Sunday is in most countries a day of family and friends gathering at one table for brunches or dinners. This weekend we went to visit our family in Cracow – a stunning dating back to 7th century city. Since the town offers infinite range of restaurant selection together with a choice of location and views, the decision wasn`t that simple. However, a good friend of mine suggested only one place for this type of gathering – a restaurant Sąsiedzi. I quickly googled the place and to my satisfaction it turned out it has the Michelin Guide recommendation. If so, we go!
I made the reservation over the phone. A very pleasant voice picked up, mentioned the name of the restaurant and asked for assistance. It would be a little bit more engaging, if she mentioned her name, however, it did not affect making the reservation concisely and smoothly. In the end, all the details were confirmed again and the girl expressed sincere wait for our arrival.
We reached the Sąsiedzi restaurant right on the booking time. We were sinecerely greeted by Łukasz and Andżelika – waiting staff. Since I mentioned over the phone that I requested a secluded, private table for 5, Łukasz led us to a perfectly selected place in orangery. Right after him came Andżelika with menus. She started with the beverage that arrived within 5 minutes after it was ordered. The orangery was beautifully decorated in a rustic tavern style with hand knitted tablecloths. Hanging cups, wicker gadgets, attached dried herbs, brass candleholders, wildflowers – it all created a unique ambience, an ambience of cosiness, home, warmth and Polish hospitality. If I ask you to dig deep in your memories when you used to dine at your granny’s as a child – that`s the feeling accompanying the experience of being in the restaurant.
The menu itself wasn`t in a perfect shape, I`d expect a solid and simpler cover with less graphics inside but it is not about the menu itself – it`s about the food ! Andżelika was there with us fully hands on, anticipating our needs. Thanks to her, we didn`t end up with piles of uneaten food. It was undoubtedly up to our capabilities. It simply tells me that the staff is not aggressively upselling – guest satisfaction over revenue. Well done!
We ordered a mushroom soup, traditional breaded pork chop, pancakes with spinach, Hungarian potato pancakes and a pork chop with sauerkraut. Andżelika repeated the order once again to avoid any misunderstandings.
The food arrived within 25 minutes. For seamless service both Andżelika and Łukasz brought the dishes. Andżelika remembered who’d ordered what – which tells me that that the service is flawless and I don`t have to repeat myself. We did not break our conversation, the waiting staff was just discreet. All was served in a very simple, traditional, yet felicitous way. The mushroom soup was delicate, aromatic and creamy. The bread was – crispy, super crispy – all of us 5 finished it till the last crumb. The breaded pork chop was well-fried, with beautiful golden colour and tender inside. I think, my favourite were the pancakes, visually tempting and tasted like… I`m sorry Google can`t translate! Outstanding isn`t enough! The best pancakes with spinach I have ever had. The Hungarian potato pancakes were just savoury, the goulash was excellently spiced and the meat was delicate. I didn’t try the pork chop with sauerkraut but I could tell of the speed it was disappearing from my brother -in law`s plate – must have been toothsome. Right after a few bites (not at the end as it`s common) Andżelika came to verify if the food was up to our expectations – very nice of her.
As far as the cleanliness is concerned, it all made impression as if someone had just finished the housework, simply spotless. The only thing I noticed were the small table lamps and it seemed like they had been forgotten for a few days.
The dessert was offered after but we didn`t have much time so we asked for the check. It was clear and proper, elegantly presented. Andżelika thanked us genuinely for coming to Sąsiedzi and sincerely invited in the future. Just before we left I asked Łukasz if I could see the whole restaurant. Although the place was quite busy he took his time to do a private, detailed tour around. He also presented their “cherry on top” – a new wine cellar that is in the top 3 in Cracow. Splendid, I have to admit.
The whole dining experience was pampering. From the very beginning, the staff participated in this tasteful journey. As far as the interpersonal skills, engagement, dedication and care are concerned – the staff break the limit. Taste wise – absolutely worth paying a visit. Oh, if only the staff had name tags on, that would enable the interactions from the guest point of view – it helps building deeper engagement and later recognition. Needless to say, it all could be achieved by caring ownership that Łukasz praised openly. I will be there soon – it is a wonderful feeling to dine in a place where both guests and employees are happy. Spa for taste buds indeed.
Restaurant is opened since 2010 and consecutively starting from 2012 is recommended by Michelin Guide. For booking details, menu and their recently updated wine list please visit the Sąsiedzi website.