Monday, 12 May 2014


On to round #2 of my favourite foodie finds in Krakow

As a student in Krakow, I used to hang out here pretty much every evening... It was the watering hole for my friends. At the time, it was open 24/7 and we'd start the night here and then somehow end up returning on the way home to sober up with their hearty grub.

Ambasada Śledzia translates to 'The Herring Embassy' as it is situated just across the road from the American Embassy in Krakow (look for ul. Stolarska). Noise was always an issue and the bouncers would tell us to "spokój" or we would get kicked out.

Whilst this bar is still open, it now shuts at 12. There is however a new offshoot bar which has opened just a bit further in a courtyard down the road which is open til the very early hours.

With a series of vodka and herring bars popping up all over the city, Ambasada Sledzia is still #1 for me! A small unpasteurised beer (300ml) or a large shot of vodka will set you back 4zl a pop (that's 80p!).

Raw pickled herrings are a Polish delicacy and can be purchased in all manners and forms. Popular choices are herrings in sour cream, beetroot, curry and oil and are just 8zl each (£1.60). They serve other food round the clock too, including some traditional Polish snacks and light tapas dishes.

On to the food! The beast that got us going was this devil below. The Potato Pie with Spinach (10zl - £2). A cheesy mass of potatoes and spinach. So simple but an almighty dish in all its glory.

The garlic spinach was pungent - you can smell this dish when it's being made in the kitchen - but that's just the sort of thing that gets me pretty damn excited. This may just be a rather haphazard take on the potato dauphinoise, but it is surely comforting and will leave you wanting more.

5. Horai

This was another old favourite of mine. I absolutely love Thai food and this is the one place that did it very well in Krakow.

With an extremely over-imposing menu (at least ten pages!) you might initially be put off. If it was any other restaurant I would. How can one restaurant make good dishes for several Asian styles of cuisine? I've never ventured outside of their Thai menu, but I can tell you now that their Thai food was and still is very good.

Situated in a rather derelict square in Kazimierz, Horai is found on Plac Wolnica. The staff are attentive and the service is very good - I was also remembered by the same waiter on my return this time round! 

On this occasion I opted for the Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce (22zl - £4.40). The chicken was moist and the sauce was a good consistency - it looked and tasted fresh - no gloopy sauce here. Tossed between al dente onions and peppers with a garnish of coriander this peppery dish was a pleasure to eat and at a very good price too.

My counterpart ordered the Pad Thai with Tofu (23zl - £4.60). This came as a highly piled portion of fried egg noodles laced with vegetables. A good strong flavour and we loved the addition of the crispy onions as well as peanuts to lace the dish.

As a side we shared a portion of Thai Fried Vegetables (19zl - £3.80). This is actually a main dish in itself but I couldn't resist it. I love vegetables when cooked in a Thai style and this dish contained an interesting combination of ingredients, including seaweed and pineapple.

6.  Antler Poutine&Burger

This is a new joint in Krakow that has opened in the last year. I had seen pictures and heard good stories about it which made it high up on my to-do list of places to check out this time round.

A very small bar indeed situated on ul. Gołębia just off of the Main Square. There are stools and raised shelves to eat at around the corners of the room. It could perhaps seat no more than six people at a time.

We went twice in one day...! The first stop was to get our hands on some Poutine. I had never tried this dish before but had heard about it a few years back from a friend who studied in Canada.

Fat chips, mature cheddar and lashings of fresh gravy where the style in this place and we ordered a large pot (9zl - £1.80) to share. The chips did not seem overly fresh, but they had a bizarrely nice soggy yet crisp consistency to them. More stodge, more comfort food and good lethargic vibes all round.

We returned later that evening. My veggie cohort is always on the look out for interesting and exciting vegetarian fare. Earlier that day we had spotted a Vegetarian Burger (the only one on the menu) which we then could not stop thinking about for the rest of the day...

For all you cheese lovers out there I hope you are ready for this.

In comes the game changer of all vegetarian burgers! This burger was 16zl (£3.20) and contained a WHOLE mini grilled Camembert of oozing goodness. The burger was cooked fresh before us. A lightly toasted brioche bun, topped with a spread of mayonnaise, lettuce, rocket, a mini Camembert, sun dried tomatoes and lashings of pesto. 

This was rather exciting to eat and all the different ingredients worked in harmony. We were not even back from Krakow for a week before an attempt to recreate this at home took place.

Their other burgers also looked very good. From your basic beef burger to your all singing all dancing crazy poutine filled burger, they certainly had an interesting selection. I also liked the fact that you could choose how you wanted your meat cooked and their emphasis on sourcing locally their ingredients where possible. 

7. Everything else...

Lody! Aka ice cream. Fresh ice cream is served from little vendors down most of the side streets leading off of the Main Square. At 2-3zl (40-60p) a scoop you'd be silly not to get some.

We were also snapping away at all the street art we stumbled across. If you take a wonder down through Kazimierz or even further along to Podgorze you will find tonnes of the stuff. These were my favourite pieces.

Cars! I love old cars and there are plenty of them about in Krakow. This Ford Capri racer got a good perving on by my camera.

Whenever you go to Krakow, there is ALWAYS something going on in the Main Square. It doesn't matter whether it is a public holiday (it was Labour Day whilst we were there) or whether it is the annual pierogi festival - you will always have some form of entertainment to watch. For us it was this lovely military brass band and an opera singer driving in on the back of what we could only describe as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

...and to finish it off... the beer!
This picture was taken in a little hidden den in an underground bar with mezzanine hideouts. I would tell you where it is but it's my favourite hiding place.

Why haven't you booked your ticket yet?

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