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7 Tastes of Lviv

It’s much easier to remember a city not by some advice from generic internet guides, but by tasting it and catching the best scents. In this issue we’re taking a walk down the memory lane through the tastes of Lviv — well, except for meat and beer — that you can never mistake for anything else.

Espresso at «Svit Kavy»

Waking up with the city must be done in a way that makes sense in it. In Odesa it’s visiting the Privoz market to buy freshly-caught fish; in Kyiv, it’s taking a ride on the first subway train; in Lviv, it’s slowly drinking a delicious cup of coffee. It has to be an espresso. And make it double. Even if you usually drink latte macchiato or any alternatives, here you just have to go with the espresso. First of all, the locals absolutely love it. Second, according to the owner of the cafe, espresso is the best way to uncover the true taste of the coffee. And last but not least, it was espresso that started this small family cafe with only a couple of tables that forever changed the coffee culture in the city. Today, “Svit Kavy” has its own roastery where both their in-house and to-go coffee is roasted and it’s now a network of four cafes, one of which is in Kyiv.

Real Creamy Banosh at “Restoratsiya Bachevskykh”

The city just flies by in front of your eyes: people, smells, events seem to come and go and then there’s you - alone in the middle of it all. The hand on your watch is starting its second circle of the day which means it’s time for lunch. Time to eat banosh. Banosh is the best reward for a productive day. Whether you’re taking a tour of the city or working on important business matters, if you’re feeling accomplished — you deserve banosh. Warm and soft, with crumbly salted cheese - it teases your tastebuds and melts in your mouth. We’d also recommend adding white mushrooms, some cracklings with onions and top it all off with a little bit of liqueur. Oh, and at “Bachevskykh” they serve banosh on a vintage iron. It’s a colorful place that you can’t leave without taking a picture.

Wild Strawberry Liqueur at the Bakery Pharmacy

The full name of this place is “Pid Zolotoyu Zirkoyu, Kondyterska-Apteka Ionovykh”. Even though it was opened in the place of old pharmacy in the center of Lviv, it’s first and foremost a bakery. As the locals say, it’s a bakery with heavenly desserts. As a memory of times past, they still serve the bestseller from Ionovykh pharmacy - flavored liqueurs, that to this day are being prepared by following the old recipes of the Mikolyashiv factory. For the first taste, it’s a safe bet to start with wild strawberry, even though it’s hard to pick between that, herbal cassis, raspberry, cherry, and limoncello.

Your Personal Taste in “Pretty High Kitchen”

People often visit the city of a lion for the experience. There are many places here where going to a cafe is not only food but also a small attraction, all in one package. The unusual gastro-experience has reached its peak at newly-opened “Pretty High Kitchen”. You have no menus or waiters - only chefs and some technical staff that helps you figure out what you’d like to eat. They ask you about the ingredients you’d like to eat, how you want them cooked and how big your dish will be. After that, chefs will tell you how much it would cost. The dish you get is only revealed when it gets on the table.

Chocolate and Fire at “Pid Syn’oyu Flyazhkoyu”

Want to turn dinner into the most romantic event of your life? Order some fondue. We grew up on pop-culture and it’s never wrong: some fruit combined with some thick fragrant melted chocolate and liqueur is a 10 out of 10 experience. Fondue is a dish with a strong romantic flair. The best fondue in town is made at “Syn’a Flyazhka”. It’s one of those cases when the place adds to the dish: an intimate, dimly-lit cafe has only a few tables and long history: it shares the name with the very first cafe in Austro-Hungarian Empire to which Lviv once belonged. Everything in this place is a reminder of that - warm fondue, coffee made on an open fire following an ancient recipe, soft candlelight and shadows on the walls. It’s a place to either fall in love or to put on a dramatic face and ponder on the times long gone - when the trees seemed huge, the empire seemed unbreakable and love seemed eternal. And if you’re really hungry, aside from chocolate they have four more kinds of fondue: cheese, vegetable, meat and “The Great Gabsburg” - a huge one with three kinds of meat, cheese, and sauces.

Cafe The Taste of Old Galicia at “Trapezna Idey”

“A young lamb stewed in pomegranate sauce with a white pea roll combined with blue onion stewed in wine and honey” — at the fairly secret establishment that is “Trapezna Idey” they don’t look for easy solutions. It’s located in a basement that feels like a museum where the secrets of Galician cuisine are kept safe and under constant research. The spirit of a mystic order is all around here - from meticulously picked recipes in a fairly short menu to the furniture and tableware. They say that not every person that lives in Lviv knows about this place. Those who know, however, are more than enough to keep the tables occupied at all times so you might want to book one ahead.

Lviv cheesecake at Dnister Panorama Bar

There’s said to be over 30 different kinds of a Lviv cheesecake. But to those who lived in this city for at least a little, it’s obvious that that number is way too small to be real. There is no uniform opinion on what works best in this dessert that has the texture of fatty home-made cheese and chocolate glaze — raisins, lemon or orange zest, poppy seeds, coconut flakes, nuts or apples. Each option is worth trying and experiencing. Daria Tsvek — a famous Ukrainian chef — is often considered to be the author of this legendary cheesecake, but it wasn’t her who came up with the recipe - she just popularized it by including it into her book “Sweet Biscuits”. She suggests adding 3-4 boiled potatoes to the dessert. It’s said to be the way both Daria’s mother and grandmother used to cook it. If it’s your first time, we suggest trying the cheesecake in Panorama Bar at Premier Hotel Dnister in Lviv. They serve it with citrons and their advice is to combine it with a cup of coffee and the fantastic view over the old town. We can’t argue with that.