Translation: Marc Checkley Picture: MIxED Agency
Domaine de Châteauvieux (19/20)
# Domaine de Châteauvieux (19/20)
At the end of the summer, Domaine de Châteauvieux, a magnificent setting and country house in Satigny, deploys its terrace with a magnificent view of the vineyards. And the Chevrier signature menu is light as the summer breeze passing through. For example, green zebra tomatoes, combined with cucumber and pepper, turn a gazpacho into an absolute delight. A few bouchot mussels splash around in this wonderfully refreshing soup. Equally exquisite, the Saint-Jacques served on finely chopped julienned beans and crowned with caviar. The crayfish from Lake Geneva reveal themselves here of astonishing size, quality and crunchiness. Then a dish that makes you smile: «Tomate ô Tomate». Chef Damien Coche wraps the finest tomatoes grown by his farmers in parmesan, adds an airy mozzarella mousse and a very sweet, fragrant basil sorbet.
Carabinero or lobster? Why not both of them! The Bleu de Bretagne is first soaked in hot broth, then grilled a la plancha. Then comes the carabinero seared with fennel. Incredibly juicy Norwegian cod follows, steamed with ginger, garnished with beet and blackberry vinegar.
Nicolas is responsible for the desserts. Including his thin plum tart, topped with a pinch of curry, all paired with English cream and crème brulee ice cream.
P.-S: whoever orders the wine accompaniment will discover exciting young Geneva vines, such as Philippe Plan (Altesse 2019), Christophe Bosson or Christophe Pillon. Discovery of the evening? The 2015 Prince des Vignes Merlot from Christian Guyot, produced in very small quantities.
# Tosca (18/20)
A list to rival: unbridled creativity, genuine gastronomic ambition, impeccable service, a wine list of breadth and discoveries. No wonder Tosca has established itself as «the place to be» of the charming Eaux district.
Offering largely Tuscan classics, remarkably executed by the talented chef Saverio Sbaragli. It also has a very urban terrace in a street with reduced traffic, which gives an additional charm to this locale. «Milanese chic» is a little different in sober Geneva but everything is a matter of taste and this is present in the spread of wholesome dishes.
It starts off strong with the perch fillets passed with a blowtorch, and accompanied by ceviche of green tomatoes, guacamole, celery and turnip, which sets this dish alight. Another surprise is the ravioli del plin stuffed with guinea fowl.
The seared amberjack suffered a bit from overcooking, but we immediately console ourselves with the quail crunch served in a finely crafted crust with pork jowl and chard.
As for desserts, we recommend the milk in four variations. It's fresh, full of texture, and it completes a beautiful meal.
# Hôtel President Wilson, Bayview (18/20)
Good news, after months of closure, the stylish Bayview has reopened. And Michel Roth remains in place as executive chef. Editorial timelines meant we were not able to sit down to it a second time. Here are our impressions before Covid-19, another world...
Globetrotter, Michel Roth knows how to source talents able to run his kitchen during his absence. Following the departure of his second, Laurent Wozniak, it is the brave David Devel, former right-hand man of Guy Savoy in Paris, who now heads the brigade of this gourmet hotel restaurant. The young cook has quickly understood the culinary philosophy of Roth, respecting his generosity, his gluttony and his classico-bourgeois cuisine.
As an appetizer, a carpaccio of scallops, Japanese pearl jelly and persimmon begins the meal with bright freshness. For entrée, the chef keeps to the classics for which Bayview is most famous: seared abalone and fennel fondue, shellfish jus and imperial caviar. Devel favors local products, highlighting Geneva winter vegetables and their respective emulsions.
When it comes to meat, you are spoilt for choice: the supreme chicken from nearby Nant d'Avril rivals the duo of venison and lamb from Sapalet. Served between two courses, the truffled potato cappuccino, allows us to take a break before a checkerboard of surf n’ turf. Whole scallops, interspersed with truffle slices and small points of kalamansi-lime jelly complete this exotic canvas.
Red card to a wine list poor in diversity but rich in surcharged prices.
# Hôtel Beau Rivage, Le Chat Botté (18/20)
We visited the Chat Botté over summer during its reduced operations. The «small menu» is less complex than its usual, but the common thread is the undeniable talent of chef Dominique Gauthier. After a delicate serving of pollack with Thai basil mayonnaise, comes the chef's classic: frog legs in airy tempura, served on a fine spinach purée and a flourish of basil leaves.
This is followed by seabass ceviche with squid ink, in a contrasting composition where the lush avocado meets the freshness of cucumber, and the sweetness of mango with the acidity of kaffir lime, finished in a coconut emulsion. The Breton lobster arrives surrounded by fragrant porcini mushrooms in a light curry, where we once again find the exoticism of Thai basil: a balanced dish that recalls the masterpieces of new cuisine. In the vegetarian version, the same dish has its effect with a zucchini flower instead of lobster.
