In a quiet place in the Old Town of Gdańsk, in a slightly out-of-the-way place and far from the noisy crowds of tourists, lies a culinary gem – the Fishmarkt Restaurant. The name derives from the historic fish market that was established right here in 1343 by the charter of Grand Master Ludolf König. From the very beginning of its existence, the inhabitants of Gdańsk bought fresh fish and seafood at this market, the priority to buy the best specimens of fish being reserved for… the Teutonic Knights. It’s no use looking for Teutonic Knights or fish stalls here today any more, but there is hardly a better place to taste fresh fish.
The very appearance of the restaurant encourages us to make a visit. From the Fish Market we enter a glazed summerhouse, where we can make ourselves comfortable while enjoying a beautiful vista of the Motława River and the Polish Baltic Philharmonic. Pleasant light colours, natural oak wood, and raw brick elements in the restaurant’s interior give an impression of a cosy and atmospheric place. We also see a fireplace, which makes it possible to warm up a bit on cool days. Soft sofas, comfortable chairs, and large pillows – all this makes us feel at home. The décor is harmoniously complemented by numerous seaside and marine elements, leaving no doubt as to the character of the place and the dishes served.
The Fishmarkt’s menu, prepared by Head Chef Sławomir Hahn, is so intriguing that it makes you feel like trying every item. It offers a fairly large selection of seafood (mussels, shrimps, oysters, lobsters) and fresh fish – salmon, cod, halibut, and sea perch encourage diners to try sea delicacies of all sorts. There is roasted halibut steak with topinambour purée as well as orange and tarragon sauce, there are fresh calamari stuffed with vegetables, and there is the house speciality: Bouillabaisse soup. Those who prefer meat dishes will also find something to order for themselves.
As an appetizer, we tried herring in Old Gdańsk marinade. Fried and pickled in sauce with raisins, plums, and carrots, it remained juicy and distinctive in taste. The perceivable flavour of cinnamon, cloves, and apples added in the marination process left a wonderful spicy aftertaste in the mouth. The whole dish was served with home-made sourdough bread and a glass of chilled Goldwasser – needless to say, herring and vodka make an excellent match.
The choice of the main course was a real dilemma for us. Out of many splendid fish, we finally decided to try zander and catfish. The former was served over young cabbage with bacon and dill accompanied by young boiled potatoes. For one of the most noble fish, the meat was delicate in taste and tender. Stewed young cabbage gave it a homely character, and even though we had never associated it with fish – it did fit there perfectly. The dish was simple, but at the same time refined in taste. We also liked the unusual way in which it was served – on a cast-iron pan.
The next main course, catfish, met with a no less enthusiastic welcome. Served exotically, on a banana tree leaf, it turned out to be a perfect choice. The delicate fish, melting in the mouth, was served in cream and creamy sauce of puréed dried tomatoes based on white wine, which provided a flavour counterpoint. Chickpea purée, baked in a casserole with cheese, complemented the dish. That was the first time we had a chance to try this fish – its taste and way of serving convinced us to include it in a our list of favourite dishes.
For dessert, the head chef recommended gluten-free chocolate cake placed on a bed of cherry sauce. The creamy consistency – based on chocolate, coffee, and brandy – resembled chocolate mousse rather than a traditional cake. Its sweetness was well counterpointed by cherry sauce. Accompanied by black coffee, the dessert crowned our successful visit to the restaurant.
Summing up our visit to the Fishmarkt, we can safely say that it was one of the best fish dinners we have ever had. The dishes were perfect in every detail, with every fish prepared in a unique and interesting way. The flavours were delicate but memorable. You clearly feel the freshness of fish and the chef’s masterly hand for seafood. Given the good location and the décor creating “our sort of ambience,” we will certainly return here in the future.
Pickled herring – 28 PLN
Fried zander fillet served over young cabbage with bacon and boiled potatoes – 49 PLN
Fried catfish fillet served on a banana tree leaf with chickpea purée with sauce of dried tomatoes and bacon – 52 PLN
Hot chocolate cake with cherry sauce – 22 PLN
Text and photos: Iwona Kowalska
TARG RYBNY – FISHMARKT
Targ Rybny 6C
tel.: 0048 58 320 90 11
[mapa]ul. Targ Rybny 6C, Gdańsk[/mapa]