While looking for interesting places in Tarnów, I found something interesting. The old city bathhouse, and earlier the Jewish mikvah, seemed to be an interesting object. The information that there is a restaurant there made us choose this place for a dinner. After the visit, we also found out that the place was after Magda Gessler’s Kitchen Revolutions (polish TV show), which made us even more interested. Jewish cuisine in Tarnów was something for us!
The Stara Łaźnia restaurant in Tarnów is located, as you can guess, in the building of the former Jewish bathhouse (mikvah), and later the municipal bathhouse. The building is difficult to ignore because it is distinguished by its architecture, and is located at Plac Więźniów KL Auschwitz 1 (Tarnów, Małopolskie). The entrance to the building is on the side of the monument commemorating the first transport of prisoners to Auschwitz.
The restaurant is upstairs, so be ready to climb a dozen of stairs. The first impression after entering the building is not very interesting, but it is better after going upstairs.
There are many streets around the square where you can park your car. We came on foot from the vicinity of the Market Square, where we found a parking space for visiting Tarnów.
The restaurant is open only from Friday to Sunday, from 12.00 to 22.00, 23.00 and 21.00, respectively.
History of the object
The Israelite People’s Baths in Tarnów was established in 1902 and is built in the Moorish style. Previously, there was a mikvah in the Rybny Square. It had two entrances, but the main one was on the west side. On the ground floor there was a changing room, cash desks, swimming pools with hot and cold water, mikvah and steam rooms. On the second floor, there were undressing rooms, service apartments, a hairdresser and a cold water tank.
In 1940, the building was used by the Germans to concentrate over 700 people before being transported to Auschwitz. After the Second World War, there was a bathhouse there for some time, and at the end of the 20th century, the building passed into private hands.
Despite its interesting architecture, it is quite badly disfigured by advertisements.
The interior of the restaurant is not modern, but it has its own atmosphere. I had the impression that I had traveled in time. We took a seat by the window to admire what is happening outside. During our visit, part of the room was separated – probably for some closed event.
Stara Łaźnia – Kitchen Revolutions
Stara Łaźnia restaurant took part in Magda Gessler’s Kitchen Revolutions (season 16). Previously, the place was called 1,2,3 and it combined home cooking with a disco. Magda Gessler drew attention to the history of the place and the need to refer to it in the new premises. She introduced dishes to the menu, most of which are still present today. The revolution can be considered successful, and the restaurateur’s visit after a few weeks confirmed the changes.
Despite the fact that I expected Jewish cuisine, the menu is diverse, and the dishes from the Kitchen Revolutions refer to the aforementioned cuisine. Among them, it is worth mentioning herring tartare, Gefilte fish, Czulent and Pascha. Apart from them, you will also find street food dishes on the menu. There are burgers, there is a kebab and a lot of other curiosities. It is a pity that Jewish cuisine is not more widely represented. While browsing the internet, I found information that in the past there were also goose pips served there, which I love, but during our visit the menu was gone.
What we chose?
We visited the Stara Łaźnia after a day of sightseeing. We had a big appetite and we decided to satisfy it:
- Magda Gessler appetizer set – PLN 26
- Czulent – PLN 31
- Giant pork chop according to Magda Gessler – PLN 32
- Nuggets with fries – PLN 17
Let’s start one by one. Magda Gessler’s appetizer set included 3 elements – figs stuffed with cheese, herring tartare and Jewish carp. The figs were tasty, the carp in jelly was tasty, but not much carp compared to the jelly. The tartar was an interesting experience because its taste had notes that we do not always associate with herring. There were raisins, nuts, gingerbread spice – generally interesting. As for PLN 26, it was not a large portion, but fine for one person. It’s worse if you want to take a set for several people – then you will only share the figs in pairs.
Nuggets with chips was Zuzia’s idea. I must praise them because they are tasty, crunchy, and the fries are like home-made – we ate them all. The next dish was the Giant pork chop according to Magda Gessler. It was large and served with potatoes and stewed cabbage. However, the one we hit was quite wiry. Maybe it’s a question of the pork neck, or maybe it’s a bad breakdown, but it wasn’t easy to eat it all, even though the taste was okay.
The next dish was cholent. This is a one-pot and typically Jewish dish. Baked porridge with meat and additions, and a baked egg on top and half a plum (apricot would do better in my opinion). The whole is interesting and filling. We also ordered the Passover for dessert. Tasty, full of delicacies and filling.
Stara Łaźnia is a place with great potential. A fantastic place with an interesting history and an interesting idea for a kitchen on the one hand, but the appearance of the interior of the building (in front of the entrance to the premises) and the “signboard” outside deters. Still, it’s worth a look because it has its own specific, but interesting atmosphere! Its good place to start Your adventure with jewish cuisine.
PS in the restaurant you can buy preserves made on the spot. Guests have at their disposal a variety of preserves, but also bigos or spreads for sandwiches.