Saturday, January 10, 2009

Milk Bars, Sphinx and Others

Milk bars were once the most fashionable way of dining out. They combined cheap, good food, with quick service. These days, there are not many left. Most have fallen to competitors such as Sphinx, McDonald's, and restaurants of a higher class.
Milk bars are not unlike cafeterias. The one I've visited looked very much like one. The decor is all tile, which makes it rather damp in wintertime. The food comes out immediately as your order it and you pay right there at the cash register. The cost of the entire meal was less than entrees in some places.
A meal at a milk bar in Krakow
A meal at a milk bar in Krakow.

Sphinx is a Polish chain similar to Applebees or TGI Fridays. It serves pseudo-Egyption food (along with other types), it's main dish being shoarma. Basically it's chopped up pork or chicken with seasoning, served with french fries, three types of sauces (spicy, mild and garlic), and some small sides of salads. (Note: most salads are not as Americans think, as in, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots. Usually it's something more like shredded carrots, coleslaw, shredded beets.) They also have steaks, burgers, and maybe burritos - I'm not sure. I can't really defend the food at Sphinx, and their bloody maries are simply terrible, but if you're just in the mood to eat something, why not? Plus, they are one of the few places that serve drinks in the half-liter sizes. Oh, and the waiters (they're always waiters) either have mullets or plucked eyebrows.

Krakow is home to two chains, "U Babci Maliny" (At Granny Raspberry's) and "Gruzinskie Chaczapuri." One serves traditional Polish food in another cafeteria-esque setting (the setting is warmer though) and the other is similar to Sphinx but serves Georgian food. Both are centered in Krakow's Old City (UBM is in a few other cities), whereas Sphinx is a national chain. UBM has large portions, cheap food, and is in a dining room with cut wooden benchs on cut-log tables. It's decorated to be a traditional peasant's farmhouse, but there's a huge warm-water aquarium in the center of the room (most likely Polish peasants only had fresh, cold-water aquariums.) The link to the page is here and it's HIGHLY suggested you visit it just for the introductory song.
The meal at the Georgian Restaurant
The meal at the Georgian Restaurant

1 comment:

agreablement said...

passo per caso nel tuo blog
un saluto from Italy, ciao