Themed Restaurants and Lviv…name a more iconic duo. It is actually quite strange how many restaurants here in Lviv are themed, which I’m sure can be off-putting to some tourists. The truth is that Ukrainians love a good theme, and while it may be a bit tacky, it is usually all in good fun. The theme rarely influences the food, just the building and atmosphere. Plus, as a fairly food centric culture, if the food is not good in the first place, people will never go back. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this list of the 10 best themed restaurants in Lviv.
Many of the places on this list are part of the iFest restaurant group, which has about 20 eateries in the city. Be sure to download the LOKAL app to earn 10% credit back on your purchases which can be spent on things like gourmet chocolate, fancy coffees, or cherry liquors! I would argue that this company was essential in raising the popularity of themed restaurants in Lviv.
Kryivka is the most popular themed restaurant in Lviv, but surprising to many it is actually the most popular single restaurant in all of Europe if going by number of diners. It can be difficult to find though if you are not “in the know.” Off a hallway on the south end of Rynok Square is a wooden door. While it looks unassuming, you just have to knock and give the password. (Password: Slava Ukraina). You’ll be let into the antechamber where you will receive a complementary shot of homemade honey vodka, and then let down a staircase to the bunker down below.
Yes, the theme of this restaurant is what I can only describe as Ukrainian Rebels from a time long past. The walls are plastered with posters of freedom fighters, along with old weapons and flags. The waitstaff is clad in old style military jumpers and the food is served in tin plates and bowls as if you are in a mess hall in the army. That being said, the food is delicious. I particularly recommend the potato pancakes, crispy pork belly, and stone grilled chicken. Their most popular offering is a half metre long sausage (but I think that’s more for the picture than anything else.
Hours: Mon to Sun: 00:00 – 24:00;
Theme: Ukrainian Army Bunker;
Right next to the door for Kryivka is a staircase leading to the apartments above. Or at least that’s what The Most Expensive Galician Restaurant would have you believe. Up the stairs to another unassuming door. Knock and you’ll be greeted by an old man in a bathrobe. He’ll say there’s no restaurant here, and looking into his drab room with a small bed, dirty kitchenette, and walls covered in peeling paper, you may be inclined to believe him. Don’t, just say you know about the secret restaurant and he will let you through a secret door into a fancy looking restaurant. The restaurant itself has the theme of Masons, hence the secrecy. But once inside, the individual rooms look like something out of an old aristocrats manor.
The food can be considered like an upscale Ukrainian, with a French influence. As was the style of the upper classes back in the day. Along the walls are paintings of old freemasons like Benjamin Franklin and Mozart. Back to the name, if you look at the menu you will notice that it truly is the most expensive in Lviv. A single drink may cost 1000 UAH (about $40). However all you need to do is show a LOKAL card (free tourist card to get discounts at different venues in the city) and the prices are reduced by 90%. Not only that, then you get 10% credit back on the card to use at places like Lviv Coffee Manufacturers, or Lviv Handmade Chocolate. (Basically other themed restaurants in Lviv that are part of the iFest network).
Hours: Mon – Fri: 12 PM to 2 AM;
This restaurant’s theme is pretty self explanatory. It was created to honor the inventor of the Gas Lamp, who did so right here in Lviv. The entrance to the restaurant has a jovial old man in a top hat holding a gas lamp. He will show you the door and explain a bit about the history, if you want. The restaurant is in a building comprising four floors, with the top terrace being ensconced in glass offering a beautiful view of the old city center.
All along the walls are antique gas lamps, as well as the centerpiece of your table. If you want to buy a gas lamp as a souvenir, just ask the service staff. They are modern reproductions though, I don’t think the restaurant sells their own antiques. The food is great here, being more standard Ukrainian fare. I recommend the marinated salo and herring plate, as well as their solyanka (smoked rib soup).
