Under the vacationer radar and simply the correct measurement to discover, Poznań is stuffed with surprises, from cafes in hidden courtyards to riverbank summer time pop-ups. Its bourgeois facade masks its anarchic, rebellious facet, and it has pleasant folks, an entrepreneurial spirit and creative vibe. I additionally admire its intimacy at any time when I return from excursions, and its flat, bike-friendly geography giving the sense that the whole lot is close by, together with the countryside. With all that, I feel Poznań – midway between Warsaw and Berlin – could be the perfect place to begin for vacationers new to Poland. After all, that is the place our nation was based, again within the 10th century.
This restaurant deserves Michelin stars. Its muscly tattoed head chef, Adam Adamczak, might appear like a ruffian however really he’s a visionary, creating delicate dishes which can be historically Polish however with ultra-modern twists. I as soon as had beef tartare served with an upside-down wine glass of hay smoke atop. Every element, right down to uncommon little mountain flowers, is fantastically crafted, each ingredient high-quality. Follow the workers’s suggestions: although some mixtures sound odd, they work amazingly properly.
• Four-course tasting menu £28, Mickiewicza 9, oskoma.pl
Noriaki avenue artwork
I like graffiti, so it’s pleasing that one of many world’s nice avenue artists is from Poznań. He’s identified solely by the tag Noriaki, after the Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, and he has his personal distinct monochrome fashion. His fundamental character is a stick determine referred to as The Watcher, who has a periscope eye and will be noticed all over the place – on highway indicators, pavements and on partitions. The finest place to see it’s the previous city, on the nook of Szkolna and Paderewskiego streets. Noriak’s Watcher may also be noticed in Shoreditch, east London.
Mercure Poznań Centrum pastry store
Photograph: Tomek Fryszkiewicz
This conventional bakery is the one place the place I purchase Poznań’s speciality: the St Martin’s croissant (rogale świętomarcińskie). On 11 November yearly, St Martin’s Day commemorates a younger priest who cooked croissants for the poor; immediately, we eat tonnes of all of them yr spherical, and there’s even a museum dedicated to them right here. Folded precisely 81 occasions and formed like a horseshoe, the croissants are full of a paste of white poppy seeds, almonds and raisins, then topped with icing and extra nuts. You want a particular licence to bake them, and the Mercure’s store makes the perfect.
• Roosevelta 20, accorhotels.com
Zemsta is vastly vital in Poznań. It’s a small, neatly adorned anarchist bookstore the place you possibly can learn uncommon texts, eat vegan meals, drink Zapatista-made espresso and meet free-thinkers or radicals. Poland has seen a shift to the far proper, so locations like Zemsta, whose house owners hail from Poland’s oldest squat in Rozbrat, are actually vital as they encourage political debate and alter.
• Fredry 5/3a, zemsta.org, closed Sundays
In Poznań, having espresso with out consuming one thing candy feels bizarre. Beside the central Baltyk Tower skyscraper, formed like an enormous glass staircase, sits an previous printing home that now homes design firms. Also right here is Glanc, a hip cafe with marble tables and iron chairs. The espresso is nice however folks actually come for the selfmade desserts and truffles. Beautiful and vivid, they embrace Portuguese tarts, praline pastries, Belgian chocolate-piped buns and macaroons with little dollops of vibrant cream. Yum!
• Zwierzyniecka three, on Facebook
“Świetlica” means a kids’s playgroup however this cafe is for adults. It’s inside the trendy a part of Zamek (the imperial citadel) – really a neo-Romanesque palace constructed underneath German rule in 1910 and now an arts centre that hosts over 2,500 annual occasions, from movie festivals to live shows. Above the Great Hall’s two galleries, this cool cafe-bar is open till 10pm. I prefer to sip a non-alcoholic bomba (spinach, pineapple, orange juice, banana and linseed) right here earlier than enjoying a concert, or meet up with mates over just a few glasses of prosecco. In the lobby beneath, there are enormous beanbags to sit back out on.
• Święty Marcin 80/82, on Facebook
Tylko U Nas – U Dziadka
U Dziadka (pronounced “o-jadka”), as it’s identified to everybody, is a neighborhood establishment in style with staff and college students. Close to Old Market Square and run by Paulina, it’s like going to your grandparents’ home for lunch. Its chunky pan-fried pork chops are legendary, served with buttery potatoes and cabbage salad, and so low-cost (£three). Everyone eats collectively at one lengthy communal desk, or you will get takeaway.
• Szkolna 7, on Facebook, closes 6.30pm weekdays and four.30pm weekends
When first getting into this place, near Old Market Square, you suppose there’s just one room however past the primary dimly lit bar, corridors and stairs result in a courtyard and balconies, to corners for quiet chats, to basement raves, secret restaurant and room that holds 80-100 folks for jazz or improv gigs. Often open till daybreak, Dragon additionally serves nice meals – I like the French fries with orange sauce or red-curried shrimps. Above all, it’s stuffed with artists: if Poznań’s well-known film-music composer Krzysztof Komeda had been alive immediately, he’d be right here ingesting cherry vodka.
• Zamkowa three, on Facebook
This store sells Poznan’s finest ice-cream, and also you’ll in all probability have to queue to get it. While the town has seen a craze for liquid-nitrogen parlours within the final two years, Kolorowa serves “natural” ice-creams and sorbets made the old style method. I usually order strawberry cream, however the Snickers and blackcurrant-and-mascarpone flavours are actually in style, and chocolate-filled cones can be found on request. Opposite the Okrąglak constructing, its costs are sensational however it’s money solely and there’s no seating.
• Around £1.60 for 2 scoops, 27 Grudnia 21, no web site
Named after its proprietor, Borys, this restaurant – subsequent to Zamek – is the perfect breakfast place on the town. Borys serves meals to rival trendy fusion eating places, for round half the worth (£three.20), and continuously adjustments the menu. You can select between shakshuka, salads, porridges and french toast, all with uncommon twists like beetroot tartare or red-onion jam from previous household recipes. I like to recommend the brioche with black pudding, poached egg, bacon and caramelised onion – it’s astonishing!
• Kościuszki 84, on Facebook, open from 8am, closed Thursdays and Fridays
Wizz Air flies direct to Poznań from Luton, Birmingham and Doncaster/Sheffield.
Where to remain
Airbnb has choices throughout the town however many are run by brokers, so attempt for a real native home like Magda’s top-floor flat (from £30 an evening) within the hip district of Jeżyce.
Best time to go
Between June and late August, city seashores open alongside the Warta River’s grassy banks, linked at weekends by the dinky Water Tram.
£1 = 5 zlotys. A small beer prices from 5 zlotys and a espresso from three zlotys.
Daga Gregorowicz performs with the band Dagadana, which fuses Polish and Ukrainian music with jazz, digital and different global influences
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