Lviv is one of my new favorite cities. If you haven’t already, click here to read all about why I love it so much.
One of the many things I love are all of the unique restaurants found throughout the city. From quirky to controversial, here are the top five most unique restaurants in Lviv:
14 Rynok Sq., 2nd floor, Lviv, Ukraine /// +38 (050) 430 8783
This restaurant is well hidden but worth finding. It overlooks the main square of Lviv and is actually located above Kryjivka, another famous and unique restaurant that has made this same list.
The only outside indicator of the restaurant above is a blue cloth with a yellow Masonic symbol, which identifies it as the secret meeting space you’re looking for.
Make sure you get a discount card or negotiate your discount upon entering, or you may be in for a shock when your bill comes. Discount cards can be procured from the gift shop at the exit of Kryjivka on the first floor. Otherwise you will learn why it is known as the Most Expensive Galician Restaurant.
Climb the stairs to the second floor and ring the bell. Soon, a man wearing a bathrobe will grant you entry. It is very important to be polite to this gentleman- rumor has it he will turn away those who are not. He’ll lead you through his Soviet style apartment to a secret door where you’ll find the restaurant.
If you have not already secured your discount card now is when you try out your negotiating skills. You’ll want to aim for a 90% discount off of the total. Or, as the waiter told me, just remove the last 0 from the listed price.
I had the salmon terrine as a starter, and it was excellent. The very large grilled double pork chop with potato cream, which I chose as my main dish, was also great. The wine was reasonably priced, and the server had a good knowledge for pairings.
c. Lviv, Lesya Ukrainka str, 29 /// +38 (032) 235 81 63
Champagne & hotdogs, because why not?
But these aren’t your typical hot dogs. Featuring many made in house ingredients and locally sourced products, these dogs don’t look like what you might expect. Choices include a truffle dog, caprese dog, and even cheesy dogs.
Meals are made in an open style kitchen so guests can watch as their selections are prepared. When in season, you’ll also find buckets of oysters on ice.
This is a fun place with a young energy that should be one of your first stops in Lviv.
Lviv, 7 Serbska Street /// +38 (050) 371 04 40
A masochism themed restaurant located just off the main square in Lviv? If it sounds a bit scandalous, that’s only because it is. You’ll immediately find porn playing when you enter only to find more porn on your menu when you’re seated.
All of the staff carry whips and looked intimidating, although none spoke to me. I was directed to my table by a woman in a bustier that pointed out where to sit with her whip. When I thought she was coming back to take my order, she was actually going around the room whipping everyone. These weren’t love taps either- they stung!
I had heard that the waitresses serve drinks out of their cleavage and sometimes tie guests up and pour drinks down their throats. Another report claimed patrons would be tied up and have candle wax poured over them before the wax burns were treated with ice cubes. I even heard some would be led downstairs to be chained up and beaten.
I didn’t see any of that the day I was there. To be honest I was a bit disappointed. There were only four main dishes, and they were out of two of them. The lighting was so low I couldn’t get good photos, and the air conditioning wasn’t working well so we were all hot.
Nonetheless, it’s an interesting restaurant and you should plan to stop by to check it out, even if just for a drink. Make sure to reach in the statue’s pocket on your way out the front door. There’s a surprise waiting in there for you!
14 Rynok Square // +38 (050) 430 6354
Kryjivka is the Ukrainian word for bunker, and this name suits the design of perhaps the most famous of Lviv’s unique restaurants. Not only will you need to find this place (which is usually given away by the long line of people outside) but you’ll also need a password to get inside.
Find the entryway off of Rynok Square and knock on the wooden door. When the small window opens and the guard exclaims “Slava Ukraine!” (Glory to Ukraine!) make sure to respond with “Geroyam slava!” (Glory to its heroes!). You’ll then be granted access.
Once inside, you’ll find yourself in the underground hideout of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), guerrilla soldiers who fought against the Soviets, Poles and even Nazis.
Waiters will use their guns to indicate where you should sit. Once seated, you’ll notice the war images on display and the marching songs playing in the background.
I was a bit startled while eating when I heard my waiter’s cap gun go off.
After the meal, make sure to find your way to the back of the restaurant where you can fire a pellet gun at a photo of Putin. 15 UAH /.58 USD gets you ten shots, and you can take the photo full of holes home with you.
Reservations are recommended, especially if you’re a large group. This is the most visited restaurant in Europe, with over a million guests annually.
20 Valova St. (Bernadine Courtyard) /// +38 (050) 430 2826
Set as a medieval beer hall, this restaurant pays homage to the first municipal employee of Lviv — the executioner. This man not only handled executions, but he also managed garbage removal and looked after the city prostitutes.
And who knows more about meat than the man who managed the guillotine?
You can expect to dine among medieval torture instruments while listening to heavy metal music.
The executioner makes his rounds and selects his victim. He can either load you into the cage on the floor and pour water over you before covering you with a blanket, or he can take you outside and bind you to a wooden table while he flogs you.
Of all the restaurants I tried, this one actually had the best food. The steaks and sausages are not to be missed. Make sure to wash it all down with a local beer- their selection is impressive.
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