Hours: Mon – Sun: 11 AM – 2 AM
Theme: Gas Lamps
Masoch Cafe is a themed bar in Lviv dedicated to the famous writer, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who lived and worked in the city. The bar-restaurant is decorated in accordance with the Sacher-Masoch background. Red walls prevail which are decorated with different chains and erotic details. Paintings of men on leashes are common as well. In front of the restaurant, you’ll also be able to take a photo with the Masoch statue and check what’s in his pocket.
The cocktails here are extremely well done, but I actually have never gotten food here so that decision will be up to you. If you want to prank your friends, make sure to order them something off the “special” menu.
Hours: Mon – Sun: 4 PM to 4 AM;
Address: Serbska St, 7, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, 79000;
Mons Pius is a great place for those who like a good steak. Actually, all the dishes are excellent at this restaurant, but their dry aged steak is amazing. The place is well-known for its meat dishes and their special beer. Mons Pius is located on the grounds of the old Armenian cathedral, and at one point was the First Lemberg Bank of Lviv.
The restaurant is located in a small alley way and it is kind of a hidden place. There is a cute summer terrace that is open during warm weather. During dinner time the place is usually crowded, especially the summer terrace. Be sure to try their “craft” beer using a recipe from the 15th century monks who used to brew here.
Hours: Mon – Sun: 11 AM to 11 PM;
Arsenal is the youngest of all the restaurants on this list, but no less popular. As you may have guessed, this restaurant specializes in pork ribs. The peculiarity of the restaurant is that you are not given cutlery, instead they are simply drawn on paper in front of you. The ribs are served on a wooden tray and the waiter cuts the ribs with an ax directly on your table. As the menu is not large, the food is served very quickly.
The interior fits its name because the restaurant is under the Arsenal Museum. It is actually inside the old fortified walls built in the middle ages, which means the theme here is weapons. Here you can see a lot of different axes and swords from all over the world. At the entrance you will immediately smell the aroma of the ribs and see how they prepare them on large rotating open fire grills. The dining room is divided into three sections with large oak tables and dim light, reminiscent of the Middle Ages. In the evenings, live music is usually played that maintains the atmosphere of those times.
In warm weather a summer terrace opens that stretches along the entire Arsenal. There are always many people who want to eat ribs, so there is always a queue for the restaurant. Be sure to approach the man with the megaphone standing at the entrance to the restaurant and sign up for your name and number.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12 PM – 12 AM; Friday – Sunday: 11 AM – 2 AM
Theme: Medieval Weaponry;
Address: Pidvalna St, 5, Lviv, Lviv Oblast, 79000;
One of the most interesting themed restaurants in Lviv is the House of Legends. This place will attract you already with its interesting design from the outside. On the facade of the house is a dragon, which erupts with flames every day at 9:24 PM. and a miniature train that moves from time to time.
The four floors of the building are filled with different legends. This means each of the nine dining rooms has a different theme. Also, be sure to climb to the top, where you will see a small but beautiful terrace overlooking the city. The terrace also has its own peculiarity, a winged car with no wheels will attract your attention immediately. You will be able to take interesting photos, as well as throw a coin in the hat of the chimney sweep. Ukrainian dishes and Ukrainian drinks are served here. I especially recommend the Hutsul style potato pancakes and to try different types of tinctures. The prices at the restaurant are quite cheap.
Note: As of mid-2019 House of Legends has been under redecoration and only the roof is open for beers and pictures. I’m hoping the restaurant opens back up again soon!
Hours: Mon – Sun: 11 AM to 11 PM;
Baczewski is one of the most beloved restaurants in the local area and there is always a shortage of free tables in the restaurant. The menu consists of dishes collected from old Lviv families. You can also taste a variety of unique tinctures. Baczevski Restaurant offers halls with different interiors for your mood. Here you will be able to stay in the cozy Jewish Hall, which is made in the spirit of the classic Jewish Halychyna homes, or in the bright comfortable greenhouse with parrots, and if you smoke, you can stay on the beautiful patio overlooking the cobbled streets of the old city.
