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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Balkanica 303 - First Balkan Restaurant In Krakow

Dearest friends,

Did you know that 'Balkan' is actually a Turkish word, meaning 'wooded mountain' or 'black mountain'. The Turkish word originates from the Central Asian term 'barkhan', which denotes a crescent-shaped sand dune. The Balkan Peninsula is an almost entirely mountainous region. The average altitude varies from 470 m (Bulgaria) to 850 m (FYR of Macedonia). The entire peninsula has an area of around 550,000 km² and has roughly 55 million inhabitants.
Along our quest on finding the perfect restaurant, my friends decided we should try a Balkan restaurant as well. There are less than a handful of those in Krakow, so we decided to go to the one that was the most known: Balkanica 303, on ulica Czysta #3. The place is quite easy to find, especially coming from the city center. You need to get to Bagatela Theater and go straight on Krupnicza, up to Dolnych Młynów, where you need to make a left to the Czysta street - and you are there! (less than 10 minutes walk from the Main Square).
The restaurant is the first Balkan restaurant open in Krakow and it is rated by Tripadvisor as #112 of 925 Restaurants in Krakow - with a medium of 4,5 out of 5 stars. I read the reviews and all of them are positive - all people who went there seem happy of the service and the food. Hence we gave it a go! HINT! If you are planning on going there during the weekend it is better to make a reservation as the place gets crowded pretty fast during the lunch/dinner time! We did a reservation for 5 and it was perfect, the table was already waiting for us - we arrived there around 2:30 PM Saturday and it was not too crowded, but with time - while we were there - the place was full. So be careful about that ;)
All the waiters have great command of English language and they are extremely helpful, including when you are making the choices. For example, both me and my friend wanted still water with lemons on the side, so the waiter proposed to us a flagon of water with lemon - which was a nice choice. The food and drinks were brought quick and they smelled heavenly!
I had the Pljeskavica, which is a Balkan delicacy of beef with baked inside kaskaval cheese, served with potato salad and two sauces Ajvar and tzatziki. In case you did not know, tzatziki is a typical Greek sauce made from greek jogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper and the most important ingredient: fresh cucumber! :) I just loved the sauce and the fresh fries were the best I have yet tasted - the condiments used on them were brilliant! The potatoe salad I could live without - but that may be also because I am not a huge fan of potatoes - but the meat was also really nicely done and the inside cheese was lovely melty in ones mouth :) Price 28 zloty - 480 gr/230 gr.
It was funny to see in the menu a special section dedicated to the Balkan Burgers - when I say burgers I always think of the good "old" USA. Well, Balkanica 303 has 4 types of burgers from which one can choose from: Sofia, Ateny, Zagreb and Sarajewo - good choice of names ;) Each of the burgers comes with french fries and salad on the side. The burgers price range is between 22 and 26 zloty each.
You can find them online on their Facebook page or on their very own Internet page - though unfortunately it does not have an English version. It is open from Monday to Thursday from 12:00 to 21:00, Friday to Saturday from 12:00 to 23:00 and Sunday again from 12:00 to 21:00. You can pay with Visa, Mastercard and Cash - and when the bill is done you are asked which method you would like. I recommend the place as it is very nice and cozy and has lovely music. I would definitely go there again, just to try the burgers or the Greek mousaka :)

** This post was made out of love for great food. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! ** 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves Balkan Food - Especially Greek!