Smak Ukrainski - Krakow
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Directions to Smak Ukrainski
On the oldest, and what many regard as the most beautiful, street in Krakow - Kanonicza Street, which lies at the foot of Wawel Castle - you'll find a pair of blue shutters and a heavy door that lead into the world of Ukrainian cuisine. Down in the cozy brick cellar, woven fencing embedded with sunflowers, rough wooden furniture and gaily-patterned embroidery, together with a splash of traditional music, seep you in Ukrainian folk culture. With an eye for detail, even the thin paper napkins are bordered with traditional red needlework patterns, and the ceramic dishes are hand-painted in colourful style. The staff, decked out in Ukrainian national costume, are friendly and helpful. The outdoor courtyard seating area can become quite festive in the evening, and the rich aromas of traditional Ukrainian dishes is irresistible.
The menu is a good introduction to Ukrainian cuisine for novices, as well as satisfying for real connoisseurs. Guests rave about the excellent borscht, imported Ukrainian beers and flavourful meat dishes, of which there are plenty to choose from, although a rich selection of vegetarian options is also available. High on the list of favourites is the 'zarke', a thick beef and vegetable ragout served in a warm loaf of bread. Also given high recommendation are the various meat roulades, such as beef rolled with pickles, pepper, bacon and sausage. You can find very generous portions of pierogi, golabki (rice and meat rolled in cabbage leaves), and potato pancakes. Besides tasty beers, the drinks menu offers Georgian, Ukrainian and Crimean wines, as well as rich-flavoured teas, and the traditional favourite, kvass.
The whole establishment is unpretentious, relaxed, and friendly - something you don't expect in such a high-class, central location. The prices are surprisingly reasonable, and the portions are very filling. In the summer, the outdoor seating is especially popular, but the place is rarely over-filled and the atmosphere is always relaxing and cheerful. If it's just a quick drink you want, drop into the adjacent café, where you can sample some sweet Ukrainian treats, as well as some excellent traditional sand-heated coffee.
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