u babci maliny was my favorite restaurant when i visited kraków eight years ago, and i was determined to go back and show alex how amazing it was. let me paint you a little picture: eight years ago: tired, hungry, and having just checked into my pension on my first night in poland, i was determined to walk as little as possible but still eat delicious polish food. i saw that the building right next door was a restaurant, and wandered in and descended down a long staircase to what seemed like another world.
the dining room was furnished with world war I era wallpaper, candelabras, picture frames, tables, cushioned chairs, and there wasn’t a square foot of space that wasn’t elaborately and tenderly decorated. it was like being at grandma’s house. (which is perhaps why the restaurant’s name means “at the raspberry grandmother’s”)
back then i was twenty years old and on my first back-packing trip with not a lot of travel money to spare. i was sure that i was in the wrong place! i was looking more for a polish diner or milk bar (bar mlczeny) than a joint where your sparkling water is served from crystal glasses.
and then i noticed the prices on the menu. soup was about a dollar, and entrees for less than five bucks. what magical den of dining had i wandered into? i felt too lucky. at that time, mine was the only occupied table, but that didn’t keep a pianist to come from nowhere, sit down on the bench, and play song and after lovely song…. just for me. this place is just golden.
i have to note that the pierogies here are the best i’ve tried in krakow, and everything is delicious. the friendly waitresses and kitchen staff really seem to go the extra mile… i haven’t seen ice in my water glass or that many lemon wedges in my drink for years.
what to expect: traditional polish fare and rock bottom prices in an unmatched atmosphere, in northern old town across the street from the beautiful slowackiego theater.
u babci maliny, ul. szpitalna 38, kraków. daily from 11:00-23:00.