Where to Eat & Drink in Krakow with Jacky Tran and Rem Koolhaus
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Originally published January 2012
Photo c/o DecobyDesign on Flickr
Earlier this month, we heard from Jacky Tran and Rem Koolhaus (Turbotax) when they shared their tips for eating and drinking in Paris. This week, they’re back with what to do in Krakow. It’s Poland’s second largest city and it’s history can be traced back to the Stone Age. The center of town is appropriately called “Old Town” and includes Krakow’s historic Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz where Jacky and Rem spent most of their time on this trip.
Words by Jacky Tran
Tim (Rem Koolhaus) and I went to Krakow for my friends’ wedding. We were still jet-lagged and under-slept from our whirlwind trip to Paris, and unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit the tourist sites like Wawel Castle or Oskar Schindler’s factory, or eat at the remaining milk bars that managed to survive after the Cold War. Below is a list of the places we checked out, and at the risk of showing how much of a travel nerd I am, I made this Google map to prep for my visit to Krakow. I only went to a handful of them (marked in green), and anything marked in blue are places I mean to check out next time.
Zapiecek. Polskie Pierogarnie
This cute little pierogi shop is conveniently located in the Old Town and it is open round-the-clock.
Alchemia was one of the original bars that helped revitalize Kazimierz–Krakow’s historic Jewish Quarter–after WWII. It transformed the neighborhood into a destination for nightlife and the arts. The bar/gallery/venue has remained an institution where couples, pals and families gather to get happily sloshed, offsetting the gothic vibe of the dark rooms, old paintings, and candlesticks covered in layers of hardened wax.
Photo c/o Ian Kershaw on Flickr
Singer is a Kazimierz institution. It has a dark, candlelit interior and each table is charmingly adorned with classic Singer sewing machines. Singer’s allure is definitely not a secret. It’s popular among international students and beer-crawling tourists–so it’s best to go on the early side and leave before you start over-hearing eye-rolling conversations on where to find the best English bars and chicken Caesar salad in old town.
Restauracja Pod Baranem
ul. w. Gertrudy 21
I had my favorite meal here, which is quite a compliment in a city that I enjoyed eating in so much. What sets them above the other restaurants was how elegantly they executed such hearty dishes. I still think about their stuffed cabbage that was pan-fried to give it a crisp finish and served with a light cream sauce. Tim was into the roasted venison with “forest” sauce (made of red wine and forest berries). To top if off, the waiters stray from Krakow’s grump-faced service as they smile and joke around with their customers.
Kiebas z Rona
Blue van in front of the shopping center at Grzegórzecka 4
These guys make the best kielbasa in town and have been grilling it outside of their blue van over the past 20 years. The later you go, the more likely you’ll befriend some happily inebriated locals.
Pauza is a bi-level bar in the center of old town. The entrance is hidden inside a building through a courtyard. The agreeable music selection and vibe make it an oasis in an area full of cheesy pub-crawl venues.
Photo c/o Anosmia on Flickr
Plac Nowy in Kazimierz
This is where you can find the highest concentration of Zapiekanka stands in town. Oh, what is Zapiekanka–you ask? It’s a quasi-pizza, akin to what we’ve all improvised from bread, not-mozzarella cheese and make-do toppings at some point in our broke-ass teens/early 20s–especially after getting hit with a case of the munchies. The main difference is that it’s also topped with sweet ketchup and chives. It’s probably not the most awesome thing to eat as real meal. But, if you’ve dulled your senses enough after a night of drinking in Kazimierz and can’t trek out to the kielbasa van or the 24-hour pierogi shop, then this drunk munchie isn’t so bad.
Restauracja i Kawiarnia
Zamku W Przegorzalach (Przegorzaly Castle)
ul. Jodowa 13
The restaurant is located inside Przegorzaly Castle, located on a hilltop just outside the city. I went here for my friends’ wedding reception and was a big fan of the food and view of the Vistula River, the surrounding fields and Krakow’s old town.