Dining out in Geneva is an event. Mostly because it is so darn pricey you have to really plan it well and make it a worthwhile investment. So, it’s pretty surprising that I dined out twice in one week at all, but twice in the same place, Restaurant Les Armures of old town Geneva.
The first night I took friends from California who were on a quick tour of Switzerland and had yet to have fondue. Somehow, I hadn’t either and after living here for a year, it felt like a right of passage. But, first, the most incredible autumn salad that both my girlfriend and I devoured. The small size could have been a meal itself.
Which is why I returned a few days later to have the plate-sized version for a leisurely Saturday lunch. Truly fresh, delicious, and oh-so seasonal. My waiter was an absolute doll so at the end of this little solo dining mission I rounded up my bill to tip him as is customary. He handed me the credit card machine and I typed in the 5.00 CHF tip. As the machine began to print the receipt before my eyes, I gasped. Apparently, this machine didn’t believe in decimals so I’d left him a 500 CHF tip. I awkwardly explained to him that he was lovely, but this was not my intent on a 30 CHF lunch. I assume I wasn’t the first person to do this, as he laughed and walked away to get his manager to cancel the transaction, I checked my bank account to see, indeed, it was 500 CHF lighter. Luckily he resolved it quickly and I wasn’t bankrupt.
The meal with my Californian friends was a little less eventful as we all shared a pot of ‘motie-motie’ fondue, the traditional half and half. We ate it with bread and boiled potatoes. A bit or two could have sufficed, but we had it for an entire main course. My friend’s husband debated a burger after… We were drowning, weighed down in cheese.
After a creamy dinner, my girlfriend and I opted to split a creamy creme caramel while her husband tucked into a creme brulee. Also, I’d asked the waiter about a proper digestif after such a weird meal and he recommended, again ‘motie-motie’ which is half pear, half apricot brandy. It definitely put some hair on your chest.
As the waiter brought dessert, I reminded him it was my friend’s birthday. As he sat the plate down, he immediately lifted it back up and whisked it away again without a word. I thought it would come back with ‘Happy Birthday’ written in chocolate or the like. Nope, he turned off all of the lights in the restaurant and returned with a few singing waiters and a firecracker of a candle placed in the dessert for a very festive serenade. It was truly a lovely three hour meal and I will look forward to bringing any guests of Switzerland to this charming restaurant.