Izdebka: The Izdebka - great for fish dishes and not only
The Izdebka, the name of which can be translated as a cubbyhole, is a tiny restaurant in a half-timbered fisherman's cottage dating back to 1844 in the main street of Hel. Tiny as it is, it is still a great place with a lot of character, with Kashubian ornaments and all kinds of interesting objects of local art on display. The owner, and chef at the same time, is a very nice lady, who always recognizes and welcomes us, even though we visit the place only a few times a year. The present dining-room had once been her uncle's cobbler's workshop.
September 2007 update: The place has been completely restored but they have tried to keep its old look although it is now much bigger, the kitchen having been moved to the back room. The cooking should be the same as the cook has not changed but the salad we got was no longer what we remember from the old 'Izdebka'. Perhaps it was because the owner was away on the day we were there, and as they say 'when the cat is away'....
Favorite Dish: Excellent fried, grilled or cooked fresh fish of all kinds, fantastic chowder. And last year we discovered they now had home baked cakes - the cheesecake was delicious.
When we re-visited the restaurant again on Chris's birthday this year, we were both treated to some hedgehog cake (see the picture). It's a pity we had not gone there the previous day to take a picture of the hedgehog when it was still complete. I am not surprised it didn't last long though.
- Food and Dining
Bar Ambra: Food with a seaview
Situated opposite the port but a little above it, this restaurant and the Oceania next to it, offer a lovely view of the sea if you take a table on the terrace. But we would never have betrayed our Izdebka had there not been a long queue for the tables there and the place had not been in the process of complete renovation this year.
We ordered fish and chips with a salad. We got twice as much fish as we had ordered, which of course made our bill soar, the chips were a little too pale and the salad lacked any dressing. Towards the end of the meal we were joined by a man who lit a cigarette as soon as he sat down - not nice company even outdoors. The sunshine and the seaview made it up to us for the inconvenience, but next time I'd rather wait for a table at our usual place.
We re-visited the place this year (2007) and again got much more fish than we had asked for, so it must be a regular practice. If you go there, ask about the weight of the fish as soon as you get it. In other restaurants they inform you how much your fish weighs on serving, but not here.
The restaurant is located in a wireless internet zone so, if you have your laptop with you, you can use it there.
Favorite Dish: Nothing I know of.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Smazalna Ryb: Fish just out of the sea
Right on the harbour, this restaurant is really only a glorified stall. It's rough and ready with seating on benches and tables shared with your fellow diners. The advantage of course is that the fish are so fresh you can practically imagine them leaping out of the sea and onto your plate. The smell of fish and chips was so pungent that we folowed our noses and ended up here starving and optimistic. At home we would give a place like this a wide berth but here we were sure we were in for a treat.
Favorite Dish: Many fish were offered here but we only sampled the cod. We learned the word for cod on our first day and asking for anything else would have been just too ambitious. Anyhow, the cod in Poland was just so delicious that we were happy to have it over and over. Portions here were large and accompanied by fat, tasty chips. A gourmet experience for just a few zlotie. Perfect.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Hel is a heaven for seafood!
Ulica Wiejska is the main street of Hel. If you walk down it, you're bound to see something you like. Don't forget, Hel is a fishing town, so be sure to get your fill of delicious, freshly caught fish and 'fruit of the sea.' I personally loved "Admiral Nelson" on Ulica Wiejska 62. Really good stuff, and a great cozy atmosphere. When you're going through the woods to get to the beach, don't worry. Even though it's a long way, there's food vendors on the other side, with cold drinks, beers, ice cream, delicious grilled Polish kielbasa (sausage), and grilled fish. There's plenty of variety for everyone.
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