Lunchtime in Geneva at Place Molard. A young woman reacts.

Lunchtime in Genève (How to Eat Lunch for under 20 francs)

There is certainly no such thing as a free lunch in Geneva.   When a simple plat du jour starts at 20 francs is it possible to eat lunch for any less in this city?  It’s a challenge but thankfully there is a way.

In this first round of “Lunchtime in Genève” we look at four contenders in the “lunch with libations” category.  As in all categories the following conditions must apply.

  1. There must be seating for lunch sur place.
  2. The total bill with beverage for one person must be under 20 francs.

In the “lunch with libations” category that beverage must have alcohol bien sur. Here are the contenders for round one.

Lunch from, Wasabi, La Buvette des Bain, Chez Ma Cousine and Mikado all under 20 francs in Geneva

Lunch from, Wasabi, La Buvette des Bain, Chez Ma Cousine and Mikado


the low-down:

Wasabi offers sushi and Japanese cuisine made with fresh high quality ingredients.  They also offer take out and delivery services.  We’ve chosen a Chirashi for this round with a can of Kirin beer for a total of 17 francs.

the down-side:

Some restaurants offer only counter seating.

the plus:

They can boast of 11 locations in Geneva.




the low-down:

Mikado, our second Japanese contender,  opened it’s first restaurant 35 years ago and now has 5 locations with plenty of seating.  They also offer online ordering.  For this round we’ve selected a Gyudon bowl and a bottle of Asahi beer which coming in at 15 francs is our lowest priced lunch this time around.

the down-side:

Some locations are really busy for lunch and getting there after 1pm may mean your selection is reduced.

the plus:

Some locations offer a selection of Japanese products and all locations offer Yukimi Daifuku ice cream.  That’s extra though.  



La Buvette des Bain

the low-down:

This Buvette is located in the Bain des Paquis and offers some incredible value.  There is plenty of outdoor seating in the summer and a rustic log cabin “feel” complete with wood burning stove for the colder months.  The plat du jour is normally 12-14 francs.  For this round it was quiche with sweet potato salad, green salad and watermelon which was 14 francs along with a rosé for 3 francs.  With the price of admission to the Bain des Paquis the total was 19 francs.

the down-side:

There is a 2 franc cost for admission to the Bain des Paquis from April to September.

the plus:

The Bain des Paquis juts out into the water and offers a spectacular view of the city across the lake.



Chez Ma Cousine

the low-down:

Chez Ma Cousine is all about chicken, the free ranging swiss farmed kind.  With three restaurants in Geneva, it has become something of an institution over the last 17 years thanks to its rotisserie chicken and special sauce.  We’ve selected the half chicken with a local chasselas wine for a total of 19 francs.

the down-side:

If you want the special Chez Ma Cousine sauce it will cost you an extra 2.60, and that my friends puts you over 20 francs.

the plus:

This is the only restaurant of the four that offers a sit down service with wait staff.



Stay tuned for round two – lunch with dessert – in the next edition of

“Lunchtime in Genève”

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