If this is your first time in Kraków, you’re a bit late to the party (we’ve been here for 18 years now, but who’s counting?)… still we’re glad you could make it. While presiding over the city’s hardest-working guidebook (now in its mind- boggling 106th edition) we’ve watched as Kraków has gone from an undiscovered gem to one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations (coincidence?). And it’s not difficult to see why. Endowed with one of the largest markets squares on the continent, a royal riverside castle full of treasures, and the most well-preserved Jewish district in Europe, it’s no surprise that the city centre was added wholesale to UNESCO’s first-ever list of world wonders back in 1978. While your camera should certainly get a workout, so too will your liver once it lights upon what’s purported to be the highest density of bars in the world. With tourist numbers, temperatures and ladies hemlines all hitting their high marks over the next two months, Kraków’s quotient of magic and mayhem are at their absolute peak. The city’s festival season is also at its zenith with unmissable highlights like the Jewish Culture Festival, Street Theatre Festival, and a bonny, brazen lad named Lajkonik all taking their bows – check our Events section and follow our Facebook page to stay on top of everything that’s happening while you’re in town.
In addition to meticulously updated info on all there is to see and do around town, this issue includes the most comprehensive coverage of Podgórze – our favourite part of the city – that we’ve ever published. Use our highly detailed in-section map, replete with tourist routes, to get out and explore this underappreciated part of the city – you’ll thank us later. As ever, let us know how we’re doing by dropping comments on our website, or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and enjoy Kraków!
We’re happy to announce our collaboration with Przemek Czaja, who’s behind the amazing photo project, Made in Kraków. These are some of the pics we have included in this edition of Kraków In Your Pocket.
New reviews in this issue
Next to the High Synagogue, this charming and artistic cafe presents an ideal place to idly pass the time, catch up with a friend, or get caught up on work. Certainly one of the best places in town to disappear with a coffee and a book. Check out their gallery space.
Just across from Cricoteka, much of their trade is in to-go coffee, but stay awhile and you’ll find a pleasant place to refuel with a coffee or relax with a glass of wine, as Sam Cooke and Ray Charles croon overhead in the modern monochromatic interior.
This self-described ‘breakfast bar’ combines the classic American budget diner (pink retro decor, sunny ’60s soul grooves) with the modern brunchery. Most of their meals involve a tasty composition of hot and cold eats – shaksouka, Hungarian sausage, patatas bravas, pickled veggies, hummus and more, or go for one of their sandwiches, salads, or simply a coffee and banana bread.
Front and centre at Tytano, this big, bustling American steakhouse is one of the compound’s more upscale venues, ably angling for tourists and large groups over local hipsters. Keep things within reason with a burger (30zł+), push the boat out with a 28-day dry-aged steak (62zł+), or go overboard with the lobster (190zł); in between you’ll find ribs, oxtail soup, scallops, swordfish, NY cheesecake and an extensive wine list.
With an authentic Japanese interior dead-on with a first floor sushi canal arrangement where customers can snare different servings as they float by, the menu here makes an ironic effort not to pander to purists, but rather create an amalgam of European and Asian ingredients and flavours with dishes like duck marinated in orange and cinnamon served with teriyaki sauce.
A casual bistro, cafe and bar a bit off the beaten path, it offers exciting eats for everyone, any time of day. Breakfast menu served until 11:30. With dishes as diverse as the delicious duck wrap, Thai curry, quinoa salmon and mezze sets, Bene is built for repeat visits, but make sure to try their sandwiches.
Nota Resto is the varsity side of the new twin restaurant residence (the other half being Bene Bistro) by Tomasz Leśniak – known to the public as official chef of the Polish men’s national football team. Delicious meat and fish dishes are paired with fine wine, and the warm beef tartar – upon which a pad of Cafe de Paris butter is melted with a torch at your table – is more than a clever gimmick, it’s a revelation.
This long-empty lot behind the Isaac Synagogue has been searching for its purpose for some time, and now seems to have found it. Though more food trucks are hardly needed in Kazimierz (come on guys, can’t we spread the love?), this is the most central and arguably the most scenic and atmospheric of the lot(s).
Just a skip from Schindler’s Factory and MOCAK, this Zabłocie mainstay on the ground floor of a new building features a bright, airy design with an open kitchen at its centre surrounded by clean Scandinavian furnishings and design touches. The authorial menu is reinvented each week and emphasises simple but rich dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Look out for their culinary workshops.
@Tytano. An absolutely massive space with a super-long bar and plenty of seating inside and out, Hala hums with warm bodies. The industrial interior has been embellished with urban art and video projections, dim lighting, acid jazz and jive on the stereo. Pizza’s served late, 10 craft beers on draught and weekend DJ parties from 22:00.
Author: Poland IYP Editor
Editorial staff at Poland In Your Pocket.