By now you know that I am very proud of Geneva. By now you know that I love the superb quality of the water that we enjoy in this city (see relevant post). You also might know by now, through another post, that I have been debating with you and myself, if I should comment on negative experiences. I finally decided that I should be outspoken and fair, to honor the trust that you have gifted me. So put all of this together and you have the post of the day.

Tap water at restaurants in Geneva.

Yes, I want to drink tap water in restaurants. If I drink it at home and if it is the best quality available, why should I pay for a substitute? And I am absolutely OK to pay for it (the tap water I mean). Reasonably. If in the 30CHF for a main dish or the 20CHF for a salad, the restaurant owner is not able to absorb the cost of opening the tap, putting a bottle under it and bringing it over to our table, then fine I will pay for this effort. Again, reasonably.

So I am used by now to the below humiliating (for some) dialogue:
Waiter/ress: What would like to drink?
Me: Tap water pls.
Waiter/ress: Evian, Volvic, St Pellegrino, Vittel, Henniez?
Me: Tap water is fine pls. Caraffe d’eau.  Eau de robinet.
Waiter/ress (disappointed)….

I am self-confident enough not to be embarrassed and at the same time convinced that my tip at the end will cover for the reduced commission of the employee, given the tragic absence of bottled water. But when I get the answer “we do not offer tap water, only bottled water pls. Evian, St Pellegrino, etc”, then I take it personally. I get upset, because my bill will be anyway at least 50CHF per person, if not 70-80CHF or even more, and I do not want the 10CHF to be just for water.  I have to confess that when I travel outside Switzerland, I always go for bottled water of a specific brand, because I was told that it is better not to surprise my body with water ecosystems of different nature.  So I play safe.

So I tried to educate myself about the legal framework around this topic. Is it legal NOT to offer tap water at restaurants in a city recognized to have the best tap water in the world? I could not prove that it is illegal. But I found a few interesting things for all of us:
– first an association for the rights of the consumers here in Switzerland, kindly offered by Eau de Geneve organization. Good to know, right? So with FRC ( you know where to look for your rights and where to place any complaints. CAVEAT: Eau de Geneve organization has nothing to do with the opinions expressed in this post. They are all mine. I am not claiming them, I am just protecting innocent people.
– I found a paper that confirms that several associations promote the serving of tap water in restaurants and here is the link.

Finally I decided to reveal the two places, where I was refused the tap water. I prefer to write nice things about places, but I prefer even more to be fair. So I have been refused tap water at Arthur’s (7-9 rue du Rhone) and at Wine & Beef (3 rue Ami-Lévrier). As I was writing this, I found out that both of these belong to the same group. That explains it. Now if the status has changed, since my last experience with them (last month), pls confirm and I will issue an update. If it has not changed, and the direction is willing to change it, again I will update the Geneva audience accordingly.

Finally to help the restaurant owners know what you want, pls just click what your desire is.

Thank you!!!