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Chimera: Great atmosphere at crazy pub
I was in Chimera technically twice but the second time in 2005 I had only a cup of caffee in beautiful garden yard but I noticed that they probably doubled prices since my first visit soon after opening in 2003 or so. Well, the caffee was excellent and I remember that they offered some light meals including some for vegetarians (dish of cheese). And first of all the interior design and decor is magical, crazy, totally surreal - go to see it.
Our amusing Warsaw friends booked a table and invited us for the evening or rather half a night to Chimera pub and we had great, great time this time in fairy-like, magical cellar hidden in a courtyard basement. I was impressed by the surrealistic, colotful, totally crazy, mixed, partly postindustrial decor. Whenever you go there please take a picture of that crazy toilet/restroom lock :-) This place crowded by mostly (but not only) young folks has an atmosphere and charm especially after first beers and drinks when some more crazy and amused young people started to run from table to table looking for new friends mostly of opposite gender. Some preferred to look at one point and wait. Music played by DJ included most pop/rock hits of that time, some songs were sang by a company by one table where someone celebrated birthday.
Favorite Dish: I had potato pancakes (low risk meal) with chanterelles (25 zl now - 2006) and it was OK, nothing special though.
Urszula had roast duck with apples - very risky meal and expensive (36 zl = 9.5 euros). It tasted quite good, meat should be a bit less dry and warmer.
Try strong Chimera drink (15 zl), don't forget to take a deep breath before and break after. Cheers! Do enjoy!
- the most important: do call them and made a reservation at least for Friday and Saturday evening or come very early (at 6-7 pm);
- it's not a silent place for contemplation rather noisy pub with music played by DJ but you can hear your next neighbour, no worries;
- it offers lively pub atmosphere, it's not a fancy, stylish restaurant;
- it's not a cheap place by Polish standarts especially for food lovers but not a very expensive as well, although for that price you may eat more and mostly better food in Kompania Piwna, Podwale 25; expect to pay some 20 zl (5.3 euros) per soup and 20 - 40 zl per main course;
- after first 2-3 hours whenever I wanted to use their toilet/restroom I had to wait a bit, so don't be the last minute guy like a few ones; I gave them a way;
- mysterious drink called Chimera (15 zl) is strong and addictive especially when it goes with beer; it changed two 2-legged young guys into sleeping stones which paid attention pub security but the two strongmen left them alone when discovered that they were still 2-legged although sleepy;
- I had an impression that the pub staff wanted to close business at about 1 am (they stopped to play music, started to run and clean tables etc.) but... it was lively Saturday night and the folks were half a way of their drinks.... soon they started to play music again till some 3 am. They claim that they are open till the last consumer... I see a job for malicious journalists... to test them.
Pub Na Skarpie: Large beer for 1 (one!) euro :-)
I found this outdoor (probably open seasonally, say from May till September) pub by coincidence crossing Rydz Smigly Park and it had no name :-). I stopped there as soon as I noticed many locals. Well, many locals, especially the young ones, in any pub in Warsaw means that cheap beer is on tap. This crowded place also offers a few simple and cheap meals but do not expect anything special. For locals it's first of all the place to have a beer with friends and not to go bancrupt.
Don't expect menu in any other language than Polish. Let me translate:
1. Karkowka - grilled meat from the neck of beef or pork, 16 zl;
2. Sish kebab - hmm... it looked different than in Turkey; 14 zl;
3. Szaszlyk - small pieces of various meat and vegetables put together on a rod and grilled, 15 zl;
4. piers w owocach - chicken breast with fruits, 15 zl;
5. kielbasa - grilled sausage, 8 zl;
6. kaszanka - a traditional Polish blood sausage 6 zl;
7. salatka grecka - Greek salad (hmm... not at all Greek, bring magnifying glass to find feta - traditional Greek cheese; 8 zl)
8. ziemniaki zapiekane - roasted potatoes, 4 zl
9. frytki - chips = French fries, 4 zl.
And that's all. Meals 1-4 are served with chips, mixed salad (small and not good) and sauces (skip them :-), 5 with salad and bread, 6 with bread (included in price).
Favorite Dish: I've had the cheapest beers on tap in Warsaw (from a plastic cup): a local Pilsener called Krolewskie pelne (Royal full) by Warka brewery cost only 4 zl (1.05 euros) per 0,5 l, while Polish premium lager Zywiec - 5 zl. Krolewskie (links below) was surprisingly good in this place but I preferred Zywiec :-).
