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Lvov is totally different than other cities in Ukraine.
I wasn’t in Odessa yet but I’m sure that it is beautiful but Lvov is much better.
In January 2015 I was in Lvov for 5 days; after that I wanted to stay there for a living. This spring (2015) I even moved to Lvov for a couple monthes to try. Probably I’ll turn there some day.
I may tell about Lvov for a long. I will write a few posts about it but firstly I want to talk about a very unique thing which definitly made Lvov tourist city. About restaurants.
That was 2007 when 3 enterprising people created a company in Lvov and opened their first cafe called “Bilya Diani” (near Diana). It is a small open-air cafe. In that very year the restaurant “Kriyivka” was opened. This restaurant is the most attended restaurant in Ukraine (some people says that it is the most attended in Europe but hmm..). The company called Local.
After 8 years Local has tens of restaurants, coffee shops and others.
What is the uniqueness? Here is the thing: every Local restaurant has its own unique theme. It is very memorable for visitors. Even legends appear about some of them. These restaurants suddenly were crucial for development of Lvov. Rumours about them leaded a big tourist stream to the city. Before Local Lvov was only the city. Yes, beautiful city. But for now it is the city with very unique culture. So many restaurants here just copy the business style of Local. It even became a standart.
If you are Ukrainian but you’ve never been in Lvov you should know at least “Kriyivka”.
I think the city administration owns these guys a lot. They’ve done the impossimble.
I spent a lot of time in Lvov and can say that I was in every Local restaurant. I want to tell you about some of them.
It looks like an earth-house of UIA. You can’t know the adress of it you just have to find it by yourself. The entrance is in a regular approach. No signs. You see a small window on the door and you have to knock. Than a guy with a riffle opens the window and asks you the parole. You must say “slava Ukraine” (glory to Ukraine). After that you have to pass a little test by medovukha (honey vodka) and can enter.
There was the deputy in the goverment of Yanukovich: Tsarev. Once he said that Kriyivka must be closed because of nationalist conflicts. And one of owners answer that Kriyivka has over 1 million visitors per year. And how much people voted for Tsarev?
Kriyivka is Ukrainian nationalist place but there is a lot of Russian speakers inside it (as in the whole Lvov too). Here is Ukrainian field kitchen, very tasteful. A man with a gun walks through the restaurant and “shoots” Russians. Russians laugh. They made the show from the nationalist probllem and quantity of visitors approves that the show is succeful.
The exit leads to the very interesting yard.
Than you come up and see an antiaircraft gun. And you can admire the view to the roofs. Generally many restaurants of Local has either a roof or a basement. It gives your a special mood.
The second popular restaurant in Lvov called “Dom Legend” (the House of Legends). You can even visit it not like a customer but with a tour. There is a special man near the entrance which tells people legends of Lvov. The restaurant has 5 floors and an every floor has some special sense. For example there is the block-stone counting floor. There is a board shows how many block-stones are in Lvov for now (and if some fucking functionary steals stone-blocks numbers on the board decrease). Another floor has the all data about monuments of lions in Lvov (Lvov means the city of lion), big and small. Yet another one is the library with very old books (100-200 years). There is a TV in one of toilets. That TV plays a video where you see a hatch in the ceiling. The hatch opens and two guys rebel that you are sitting here for a long :-) The waiters are dwarfs.
This is the stairs inside the restaurant.
You can go on the roof too. There is the car. The monument of chimney sits on the pipe. People throws coins to his hat.
This one is about BDSM. Waitresses in corsets with lashes. Sometimes they lashes customers. Red light, TV with videos about Ukrainian goverment (for a very strong sicko I think), dishes from a bull cock etc. I didn’t like food but I didn’t try a bull’s cock though.
If you want to get a Local discount card you should to realize a special task. Tasks are different in every restaurant. The task in Mazoh-cafe is: you must take off your t-shirt and you’ll get 20 lashes. And you must say “I wanna more!” after every stab.
A bill in a bra.
One of my favorites. Lvovsky plyatsky.
They cook amazing strudels and cheese-cakes. I particularly recommend a strudel with a salmon and a cheese-cake with dried appricots. The name cheese-cake describes this dish not exactly. It’s a traditional Lvov dish, very tasteful. Do not forget about creams and jams.
You can watch the process through the window.
Poshta na Drukarsky. It means “Post on Drukarska street”
It’s even a museum with old post cards, stamps, letters etc. There is the machine which you can use to make a post card by yourself and send it somewhere. Here is also a very big assortment of beer from the whole world: Germany, Belgium, USA, Checz Republic, anywhere.
In the toilet you can watch some fun videos about post. You know, how FedEx couriers throw TV over a fence etc.
“Congratulations! Finally you drink not a shit.”
Kopalnya kavi (the Mine of coffee)
Coffee-house with the theme about the mine. Vagons, darkness etc. I recommend to order the soldered coffee. You will get a cup of coffee with sugar on the top. And waiter will solder it by blowtorch. I don’t have good pictures of this cafe because of a bad light inside.
Near the city Arsenal you can find the street-food market. I think it is only one place in Ukraine. There are sousages, shashlik, potatos, plov, colored varenyky (black one are with a scomber!), Carpathian tea, traditional liqueurs and golubtsi.
BTW, when we were in Lvov secondly, golubtsi even opened a separate cafe. But colored varenyky disappeared.
Cafe-museum Fixazh. (Fixer)
There is a big collection of photographic technique. I was delightful.
Some catcafe. Not so cool as in China, but cool too.
Amazing pancakes. We didn’t even afraid of a huge line.
There is a market of street breakfasts.
This guy in white pants and shirt is the mayor of Lvov. Cool bro. Just walked and ate an ice-cream :-)
People dances tango in cafe.
This colourful person invites people in Russian restaurant.
There is the coffee-house and the souveniers shop inside the old tram.
Some national dances. BTW it is “Bilya Diani”, that very first Local cafe.
I don’t have pictures but recommend to visit: Restorazhiya myasa i spravedlyvosty (the Restaurant of meat and justice) with a butcher and tortures staff, Knaypa pid zolotoy rozoy (the Restaurant above a golden rose) where are no prices in menu and you have to bargain with a waiter, Gasova lyampa (the Gas lamp) – cafe-museum of gas lamps, Naydorozhchaya restoratsya Galichiny (the most expensive restaurant in Galiciya) and Pstrug, Khlib ta Wino (Throut, bread and wine).
Lvov has a LOT of restaurants. You can just walk down streets and find something unusual.
And there are museums, castles, street musicians, buildings, cathedrals and monasteries, Lychakov’s cemetery. And I’ll tell you more later.