This time of year ? when the exhilaration brought by the New Year wears off, and the hope promised by the early spring seems still too far away ? can be difficult. One finds oneself looking out the window into the ever-gray surroundings just a bit too often. Both the body and the soul seem to demand a break.
What first comes to mind is a refreshing week in some tropical, sunny resort, with no issues other than whether to tan or take a plunge in the sea. Unfortunately, most of us are not able, because of time or money, to take such excursions, and the biggest break we can hope for is the short one for coffee. If that is the case, it is worthwhile making the most of our brief refreshment breaks.
Among the many cafes in Krakow, some are better than others, and one of the most interesting ones is certainly Botanica Cafe on ul. Bracka 9. The place welcomes its guests with a giant tree-shaped metal sculpture, neatly harmonized with the counter. Green is the dominating color of the interior, and the fauna theme appears here and there in pictures, furniture design, and plants.
Some may argue that the extensive use of metal in the tables, chairs, lamps and sculptures may give the cafe a cold appearance.
But the atmosphere is much warmer and happier inside than out, and the green color is rather lively and soothing.
The hubbub of the voices in the usually crowded cafe does not scare you away; it encourages you next to the diners at the small tables and share in the conversations. Among the usual visitors are people of various ages and traits, with a slight majority being students, both Polish and foreign, young people and tourists.
The menu includes a variety of coffees (from 5.5 zloty up) and teas (4-7 zl), which can be accompanied by a piece of cake or pie. If one has more time, or decides to turn the coffee break into a lunch, it is possible to order something more substantial, such as the “podpBomyk” toast (a Botanica specialty made from traditional Old Polish bread) or a variety of tarts (9-11 zl).
The lunch dishes are quite highly rated, as the tarts have been called “the best in Krakow” by one newspapers, and the menu states that the cafe has sold more than 95.000 pieces of “podpBomyk” toast since 1997.
This February is a big month for Botanica, with the cafe adding a big new room, with a mezzanine and lower murals. The staff says this will make Botanica the biggest cafe in the city.
So whether you are looking for a pleasant coffee break, a tasty lunch, or just a moment of relaxation during a day of busy sightseeing, Cafe Botanica is certainly worth a visit.
Botanica is on ul. Bracka 9, a 3-minute walk from the Main Square. For additional information, including the menu, visit www.cafebotanica.pl.