Dominique Gauthier is never short of good ideas to delight his guests, whatever their desires. The pollack returns this time in sections with caramelized skin, atop a sesame eggplant purée and served with zucchini spaghetti.
For dessert, an immense vanilla-strawberry eclair emerges, delivered by the charming service team, which gives the meal a touch of joyful relaxation, coupled with an imperceptible attention at all times. The wine list is sumptuous. Rich and varied, it explores the most prestigious regions while surveying creative and innovative producers. All accompanied by relevant recommendations... and sometimes dizzying prices.
# Hôtel Bristol, Côté Square (18/20)
Forget the rest and go for one of the best hotel dining experiences in Geneva. Chef Bruno Marshall offers, in his own words, «cuisine that is classic in its references, daring in its interpretations and always reasonable in its prices», which is saying a lot, because this restaurant offers undoubtedly one of the best value for money meals this side of the lake.
Start the evening at the hotel's very British, cozy piano bar, where you can enjoy a cocktail while making your choice from the menu. The aptly named «Chemin des épicuriens» menu takes us on a gourmet walk through land, sea and forest.
The tasting begins with escargot from Vallorbe with delicate chanterelle mushroom. This is followed by a serving of homemade ravioli bathed in a sauce of forest tones, lightly creamed. Journeying to the seaside, the pike-perch, topped with a beautiful white foam is amazing, accompanied by clams, whisking us off to summer vacation.
Perfection again with the chicken, alongside a cornucopia of vegetables cooked with rustic accents. And to finish, a magnificent pastry dessert by chef Laurent Dumont. The combination of blood orange, tangerine lollipop and white chocolate displays the unique relationship of rich cocoa and the pep of citrus. The Granny Smith with Rum is just as spectacular, both in taste and presentation.
An extensive wine list from here and elsewhere. Special mention to Maxime, who leads the room with attention and contagious good humor.
To note: tokens allow you to choose the type of service you want: green for a classic service and red for a discreet service that leaves room for privacy.
In summer, a pretty shaded terrace at the rear provides a calm oasis of greenery in the heart of the city.
Royal Manotel, L'Aparté (17/20)
# Royal Manotel, L'Aparté (17/20)
Hidden at the end of the brasserie of the Hôtel Royal, L'Aparté is a surprising, intimate and warm setting of just 15 seats. Chef Armel Bedouet, deploys an immense talent and know-how that few chefs can boast of. His dishes are finely chiseled pieces of goldsmith, visually superb and marvelous to taste.
The tone is set with a trio of light appetizers: the pea mousse is airy, the carrot foam on Parmesan shortbread, and the tomato sorbet dances on the palate. Diving on in to the shrimp ceviche, marinated in lime and a gravlax-style sauce. Adorned with a crunchy vanilla mayonnaise, the result is all freshness, texture and balance. Then, the subtle flavor of Féra from Lake Geneva, is enhanced by petals of dried tomato. An incredible cucumber jelly rolled like a leaf and a discreet watercress emulsion tops it off.
The chef shows all his skill with this tartare langoustine, where textures and tastes vibrate in harmony. The visual delight continues with sea snail trapped in agar-agar jelly and a few grains of caviar sit enthroned on specks of gold leaf. The Saint-Pierre that follows was confit in salt, desalted, then breaded with lemon powder and briefly cooked at 50°C. The result is incredible tenderness throughout. We continue with the ribs: candied and glazed with honey, accompanied by just a few crunchy vegetables and sauce. As a pre-dessert, a few peaches in syrup provide a welcome refreshment before shortbread redux with raspberries, brings the meal to an immaculate finish. The service, while discrete, is peculiarly adequate. As for the price, it is - it should be specified - as light as the pleasure is great.
# Le Cigalon (17/20)
Located at the very edge of canton Geneva, this house may seem a little austere, but, as soon as you cross the threshold, you feel like you are on vacation by the sea.
Chef Jean-Marc Bessire, really knows his way across the oceans. The incredible carabineros shrimp, bright red, simply mixed with olive oil and orange, invigorates the plate.
Another great moment, the shredded crab, served with artichoke and topped with an almond milk mousse: a dish of remarkable balance. The large fire morel stuffed with salmon mousse and enhanced with an emulsified mushroom sauce, an astonishing marriage of land and sea: powerful scents of the undergrowth, but the fish retains its place and its finesse. These large fillets of line plaice cooked a la plancha, reveals delicious complexity, underlined with a light Thai green curry.
