Last year, my aunt and I visited Krakow to do our Christmas shopping. While there, we stayed just off the main market square in a neat little hostel. Every morning we were awoken to the smell of fresh food coming from the market below. It was the perfect place to find homemade, tasty foods and drinks for the family. I bought everything from honey, homemade wine to delicious handmade biscuits. It was perfect. The snowy landscape made the hot foods even better, as it warmed you from the inside out. I enjoyed it so much I'm hoping to go back next year.
The Rynek, Market Square, Old Town
Google map: bit.ly/v0TgXw
A charming restaurant with superb food great service and Reasonable prices. It also has a court yard that you can sit out in and have your meal - very nice!
For the best zapiekanka (called the Polish pizza - half a baguette, covered with cheese and any number of variety of toppings) visit this place in the fascinating and historic old Jewish quarter of Krakow (Kazimierz). Set in the middle of the square, the queues will tell you that you have chosen well and the cheap delicious take away, will keep you filled and satisfied for a long time.
+48 12 429 37 54
Plac Nowy 4, Krakow
Google map: bit.ly/hPgPuJ
The food is wonderful. It takes food in Cracow to another level. Well presented and has such great flavours. It's not even that expensive, though, like elsewhere, once you throw in a bottle of good wine (and they've got plenty of those) it'll add up! The service is also outstanding - especially welcome to those of us of been in Cracow long enough to have experienced the appalling attitude to customers in every other service industry in the city.
It's on the corner of ul. Dominikańska and ul. Poselska. www.ancora-restaurant.com/_pl/
A little restaurant in the heart of Krakow's old Jewish ghetto, this is a slightly bonkers but very endearing place to dine. The menu is simple, with possibly no more than a dozen dishes including starters, mains and desserts. And be advised, if you order a plate of pirogi (the local dumplings) then you get just that. 'Just' that: no salad, sides, or even sauce. Despite this the food is delicious (I can also recommend the duck with cranberry).
The decor is quirky, full of history, and the tables are an eclectic mix of old sewing desks and things which resemble small workbenches.
While my girlfriend and I were there they had a band, doing instrumental classic pop covers as an accordion and electric organ-playing duo. My personal favourite: a brilliantly catchy version of Stevie Wonder's 'Sir Duke'. Genius.
The main square in Krakow's Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz
A relatively new addition to the Krakow Restaurant scene and a delight to find good value delicious food in a pleasant airy dining room with an adjoining characterful bar and garden. Great friendly service.
Kazimerz, just off the main square as you head back to central Krakow underneath the Spartz hotel
Excellent food - a great opportunity to taste traditional, home-made Polish cuisine. Moderately priced, Chlopskie Jadlo is an excellent place for dinner.
Nice description of this and other restaurants in Krakow is here on page 14 www.discoverpl.com/discover_poland_3.pdf
Address: ul. Św. Jana 3 (Old Town)
Restaurant website: www.chlopskiejadlo.pl
Cafe Mlkynek is a gallery, bar and 100% vegetarian cafe nestled in the Kazimierz (Jewish) quarter of Krakow.
Whilst it doesn't have as an extensive menu as some of the other vegetarian places, the food there is superb - totally vegetarian (with some vegan) and really good quality. The onion soup is exceptional!
Unlike the other vegetarian cafes in Krakow the emphasis at Mlkynek is on superb food, good service and relaxing surroundings rather than simply 'healthy' food. This means you can actually get a beer or a bottle of wine with your meal (an essential part of the equation, in my book!).
What is more, like many places in Krakow, the food is unbelievably cheap (though the wine isn't that cheap).
Best beer pub in Krakov - CK Browar (6-7 Ulica Podwale). Best sport bar with good beer and friendly people - Non Iron.(Marka 27). Best cellar bar/restaurant - Piwiica Pod Ztolta Pipa (Florianska 30). We stayed at the excellent Polera Hotel (Szpitalana 30).
All these are in the centre near the main square and everything in walking distance.
We visited the site of the Jewish Ghetto (in Podgorze) on the other side of the river in the morning and spent the afternoon/evening wandering our way through the bars of Kazimierz. It was the best day I've spent in Krakow.
Everybody talks about Kazimierz with its young and funky atmosphere, but I hadn't heard so much about Podgorze. The river is about 20 mins walk from the main square and as soon as you cross it you're in the Ghetto Heroes Square with it's atmospheric memorial of empty chairs. Visit the Pharmacy under the Eagle which has been turned into a small museum (it's on the opposite corner of the square - keep going, it's not obvious until you're literally outside it!) to get a handle on what it used to be like. The displays are pretty meaningless without the audio tour, so spend your zlotys and get informed. When you've done that, cross the road using the underpass, follow your map, go through the foot-tunnel under the railway and find yourself at the Schindler Enamel factory. It wasn't very well signposted, or that easy to find on foot, but it's about 8-10 mins walk from the Ghetto Heroes Square. It was being renovated when we were there - looks like they're finally going to turn it into something, rather than the basic display there at the moment.
