Some crowd in Belgium have finally recognised what we’ve been saying for years – Gdańsk is a great destination (see the logo on the cover). The city is rightly proud to have been recognised but like a magnanimous Oscar winner, the city ought to thank all the others who helped make this happen and should share in the glory. One of the attractions of visiting Gdańsk is that you don’t just get the city of Gdańsk. You get Sopot, Gdynia, Malbork, Frombork, the Hel Peninsula, the Kashubia region, the list goes on and on. This ‘award’ should really be seen as recognition of that.
Gdańsk is now well-established as a city break destination but the real value in visiting comes with spending more time in the region and really exploring. To help we’ve put this series of tips and recommendations together (completely independent) and we hope that it comes in handy.
Artus Court (Dwor Artusa) is a symbol of the city’s power in the 16th and 17th centuries. Most recently it was used to host a visit by the UK’s Prince William and Princess Catherine.
Look inside: UK Royals visit Gdańsk (pgs 9, 83).
In Your Pocket has teamed up with POLANDbyLOCALS to offer a wide range of activities such as paintball in the shipyards, pierogi making, local beer tasting and bicycle tours to explore the surrounding forests.
Some of the new reviews in this issue
Kotka Cafe @GDANSK
A cafe for those who love cats (and one to avoid for those that do not). Aside from good coffee and very nice homemade cake what you get in abundance is interaction with cats and for some, including most children we know, this makes this cafe their favourite in the entire Tri-city.
A very popular restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere serving up a selection of Asian dishes. The team in the open kitchen turn out some nicely presented dishes including spring rolls and Tom Yum soups to start and Pad Thai and Indian curry mains.
Pak Choi @SOPOT
A really rather good Chinese in a tiny venue a minute’s walk from the square in Sopot. The décor is elegant but not stuffy and the limited number of tables and above average prices suggest they’re going for quality over quantity. If it’s Chinese you crave, this is the best option for Chinese food.
Taverna Zante @GDYNIA
A very impressive looking and tasting range of Greek dishes with some good non-Greek options and a decent drinks menu featuring cocktails and Polish nalewki. The menu comes with a little sign denoting the chef’s recommendations, so we went for them and were not disappointed. We started off with the Mezedes, a board of delights which delivered feta, samosas, dips, roast beer and vegetables. The Kleftiko was a pot containing roast lamb, feta, potatoes and vegetables and was delicious while the not-recommended but nonetheless very tasty Souvlaki was excellent value. Gdynia has always been the one place in the Tri-city to go for Greek food and this is another reason to take a trip ‘up north’. One point to note. Addresses in Gdynia are notoriously hard to find, due in part to the lack of numbers on buildings and also to premises having addresses which don’t always reflect their exact location. This place is a case in point. Find it toward the Gdynia Maximilliana train station end of Wladyslawa IV street.
Bar Mleczny Stągiewna @GDANSK
Milk bars tend to be rather sterile looking places but this modern take on the concept is anything but. Keeping with the Bar Mleczny tradition of cheap prices and simple food, the friendly staff keeps the crowds happy with a great value for money menu. Keep an eye out for the jars of homemade produce to take away.
Espléndidos Tapas Cigar Lounge @GDYNIA-ORŁOWO
A Spanish themed bar and restaurant set in one of the most unusual buildings in the Tri-city. Shaped like a right-angled triangle lying on its side, the design peeks your interest enough to leave neighbouring Sopot or Gdynia centre to travel the 10 minutes it takes to get to the Gdynia district of Orłowo. The menu is unquestionably Spanish so we went for the Marmitako soup with tuna and peppers, a plate of breaded sprats and of course the seafood paella. Very good if, in the case of the paella, served way too hot to enjoy for a good 5 minutes. There’s more to this place than a Spanish menu though. An underground bar and stage turn this into a regular night time venue; there’s a comprehensive cocktail menu and most notably Cuban cigars are available which you can smoke in their cigar room. The place is located on the edge of a quite upmarket housing development and opposite a Lexus showroom, so the sense is that they are going for a regular, moneyed clientele. Check it out for yourself.
One word here – taste. There’s an abundance of it and while we weren’t as struck by the choice of décor and materials used as our partner was (she even commented that the waitstaff seemed to have been chosen for their looks), we were extremely struck by the taste of the food. This is not a quick snack Asian spot, but a place to come to relax and enjoy. The prices reflect that though we’re talking by Polish standards, where the quality to price ratio is very good in general and excellent here. The soups come in two sizes and while we were rather surprised to see 29zl for the larger portion of Tom Yum, the 500ml full of meat and vegetables could have been a meal in itself. The beef curry which followed is making us salivate now just writing about it with wonderfully tender beef and a great mix of spices. Even the APA we washed it down with seemed to have been chosen for that key word we began with – taste. Oliwa is not a place known for its foot traffic so we can only assume the people behind this are banking on word of mouth dragging people from each of the three cities to try it. We’ll definitely be going back.