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Eating Off the Beaten Track: Krakow #1

This is the first in a series of four articles on eating off the beaten track in Krakow.

There are many decent places in Krakow to eat and everyone knows it.  However, not everyone knows where to go for a quiet meal, a smoke-free atmosphere, a place with good or even great service, thoughtful décor, “unusual” food or, last but not least, very well-prepared food.  I personally prefer a combination of all six points.

Most of the places highlighted in this series are reasonably quiet or only moderately noisy and patrons are not served by people who do not immediately appear to hate their clients, their jobs or life in general. Most of these places are non-smoking or have a separate section for smokers that is well-ventilated.  The interiors are usually well-lit or don’t look like they were decorated by rummaging around in the basement/attic for stuff to put on the walls and… last but not least… the food is either unusual for Krakow or if it is usual (Polish, Italian) it’s well-prepared.

Ex-Pat Necessities Part 1:  Burgers, Bagels and Burritos

Bagelmama, Dajwór 10 – Bagels, sandwiches, wraps (American cuisine), desserts and good coffee. The food is so lovingly prepared that it’s almost wrong to eat it but you won’t be able to stop yourself – it looks great and tastes even better.  Ran by an American who loves what he does and enjoys a chat with his customers. Also, one of the few places in town to get excellent hummus. The menu is mid-priced. Their new (current) place offers ample seating with excellent atmosphere. Fairly quiet in the evenings even with other patrons around. Non-smoking.  Bagelmama will also do parties – they have a nice, big table that can probably comfortably seat 10 or 12 with elbow room.  The interior is spacious (high ceilings), softly but amply lit.  As far as I know this is the one and only place to get a bagel in Krakow.

Burrito Buffet, Warszawska 20 – Take-away or delivered Mexican food. Patrons are strongly advised to call ahead at 12 633 04 09 and place their orders in advance. Let me be clear: this is the best and hottest Mexican food in Krakow, full stop.  To answer the question of “how hot is hot?” I can assure readers that Burrito Buffet will make your food hot (or spicy, to be clear) enough that you can barely eat it. This is hot on the Mexican scale NOT the Polish scale – many lovely pieces of jalapeño liberally sprinkled throughout the food if you ask for it to be hot. Perfect! Their delivery service (with a 4 km delivery radius) isn’t the fastest but if you get your food delivered you will see that they really care – all the food is expertly wrapped, packed or boxed.  Absolutely no squished or broken stuff. The best part is that this is cheap food – 13 PLN for a burrito but a single one will likely fill you.

Love Krove's logoLove Krove, Józefa 8 – Burgers. These are your upscale burgers with rucola instead of plain ol’ lettuce but are very well prepared. An honest-to-God beef patty – THICK! – that’s by default brown on the outside and just a touch pink on the inside.  Perfect.  Not much seating here but the interior is fun to look at and the service is ok. No vinegar for your chips; this is an American-style place. A burger, plate of fries and a beer will fill you nicely and is reasonably priced (mid-priced) for what you get.  It’s not what I’d call a quiet place but the noise is kept at reasonable levels – enough to hold a conversation at reasonable levels.  There are many places to get a burger in Krakow but this is the only place that you won’t regret it.

Next time:  Steaks, ‘cakes and Sushi

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