My Irish friends asked me to recommend Polish restaurant in Cracow. So I thought it is a good topic for series of posts in my blog. Cracow has many guides on restaurants. These posts will be my subjective guide on Polish restaurants in Cracow. I ate in every described place.
Part 1: Around Market Square
One time somebody asked me - “ What is a smell of Cracow?” The answer is easy – old Cracow smells of food.It is true. When you are on Market square in Cracow in summer afternoon you will be feeling like in restaurant room. You will find open air restaurants around you.Food smell wafts up every old town street every afternoon. Cracow has about thousand restaurants but where can you find good Polish food? In the old town there are many good restaurants - cheap and expensive ones but only a few of them serve traditional Polish food. We start our trip on Market Square. There are very expensive and tourist restaurants on Market square, this is a good place only for coffee time in open air restaurant during listening a bugle-call.
The most famous and the oldest restaurants Wierzynek and Hawełka are very expensive and with menu which is variation of traditional Polish food. If you persist with eating there I suggest those places for exclusive dinner in beautiful old interior.
My favourite place for a morning coffee or hot chocolate (the best chocolate in the world) is “Prowincja”. “Prowincja” is small and cute cafe on Bracka street. That is a place where students and famous people meet.
Close to Collegium Maius on Anna street there is “ Chimera” restaurant. “Chimera” has two branches on that street: the first is a salad- bar, the second is a restaurant.The salad- bar is big, old and very popular bar in Cracow. The salads are fresh and made with Polish vegetables and fruits but sometimes chefs use exotic ingredients. I ate there often and I always order different salads. There is a big selection of salads there. Chimera salad-bar is a good place for a quick lunch. The second “Chimera” is a restaurant which serves Old Polish Cuisine. It is expensive, but this restaurant is very good if you want to try real Old Polish food which was served in aristocratic families.
I recommend:roast duck with apples and Polish style rabbit with sour cream sauce. This restaurant serves east European wine, and Polish nalewki and wódki, of which my favourite are: wine - Tokaj, nalewki - “Piołunówka” ,Nalewka porzeczkowa and “Krupnik”. If in the menu you find dishes which you know or sound strangely non-polish it is still an Old Polish cuisine, because Polish cuisine is cosmopolitan. I will write about it soon.
The second place which serves Old Polish food is “U Babci Maliny” restaurant (Grandmother Malina). This restaurant has a few branches in Caracow and they serve Country Old Polish Cuisine. The first one is in the building of Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk). Beforehand it was typical cheap restaurant for students but it was very popular among Cracow citizens and the owners changed this place and they started to serve country food. Next, tourists who sought real polish foods found this place and this small cheap restaurant evolved into today’s form. Now the owners have 6 branches in Poland.
The restaurant in Polish Academy of Sciences on 17 Sławkowska street is self-service restaurant with good food and average prices. It is always quite full. If you wait and find free place, you can eat very good polish food. It tastes like my grandmothers food I recommend all soups, pierogi and kołduny. The second branch is on Szpitalna street opposite Słowacki theatre. This place has two floors. There is a self-service restaurant on ground floor and typical old restaurant underground where they serve a little expensive food of the same taste I ate there good pork and lamb.
My sentimental place where I ate dinner only twice is Jama Michalika on Florianska street. Jama Michalika now is a restaurant and a museum at the same time. That place have long and famous history. In nineteenth century this place was open as a cake shop where painters often met. Michalik expanded his own shop and next he changed the shop into a restaurant where artists were still meeting. The artist had a bigautonomy in Michlik restaurant and they started to decorate rooms and organized a cabaret. That cabaret was known in the whole country and now students are taught about it. The interior of the restaurant is a little dark like a cave (jama means cave or hole) but decor is fabulous and it comes from art nouveau (19th century), and we can see old pictures and puppets. Food in this restaurant is normal like in cheap restaurant, but prices aren’t low. Managers still think like during communism time. I recommend this place if you love history and you want to absorb the old magic atmosphere of Cracow.
... to be continue.
My subjective guide on restaurants in Cracow - part 2
My subjective guide on restaurants in Cracow - part 3 - My zone around Bagatela theatre.