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Alter Ego (Krakow, Poland)

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Address: ul.Floriańska 13, Kraków

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      07.02.2012 10:32
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      A nice restaurant which serves my favourite tasty potato pancakes

      == Alter Ego, Krakow. ==
      Alter Ego, Krakow is a medium size pub which serves a wide variety of traditional Polish food including Pierogi and Potato Pancakes. I first dined at this restaurant back in August 2011 and recently had the pleasure of eating there again.


      == Location ==
      Alter Ego in Krakow is located at Florianska 13. You cannot reach the restaurant by car as it is in the heart of the city, but it is a really nice walk from either the market square or through the park depending on which direction you are arriving from.

      There are regular trams and buses which run to the city centre and I would estimate that Alter Ego is within a 10 - 15 minute walk away from most of them.


      == The Restaurant ==
      As you walk down the alleyway to approach Alter Ego you will walk through an outside courtyard area, in the summer months this courtyard is filled with tables and chairs to enjoy an outdoor dining experience, however at the moment the only seating areas are inside the restaurant.

      The courtyard area is spacious and even when it is filled with tables and chairs there is still enough room to move around freely and keep the privacy between tables.

      Inside the restaurant is split into 2 rooms, as far as I could see there was no difference between the rooms, it is just the way the building has been designed. There are a lot of tables and chairs and when we went it was quite quiet so we were given a free choice of where we wanted to sit.

      Once seated our waiter came over with the menus and took our drinks order. Our waiter was friendly and helpful, although when he was taking the drinks order he didn't write them down which resulted in one drink being forgotten about, but when we reminded him he apologised and brought it straight over to us with no questions asked.

      The decor in the restaurant is really unusual, the walls are painted in a yellow-ish colour and are decorated with a lot of unusual art that has been painted directly onto the wall. The art is hard to describe, it is almost like some random scenes and the people in the scenes have speech bubbles with Polish words inside. I don't understand these, but the people I was dining with told me that they are supposed to be quite humorous.


      == Menu ==
      The menu in Alter Ego is mainly traditional Polish cuisine, however they do also have quite a range of other European dishes including French and German cuisine. The menu is written in Polish and has an English translation underneath. The translations are pretty accurate and I was able to choose what I wanted to eat with no translation help from my friends.

      At the back of the menu there is a list of beers, soft drinks and a range of tea and coffee. The drinks part of the menu actually covers a whole 3 or 4 pages and includes an entire page of cocktails! We played it safe and ordered beer but after reading the cocktail list I think I may have to try some of them on my next visit. I think I quite like the idea of visiting here in the summer and enjoying a few cocktails in the courtyard area relaxing in the sunshine. Which reminds me, I must point out that although Alter Ego is advertised as a restaurant, you don't actually have to eat while you are here, they are quite happy for their customers to simply sit and enjoy a drink without ordering any food.

      The menu offers everything from starters and soups through to main courses and deserts. During our summer visit last year we ordered some garlic bread from the starters menu to snack on while we were enjoying a quiet drink in the courtyard. I remember the garlic bread was very nice, it was baked just right with a nice crisp edge to each piece and just enough garlic sauce to give it a good flavour without being too over powering. On our most recent visit we didn't order any starters, but we did enjoy a meal from the main courses selection.

      For my main meal I ordered Potato Pancakes. I chose these as I have eaten them in the past at other restaurants and we have also had an attempt at making our own at home so I was keen to try the Alter Ego version. When they arrived I instantly felt my mouth start to water at the sight of these 2 large potato pancakes presented to me on a large plate with a side salad and a container of sauce, I'm still not sure what the sauce was, but it was white and tasted nice! Almost like a sour cream sauce. The potato pancakes were cooked really well, much better than our attempts at making them at home and quite possibly the nicest ones I have eaten in a restaurant so far. Potato pancakes are as they sound, pancakes made from potato with onion and possibly some other flavourings inside depending on how the different restaurants make them. They are about half a centimetre in thickness and although 2 doesn't sound many, they are actually really filling and I don't think I could eat more than 2! I am told the salad part is nice, however I don't like salad so I didn't eat this part. It did look nice and fresh though so I would imagine to those who do eat salad it would be nice.

      After feeling full from our main meal we are yet to try the puddings part of the menu, however from looking around the restaurant, they do look rather nice and if the quality of them is anything like the main meals then I will more than happily go back to try them!

      In the past we have also eaten a chicken dish here. This dish came served with fries and a salad and although the fries were cooked really nice and I enjoyed eating them, I didn't really enjoy the chicken. The chicken was served in small chunks and although the flavour was delicious, I found the meat itself was really dry and I needed to take a drink in-between each mouthful to be able to swallow it.


      == Prices ==
      I think the prices in Alter Ego are reasonable. The starters and soups are priced between 5 and 15zl and are an ideal size for those who fancy a light bite to eat rather than a full meal. The main menu meals vary from around 15 to 25zl and the puddings are no more than 12zl. At the current exchange rate (January 2012) of £1 being equal to 5.3zl I would say these prices are great and well worth a trip to Alter Ego.


      == Service ==
      The service we received was great. Our waiter was polite and when he forgot one of our drinks he was apologetic and rectified the problem straight away. Other than the one drink being forgotten it is impossible to fault the service we received and I would be quite happy to dine here again and feel comfortable with the staff and surroundings.


      == Toilets ==
      The toilets in Alter Ego are located in the corner of one of the rooms. They are kept reasonably well and are clean and kept stocked up with plenty of toilet paper and soap.


      == Wheelchair Access ==
      I would say Alter Ego is wheelchair friendly. The restaurant itself is all on one level and there is plenty of room to move between tables and there would be more than enough space to manoeuvre a wheelchair. The toilets are on the same level and although they aren't exactly huge I would still say there is enough room to be able to move around comfortably. There is one small step in the courtyard area which could possibly pose as a problem if you went there alone, but from the impression I got of the staff I feel they would be happy to assist anyone if needed.


      == Overall ==
      Overall I would highly recommend Alter Ego in Krakow. The food quality is good, the only complaint I could have is that the chicken dish we ate was too dry for me, but this my personal preference and hasn't put me off! The service is great and I like the location of the restaurant too as it is central to both the shopping area of Krakow and the historic market square which makes it an ideal place to visit no matter where you are visiting.

      Thanks for reading :)

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