One of the restaurant’s features is an 8am to 11am breakfast, an unlimited buffet with a variety of dishes, desserts and fruits will wait for you. The restaurant is also famous for their vodka, as J.A. Baczewski is the most famous vodka company from Lviv. Baczewski is part of the Kumpel Group, which unlike iFest does not usually do themed restaurants in Lviv. They do however make great craft beer, and are also featured on my article, Best Places For Craft Beer In Lviv.
Hours: Mon – Sun: 8 AM to 2 AM;
Theme: Traditional Lviv Aristocracy;
Like with Ribs Under Arsenal, you can pretty much guess the specialty of Trout, Bread, and Wine based on the name. Yes, they serve British porridge and Indian Curries. Just kidding. The cuisine style for this restaurant is Carpathian, where some of the best trout comes from. I particularly recommend the baguette with spreads appetizer, and the trout baked in a mushroom cream sauce. Of course, you can’t forget about wine by the liter.
The building housing this restaurant used to be the family home of the old bell tower trumpeter. About a hundred years ago, this gentleman would play music for the people in Rynok Square. Unfortunately tragedy came and the building collapsed on him and his whole family. Today, there is a man dressed in a strange outfit who plays beautiful trumpet music. This restaurant is best in the spring and summer when the outdoor patio is filled with tables and string lights. Listening to trumpet music under the glow of lights is one of my favorite things to do on a summer’s evening.
Hours: Sun – Sat: 11 AM to 12 AM;
Theme: Lviv Culture And History
Kryva Lypa is named after the street on which it is located. If you like creative food then this is the place for you. Kryva Lypa is a culinary studio offering original dishes from the best products. Here you can try delicious veal tartare and extravagant salads. Fish dishes will not disappoint you either. I’d say the menu is fusion, as they have cuisine styles from Asia, America, and Europe.
The restaurant is decorated with heavy wooden tables, and dim soft light maintains a romantic atmosphere, and interesting posters on the facade will make you linger for a moment.
The highlight of the restaurant is the arthouse movie every Monday night in the original language. The ceiling is hung with old copper pots and pans, and videos play with episodes of old chef shows like Julia Childs’. The food is served in a very artful way, so if you like to take pictures of food, this is the place for you. I would say that as far as some of these themed restaurants in Lviv go, the theme here is pretty weak, but I just really wanted to add it to this article since it’s one of my favorite places.
Hours: Mon – Sun: 10 AM to 11 PM;
Theme: Kitchen Studio;
If you have taken the Lviv Underground tour, you will know that under the entire city center is a vast number of catacombs and cellars. Some, like Kryivka and 5th Dungeon have been turned into restaurants. I actually like this idea because it’s a great atmosphere to hole up with beer and meat and friends.
5th Dungeon’s theme is a medieval dungeon and they did a fantastic job with the decorations. Of course the walls are all stone, but everything from the shields on the walls to the melty candles at every table really makes you feel transported back in time. Don’t worry, they have free Wi-Fi throughout the place.
The specialty of this themed restaurant is grilled meat on skewers. And I’m not talking about tiny little shish kebabs. No, you get about 125 grams of meat on each skewer, and they are so, so delicious. They also have great craft beer in four different styles. I recommend the pork skewer, and the spicy soup (not really spicy, but it’s Ukraine…we aren’t known for spice).
Hours: Mon – Sun: 12 PM to 2 AM;
Theme: Medieval Dungeon;
I know some people can say that the strength of these themes can vary, from intensive like Kryivka, to casual like Kryva Lypa. However it really is mostly about the food, so that’s what you really should be going for.
Jet Set Together was not paid by any of the restaurants featured in this Themed Restaurants in Lviv article, nor were we compensated with free food for a good review. These are all restaurants Cody and I like to go to and we hope you will too.