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Szara Resto&Bar and Szara Kazimierz
Rynek Główny [Main Square] 6, d: the Old Town, ul. Szeroka 39, d: Kazimierz
The Michelin Guide has recommended it time after time for the last four years, Kraków residents consider it the best restaurant in town. “Top league” is its most frequent description on food forums. Despite the name of the restaurant (in Polish, “szara” means “grey”), the cuisine it serves is definitely colourful and Pan-European. Our personal favourites are the French dishes: escargots Provençal and the fish soup Bouillabaisse style served with aioli garlic sauce. The prices are rather salty for Polish standards, but a piece of meat in grey bread-based sauce is worth the dough, bread, gravy, or whatyacallit. One additional advantage of this place, this time affordable for all, is the excellent espresso made by a professional barista; you can just step in from the street and drink it the Italian way, at the bar, for 4 zloty.
The Piano Rouge
Rynek Główny [Main Square] 46, district: the Old Town
Advertising itself as a restaurant and a jazz club, this venue indeed combines a beautiful concert room, containing a lavishly decorated grand piano, with an impressive restaurant section adorned with deep-red draperies, as well as an unpretentious bar, where you can pop in for a cocktail, a beer or a coffee. As far as the Polish cuisine is concerned, we recommend smooth mushroom and onion soup served in a loaf of bread, while our other favourite is an Italian specialty: tagliatelle with sea food. The play of lights, the red paddings and the discrete atmosphere will suit private dinners for two. As the evening draws in, though, the place gets fuller; people come to listen to the music, which is never obtrusive but rather creates a nice background for a conversation over a glass of good wine. The artists play pop covers, jazz standards and Polish hits in soul arrangements. The prices at The Piano Rouge don’t exceed the Kraków Main Square average.
The concerts take place daily at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). For guests who come to eat, the concerts are free of charge.
ul. Szeroka 7-8, district: Kazimierz
Coriander, caraway, turmeric, chilli, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, sesame, anise – there. And these are only the basic spices of the Indian cuisine, scenting the interior of the Indian restaurant located right next to a former Jewish ritual bath house in Kazimierz district. The old building is easy to recognise, today hosting a hotel and a Jewish restaurant called Klezmer Hois. The Indian cuisine of Bombaj Tandoori isn’t very extravagant and thus it shouldn’t discourage beginners, although the fans of oriental tastes won’t feel disappointed either. The chefs managed to reach the golden mean, accommodating all those interested in culinary experiences. One mustn’t omit to mention that according to nutritionists, Indian cuisine is very healthy: it wards off obesity, cancer, diabetes, and many heart diseases. Your bill at Bombaj Tandoori might be bigger than expected as rice is not included in the price of the dishes, but the size of the courses and the complexity of flavours make up for minor inconveniences.
TRADITIONAL POLISH CUISINE AND MORE
ul. Szeroka 3, district: Kazimierz
The clean, neat and stylish interior of this venue appeals to those tourists tired with Kazimierz sight-seeing who are not exactly keen on sitting in dim restaurants designed to resemble old Jewish inns, lining Szeroka street, the former centre of the district. The charming style of Galimatias combines elements of Kraków-area rural folklore with modern, unimposing decorating. The atmosphere is pleasant and the prices very affordable. You can try some nearly-forgotten Kraków specialties such as the Kraków “maczanka” (“sop dish”; stewed pork neck in gravy, served in a bread roll), or have a regular Polish dinner with a breaded pork cutlet served with stewed cabbage. If you’re bored with Polish traditional Sunday-dinner menus, you can choose form a broad selection of steaks, pastas and creative salad compositions: with meats, cheeses or sweet flavours. The restaurant also caters to the needs of its youngest guests, offering several kids’ favourites on the menu.
