Taszka, one of Wroclaw's latest additions to the Rynek, is a refined and proudly elegant Portuguese wine and snack bar that exudes no shortage of confidence. This all doesn't come cheap however, so anyone going to Taszka will have to appreciate that quality comes at a cost.
Before we get to the value for money issue though, first and foremost Taszka duly deserve a pat on the back for the superb job they have done with the interior. Not only have they used the classic tiles from their native Portugal, but also strived use their imagination – the charming stools that styled on fizzy wine corks being a fine example.
The wine bar feels like a crisscross between a cavern bar and a modern, minimalist restaurant, and yet it all seems to come together and feel natural. There's no doubting this is a pleasant spot to be; the view of the market square some tables offer is an added bonus too.
When it comes to wine, Taszka obviously has a lot to offer, and if you happen to be a wine buff quite simply you have to come here. The staff know their stuff and there is a clear expression of professionalism about the place.
That said, for those a little more indifferent about the intricacies of different wines, Taszka can feel a tad daunting. On my visit I did not appreciate being pushed to order anything other than the entry level wine (10zl per glass). Naturally, the waitress is just doing her job and helping the wine bar to earn a profit, but I like to feel free to order whatever from the wine list without my choice being questioned.
On the positive side however, the wines we did order (15zl per glass) were truly sumptuous, while the tall, stylish glasses were another nice touch. Given that the wine has come all the way from Portugal and Taszka has a prime location on the Rynek, we didn't feel the price of the wine was too over the odds either.
When it comes to the food however, it is an entirely a different story. The salted cod fritters (22zl), a classic Portuguese snack sold across the country, felt embarrassingly overpriced – even by the Rynek's standards. Yes, the dish was advertised as a 'petisco' and tasted great, but at that price I do not think it is unreasonable to expect a little more (Taszka have explained why that is the case though – please see the update at the bottom of the page).
Admittedly, Taszka do appear to have a noticeably professional kitchen (it is easy to have a nose at what's going on as you go downstairs to the toliets). Even so, what was served up here is essentially some fried cod with breadcrumbs – not some Nova type dish that is a work of art in itself. One of the two we ordered was even slightly frozen in the middle.
And herein lies the problem – if you go to Taszka a few times and order a few petiscos and bottle of wine on each occasion, you've almost got enough money to book cheap flights to Lisbon itself. Once in Lisbon, you can then enjoy local Portuguese produce at lower prices in bars that offer a more lively, fun and informal atmosphere.
That said, it is admittedly unfair to judge the entire menu on the basis of one small snack. The fact that Taszka enjoys rave reviews on tripadvisor as well as positive write-ups from local food bloggers (see here and here), also shows that there are plenty of foodies who are more than happy to fork out for some fine food and wine at Taszka.
Whether you'll warm to Taszka is purely a matter of taste. I must admit I am sucker for bars packed with chatty punters conversing loudly while enjoying food and enjoying life. Therefore sitting down at a more sober, quiet and overly sophisticated wine bars such as Taszka just doesn't appeal to me as much as standing with a glass of beer or wine in the many crowded, atmospheric Pastelarias that Lisbon has to offer.
That is only my humble opinion though, and I can see why a place such as Taszka could be a hit with many locals with some cash to splash. The interior at Taszka is superb, the selection of wine is broad and the staff are passionate about the produce they serve – something that isn't evident in all of Wroclaw's restaurants. Given that wine is still not really seen as a drink for the masses in Poland, perhaps a more casual wine bar here simply wouldn't work either.
Ultimately, those looking to enjoy wine in a more laid back and casual fashion, as is commonplace in many bars and bistros across continental Europe, are unlikely to take to Taszka's more posh approach to a wine bar. On the other hand, those that like their wine-bars more formal, polished and refined, will feel very much at home inside Taszka's proudly Portuguese interior.
It also goes without saying that the extra variety brought to the city thanks to the arrival of Taszka is more than welcome; there are so many places doing the same thing and it is brilliant to have classy Portuguese cuisine being represented here Wroclaw.
UPDATE: Response from Taszka (feel free to take this into consideration)
- It is the truffle mayonnaise on the cod croquets that actually puts it on another level in terms of price.
- The salted cod used in the Bacalhau fritters comes exclusively from Portugal and is from Lugrade (one of the best in the Bacalhau business).
- The Bacalhau croquets at Taszka are different from Pasteis Bacalhau in that they contain more fish instead of potatoes.
Taszka, Rynek 53/55
Phone: 570 337 424 Website