The chef has joined forces with pastry chef, Denise Gotti, who ends the meal with light yet discerning desserts. Such as airy mini-babas, to which a pineapple carpaccio offers a welcome lick of acidity. Or the perfectly made truffle, topped with candied yuzu and raspberries.
Obviously, this restaurant remains one of the best in the canton. And the service led by Corinne Bessire is professional, yet warm. Note also a very fine wine list, selected by the owner, which includes the most beautiful bottles of the region.
# Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues, Izumi (15/20)
Nestled at the top of the very chic Hôtel des Bergues, the Izumi offers in summer an absolutely breathtaking 360-degree view across Geneva. Chef Mitsuru Tsukada brings a resolutely Japanese-inspired menu with contemporary finesse and elegance. The menu has only one drawback: deciding on what to order can be difficult as the dishes are vast and very tempting.
We are greeted with sashimi of yellowtail jack with soy sauce, yuzu and green pepper, devilishly punchy but adapted to our Swiss taste buds, timid in terms of hot spice. The salmon tataki, paired with a karashi mustard and miso sauce of saffron yellow is in itself a real gastronomic experience. The dish is elegant, colorful, subtle. The agedashi tofu, shimeji mushrooms and yuzu oroshi are not left out. The sauce explodes with flavors, the pairings are refined, the tofu is silky. It is a very beautiful dish, which will delight both vegans and the most reluctant of carnivores.
Another surprise, another delight: lobster and foie gras in angel hair vermicelli. It's all simply superb. The dished is seasoned with teriyaki sauce and truffles, which underlines the land-sea link with subtlety and elegance.
The dessert menu is, thankfully, short, but passing on it would be a sin. The cheesecake with its tangerine sorbet is simply to die-for and the panna cotta with mango mousse is as delicious as it is beautifully presented. A very good wine list complements the flavors, ranging from local vintage to prestigious overpriced bottles of Romanée-Conti – let’s not forget sake also. However, with only two services in the evening, one is best to plan ahead to get the best of the Chef’s culinary endeavors.
# Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues, Il Lago (15/20)
A benchmark in luxury hotels, the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues continues to highlight the best of Italian cuisine with Il Lago. Closed for a long time due to renovations, the establishment, with its emblematic azure frescoes, has reopened its doors to the delight of lovers of Italian gastronomy. While wines are still shockingly expensive, the food menu prices feel more in line with transalpine cuisine.
Chef of the kitchen, Massimiliano Sena, juggles subtlety and technicality, between modernity and tradition. It's hard not to be seduced by some symbolic dishes of Italian culinary heritage, such as the unmissable beef carpaccio with black truffle or the Piedmontese vitello (veal) tonnato.
The adventure continues with roasted langoustines, accompanied by a variety of vegetables cooked al dente, all cleverly enhanced with a shellfish bisque. Make way for the pasta with gourmet veal ravioli, seasonal mushrooms and black truffle, enhanced with a sweet and concentrated gravy. For seafood, the chef and his team are not to be outdone, with their sea bass and a variation of artichoke.
With a level of service in the dining room it is well renowned, Il Lago continues its culinary cruise, confidently and quietly.
# The Ritz-Carlton Hôtel de la Paix, Le Fiskebar (15/20)
Shuttered due to Covid-19, everyone wondered if the Fiskebar would ever reopen. But in September 2020, the light switched back on at this Scandinavian-themed restaurant. In the dining room, the friendly and considerate Samuel Beatrix manages the service with skill, while, in the open kitchen a young Italian is now busy. Francesca Fucci has gleaned her experience in Italy, France and the Far North.
The menu is short but incredibly appetizing. The prices of which are so low that one wonders if one is really in a five-star hotel in Geneva. But yes! We happily feasted on the churned butter mixed with brown butter and sprinkled with spices with Nordic bread, specially made in Jussy. Then comes the essence of mushroom - collected by the chef herself, a powerful and wonderfully fragrant concoction. The crispy pork with horseradish and goats cheese takes us directly to Scandinavia, as does the red carrot with grapefruit and trout roe. The variation of onions with hazelnuts on smørrebrød bread is an invitation to travel to the fjords. We continue with pickled sardines, smoked char and salted cod in a joyful and colorful presentation of tangy condiments topped with shiso. Simple and yet so good!
This is exactly what Francesca Fucci wants to reveal on her plate: the product first, in cohesion with stimulating associations. Continuing to the crispy cocoa beef served in a pod and smoked mackerel with black garlic and fried seaweed, adorned with marinated berries. The sweetbreads with blood sorrel arrive, bristling with buckwheat and surrounded by apple and celery.
We finish with wild sweet and sour plums with spices, prunes and a geranium emulsion. The wines by the glass are a succession of finds, the house aquavit with clementine is wonderfully scented. An incredibly adventurous trip to the North.