If you read my recent post on Lviv, then you will already know what to see and explore in this beautiful city! Thanks to Cobblestone Freeway Tours, we were shown some of the best places to experience the food and culture of Lviv. From coffee shops and chocolate factories, to traditional restaurants, we certainly ate our way around town. If you’re planning a trip to Lviv and are also searching for a nice place to stay, I got you covered! Lviv is a modern European city that has, nonetheless, preserved a very special ‘Old European’ feel. The city is often called the Paris of Ukraine and I can definitely see why.
Dining in Lviv
1. Smakolyk Cafe was our first restaurant for dinner in the city. It is known as a healthy food cafe and is a local favorite! They prepared delicious, traditional food which made for a lovely welcome dinner. Their menu is seasonal and their ingredients are organic which I appreciated. I enjoyed the salad with salmon for starters and the boiled veal with cauliflower and broccoli with butter.
Leave room for dessert and have a piece of rich syrnyk (cheesecake) or a strudel with a delicious cup of coffee.
The space is light and bright, with a great flow throughout the two levels. I loved the pop-art style decor and the window into the confectionery kitchen which allowed us to watch the pastry chefs in action! Starting in September, they’ll be offering master classes on cooking healthy dishes.
2. For lunch one day, Cobblestone Freeway Tours took us to Kryjivka – one of the city’s favorite eateries with an interesting history! This is the most visited restaurant in Europe and for good reason. It is underground and it’s cave-like setting creates such a unique dining atmosphere. This was the last hiding place of Ukrainian Insurgent Army during World War II.
The Borsch soup and fried potato dumplings were our favorite! We also had a nice selection of salads and meat platters.
3. Kumpel is famous in Lviv, with three different locations throughout. The downstairs of this practical restaurant we went to was a store. Here you can find high-quality organic products made by “Kumpel’s” cooks or gathered from trusted local producers and farmers from all over Galicia.
The restaurant is located on the second floor. The interior decor is quite unique; it combines luxury historic Lviv style with post-Soviet industrial elements.
It is known as a beer restaurant, so don’t miss out on sampling some Western Ukrainian beer. They offer “Galician light” and Galician wheat” brands which were specially developed based on ancient Lviv brewers’ recipes. They are famous for their home-made sausages with three different types of fillings served one meter long. Banosh is one of the most popular Hutsul dishes in Ukraine, and one of the best Banosh dishes I had was at Kumpel. It’s a creamy cornmeal topped with fresh, salty crumbled cheese and succulent pork belly. I could eat this dish every night, it was that good!
4. Mons Pius is a Ukrainian tavern with a deep history and some of the best steaks in the city! It occupies the building of an old Armenian Bank which had been operating for 300 years until 1940. You can see the history of this place throughout the two rooms. There’s a symbolic memorial stone for Ian Mardyrosevy at the entrance. He was the bank’s pharmacist in the 19th and 20th century who had a notorious reputation. I also loved the early 20th century stained glass of the Armenian Cathedral which was found in the courtyard in 1970.
As for the food, we had a vast selection of dishes to pick from including a few salads. I went with the chicken although the meat at Mons Pius is said to be one of the best.
5. Just by the name alone, I think it’s obvious that The First Lviv Grill Restaurant of Meat and Justice is not an ordinary eatery. The first municipal employee in Lviv back in the day just happened to be an executioner. But when a constitutional state arrived, the executioner was out of a job! And so, he opened a meat restaurant which we were fortunate to visit on this trip.
If you can look past the torture equipment throughout the restaurant, it is a very unique place to eat in the city center!
6. If you are a chocolate lover, do not miss out on visiting Lviv’s Handmade Chocolate Factory! It’s the perfect place to sample incredible chocolate, buy gifts for family back home, or relax and enjoy some coffee and chocolatey treats.
7. If you have a sweet tooth AND don’t mind getting your hands dirty, I’d recommend taking a master class at the Lviv Caramel Workshop! It’s such a fun activity for children and adults. I loved seeing how the caramel making process works and it was great to learn that they only use natural ingredients, without artificial colors and flavors. Sugar, sugar syrup and fruit extracts are all you need!
8. Dzyga Art Centre is the place where you can drink coffee, eat, listen to jazz, and work. Everyone can find a place in this peaceful atmosphere. Many people come here to work in the morning, and to relax in the evening. They often have concerts every Thursday here. It is a perfect place for a semi-formal business meeting, and a romantic rendez-vous; the restaurant itself is called Apartment 35. You can enjoy outdoor and indoor sitting.
It was such a great setting for a special, private performance organized by Lviv Tourism and Cobblestone Freeway Tours . Burdon, a band well known throughout the city and Europe, treated us to traditional music and songs of Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries!
After the entertainment, we were treated to a feast of sample platters with a variety of meats and cheeses.
Where to Stay in Lviv?
I had the pleasure of staying at the Rius Hotel while I was in Lviv for a few days. You cannot beat their location! It is minutes away from the city center where you’ll find an array of great restaurants and shops. I enjoyed being in such a central part of this ancient city, especially when the hotel’s next door neighbor is the stunning National Opera House. It’s just a few minutes walk away.
My room was comfortable, spacious and modern with a beautiful terrace balcony. The bathroom was very updated with a heating rack, make-up mirror (the best), and a nice walk-in shower.
My room had a small balcony that faced High Castle hill which is the highest point of the city.
The Breakfast is served in Restaurant Vapiano which is connected to the hotel. It’s perfect for a late night snack or a drink since they stay open later into the evening. The restaurant operates a card charging system which is not something that I have ever experienced before, however, is relatively easy to get the hang of. The food was very fresh and delicious. The only qualm I would say is the breakfast ordering was difficult as the staff didn’t really speak English which made it hard, but we got there in the end. Because the restaurant operates independently from the hotel, this means you can’t charge anything to your room, so you must carry your wallet with you.
Another centrally located hotel option is the Vintage Boutique Hotel. Set in a restored building, this charming hotel offers 29 rooms and an award winning restaurant – Vintage Nouveau. Their wine bar is beautiful and I’d recommend at least one meal or drink at the hotel, even if you’re not staying overnight!
Still Curious About Lviv?
Read more travel tips for Lviv, Ukraine, including travel guides and translators, over on Cobblestone Freeway Tours. They are expert planners and know how to create special travel moments which you’ll remember for a lifetime!