If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would be this one. That’s a big statement, yes, but just you wait until you hear about it. There’s a place in Krakow called Dynia Resto Bar. Dynia means pumpkin in Polish. I LOVE pumpkin foods. You can see where this is going now.
When I was doing restaurant research before my trip to Poland, I read good reviews about Dynia Resto Bar, but I was especially drawn in by the mention of pumpkin dishes. I arrived to Krakow by train from Warsaw, I checked into my hostel, and I could hear pumpkins calling my name, so I walked to Dynia Resto Bar for dinner.
The restaurant is located outside of the old town, which means that it’s frequented by more locals than tourists. I arrived for an early dinner and I had the choice of sitting inside or outside. Note: the restaurant has a bright and spacious garden in the back which is perfect for summer time lounging. I imagine this place fills up in the summer!
The interior of Dynia Resto Bar is warm and welcoming with soft lighting, brick walls, and books fashioned into lamps. I opted for an indoor table and as I browsed the menu, I was stunned. Little did I know before coming here that the menu has an ENTIRE section dedicated to pumpkin dishes! I’VE HIT THE PUMPKIN JACKPOT! This was unchartered territory: never have I seen a place with so many pumpkin dishes!
There was no question about it – I had to go on a pumpkin eating spree! The kind of spree where you order three courses and two drinks all made with pumpkin! It was bound to be a good night! Given that I know and love pumpkin foods REALLY well (see more here), I felt that I would be able to fairly judge the quality of the pumpkin dishes. Now onto the good stuff!
I’ve never had pumpkin lemonade before so this was an obvious beverage choice for me. The lemonade was presented with a sugar coated rim (nice touch) and it was refreshing without being too sour. The drink tasted more of lemon than pumpkin, but the small chunks of real pumpkin sitting at the bottom of a glass added authenticity to the drink. The menu indicates that the lemonade is made with sugar syrup, but thankfully it’s not overly sweet. Dynia managed to strike a fine balance between sweet and sour, and although the pumpkin flavour wasn’t instantly obvious, I still enjoyed the lemonade.
Pumpkin Cream Soup
My first course was the pumpkin cream soup made with pumpkin, ginger, honey, pumpkin seeds, and coriander. The soup was warm and flavourful – it clearly tasted of pumpkin and had a smooth consistency. I genuinely loved every spoonful and could have easily finished a bigger bowl! Dynia Resto Bar truly nailed the pumpkin soup. Kudos!
For my main dish, it was a tough decision between the pumpkin pesto risotto and the pumpkin gnocchi. I’ve had superb pumpkin gnocchi in the past and was definitely in the mood for more. Served with sage butter, arugula, and parmesan cheese, the gnocchi were delicious little clouds of pumpkin goodness. They were clearly homemade, lightly pan fried, and soft with just the right amount of chewiness. The flavour of real pumpkin came through, but wasn’t overpowering, and what’s more, the gnocchi didn’t need a sauce past the sage butter. They were so good that a light coating of butter was enough! The dish was also topped with a few small chunks of cooked pumpkin that just crumbled under a fork. Ultimately, the more I ate the gnocchi, the more I liked them. This dish was a huge win.
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
The score at this point was 2 for 2. There was no way I was going to skip dessert. I’d never had a pumpkin flavoured crème brûlée before so I was excited for this. The dessert had a perfectly toasted shell that crunched beneath the pressure of the spoon. However, the real showstopper was beneath the caramelised top: the pumpkin custard was nothing short of amazing! It was incredibly smooth and creamy, and most importantly, it tasted brilliantly of pumpkin. Eating the custard was like eating a light pumpkin pie filling. The dessert was accompanied with a homemade raspberry sauce, but I honestly felt that it wasn’t even needed. I’d argue that it actually took away from the beautiful flavour of the pumpkin custard. This sweet dish was the perfect amalgamation of pumpkin and crème brûlée and truth be told, I could eat it daily! My compliments to the pastry chefs at Dynia Resto Bar. This was a dessert experience for the books! New score: 3 for 3.
At this point, the waitress was amused with my pumpkin obsession. I, of course, had to close with a pumpkin latte. I don’t normally drink coffee in the evening, but this was an exception I was willing to make. The coffee was flavoured with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and it was topped with cream and chunks of real pumpkin. In other words, the ideal combination of ingredients for a pumpkin coffee! The latte also didn’t have a sickly sweet taste as is often the case with syrup-based coffee flavours. I really enjoyed this coffee and the little gingerbread cookie that came with it. Brilliantly done. Starbucks, take notes.
Needless to say, I was completely on cloud 9 during and after this pumpkin fest. I couldn’t help but think, “What a stellar first meal in Krakow!”. The bar for pumpkin foods has been set high and Dynia, you passed with flying colours. This was pumpkin heaven and I never wanted to leave. Now can you see why this would be my forever-meal?