you commonly find in many towns in Vaud. At the time, I was famished and so decided to try the spaghetti bolognese as well. What a delight - fantastic pasta, sauce that was delicious and flavour-packed, and a bowl so massive that even when I shared it with my teammate (and we both can eat especially after training!), we were well and truly satisfied. So I have since returned with some friends on several occasions, as it is very convenient for 1) those with a car, 2) those with kids, and 3) those who are based around Nyon and Versoix. Friends and my other half have ordered dishes such as the gigot d'agneau, the cordon-bleu veal and the tagliatelle with prosciutto. All agree the dishes are very well-presented and more importantly, very tasty. On both occasions I have been back, I have ordered the tagliatelle aux morilles (local mushroom delicacy) and the pasta is fantastic - home-made and cooked to perfection. I am not one to re-order the same dish but when it is REALLY good, then...it makes sense! Prices are reasonable (around CHF 40-50 per head with a dessert and glass of wine alongside the main) and ambience is pretty informal, which is nice for families with young children and those not in the mood for pretentious fanfare. Highly recommended.
An absolute delight that puts Senegal on the culinary map
Aux 5 Sens
I have only been here perhaps two or three times in total, and have developed a serious love for this restaurant already. Firstly, I had no idea what to expect about Senegalese cuisine having never even managed to try this in London. The restaurant itself has a clean look about it, fairly modern although at the same time nondescript. However, it is not the reason you go there! The menu offers a small number of entrees such as fried samosa-type treats, a section on grilled meats, and then the "specialities", such as Poulet Yassa and Maffe – both stews – which are served with a generous portion of piping hot steamed rice. Side dishes such as plantain are also available for a reasonable CHF 5. The first time I had the Poulet Yassa, I was just blown away. It is delicious. The chicken is cooked to perfection on the bone, and covered in the most incredible sauce that is packed with caramelised onions, flavours and an uncanny vinegary taste that is just so unique and moreish. The dish reminds you almost of a tagine but thicker and even more intense. The steamed rice on the side is a perfect combination, and with a bit of plantain as well (which is fantastic and perfect for sharing), the whole eating experience is a pleasure. I must admit I have not tried any dish beyond the yassa as I am pretty obsessed by that dish, but my other half has confirmed he always has a tasty dish, and perhaps I will venture out to try something else the next time, given there is also fish, beef stew and grills to be tried! All in all, unless you have extra room, a main is more than enough (and the starters are not quite as spectacular-tasting as the mains) and with a beer or drink, the bill is no more than CHF 30-35 per person – a major bargain and less than ten minutes’ walk from the main station!
Pricey Thai that doesn't quite hit the mark
I went to Lanna Thai for lunch with a couple of colleagues in autumn, nervous as I usually am given I grew up eating Thai food all the time as my dad was a restaurateur in a Thai restaurant in London. The restaurant was fairly full – perhaps a reflection of the desert of good eating that is the Secheron area – so I thought that could be a good sign. My colleagues ordered a green curry and red curry with rice and it looked pretty bog-standard to me, and I went for the pad thai – what I consider to be a very good marker for how decent the restaurant must be. I have to disagree with many of the rave reviews on the likes of TripAdvisor. The pad thai was a real disappointment. Annoyingly for my colleagues, I kept lamenting at both the portion and the taste – and the price!! (CHF 27?!) and saying how I could do a much better job (I am not kidding). It really was too wet, lacking in the complex sour-salty flavour you get with real pad thai, lacking in the typical ingredients you would get in a pad thai – like peanuts and pickled radish – and generally just underwhelming. I think the price made me even more irritated, as I think it is ridiculously high for such a lame pad thai and resembled some fried noodle dish you would get at a grubby Chinese. If you want good Thai food (and don’t want to feel ripped off in the process), I recommend Bai Toey in Plainpalais- still the best there is.
Delectable dim sum near Plainpalais
Since I arrived in Geneva over 4 years ago I have known of this place, but for some crazy reason I had never made it here til now. It could possibly be to do with being slightly “scarred” from a very underwhelming experience – our first dim sum experience in Geneva – in Le Mandarin, near rue Chantepoulet a couple of years back. Some friends who lived nearby swore it was great and when we ate there with them, we were pretty unimpressed by the dim sum quality and selection – expensive, lacking in flavour, feeling far from authentic and rather flaccid in presentation. I think coming from London really doesn’t help either in this regard – being used to delicious dim sum in London makes expectations usually far too high! I came here for lunch with a girlfriend having booked a table for 2. I didn’t realise quite how tiny the place was til I arrived. It is of more a tea shop – with stacks of tea on the shelf – with a small number of tables – perhaps seating no more than 15 people. Being cramped in with others is, however, both part of the experience and worth it! The tea menu is extensive, and the dim sum menu is pretty good too. We had pork dumplings, scallop dumplings, a stuffed noodle / ravioli with pork (what I thought was cheung fun but slightly different) that was just delicious and had the most yummy dressing that was almost Vietnamese in flavour, and fried pork dumplings as well that were juicy and just spot on. In addition, my friend ordered a dessert and was pleasantly surprised. All in all, the dumplings we had were piping hot, full of flavour and very well cooked. And all very high in authenticity! The most fulfilling dim sum experience I have had in Geneva (granted, I haven’t had many) and service was really not that bad. Reviews had suggested the lady front-of-house is incredibly rude, but perhaps we got her on a good day. The waiting for the food is also slightly longer than you might get in London Chinatown, but given it is apparently a one or two-man band, it is really not an issue especially when all the dishes end up coming out together – a major bonus. With two types of tea, a range of dishes and some dessert, the bill was no more than CHF 35 per person – for me, pretty bargainous.
Filling but fairly underwhelming Persian food in Paquis
I was curious about this place after reading some pretty rave reviews online about the quality and authenticity of the Iranian/Persian food here. When you first enter the place, the décor is fairly inoffensive although they could definitely benefit from heating the place. My husband and I ordered a grilled meat and rice dish each – a kebab koobideh (similar to kofte – grilled lamb brochette) and a lamb filet and rice. The rice was plentiful and the meat was well-seasoned. The hot aubergine dish I ordered was probably the highlight though – braised and packed in flavour, and generous in size.
However, the service was very slow (perhaps not a huge surprise in Geneva!) and the brochette dishes were filling, but apart from the serving of roasted tomatoes on the side, it was all a little underwhelming. Perhaps a bit more of a side salad of some sort might have spruced it up, but it was definitely slightly deficient compared to the traditional meat and rice dishes you might get in a Turkish restaurant. However, there is a huge selection of “ragouts” or stews and traditional dishes such as Baghali Polo (saffron rice with dill served with marinated chicken thigh), which I would love to try at some point as this is possibly where Golestan starts to stand out from other restaurants that serve brochettes. In any case, it is cheap and cheerful (chf 70 for 2 people with 2 drinks, 2 mains and a side dish of aubergine) and centrally-located in Paquis, so if you want a quick and tasty fill and some tasty aubergine, go here!