Drop In: Manzana

Recent years have brought many exotic flavours to Krakow, from sushi to Argentine beef; Latin flavours, too, have popped up around the city like mushrooms after a rainstorm. Amongst the crowded restaurant market a few gems stand out from the rest. Some, with long lists of returning clients, are well-established on the gastronomic map, but other, newer venues are still waiting to be discovered.

If you are looking for something with a bit more spice and find yourself in Kazimierz, check out Manzana Restaurant & Bar (ul. Miodowa 11). On entering the venue you’re greeted by dark wood and Latin accents, and above all, a waft of enticing aromas. The open kitchen provides restaurant-goers with a front row seat on all the culinary action. The dishes themselves are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds – plate presentation is taken very seriously here. A full bar offers a nice variety of alcoholic beverages from beer to tequila and everything in between; wine lovers should also find something to tickle their fancy.

I went to Manzana to curb my curiosity. Their flier says “The Flavours of Mexico & Latin America”, which was a change from other restaurants’ claims to be “authentic”. I found the flier modest and it intrigued me enough to go inside. The waitress smiled as she handed me a menu and was very polite, patient and helpful while I chose my dish, something quite normal and expected in our Western neighbours but, sadly, still not often practised in Poland.

As this was my first time here I decided to try the most Mexican thing I could think of without burning a colossal hole in my wallet: chips and salsa to start with and tacos as my main. I had trouble deciding between the soft and the hard shells as well as in the choice of meat (chicken or beef), so when the waitress suggested I take one of each I gladly did. The chips and salsa arrived; they were fresh and sprinkled with red onions and green olives, and I barely noticed when I ate the entire serving.

The waitress came quickly and took the empty plate, only to return almost instantaneously with my tacos. As I mentioned earlier, the plate presentation was very appealing, but, if you have a big appetite I suggest getting something extra because the plate contents barely fed my little frame. Two tacos, a spoonful of Mexican rice with beans and a small helping of refried beans was all that I received. Despite the actual amount, the food was good; one personal observation I made was that although I am a big chicken fan I actually preferred the beef there, as it was spiced to perfection. The menu offers a variety of dishes, small and large, reasonably priced and expensive, so everyone will find something that suits their needs.

For weekday specials visit their website.

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