If you were to ask me what was the best restaurant in Bratislava outside of the Old Town, my unequivocal answer would be the title of this post. If you were to ask me what the best restaurant in Bratislava was, my answer might very well be exactly the same. When you weigh up the wonderful ambience, the impeccable service and the high quality of food served up at Krasňanská Kúria, in the Krasňany neighbourhood from which the restaurant takes its name, the place has few equals in the city.
You have to be in a certain mindset to fully appreciate Krasňanská Kúria, of course. You have to be in the mood for typical Slovak food, which hopefully a visitor will be. You have to be in the mood for a traditional environment: it’s locals that eat here, and in a restaurant redolent of the country’s typical rustic type of eatery, the salaš. First two boxes ticked? Then there’s nothing to hold you back from making the 20-minute tram ride from the city centre to eat here.
The atmosphere inside this low-level building on a quiet residential street corner is carefully constructed to transport you into a world of quintessential Slovak cosiness: a combination of wood and exposed stone with tables occupying a number of nooks enlivened by ornaments worthy of a visit in their own right: old wood-whittled figures and animals, a vast collection of old coffee grinders, paintings evoking mountain and forest scenes, screens resembling old castle gates to divide up the different areas, plants everywhere. In spring and summer a courtyard with an real fire also opens up. Everything gets treated stylishly here: the children’s high chair is an old wooden one; the only play apparatus for kids is an old rocking horse. The whole place is candlelit in evenings, too.
The menu boasts all the Slovak classics, but no dish is casually thrown together and each is Krasňanská Kúria’s own tasty take on tradition. The cabbage soup is so thick on cabbage and replete with seasoning; the sauerkraut salad conjures up tastes of China and Germany simultaneously with its intelligent flavourings, and this is one of the few restaurants to have the pickled encian cheese – a camembert-like affair laced in onions and gherkins: delicious!
Of the many meaty mains, the shining star is the potato and meat platter, a feisty sausage, chicken and vegetable concoction. Beef stroganoff and Slovak trout also come highly recommended. For desert, the obvious choice would be the šulance in plum and sugar sauce – but then again the ice cream in raspberry compote is pretty damned good also. They do a particularly good Viennese coffee to finish with.
We all know Bratislava is no Paris when it comes to service, either, so in an off-centre district it’s worth mentioning that the treatment of guests here is exemplary, and you will feel as well-looked after as you would at the finest restaurants of a much bigger city. Waiters go out of their way to prepare food according to your own dietary requirements: almost any dish on the menu can be made gluten-free, for example, and you’ll always get free tasters of drinks you’re not convinced you’ll like – just to give your tastebuds a try.
There are several restaurants in the centre which offer high-quality Slovak food – Traja Mušketieri for example. But Krasňanská Kúria is a fraction of the price (you’ll pay five to ten Euros for a starter and a main course here, so at least half as expensive), and the atmosphere is every bit as enjoyable.
It would be premature to suggest Bratislava has any more than just the one central restaurant district. This restaurant, however, is making a very good case for getting out of the Old Town for dinner once in a while.
GETTING THERE: Tram numbers 3 (from the big Tesco’s on Špitálska) or 5 (from outside Martinus on Obchodná) run from the city centre (end destination Rača) to Pekná Cesta. Get off and head left up Pekná Cesta, then take the second right, which brings you to the restaurant in 200m. Krasňany, the name of the neighbourhood, is really part of the bigger area of Rača which forms Bratislava’s most northeastern district.
OPENING: 11am to 11pm Monday to Saturday; 11am to 10pm Sundays. In practice, they tend to close a little earlier if there’s only a few people eating in the evening.
RESERVATIONS: If you have a big party, it does get quite busy at lunchtimes and on some evenings, so you can book a table (although communication in English may be difficult).
BEST TIME TO VISIT: 8pm on a cold weekday evening when the cosy conviviality of the joint will warm your soul towards Slovak cuisine.
NEXT ON THE JOURNEY: From Krasňanská Kúria it’s a 200m walk to Pekná Cesta and the start of some of our top Bratislava walks, including the Pilgrimage to Marianka