For the love of fish
I have no doubt that the main advantage of the “Zafishowani” restaurant is fish. This is indicated by both the name, the decor of the place, with its delicate nautical accents, and the menu itself. Magdalena Kołada, the marketing manager, confirms the same: "The very name of the restaurant - Zafishowani - means that we are crazy about fish, its taste and the culinary traditions of Gdańsk." Although fish is the most important part of our menu, we also serve meat, as we realize that not everyone likes fish. "
Daniel Chrzanowski, a chef with twelve years of experience and the winner of the World Championship Barbecue and Grilling Championship in Poland, has been associated with the restaurant for several years, and makes sure that the guests try the fish in its best combinations. The chef's cooking philosophy relies on the highest quality ingredients, freshness, locality and seasonality. When composing the menu the chef starts by choosing the main ingredient, and only then selecting all the extras. The flavors to appear on the plate should be slightly surprising, but perfectly balanced, with the fish itself always being the main component, the shining star on the plate.
I begin with a starter and following the chef’s recommendation, choose marinated herring with apple sauce, beetroot salad and parsley sauce, one of the starters present on the culinary route of Gdańsk. To my astonishment, the composition looks like a work of art - perfect pieces of herring with a shiny skin, mottled with sauce and mousse. I feel sorry to have to destroy this composition, but of course, I try it only to find out that the herring is perfectly balanced, soft, delicate, not too salty, nor too sour.
When I start eating my appetizer, the two ladies at the next table debate the selection of dishes from the menu. "We must take halibut, the restaurant is famous for this dish," says one. I was also considering trying halibut in garlic, mashed potatoes and caramelized carrot, so the ladies only convinced me that this is the right choice. This dish turns out to be great! And what is best about it is that it is not contrived - mashed potatoes with chives are so good, that I have to hold back not to eat it all, as I have two more courses to eat. The halibut does not disappoint me at all, so I cannot leave a single piece. It is soft, juicy, delicate - wonderfully cooked.
Following the chef’s choice I try the cod Skrei on an orange sauce with dried grapes, millet, pumpkin mousse and caramelized carrot. I was afraid that this dish might be too sweet for my palate, but since the chef recommended it, I tried! And I feel so happy that I followed his advice, as the dish is not too sweet for sure. A note of sweetness in the dried grapes which are not typical dried raisins, but soft, sweet, juicy balls well balanced with a spicy pumpkin mousse, with added coconut milk, sour, refreshing orange sauce, which miraculously closes the whole dish, highlighting the tenderness of the cod. There are more fish dishes on the menu, so I highly recommend trying at least some of them, like a fish soup, following the old Gdańsk recipe.
Meat lovers will not be disappointed either. Lamb with a baked potato, served with fried Brussels sprouts and pumpkin mousse or duck breast sous vide served with dumplings, apple chutney and cranberry sauce.
I must find some room for dessert, so I try éclair with hazelnut nougat, cherry jelly and salty caramel. Although blackberry mousse on chocolate sponge cake, with apple ice cream and yogurt is also tempting I have to resist it, to try it perhaps next time.
Zafishowani is famous not only for its food but also for a wide range of beverages, from the selection of local beers from regional breweries, including Gdansk beer Johannes, through traditional Masurian products such as mead from Piasecki distillery Piasecki, the tincture of Longinus with intriguing flavors: pear, mirabelle, sea buckthorn or dogwood.
For those who are looking for strictly seasonal ingredients, the restaurant offers a weekly event "Zafishowani na weekend" – Zafishowani for the weekend. Every Friday the chef proposes his own recipe for the weekend. The weekend dishes are based on regional, purely seasonal ingredients, i.e. Asparagus in May. The most successful dish often appears on the permanent menu.
Although Zafishowani is a place for fish lovers, I think it is worth bringing fish skeptics here as well. After trying some local dishes it is highly probable that they will be hooked!
Tokarska 6, 80-888 Gdańsk
phone. + 48 661 511 811
The author of text and photo: Anna Włodarczyk
Aficionado of good food, regional products and flavours. Author of the best-selling cook book, “Retro kuchnia” (“Retro kitchen”), in which she re-discovers forgotten, pre-war recipes. Author of www.strawberriesfrompoland.pl blog, photographer, and culinary journalist.