We tried quite a few different places in Krakow, including cafes, restaurants, bars, bakeries, and street vendors. Our only regret is that we couldn’t try even more spots!
Koliba Góralskie Przysmaki was our very first stop in the city as we had to try their grilled and smoked Oscypek cheese. Much like cheese curds, the cheese squeaks as you chew. The smoke is fairly intense, and I got mine with cranberry which balanced out the saltiness of the cheese. Delicious, and not the only time we stopped in here.
As dusk fell we headed toward Stocaggio Wine Bar. We had our pick of tables in the comfy space and English was easy. Leandra ordered our first bottle of Polish wine – Winnica Kepa Wislicka Cuvée Brut Blanc. The nose had a fortified scent like cognac, and the palate had peach, red apple, some currant, and a cedar-like woodiness. Overall it was fairly light with fine bubbles, and reminded us of the New Mexican Gruet.
We weren’t super hungry, so for dinner we choose Pierogarnia Krakowiacy, a self-serve pierogi place near our apartment. Their menu had both savory and sweet options, so we choose both a traditional potato with bacon as well as a cherry and mascarpone (which needed more cherry).
After dinner we headed over to Niewodka, a bar that specializes in nalewki, sweet regional liqueurs made from three ingredients: alcohol, fruit and sugar. A helpful staff member explained the options to us, and we decided on a 5 sample taster.
- raspberry- very nice, sweet and very tasty, probably my favorite?
- cherry – intense cherry, dark red color. Really good.
- mirabelle – yellow plum, tastes pear-like or quince
- rhubarb – Leandra drank most of this one
- gooseberry – very sour! Earthy, woodsy, green.
This was one of our favorites, and we stopped again on Saturday night for a full pour of cherry and raspberry wines.
After walking around in the rain we needed something to warm us up, and Karmelo looked really good. Lucky for us we hit at a lull, so we managed to order and find a table. I ordered a milk chocolate with mint (real crushed spearmint leaves), while Leandra had the dark chocolate with coconut flakes (less bitter than Wedel in Warsaw). Both were excellent.
Later that afternoon we took a tram down to Kazimierz, stopping first at the Czarna Owca wine bar. They had an international wine list, so I ordered an Italian pecorino while Leandra got a single vineyard Pinot Noir. The space was fine, but the wine list was smaller than expected, so we only stayed for the one glass.
Next, we tried to get into Starka, but they were full, so we tried Szynk next. They had a table in the back, and we had a really nice meal. For wine we split a bottle of the Winnica Srebrna Góra Cuvée Blanc (light white peach, light mineral, little acidity, fairly light finish), a lovely local white that paired well with the amuse bouche of chicken pate with cranberry, and L’s borscht with beef dumplings. For her dinner Leandra had the beef tartare, while I greatly enjoyed the beef cheek (+ the potatoes were amazing)!
Pijana Wisnia was very busy, so instead we tried the cocktail bar TAG. There is a very small sign over the buzzer to get in (thanks to the stranger on the street who pointed that out to us!), then you go up a large dark stair case to the floor with the bar. This bar doesn’t have stranding room, just table service, and thankfully they had a spot for us. I tried the West Side for #1 (rum, peanut butter, caramelized passionfruit and cream), Adult Cereal for #2 (Bulleit bourbon, corn flakes, buckwheat honey and clarified milk), while Leandra ordered the Rababarosa for #1 (Tanqueray gin, fino sherry, rhubarb shrub and rose), and Nut So Old for #2 (Dufftown whisky, sesame, kaffir and soy bitters). Great cocktails, great music, and a really nice space too.
Morning visit to Stary Kleparz (market) – lots of mushrooms were available. We got raspberries, figs, and lavender sachets, then found bagels (squishy with lots of sesame) and pastries (big!) around the corner at Piec Piekarnia.
For an afternoon snack we finally tried the obwarzanek (Krakow bagel, much like a simit) plus another round of smoked cheese.
After getting back late from Auschwitz, we went for a quick dinner at SOUR, just a few blocks from our apartment. Their cocktails were great – I especially liked my passoa, while Leandra went for an ameretto sour and then a NY sour. For food we went for small plates, trying the fries with chili mayo, croquettes (quite creamy and tasty), and cheese pierogi (just ok).
After the Wieliczka Salt Mine we headed to Kazmierz again. Wanting a snack, I dragged Leandra into Cafe Kladka after seeing the nut cake in the window. It was delicious, lots of fresh walnut, and well worth the stop!
Next was BARaWINO a wine shop and bar. I had a Polish white made from Bronner (semisweet, honeysuckle/lily, apple, flint, dry finish) while Leandra ordered a Bulgarian red (smoked tart cherry, quite dry).
For dinner we had a reservation at Morskie Oko, and were seated in the upper loft area. Leandra went all out and ordered the traditional pork fat spread as a starter – the spread had big chunks of bacon too. The platter came with a lot of pickles (amazingly crisp, with a nice dill and garlic flavor), and the rye bread was delicious. We paired those with a Johanniter Turnau (semi sweet, but not cloying, interesting nose, not like anything else we’ve tried) and Rioja.
For dinner I had the beef (a little dry) with potato pancakes (smoky cheese and potato was great) that I paired with a Moldovan red wine (nice woodsy, smoky red fruit flavor). Leandra’s pork knuckle had lots of meat, plus strong mustard and horseradish sauces paired with a Chilean cabernet sauvignon. Overall, we quite liked our dinner here.
For our last night in Krakow we decided to return to the Stocaggio Wine Bar, this time trying glasses. I started with the Zadora Solis (somewhat smoky, dried fruit, different) followed by a South African white blend, Lazanou (Chenin blanc/Chardonnay/Viognier). Leandra had the Stellar Organics Reserve Shiraz, then the Harder Spatlese Merlot from Austria (interesting residual sweetness).
Unlike Thursday, this time we had a reservation for Starka… and we still had to wait for our table! Only 15 minutes though… and it was well worth it. The beef cheek pierogi were very good, and the grilled pork sausage was outstanding. Leandra went for the boneless pork knuckle for a second night in a row and did not regret it. All were paired with a french rose. For dessert we tried the walnut cake (coconut flavoring too, and berry sauce was concentrated) with a cranberry vodka, then complimentary hazelnut vodka to finish our meal. Everything was delicious! Very recommended.