OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN KRAKOW

 

There may be no point telling you here what a decent guide to Krakow will tell you anyway. But here’s a short list of places that we like to go to – not all of them necessarily “the best in town”.

Our dinner favourites include "Guliwer" on Bracka Street, just off the main Market Square - small, family-run mix of classy Polish and Italian food (may seem an unlikely mixture but it works!). Anna's favourite dish is pan fried pork with little dumplings. But then, she's Polish....

"Kuchnia i Wino" (Kitchen and Wine) on Jozefa Street in Kazimierz, the Jewish District, is another good restaurant popular with tourists, big portions as well. Don’t order a salad for a starter – it’s huge and you won’t be able to eat your main. Trust us. Good wine selection. English speaking and very friendly waitresses (last time we went).

SMALLER CHEAPER PLACES FOR LUNCH

If you fancy something really very Polish a few doors down from "Kuchnia i Wino", on Jozefa Street no 11 there's a tiny place called "U Wincenta" where they sell a great variety of pierogi (dumplings) with various fillings and toppings. They have a menu in English too. You can get hot borshtch (beetroot soup) or tea to drink (Anna's favourite on cold days is hot tea with raspberry cordial, an aquired taste). We love it! There are only three tables but you can ask people on the big-ish one whether you can sit with them - usually it's not a problem.

We're told they’ve opened a new, bigger place on Bozego Ciala Street, just round the corner, with even bigger selection of fillings. You could try it though we always go to the small one…

If you're after good coffee (or tea) and truly divine cakes you can't do better then go to "Nowa Prowincja" just opposite Guliwer, on Bracka Street, off the Market Square. They do a great apple tart, served warm with vanilla sauce (to die for but not easy on your hips) and other fab cakes. You can also have a light meal there for very little money. Anna recommends the regional speciality: Bunz salad - which is a regional cheese with lots of salad on a big plate and bread on the side. Light but very filling.

For a lunch on the go, you may want to pick up one of the Polish kebabs that are for sale around the central square. Prepare to be surprised - they have nothing in common with kebabs found in London or New York, apart from the slices of lamb. One we often go to is on the corner of Grodzka and Dominikanska.

If you are vegetarian you’ll enjoy a meal in "Chimera" - a salad bar on Anny Street, just off the Market Square. It’s situated in a courtyard, so perhaps slightly better in the summer but stays open all year. The price depends on the size of a plate you choose. There’s a good selection of really tasty salads and also some meat dishes to choose from. Good freshly squeezed juices too.

 

CAFES AND BARS

There are lots of lovely cafes and bars in the Kazimierz District of Krakow. Some of them do great breakfasts - pancakes and such like... Go to Plac Nowy and look around.

Our big favourite is a café called "Mleczarnia" on Mejchelsa Street, just round the corner from Plac Nowy. In spring and summer they have a lovely, shady courtyard with old fashioned furniture and good coffee. You can have a snack and a good bottle of Polish beer too. In winter they go back indoors to a little, cosy, old fashioned café on the other side of the street.

Just next door to "Mleczarnia", in a courtyard leading to Jozefa Street, is another cafe/restaurant called "Stajnia", which means Stable. It has been recommended to us by friends and is always packed so it's probably a good sign.

If you're after some authentic, smoky atmosphere and a glass of beer in Kazimierz go to cafe "Alchemia" on the corner of Plac Nowy. If you're a non smoker you might want to forget it. Great atmos but lots of passive smoking inside.

And last but not least - the famous Wedel cafe on the Market Square, a minute's walk from our Market Square apartment. If you think you've had good drinking chocolate before - think again. They serve the thickest, creamiest and most indulgent drinking chocolate on the planet. Sadly we don't get any commission from them for saying that... Great desserts too.

ICE CREAM

You're forgiven to think that ice cream is just ice cream and you can get it almost everywhere. You couldn't be more wrong!

There's a little ice cream shop on Starowislna Street, very close to Kazimierz. Walk down from Ulica Szeroka with the main synagogue towards Starowislna and turn right. The shop is about two hundred meters on your right. It has no name but you can hardly miss it - there's usually a very long queue of people patiently waiting for their special treat. Family run shop, modest selection of flavours, but all of them pure bliss.