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Nov 3, 2011 01:26 PM

Where are the best eats in Krakow, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Istanbul?

I'm going to Krakow, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Istanbul next week. I want to know where the best places to eat are. In particular, I would love to know where the best desserts are. I love all things pastry! Thank you.

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  1. I'm guessing you've seen my epic length post about our recent trip through Prague, Krakow and VIenna: We also went to Budapest last year, although just for a day.

    We don't have much of a sweet tooth so I can't claim to be an expert there although we did go to a couple of the real well-worn classics (Demel in Vienna, Gerbaud in Budapest) and I'm sure you'll love those.

    Looots of photos here:
    (You'll find Budapest there too, under the travel menu option)

    10 Replies
    1. re: kukubura

      Thank you so much! I did see your post and printed it out and checked out your blog. Your photos are AMAZING! Reading your blog made me so excited for my trip. I must ask - how do you take such amazing photographs, especially in low light? I've sent your blog to many of my friends so they can be jealous of my trip. :) Thank you.

      1. re: frostingfriends

        Thanks! We have a Canon DSLR for taking pics at home but it's a bit much to travel with so we got a Canon s95. It's pretty good in low light, shoots RAW pics (which is good for adjust the white balace after the fact) and has some other good features for travel. Plus it's tiny.

        And, yeah your trip is going to be incredible. Those are some amazing locations. How long will you be in each one?

        1. re: kukubura

          I can"t top Kukubura for details and pictures - seeing the Stary market made me wish I was in Krakow again. When I was there, it was a few days before Palm Sunday and all the old ladies were standing outside the market selling their homemade palms. That smoked cheese in your picture was great. I ate at the Grodek Restaurant in the Grodek Hotel. It was upscale but worth it. Had wild boar with Silesian dumplings and Hortobagy crepes and great wine.

          Also ate at Miod Malina and Wesele which are owned by the same people. Had Bigos, beetroot soup and plum tort at Miod and goose breast with cranberries in a red wine sauce with honey. Also ate at Chlopskie Jadlo which I went to with a group. I thought it would be touristy but it actually was nice and also reasonable. If you have a chance and like jazz visit Jazz Club U Moniaka. It is off the main market square and is down in a cellar. The owner, the sax player, played when the country was under communism and at that time jazz was considered subversive and was a form of protest. The guy is probably now in his high 60s or 70s (or maybe he just had a hard life) and sometimes there is a blind piano player too..

          I also saw Kukubura's great-grandfather (or was it great-great??) tomb stone at the Jewish cemetery. Krakow was an amazing city. I hope to go back since there is so much I did not see or eat.

          My son and I just got back from Turkey. We were there in October. All the food was freshly prepared even the simplest restaurant (for example, a roadside little restaurant on a highway in the middle of the mountains).

          In Instanbul we had fabulous meals at Antiochia in Beyoglu. They only have 8-10 tables so you should reserve if you want to go there. It is casual and a young crowd. We had the selections of mezes with a tomatoey pita type bread. These were probably the best mezes we had in Istanbul, argula salad with tomatoes and cucumbers and rolled durum in flat bread. Also had black apricots and ice cream for dessert. It is Antakyu cuisine and I guess that is a traditional dessert.

          The highlight was Ciya Sofrasi on the Asian side of the city. We took the ferry there and that was fun too. There are actually three restauants on that street owned by the same people. The restaurant has steam tables of maybe 20-25 mezes and 30-40 main courses and sides. You point at what you want and they weigh it. There actually is a menu of the main courses but you have to keep asking for it and since I didn't know Turkish and the waiters don't speak English, it took awhile to get the menu. We really liked the seaweed, spicy bean salad, dolmas, a lamb casserole with eggplant, tomatoes and peeper and pazi bolrani (swiss chard, chick peas, black-eyed peas and yogart) as well as a spinach dish. They also have very interesting desserts- I didn't write down what they were but you should try them. Many books say that this is the best restaurant in Istanbul- it just doesn't have the view, etc. The chef makes all the traditional food from all the different regions of Turkey that other restaurants aren't making any more. He is a well respected chef and I was told the menu changes alot. it It is very reasonable. We had a reservation but didn't need it.

