Rue de Carouge 14, Geneva 1205
Menu Choice 8/10 (provided you’re after a burger!)
Value for money 8/10
Situated on Rue de Carouge, just round the corner from Plainpalais in Geneva, Holy Cow sells freshly made gourmet burgers created with locally sourced ingredients. And it’s not just the meat, everything from the buns to the cheese to the drinks are all from within Suisse Romande as well. This is fast food with a conscience.
The menu offers a wide choice of burgers from a plain old cheeseburger to exotic topping combinations from around the world. And, don’t let name fool you, not just beef, there’s also chicken and vegetarian offerings as well. Burgers are priced from 10 – 14CHF or you can have a full meal with chips and drink for 16 – 20CHF. There is even booze on offer if you want, some great beer from a microbrewery and some fairly average locally sourced wine (add a couple of francs to the meal price).
I’ve visited at lunch and in the evening and the difference is quite noticeable. At lunch the place is packed, with both people sitting down and those waiting for their takeaway. In the evening it’s a lot quieter (but by no means dead) and it’s easier to get a whole table to yourself (in the lunch you may have to share!).
However no matter how busy it gets, the service doesn’t seem to be affected. Every time I’ve been here or to the one in Cornavin I’ve received my food within 10 minutes. Sure at lunch I had to wait a couple more minutes than in the evening to actually place my order, but the guys on the grill were pretty nippy in whipping up my food.
So the food itself… The beef burgers are a good size, plenty of meat in a really nice bun and generous toppings and not too much salad. Whereas I personally prefer a bit of pink al la the GBK burgers in the UK, the burgers are cooked right through but they are not dry so I won’t complain too much. Whenever my meal arrives I always think there are not that many chips, but actually I never managed to finish them all, although I know plenty of people who demolish the lot.
Personal favourites on the toppings front are the Viva Espana (topped with goats cheese, chorizo, honey and hot chilli) and the Elvis Blue Cheese (topped with blue cheese, caramelized onions, bacon and Cajun mayo), but I’ve yet to taste one I didn’t like.
One word or caution on the veggie burgers, they take a lot longer to arrive compared to everything else and when they do get there they fall way below the standards of the rest of the offerings. The toppings are just as nice as on the other burgers, but unfortunately the veggie burger itself is a sad dry and tasteless affair. Personally I would stay well clear.
As for practicalities, you get a ticket and someone will call out your number when they have your food. For take away both the burger and chips come together in a neat little cardboard box, eating in they’re in a basket.
The restaurant itself is quite sparse and rustic with quirky cartoon imagery of cows dotted around. The tables and benches are a little uncomfortable and not practical, it’s quite hard to climb onto a bench elegantly in a skirt, but given that it’s fast food (and it really is) and that you’re not there long (about 30 mins tops!) it’s really not a problem. There is an outside seating area with tables and chairs, but at both Geneva locations the street outside is a busy one so be warned.
This is not the place for a romantic date, but it’s great for a quick meal with friends or for lunch.