Zorza Bistro is a perfect example of today’s casual dining place, which attracts you with every detail – and if you don’t go inside right away, you feel really, really guilty. Social media is a dominating factor in today’s gastronomy. The first time I saw this place on Instagram (@zorzabistro), filled with stylish photos of bruschettas and cold soups, I knew I’m writing it down in my Warsaw agenda – and as I love well-executed branding matters, like typography, this was indeed a heaven for me. Visual identity of Zorza was developed by Kaja Gadomska, graphic designer, who decided to create something that would match the classical, yet very contemporary aesthetic of the restaurant. Just like her bold logo design, the interior is kept in a softly art deco manner, with brass tables, marble columns and preserved, stone floors. The cuisine at Zorza is diverse, spanning from roasted artichokes and hot dogs with home-made sausage to meat-stuffed cabbage and coated chicken in Asian sauce. If you’re still unsure whether you need to go to Zorza, then there’s one more, great feaure of this place – you can sit outside, and have a view on Warsaw’s brilliant street style.
Żurawia 6 / Warsaw
Berlin can amaze you with the best Vietnamese cuisine – but it can also make you fall in love with German’s national pride. Wiener Schitzel, hello! I’ve never been a fan of this specialty, however the one I ate at Borchardt changed my view on this usually unattractive way of meat serving. The Borchardt looks back on a 150 year long history, being one of the oldest restaurants of the German capital. In the past, it supplied the Kaiser in the Wilhelmine era, went on to survive the Second World War and the city’s division by the Berlin Wall – so there is no possible way that this place could have dissapointed. Although you might think that Bochardt smells with antique, it surprisingly looks quite modern thanks to perfect restoration, while the marble pillars and an original Byzantine-style enthrone give this one-of-a-kind spot a spirit which you won’t find anywhere else in Berlin.
Franzosische Straße 47 / Berlin
Kreuzberg is becoming Berlin‘s most creative district. A former pharmacy is situated on the peaceful Oranienplatz, which one day became the most beautiful restaurant of the German capital – ORA. With the original cabinets de curiosities, wooden shelves and marble counters from the past, the restaurant serves refreshing summer cuisine (unfortunately we didn’t have any time left to try it out) and delicious coffee with home-made apfelstrüdel. However, the atmospheric and truly romantic interior makes this restaurant not only a place to “EAT”, but also to “BE”. And definitely I am going to try out their signature gazpacho next time.
Oranienplatz 14 / Berlin
Qua Phe is leading the Asian cuisine game in Berlin, and specifically the Vietnamese one. Great selection of finger food from Vietnam like banh bao or bahn gio is here, and you can eat it in a great atmosphere of wooden tables, Asian stools and raw, metallic elements. However, real Berliners come to Qua Phe as to a Vietnamese coffee shop – if you are visiting this place, don’t forget to taste their coffee drips with one of their signature desserts – ginger moshi! This gluey, sweet treat reminds me of toffee, but not quite…
Max-Beer Straße 37 / Berlin
Yam Yam is basically yum. Located in the heart of Mitte, this restaurant serves the best Korean cuisine – everything, from kimchi to dimsum, is fesh and super good. And their freshly-pressed watermelon cocktails are made in heaven! Should I say more?
Alte Schonhauser Straße 6 / Berlin
I love roses. And when I see a hotel or a restaurant filled with them, I am instantly a sucker for this place. That is why Hotel Costes stole my heart during the first visit (a long, long time ago…). The interiors of this bourgeoisie-styled spot is nearly drowning in red, pink and white roses. And add to that all those velvet arm-chairs and cushions, palm trees and beautiful outdoor patio… Hotel Costes is not only a hotel, but a casual restaurant where all the Parisians meet with super-stars – during my last stay (the day Saint Laurent had its SS16 menswear show), Pierce Brosnan, Lenny Kravitz and Johnny Hallyday were all there, having a dinner. Without any bodyguards. Can you believe that? It was a great pleasure to eat a “new style” tuna tatare in a great place with really GREAT people.
Hotel Costes / Rue Saint Honore 239
You know, Srodka in Poznan is like Harlem in New York. Few years ago, it was scary to go here, and now it’s full of bold people and creative energy! But in case of Poznan, blame Monika and Jan Pawlak, who made this place lifey thanks to their two restaurants – La Ruina and Raj. La Ruina is more into sweet flavours – interesting cakes and seasonal cookies are present here (chocolate cake with salt and pepper? Yum). You might drink coffee in many different ways – Vietnamese and Moroccan have blown my mind. And Raj, which is a former sweet shop, introduces meals that are memories of owner’s voyages to Vietnam, Italy or Cuba… in other words, that’s a very unique culinary mix!
The interior of that place is innovative, too. It’s a collection of various souvenirs from travels, which the owners found in different parts of the world. And, rather than using typical, boring menus, the chief had five main dishes today (it changes oftenly) presented on postcards from Italy, Cambodia and Vietnam. For example, Pad Thai, delicious rice noodles with roastbeef, where precisely same as the ones Pawlak’s ate in Asia. In case of ingredients which are not available in Poland – they simply order it from Berlin or Amsterdam. In my opinion, this place is truly incredible- when I come here on regular basis, I always discover something new for myself!
Srodka 3 / Poznan
Farina, hidden somewhere between the historical monuments and old streets of Cracow, is the treasure chest of the best fish in the town. With fresh mussels, lobsters, tuna, sole and many other sea-fruits, Farina brings you simple, tasty meal. The interior is simple, too, but the dark wood and always fresh flowers make the place cozy and casual. My personal favourite- the black pasta with baby-octopusses. Love it!
Trzy Rybki (Three Fish) is a restaurant situated in Hotel Stary (The Old Hotel), which is Cracow’s most fine place to be and to eat. The food here is simple, but with a twist of Asian & Polish fusion. I really enjoyed eating the tuna tatare- it was chopped in a way, that it seemed to look like pasta. And that wasabi sauce all around… Yum! If talking of the interior, Trzy Rybki is truly a star. Old, stone walls, glass, red roses and medieval wooden floor. Sounds simple, but the effect is stunning. That’s a first place you need to tick on your Cracow “to be” list.