After a subdued morning we hit Kazimierz, and I can't recommend the bars and restaurants of this area highly enough. Stick to soft drinks/halves of the lethal beer/one drink per establishment, and you should be able to manage at least 10 of the fantastic bars - every one has something unique about it, and they're all within stumbling distance of each other - just keep going round and round!
I used the Cracow-Life website a lot beforehand, and you can also pick up free copies of the paper version in most bars - lots of info, especially on going out.
Get yourself to Krakow and enjoy a fabulous, accessible city with a great atmosphere and friendly locals.
A bit shabby on the outside, but go through to the non-smoking restaurant at the back.
Modern, interesting and tasteful decor, the menu not the largest but has a good choice and lovely vegetarian dishes. The best food we have eaten anywhere in the last year, great service and cool music. Excellent wine and all very cheap.
Our meal for two, two courses each, with one large wine and one soft drink came to £24.
ul. Jozefa 14
The Jewish quarter
A lovely, old-fashioned restaurant, very near Wawel castle. Excellent traditional food, especially game, and friendly and attentive waiters with excellent English, who are happy to explain the food and what goes well with what. Prices are about mid-range for Krakow (i.e. very cheap by British standards).
About 12 of us got there at 9 pm on a Sunday, when they were about to close, and they effectively re-opened for us.
ul. sw. Gertrudy 21, 31-049 Krakow
tel. (48 12) 429 40 22
I have to admit that when I read that Restaurant Kawaleria, “Cavalry” (I believe in Polish), was equine themed, I was worried that I would be sharing a rustic space with a display of horseshoes, horse brasses, horse paintings and, worst of all, cartoons of robust girls on small ponies. I’m afraid I tend to view equine pursuits with ambivalence or bewilderment. However, Kawaleria proved to be an elegant, attractive restaurant specialising in contemporary Polish cuisine.
The first two rooms – a bar and dining room - are quite intimate with cream walls, sepia photos, wooden furniture and subdued lighting.
The room we were seated in is more of a banqueting space, very pleasant - perfect for large groups and parties but a little empty with just the two of us at 6 in the evening. Towards the end of the room is a wonderful old stove and, yes, there are equine themed black and white photographs but actually this gallery, well displayed on the pale blue walls, was both decorative and interesting.
The menu is traditional Polish with a modern slant, starters include crab terrine, Polish sour rye soup, battered sardines and the intriguing but a little gruesome (at least for a non-meat eater like me) piglet in jelly. Main courses take in a selection of meats in sauces and casserole including wild boar, duck and turkey. For non meaties there are fish and vegetarian options, the latter including pancakes and pierogi. The food was extremely well presented and service throughout the evening was excellent. The standard of cooking was good but I am not sure that the main courses we had exactly worked, the carp was tasty but a little overpowered by the strong taste of the mushrooms, the Turkey could have done with a little more garlic and a little more sauce. However it was still a very nice meal and I would certainly eat there again, not least because of the lovely ambience and attentive staff.
Golebia 4 - a short walk from the Rynek Glowny
Situated along the walk from the Rynek Glowny to Wawel Hill the restaurant Balaton at ul Grodzka 37 provides excellent value Hungarian and Polish cuisine.
The surroundings are simple but pleasant, white walls, wooden chairs and benches, black and white photos on the wall and an array of hanging wooden fishes. The menu comprises a variety of soup - brought to your table in a metal dish suspended over an open flame from which you ladle it into your bowl – herrings, salmon and salami for starters followed by main courses of meat - including veal and wild boar goulash - poultry and fish dishes many incorporating potato cakes and dumplings. There is, however, only one vegetarian dish, potato cakes with mushroom sauce.
Service was understated but friendly and with a touch of flourish, for instance, when a main course of chicken Hungarian style was brought out sizzling from the kitchen and served ceremoniously from a platter onto the plate. As for the food itself it was great, tasty, filling, well cooked and well spiced. The main course of trout was perfectly cooked, crisp skin with melt in your mouth flesh underneath. Each main course also came with a side order of refreshing carrot, red and white cabbage salad.
And the price for two people for two courses, beer and vodka each – 99 zloty including a tip (approx. £17.00/$33.00). Excellent.
ul. Grodzka 37
Tel. (012) 422 04 69
We went for new year's eve and no surcharge, just the regular first class Mediterranean menu. Relaxed atmosphere and good location behind main square. It is, apparently, the best restaurant in Krakow at the moment. Not expensive.
This is a tiny restaurant, very intimate, serving the most superbly cooked and presented food at ridiculously low prices from a surprisingly wide menu. Service is very good too. The wine is very good and, unusually for some restaurants in the area, reasonably priced at around £8 a bottle (we paid £20 for house wine in a place along the same street.)
Ul Jozefa 14, Kazimierz, Krakow.
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