Shirani and her family are on a mission to find the best family friendly restaurants in Shanghai. See what she has to say about Geneva.
The Place and the Vibe
For some families in the Hongqiao area, going to Geneva Restaurant is a weekly ritual, which is a testament to its family-friendliness. After briefly shutting down over the summer for relocation, its highly anticipated reopening at a new home (a 5 minute walk from its old location) is on Jinbang Lu, a leafy road that crosses the canal with Hami Lu. Walking along the cobblestoned pavements to the restaurant is pleasant, and as you enter the restaurant on a sunny day, its bi-fold doors along the side are flung open, and you can choose to dine in or out. The vibe is welcoming, casual and relaxed. Kids can immediately head off to the indoor playroom equipped with toys, a TV and even an ayi on duty at peak brunch time, so adults can enjoy themselves at the bar area. Even families with very young children will feel at ease here.
Geneva’s weekend brunch menu offers a wide range of options, from the healthy choices like the sunflower breakfast toast (RMB70) that are suitable for vegetarians, to the novel, namely coconut-banana French toast (RMB90) – toast soaked in egg-coconut-banana mixture, and then fried and topped with caramelized walnuts and bananas. The weekend brunch menu includes a drink (tea, coffee or soft drink) and a fresh fruit bowl. Portions are large so it is suitable for sharing. There are also traditional brunch options with a European twist such as the farmers breakfast (veal sausages in a pepper gravy and rosti, RMB115), or their steak and eggs combo (RMB140), as well as a Florentine omelet (RMB100) or the sun rise burger with chicken breast (RMB95).
Since their relaunch, they are also offering a new modern Asian menu for brunch with dishes like Thai red curry (RMB85), kimchi fried rice with chicken (RMB75), black pepper pork (RMB85) and sautee shrimp and asparagus (RMB105). A separate children’s menu offers comfort food favorites, for instance, macaroni and cheese, fried rice, chicken nuggets and kids’ burgers and hot dogs (RMB40 each). Kids’ ice-creams come at a delicious price of RMB30, and they include a ‘lucky dip’ surprise gift, which are a huge hit with the young patrons.
My husband ordered the sunflower breakfast toast, a healthy and generous portion full of vitamin-packed ingredients like avocado and spicy mango. My Thai red curry was so tasty that I finished the entire bowl of rice soaked up with the lovely, flavor-rich sauce. Our 8 year old had the steak and eggs - cooked perfectly at medium-well temperature as requested. The portion was so enormous that we could all have a forkful, while our 2 year old had the kids’ carbonara from the children’s menu. To drink, I had the fresh orange juice from the brunch menu (RMB30), the children shared a strawberry and banana smoothie (RMB30). Mimosas and bloody Marys are also on offer (RMB30 each) as well as sparkling wine (RMB40).
Top Table & Tips
If you are going with a large group, the communal ‘farm tables’ near the playroom are ideal as they have the space on both end for highchairs. For small families or group of three to four, the seating area on the terrace is perfect, however, bigger groups will have to put together a few tables. In addition, longer tables are available indoors. Reservations are recommended for large groups.
The venue is extremely child-friendly with the well-equipped children’s playroom and spacious toilet, which has a child-sized latrine as well as a baby-changing table. Kids’ cutlery and highchairs are always available even during peak hours. The kids’ menu has a coloring space on the other side for those not inclined to be in the playroom.
Prices: RMB160/adult, RMB100/child
Recommended Ages: Suitable for children of all ages
Ideal for: Brunch and dinner
See listing for Geneva