The Old World, Renewed, at La Bottega Trattoria

La Bottega Trattoria

La Bottega Trattoria

Going out to a restaurant can be as dull as it can be enlightening. And let’s be honest, it’s be a loooooooong time since it was worth talking about a new restaurant in Geneva. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen the resto scene spruced up by a hamburger wave and a caravan of food trucks. Arnold et Julen and Living Room kicked some light and pizazz into our winter nights. These flecks of big city life have enlivened Geneva, no doubt.

Still, the core of Geneva’s restaurant scene has continued to degrade its customers with the same old menus and uninspired preparations. Even glossy hot spots like Da Matteo or countless others, gleaming as they may first seem, are equally dull under the surface. Because let’s be honest: the glitterati to whom they seem to cater most often barely have any interest in eating in the first place, lest it plump them out of their sequined mini dresses and Armani jeans.

Yet, with a few outstanding exceptions, this seems to be the audience Geneva’s up and coming restaurant industry has consistently targeted. There can’t seem to be too many overpriced bistros dressed up as hipster joints (the Quartier des Bains is crawling with them), cheap pizzerias, or kebab shops. But there hasn’t been a single nook in this town for an eatery that exists to impress people with the actual art of cooking, introducing us to creative, mind altering flavor combos. For that, well, we have London.

But friends, Geneva has taken a step closer to being a cosmopolitain city when, a few weeks ago, La Bottega Trattoria opened its doors on La Grand Rue. An Italian restaurant it says, and the menu structure, wine list and pasta dishes do seem to prove it is so. But this is not your traditional Da Paolo’s , your spritzed up Luigia, or your insultingly bland and simplistic Kytaly. This is the Italy of meaty ragouts and fine use of herbs. The Italy that looks outwards, to the green flavours of Scandinavia and beyond. The Italy that says Italy isn’t about the pizza or the tomatoes or even the pasta; it’s about a celebration of the ingredients, and the desire to elevate them through loving preparation and creative combinations. Move over nonna: your nephews Paolo and Fra just got back from their world tour and have taken over the kitchen.

Best of the old world, reincarnated

Best of the old world, reincarnated

Good restaurants can stop there, with a core of delectable, if not irreproachable, dishes. A great restaurant will take that core and put it into a stimulating shell. Here too, La Bottega delivers: its decor is distinctly contemporary, while echoing back respectfully to the old world, with a white tiled interior, industrial lamps, and a large old map of Europe hanging solo.

All told, dinner at La Bottega is like driving a 1950s Alfa Romeo Cabriolet with a fresh coat of paint and an immaculately maintained engine. It may not quite take us to London’s cutting edge, but it will give us a fresh and stylish taste of Italy.

But enough with words, place aux photos:


aperiteasers of roasted cherry tomatoes, slightly undercooked cauliflower and carrot, and tangy Italian broccoli

Aperiteasers followed by aperitivi

Green is gold

Green is gold: cabbage leaves wrapped around a lightly mayonnaised crab salad, balanced off with lightly pickled cucumbers

root juice

Oeuf mollet with thin sheets of parsnip, white asparagus, and bathed in celery root juice

Primi: Pasta

eggplant sauce and balsamic over caramelized onion raviolis

Eggplant sauce and balsamic over caramelized onion raviolis. Sweet, wanting in acidity

perhaps the highlight…

it may not look like much but this veal tail ragu was as viscerally positive an experience as it gets

Who knew veal tail could be so unctuous. This dish may not look like much but it was as viscerally positive a food experience as it gets

On Secondi thought…

guinea fowl, sweet potato purée and company

The guinea fowl was prepared to perfection, juicy tender and lean on the inside, with a crisp layer of skin. Hanging out with sweet potato purée, parsnip and a couple of cherries.

Porc versus guinea fowl

Filet mignon of porc, prepared just like the guinea fowl. Guinea fowl won, by a hair.


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One thought on “The Old World, Renewed, at La Bottega Trattoria

  1. Emily says:

    You’re back and you e done it again. Cannot wait to go test this new place. Thank you for your mouthwatering posts!!!

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