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Towarowa 16, Kolobrzeg, Baltic Coast
94 354 73 36
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The restaurant under the grapevines
November 14, 2011
Best of IgoUgo
Pod Winogronami is a restaurant we came across this year when visiting Kolobrzeg on the Polish Baltic Coast. In June we went to a different restaurant Ale Ryba which I have reviewed and although the restaurant itself was attractive enough the food ...
Pod Winogronami is a restaurant we came across this year when visiting Kolobrzeg on the Polish Baltic Coast. In June we went to a different restaurant Ale Ryba which I have reviewed and although the restaurant itself was attractive enough the food wasn't very appetising so when we revisited in September we decided to try the restaurant directly opposite on Towarowa Street.
Translated, Pod Winogronami means under the grapes or grapevines. I immediately thought that this was a strange name for a restaurant near the sea and from the outside it looked more like a restaurant you would find in Croatia or a courtyard/back garden of any pension in any Slavic country apart from Poland.
The theme of the restaurant is associated with vines and designed to look like a garden where you can sit out under the rattan roofs with grapevines trailing while you eat your dinner and drink a glass of wine. All seems very odd to me as Poland isn't known for its wine. In fact Poles are still very much vodka drinkers and have only just started getting into drinking wine. Also,there isn't a great selection of wines on the menu if any - only house wine served in a carafe.
Putting this to one side I have to say that this is a very pretty restaurant even if the grape motifs are a little over the top. They appear not only on the walls, panels of the oak bar, engraved in the tiles on the floor but on the table cloths and seat covers of the chairs as well.
It wasn't such a sunny day when we visited in September so decided to sit inside. It was early - around 12 noon so the restaurant wasn't full.
The young waiter dressed in the usual uniform of black trousers and white shirt came to our assistance as soon as we entered and showed us to a table which was near a window overlooking a small street selling souvenirs and not far away from the arched bar and toilets. This was fine as I like to see what is going on outside and I like to look at the many coloured bottles lining the bar. Nice to know that the toilets aren't too far away either - loved the turquoise colour of the toilet door. He was a friendly chap but a bit edgy - couldn't wait to take our order. I am very slow when it comes to looking at a menu. He asked us if we liked anything to drink and as it was early we just ordered mineral water for my husband, orange juice for my granddaughter and I had a small beer. Off he went quickly to the bar while we scrutinised the offerings from the kitchen.
Our initial aim was to order fish and chips because if you remember, the meal we had at Ale Ryba in June was disastrous. Having looked at this menu we were both tempted to try something different although there was nothing here that I hadn't tasted before or even cooked at home.
First dishes on the menu were salads and quite a grand selection including old favourites like tuna, mozzarella, prawn and Feta. I noticed a blue cheese salad and knew that if my son had been with us on this occasion he would have wolfed that dish down but I passed as it would be too filling even though I love any sort of blue cheese. I didn't really fancy a salad so moved on to the hot starters which apparently on a busy day will take 20 - 30 minutes to deliver to the table - so that suggests that this is a very popular and busy restaurant during July and August.
From the hot starter menu I chose shrimps cooked in garlic butter served on toast and my husband chose a traditional Polish soup with kielbasa (Polish sausage) as the main ingredient. My granddaughter also had a bowl of this which she loved. I tasted some of the soup - the flavour was good but the soup too watery. I prefer chunky soups. My shrimps were okay, a bit on the small side but tasty enough cooked in a rich garlicky butter sauce. We didn't have to wait too long for our starters - about ten minutes.
Moving on to the main meals - there is a good selection of meat dishes including pork, steak, chicken, duck. Nothing too fancy here, mostly cooked in sauces including mushrooms and tomatoes. Potatoes, chips and rice are served with main meals and vegetables include spinach and cabbage. Pickles and beetroot are available too. We all wanted a fish dish but knowing what to choose was a bit of a dilemma. I am always sceptical about fish in Poland - it always tastes odd except for salmon. Perch, sole, cod and prawns were on offer. We went with salmon - safest option.
My husband didn't want anything too rich so he ordered grilled salmon with a serving of rice and salad. I chose shrimp fish cakes for my granddaughter as I thought these would be easy for her to eat with a small knife and fork. If not she could use her hands without getting into too much of a mess.
I chose grilled salmon with shrimps, spinach and rice. Verdict; my granddaughter's fish cakes were tasty, two medium sized rissoles made from mashed shrimps, herbs like salsa and dill, and mashed potato. She liked these and ate both. These were served with a small salad of which she devoured the cucumber and tomatoes but left the lettuce. I can only assume the pulling of a funny face was her way of telling me that she doesn't like lettuce. My grilled salmon was a smallish chunky piece of fillet served on a bed of rice mixed with cooked spinach and a handful of baby shrimps placed on the top. The salmon was a bit dried out so overcooked, rice was light and fluffy, could have done with a bit more salt, spinach was very green, tasty and peppery. As for the shrimps they were okay - tasted mostly of flesh and salt but then that's what shrimps taste of unless you cover them in chilli sauce or add a lot of seasoning. My husband agreed with me about the salmon although he enjoyed his salad which he said was very fresh and crispy with a good selection of tomatoes, lettuce, grated carrot and cucumber. He passed on the extra addition of beetroot purée as he isn't a fan. Overall, the main meals were average - nothing more. We did have to wait about 30 minutes for the mains to be delivered to our table which is quite a long time to wait when a restaurant isn't busy but on the other hand - perhaps they were cooked from fresh and not microwaved.
Desserts: Not very imaginative - mostly ice cream based. Well, I guess it is the seaside! Fruit jelly and various fruits served with chocolate or vanilla sauce. Polish cheesecake which is always yummy and chocolate cake. We ordered an ice cream for our granddaughter and passed on the dessert menu. We had eaten enough at this point and were ready for a brisk walk around the port. Our jerky waiter brought the ice cream and asked if we would like tea, coffee or anything else to drink. No was our answer. We asked for the bill and with a smile and a nod he went on his way to the bar to get the bill.
Were we impressed with this restaurant under the grapes? We both thought that the décor of the restaurant was more appealing than the food on offer. A lot of time and money had gone into the design of the different rooms and the terraces outside. Many of the pieces of furniture had been hand painted and the tile work on the floor in rich deep colours was lovely and very intricate. The grape motif was very kitsch but still attractive. Service was polite and attentive - possibly a bit too much on the attentive side. Price wise - you are looking at 175 zloty (approx £35) for the meals and drinks described above which were only average and I think could have been a bit more imaginative. It's not expensive especially at the seaside but not sure if I would go again.