Geneva, Switzerland Restaurant Review: Helveg Café

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Travel | 0 comments

So it may not come as too much of a surprise that Geneva is not the most vegan-friendly city or the best place to be gluten free. While it does have a large number of ethnic restaurants that can cater well to vegans, including some great Ethiopian, Vietnamese and Thai options, in most cafes and restaurants, it is a struggle. So you can imagine how excited I was on my last trip there to learn about Helveg Café, Geneva’s first and only vegan restaurant. Of course, I made it a mission to get there for a meal.

Welcome to Helveg Café!

Welcome to Helveg Café!

It’s a cute restaurant with a little shop upstairs that sells vegan treats, ingredients, and recipe books. The restaurant itself offers a gourmet dining experience, but they also have food to take away. It’s not right in the center of town, so can be a bit of a trek, but is easily accessible by public transport.

Cute!

Cute!

I went for lunch on a Thursday and ordered the prix fixe menu for 39 Francs, which for an appetizer, entrée and dessert in Geneva is a steal.

Raw Beet Tartar

Raw beet tartar

The meal started off with a raw beet and spirulina tartar, served with a mixed green salad in a creamy dressing. This was definitely the highlight of the meal. The raw beets were sweet, and together with the herbs, gherkins and capers, it was extremely flavorful. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The greens were extremely fresh, but the dressing was sadly bland. I would have loved some salt, but they only offered gomasio, which is good, but not quite enough to liven it up.

Tofu brouillé with ratatouille, polenta & side salad

Tofu brouillé with ratatouille, polenta & side salad

The main course was a tofu scramble (brouillé) served with ratatouille, polenta, and more of the same bland green side salad. The polenta was lovely: firm, flavorful, lightly fried. The ratatouille was also very good. But the brouillé was a big mistake. Instead of a scramble, it was a puree with and it seems little else for flavor, other than the chives that garnished it. It’s a good thing it is not on the regular menu, because it certainly was not something I would want to eat again.

Strawberry, banana and apple puree

Strawberry, banana and apple puree

Dessert was a fruity puree made with banana, strawberries and apple and topped with lucuma and golden berries. It was nice, light and yummy.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal but I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed by it. It may just be that I ordered the wrong thing. That said Helveg Café is a vegan restaurant in Geneva. I will definitely go back every chance I get.

On Thursday and Friday nights they offer a raw menu, which looks great. And their regular menu also has many dishes that also sound good. Their gluten-free options are clearly marked. Oh, and vegan, gluten-free cupcakes (why didn’t I get one of those?). Yes… will make sure to get back there next time.

Location: Avenue de Miremont 31 ter, 1206 Geneva
Hours: Open for lunch, 11:30 – 2:00, Monday through Thursday and dinner, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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