I stumbled across Bar Vega while on a hunt for soy milk (incidentally, there is a health food shop across the street that stocks the best selection of soy milk and other items that could be classified as “health food” that I’ve seen here. And I’ve been looking). As it was the closest vegetarian restaurant to the current focal points of my life, it seemed a suitable place to begin my sampling of Krakow’s vegetarian cuisine.
Vega is located at ul. Krupnicza 22, about 5 minutes’ walk from the Planty, and very close to the Rynek Glowny. I think it may be one of the original vegetarian restaurants in Krakow (the first location on sw. Gertrudy opened in 1995, and this one in 1999), and so, I had relatively high expectations. Although the environment reminded me a bit of Angelica Kitchen, it was, of course, nothing like Angelica Kitchen – ok, that’s not entirely true. It did have a very warm, homey-feeling environment. But food-wise, I was expecting something a little bit more Asian-influenced, and this was definitely more Polish-influenced vegetarian cuisine.
Most menu items are 9-15 zloty – cheap, but not as cheap as some other nearby [non-vegetarian] restaurants. There are many typical Polish foods, like zapiekanki (open-faced baguette sandwiches), golabki (stuffed cabbages), pierogi, and nalesniki (crepes), as well as a variety of soups and a salad bar (you can mix-and-match up to 6 salads to make an entree). As the weather has been exceptionally damp and cool lately, I decided to try what was described as a “lasagne” (14 zloty), as well as the “dodatki” salads (a side of 2 salads) for 6 zloty. The lasagne seemed to be a popular item that day, but like my other Eastern European lasagne experience, it was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of pasta, there were potatoes – not bad, but not exactly what I was looking for. The portion size was generous, though, and it made a hearty and filling meal. It looks entirely unappetizing in this picture, largely because I forgot to snap it until after I’d eaten 70% of the lasagne.
In my opinion, the salads were the real winners. I can’t tell you what was in them because I ordered by pointing at what looked good, but they were both excellent. One seemed to be salatka Grecka (Greek salad, very popular here), while the other had what might have been soy beans, some parsley, green onions, pepper, celery, and…other stuff. But that one was my favourite meal item overall.
I will definitely be heading back to Bar Vega at some point in the future, and I intend to order the golabki.
Note: After several more trips to Bar Vega, I have lowered my opinion. The food there is always just a bit weird. It always looks good when it’s going onto your plate, but it never tastes as good as it looks, and something is always a bit off. This includes the salads. For a better option (which is closer to the Rynek Glowny), I’d recommend Chimera. (18/07/2011)
ul. Krupnica 22
Entrees: 9-15 zloty