          We also ate at Balika Sabahattin, a seafood restaurant. It is in Sultanahmet. It has an outdoor covered garden where we ate with little tree lights. It was fun and we shared a long table with a family that was celebrating the grandfather's 90th birthday. It is an old fashioned type of restaurant. You start with the mezes and then you select the fish you want and they cook the entire fish for your table. We had sea bass and snapper and they were excellent.

          We wanted to eat at Karakoy Lokantasi near the modern art museum but I didn't make a reservation when we got back to Istanbul our last night so we weren't able to get in to the restaurant. It is supposed to have very good lunches and dinners. It looks like a french bistro but it is turkish food.

          We had some wonderful food in other parts of Turkey also. Also the coast we had alot of excellent seafood. If you are going outside of Istanbul, let me know and I can tell you about some other restaurants.

          Have at least one Turkish coffee And one last story. We are driving from Konya to Anatyla and we stop somewhere in the mountains at a tiny hole in the wall restaurant. We can't read the menu of 6 choices but after one of the items, it says chicken so we choose that. After awhile, we hear pounding in the kitchen. They are pounding chicken breast that they cover with herbs and spices and saute. That is brought out to us with pita and a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with olive oil, lemon and spices. The meal was fabulous and probably cost us $6 or $7 since we ordered 2 cokes.

          1. re: suzieq4

            Great-great-great-great-great-...-grandfatther. We're talking 16th century here!

            1. re: suzieq4

              I loved Ciya Sofrasi. It's a fabulous twist on modern Turkish cooking and we ended up going there almost every night during our last trip to Istanbul. Taking the ferry over to the Asian side of the Bosphorus is part of the whole experience.

              1. re: suzieq4

                Suzieq4 - thank you so much for your recommendations! We ate at Wesele in Krakow and LOVED it. The atmosphere is as good as the food. I wanted to go to Miod Malina but we didn't get around to it...we were too busy stuffing ourselves with sausage and other street food and pastries. We had fabulous food in Turkey. We read so much about Ciya Sofrasi so we ate there one night. Everyone should take the trip to the Asian side. Lots of good food and shopping over there. We really don't know what we were eating but we loved all of it. We just took the waiter with us to the hot food area and pointed at everything we wanted. What we also loved about Ciya was the desserts. They had a lot of candied things that were amazing. I did try one Turkish coffee which I could barely finish. My friend drank it without wincing. We bought some to bring home and now all of our luggage smells like coffee. One thing we ate that was fun was chicken breast pudding. We didn't realize that we were eating it at the time and we decided to look it up and we found out we were eating chicken breast pudding where they pulverize the chicken into a powder and then mix it with mile and sugar and cinnamon. Sounds gross but it's good. I want to go back to Turkey to travel to other parts of the country and taste more Turkish delights. I loved your post, thank you.

                1. re: frostingfriends

                  Thanks so much for your response. We did the same thing at Ciya Sofrasi- pointed at what we wanted and it was great. I only wish we could have stayed in Istanbul another 3 or 4 days - there was so much to eat and so much to see. Also next time I go to Krakow, I need to make sure someone goes with me. I wanted to go eat sausage from the blue van under the bridge but I thought as a woman alone, it wouldn't be a smart idea. And TastyTrix confirmed that. She was the only woman.

                  1. re: suzieq4

                    I can't speak for Trix and obviously she wasn't alone, but I don't think she ever felt unsafe, just more like she was peeking at a traditionally male ritual. But definitely that area feels kind of desolate at night, especially after Wenceslas Square. Still, coming from Baltimore it definitely didn't feel particularly dangerous!

              2. re: kukubura

                Kukubura - We just got back from our trip. We had about 4 nights in Krakow and Istanbul and 2 nights (not enough time) in the rest of the cities. I can't tell you how many times my friend and I said "TastyTrix" during our trip! We would come across a place we saw on your blog and we would say "if it's good enough for TastyTrix, it's good enough for us!" We brought some heavy duty cameras with us - I have a canon EOS T2i and my friend brought her Canon EOS 60d that weighs a TON. We had some of the best food of our lives during our trip and ate at a lot of places from your blog. Several places we wouldn't have known about if it weren't for your blog so thank you! We are major sausage lovers and I think we ate our weight in sausage during the trip. I wish I could have brought the blue van man from Krakow home with me.

                1. re: frostingfriends

                  Awesome! Glad you had a great time. Are you going to list all the places you went or post the pics anywhere? Glad we could help!

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