Restaurants 101: Restaurant Hours

Welcome to a new series called “Restaurant 101.” I know this may seem like pretty straight-forward information, but there are a few differences and some tips and tricks which can make your dining experience in Geneva easier and better. I remember when my husband and I first arrived in Geneva. We were very jet-lagged and just wanted some food, but it was a Sunday and it was around 2 in the afternoon. We had such a hard time finding something to eat! I thought I’d share everything I’ve learned to help you out.

Let’s start with the basics. Restaurants open for lunch, then close in the afternoon, then open back up for dinner (there are a few exceptions which I’ll mention shortly). This means that restaurants typically open somewhere between 11 am and 12:30 pm for lunch. They will close some time around 2 pm (14:00 h). You can expect them to open back up around 6:30 to 7:30 pm (18:30 to 19:30 h) for dinner. Some restaurants might open earlier and stay open in the afternoon, but they will likely only serve you coffee or other drinks during these hours. And some local restaurants might not really stay open according to their posted hours, so if its a really tiny place, just call ahead!

If you find a restaurant that says “restaurant non-stop,” this means its open all day and does not close down in the afternoon. (This phrase is also used by other businesses as well, e.g. pharmacies). A surprising number of restaurants are closed one day a week and many shut down for holidays. If you find one that says “ouvert 7/7” this means that its open 7 out of 7 days a week and will most likely be open on a holiday. (You may also see signs saying “ouvert 24/24“, this means its open 24 hours out of the 24 hours in a day). If you’re really having trouble finding a restaurant, try the train station, the airport, or touristy areas of the city (especially hotel restaurants).

As I mentioned above, this is the first post in a new series so stayed tuned for more restaurant tips! Coming up, we’ll share info about reservations, ordering food and drink, and paying the bill and tipping.

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/