Last but not least, certainly worth recommending are the Saturday dancing soirées inspired by the times of the socialist Polish People’s Republic, with live music and a typical “historical” menu (100 g vodka plus meat aspic, peach Melba, herring “Japanese style” – with hard-boiled egg).
pl. Wszystkich Św. 10, d: the Old Town; ul. Miodowa 39, d: Kazimierz
A self-service restaurant with its own very distinctive style; on vintage pastel-coloured shelves , there rest temptingly piles of fresh robust vegetables: cabbages, courgettes, and pumpkins. Dressed in pre-war outfits, the girls behind the counter smile from under their straw hats and, to make our choice easier, offer little cups of different soups for trying. The food is traditional Polish, you can create your own meal and eat you fill without spending a fortune; the prices are small, and the sizes just right. We especially recommend the deliciously rich “Russian pierogi” (dumplings with cottage cheese and potato filling), topped with a knob of butter or with lard greaves. A portion costs 8 zloty and it’s so big that you’ll only be able to finish it out of sheer gourmandism.
ul. Grodzka 9, d: the Old Town, ul. Św. Jana 3, d: the Old Town; ul. św. Agnieszki 1, d: Kazimierz
A dinner in this restaurant takes you back in time to the 19th century. Designed to imitate the interiors of an old Polish cottage house, the rooms boast with realistic stoves, benches and even a bed. The guests are welcomed with traditional bread, baked according to country recipes and served with lard spread with apple, garlic and marjoram. Two out of the three venues are located right off the Main Square so it’s very easy to find them; the third one is situated between the Wawel Castle and the Kazimierz district, in the nook of St. Agnes street. The prices are, on average, 10-15 zloty higher than at Polakowski’s, but Chłopskie Jadło [“Countryside Grub”] offers a much larger choice of dishes. One is ready to pay more also because of the traditional recipes and the somewhat theatrical heritage park atmosphere of the place.
ul. Mostowa 14, district: Kazimierz
Although travelling and sightseeing with children can be an exciting adventure, sometimes the parents must face unexpected problems, like their offspring being fussy, choosy or distracted at mealtime. Where to eat to avoid unpleasant looks from discontent fellow restaurant guests? Café Culca, located at the Kazimierz end of the “Footbridge of Love” [Father Bernatek Footbridge connecting Kazimierz and Podgórze], is the solution to this problem. Its colorful child-friendly interior design with Scandinavian influences is not the only advantage of this venue. All dishes are carefully prepared with fresh fruit and vegetables, to keep both moms and kids healthy. Not only is there a special “children’s menu”, but also gluten-free and non-protein meals, as well as dishes for breastfeeding mothers. Another great thing about Café Culca is that the kids can frolic in an especially designed „creative play area”. Beverages at average prices, snacks and sandwiches don’t cost more than 20 zloty. Those of you who crave regeneration and vitality after wintertime will certainly enjoy the delicious vegetable cocktail – a veritable vitamin bomb (12 zloty).
pl. J. Matejki 2, district: the Old Town
A self-service vegetarian and vegan bar located in the very centre of the town, right opposite the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, near the Barbican. The pleasant look of the interior, the eco-oriented attitude, and the nice and convivial staff make this place something infinitely better than just a green fast-food. In addition to a great menu, the bar offers a selection of smoothies (from freshly blended fruit), and lassies (refreshing fruit and yoghurt drinks). Just in front of the bar, several times a day there stop the Cracow City Tours buses, ready to take you for a sightseeing trip. And just a few steps up the block, in a grand tenement house, there’s Butik Hostel – Cracovian in spirit but multicultural at heart.
Chimera – salad bar
ul. św. Anny 3, d: The Old City
As befits a „composite monster”, Chimera involves a restaurant, a salad bar and a shop, but here we want to focus on the bar, as this part of the venue is the local vegetarians’ “constant value”. Occupying a roofed and heated patio in the yard of an old tenement house, it offers a selection of over 40 different salads, to be combined into your own meal set. You can yield to the temptation of house-made quiches or, on leaving, stop at the shop counter to buy a loaf of spelt bread or a fruit sorbet of chimeric recipe. We like Chimera for its greenhouse ambience and for the fact that, walking into its gardens, we forget that we’re in the midst of a busy city.