Lviv has put it’s self on the map as the coffee capital of Europe. Amazingly, Lviv Food Tours are some of the top selling attractions in Lviv. Every single person who has visited Lviv, and didn’t grow up there, suggested that our family take a Lviv food tour. We decided to skip this, and instead created our own guide to Lviv’s food scene. In Lviv, food is relatively cheap, particularly compared to prices elsewhere in Europe and the USA. Who needs a Lviv Food Tour when you’re an expert foodie? Follow my suggestions, and you’ll have your own Lviv food tour in no time.
Need help getting around? Consider a Lviv free walking tour, and you’ll see many of these spots along the tour route.
Kava is Ukrainian for coffee. In this day and age, Lviv is known as the coffee capital of Europe. You cant walk more than ten step in Lviv without running into a place that sells coffee, whether that be a cafe, restaurant, or kiosk. There are specific Lviv Coffee tours, however you can easily create your own by following this Lviv food guide.
Personally, I tried coffee at about a dozen locations in Lviv. These are a few of my favorites.
Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture
If you only go to one place for coffee in Lviv, this should be it. Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture is an attraction and coffee spot all in one. Designed specifically for tourists visiting the “Coffee Center” of Europe, this cafe is not a full tourist trap. When you enter the basement of what looks like a regular cafe, you are handed a helmet. There are signs in Ukrainian, indicating that you are entering a coffee mine. Be sure to order a “запаяна кава”, or creme brûlée like coffee, as it is flamed in front of you! My expert suggestion: go early in the morning. We went around 10am and it was not very crowded, later in the day the crowd to get into the mine can be very long.
Virmenka was my parents favorite coffee spot in their late teens and early 20s. They absolutely had to comeback to try their coffee again. Virmenka is located Armenian street. This coffee shop is decorated in a cozy, homey vibe. An image of a hippy woman decorates their merchandise and is their unofficial logo. This is because in the 70s and 80s hippies did hang out at Virmenka. But this is not the only important thing about Virmenka… Virmenka makes one of a kind coffee, that is brewed on sand. Stop by and check it out… you’ve probably never seen anything like it.
While Apothecary Restaurant is in fact a restaurant, I highly recommend coming in here for a dessert and coffee. Their entrance is a bakery with dozens of desserts, cakes, candies, and other treats to choose from. Order a Kava and spend some time people watching at one of their street-side tables. This restaurant is run by the same place as Veronika Pattiserie, but has much smaller lines and crowds.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to stop at the little kiosks in the park or along any street. Basically, anywhere you see the word Kava, you will be able to find a better than decent coffee. My favorite iced latte was from a little kiosk in the Ivano Franko Park (Парк імені Івана Франка) directly across from Lviv University.
Atlas was our first Lviv breakfast stop. We ate breakfast here twice, because I absolutely had to come back for their best dish: syrniki. Syrniki are a Ukrainian farmer cheese pancake. They are usually served with jam, sour cream, or sweet condensed milk. The first time we were seated inside one of the large rooms, that featured traditional Ukrainian art work, symbols, and a giant furnace. The second time we were seated on Atlas’s patio and enjoyed our food with a view of Rynok Square. Come early, and enjoy!
Both times we ate breakfast at Centaur we sat out on their patio at Rynok Square. My family tried several different dishes here. Some were amazing, while others were ok. The shakshuka was delicious, as were their cheese pancakes. However, the syrniki here were not quite as amazing as the ones at Atlas – in fact, in my expert opinion they were quite dry.
The last place I visited for breakfast in Lviv was Baczewski. Baczewski vodka was the first vodka to be mass produced in the world back in 1782. Once the Baczewski family home, this restaurant features a breakfast buffet, complete with one glass of champagne and coffee per person. The line is long – be prepared to wait. We got in like at 9 am and were the last table sat at 10:45, and we were told we had to be out by 11:15. They are strict on their end time – and there were at least 20 people in line behind us that didn’t get sat. If you aren’t trying to wait in line for two hours, feel free to skip this one. It was a beautiful interior but I’m not sure I would have waited in line a second time.
Meat & Justice
The First Lviv Grill Restaurant of Meat and Justice is a Fest Group thematic restaurant. We enjoyed our first dinner in Lviv here. This restaurant was on every single list of top restaurants in Lviv, and included in every Lviv food tour. Clearly, I had very high expectations. Meat and Justice did not disappoint. We ordered a vegetable plate, cheese plate, two meat plates, and a sausage plate. This was more than enough to feed seven of us, and have leftovers! Everything was delicious! There are many thematic elements in this restaurant, including a cage that someone can be lowered into the ground in, a torture table outside, and the way the check is presented. All I can say, is you should be ready to say goodbye to one of your fingers!
Nostalgia was a restaurant I stumbled upon after turning down my parents first suggestion for dinner. We sat out on their patio and enjoyed a delicious meal of dryanyiki (potato pancakes), farmer potatoes, a chicken cutlet, and fish. For dessert, we shared some cheese blintzes. Prior to finding this gem, we did not see it on any list of “top restaurants” in Lviv, but it definitely made ours! Nostalgia really brought on some nostalgia for our family. If I were creating a Lviv food tour, I would add Nostalgia as a must-try traditional Ukrainian restaurant with homemade food and no thematics.
Seven Piggies is located near Lviv Polytechnic Institute, my dad’s alma mater. After exploring the campus, we were running towards the city center in an attempt to escape the rain and ran into Seven Piggies. Here, we enjoyed traditional Ukrainian dishes such as Pelmeni and Vareniki. There is a cow bell on the table that can be used to call over the waiter and different decor in each room, however every room felt very farm like, as If we were in the Ukrainian country side.
Gasova Lampa literally translates to Gas Lamp. The Gas Lamp was actually invented in Lviv, back in 1853 by local pharmacists. This four story, walk up restaurant pays homage to those pharmacists and their invention. The restaurant is one of several thematic restaurants by the widely popular Fest Group. The thematics go past the decor and are also shown through Gasova Lampa’s “chemical experiment” shots, served in test tubes. Their comedic Ukrainian menu just doesn’t translate with quite as much humor to English, but is still delicious in every way. We really enjoyed coming here for our last dinner in Lviv. It was not surprising to us that Gasova Lampa is included in every Lviv Food Tour.
Places to Grab a Drink
All of the following spots are perfect for a drink.
Drunk Cherry is a small little shop (with two locations) where you can try some cherry liquor. Stop there and enjoy it while people watching at a high top table, or take it to-go. It is acceptable to drink alcohol on the streets of Lviv, so don’t be shy!
Pravda Beer Theatre
Pravda Beer Theatre is a craft beer brewery, with live-music and a wonderful patio on Rynok Square. This brewery, Pravda, serves local award winning beers, created by brewers from all over the world, some even featuring Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin on their labels. Their live music is not limited to a piano or guitar, but instead Pravda is home to an orchestra that plays from 7-10pm Tuesday to Sunday. I highly recommend coming here for an evening beer, prior to exploring Lviv’s nightlife or grabbing dinner.
Panorama is a restaurant, located in the Hotel Panorama, next to the Opera Theatre. While Panorama’s menu may seem impressive, stick to wine or coffee. Grab a glass and enjoy the view during a mid-day, or early evening, break. Take some one of a kind pictures, and then go on exploring Lviv.