We had pseudo-Greek salad (a lot of green cabbage leaves, onion, lemon) and good karkowka + 2 cups of beer. We paid in total 33 zl (8.7 euros). Credit cards accepted. Tipping? As you want... it's a self-service pub and most don't pay tips. Look at the writing above the desk: SAMOOBSLUGA. You must first make an order there, then take a seat and wait.
If you want to try something Polish, take "kaszanka." I usually like it a lot but... you may not :-), just take a try (only 1.6 euros here, at least 3 times more in downtown restaurants).
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Lezaki: Lezaki in the Old Town
Lezaki, in English "deck-chairs", is a cozy restaurant in the Old Town. It is situated right near the famous/infamous strip club "Loch". It has its unique ambience, very intimate actually, so it is a good place for a romantic dinner.
Favorite Dish: As far as food is concerned, I'd traditionally recommend pierogi - for only 13 zlotys, which is a good price. If you're a beer fan (I'm not), it is also rather cheap here - 7 Pln for 0,5 l of Okocim.
What I did enjoy there was Irish coffee with Jameson - delicious! But the main reason why I like this place is not so much its food or drinks as its ambience - cozy, private, with nice chill-out music in the background. Also, it is located in the Old Town, which is one of the most beautiful places in Warsaw.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Column Bar: Try bison vodka and Zywiec beer:-)
Some of VT-ers staying in 5-star Le Royal Meridien Bristol Hotel surely had to visit hotel Column Bar located conveniently close to the lobby on the ground floor (open 10 am - 2 am). It's a quite large, a bit dark hall with perdectly supplied bar, and small and larger tables surrounded by very comfortable, soft chairs and sofas. It's a very expensive bar as for Poland. Polish beer cost 21 zl (0.33 l; compare: 6 zl for 0.4 l in good Piwna Kompania restaurant), coctails mostly over 30 zl.
Warning: it's a popular meeting place for Warsaw's high society, political figures, media and business leaders. Be careful :-). I saw a face of Marek Borowski at night there and I almost wanted to change the hotel at first but luckily after one more drink I slept quite well.
Favorite Dish: You may order one of numerous well-known coctails, short or long drinks but I'd like yo recommend you something Polish.
The only beer served on tap is Polish Zywiec (it belongs to Dutch Heineken now) which is a perfect choice and cost 21 zl per 0,33 l. In my opinion it's the best of Polish brew, maybe except some locally available brands. Zywiec Jasne Pelne (Zywiec light full) is Premium Lager beer (somerhing between Pale Lager and Pilsner) with light gold colour and grassy, slightly herbal (thyme, sage ?) notes.
If you like strong, sweet and bottom-fermented brew choose Zywiec Porter (9.5% alc) which is a Baltic Porter, top fermented lager in fact. It's dark brown pour with red highlights, very thick, very creamy. The flavor is great, roasted malt, lots of bitter chocolate, coffee, prunes, toffee, raisins, , plums, and slight notes of smoke.
For more adventerous folks I'd recommend to try Polish traditional "Zubrowka" that is bison vodka (Bison Grass Vodka; 19 zl per 40 ml). It's a brand of dry herb-flavoured vodka distilled from potatoes. It's mixed with a tincture made of Hierochloe odorata, often called bison grass as referring to common wrong belief this grass was favourite one for European bison (wisent; Bison bonasus) which still lives exclusively in Poland and borderland of Belarus though. Some wisents live in strict forest reservation very close to my hometown :-). I have to get a permission from the Ministry and go to see them someday :-).
1. Do not try to pronounce Zywiec or Zubrowka, write it down and show the writing to your bartender.
2. Brr... "zubrowka" is a strong spirit, but goes quite well with thick peach juice and ice cubes surely in a company of good friends :-). Cheers!
- Beer Tasting
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Soma: The Only On-site Brewery in Warsaw is gone!
The first, and probably the only, micro brewery in Warsaw. At the ground floor they offered mostly beer and music and at the first floor there was a clubby restaurant.
The beers were really worth of trying and came in various tastes.
Unfortunatelly Soma is gone. It is expected that some other on-site micro brewery will be opened in May 2005 - look around the Arkadia shopping mall for its launch!
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