One of the things I hate about Paris, is that to truly enjoy it, to really do Paris right, you have to have a lot of money. One thing you don’t need to experience Krakow is a lot of money. So if you’ve had your fill of pierogis, or are craving a fresh croissant or frothy cappucino, then head over to my favorite cafe in town, Charlotte. It sits along Plac Szczepanksi, just off the planty, and near to the Main Square. With four seating areas, each having a different atmosphere, you can forget for a while that you are in a tourist saturated area of Krakow, and pretend you are in a sidewalk cafe in France.
The main dining room places you at either a huge farm-table, meant for communal seating, or sitting against a velvet cushioned booth, where you can stare at the counter of fresh pastries for sale. Bistro tables are also available outside, where you can watch children play in the nearby fountain. Back inside, you can also sit upstairs in a loft area, or in two lower levels, one sort of a halfway point between the main counter and the lower basement area, where one can sit and watch the fresh bread come out of the oven.
Our favorite thing to get there is the Charlotte Breakfast, or Sniadanie Charlotte in Polish. It is a basket of freshly baked breads, and a croissant, with your choice of homemade jam or chocolate spread, and hot beverage. Oh, and it cost less than $4. Choices usually include strawberry or orange jams, and white, milk, or dark chocolate spreads, but change day to day. And the hot beverage doesn’t have to be just tea or coffee, it can be a cappuccino, latte, espresso, etc.
The atmosphere feels very Parisian, with patrons drinking wine at noon, and indulging in Croque Monsieurs. And one thing we love is that the jams and chocolates come in huge jars with wooden spoons, allowing everyone at the table to share. There isn’t a thing we don’t like about Charlotte, and if you go with a group, we suggest all getting the Charlotte Breakfast, but each choosing a different accompaniment. And if you don’t think that’s enough food for the day, you can add an egg, or share a sandwhich too!