When it came to deciding Warsaw’s Best New Restaurant, the voting was straight forward – Tuna…
Head chef and co-owner Martin Gimenez Castro requires no introduction; first bursting onto the public radar in 2013 when he stormed to victory in the inaugural season of Top Chef Polska in 2013, the Argentinean has since become one of the most prominent figures on Warsaw’s foodie landscape: after a stint heading the acclaimed but now defunct fine dining establishment Salto, he then struck out on his own to create Ceviche Bar, a smart-casual restaurant that allowed him to showcase his passion for Latin America to stunning effect.
Flourishing to this day, Ceviche Bar’s success has, however, proved a double-edge sword. “When you’ve got such a good team behind you,” admits Martin, “you don’t always need to be there.”
The time had come for a new challenge. “As a chef you’re always on the lookout to create something new, and I’d been thinking of opening a fish restaurant for quite some time,” he says. “At the top of my mind though, I wanted it to do something different with this core ingredient.”
Joining forces with design guru David Racchi, the duo launched Tuna over summer in an on-trend part of Powiśle. Tucked away from the principal footfall, it immediately became a cult destination.
Looking elegantly refined and dominated by the sight of 18,000 tuna cans that sheathe the walls, it’s a place of some style – smartly appointed in dark metallic colors, punches of wood add warmth to the aesthetic, and the look is rounded out by the presence of an open kitchen, display cases of fish and a central bar to encourage bar-top dining.
An ecstasy of tastes, Tuna succeeds in reimagining everything you thought you knew about eating fish. Creative but never silly, this restaurant is a heartfelt celebration of seafood, one that pushes boundaries without ever doing so just for the sake of it.
Brilliant in every way possible, this restaurant is proof that Warsaw hasn’t lost all of its swagger and invention – sure, you will find classics such as Gillardeau No. 2 oysters served on ice, or premium Antonius five star Siberian caviar, but the true thrill lies in exploring the chef’s more unexpected flights of fancy: the ‘fish platter’ is a supreme example, presenting as it does tuna sausages, corvina mortadella and salmon jerky. Marinated for two days before being slow-dried, the latter is particularly sublime.
Eyebrows are again approvingly raised with the tuna nduja – spicy but not overwhelmingly so, the kick is just enough to act as a pleasing surprise; elsewhere, tuna tartare is everything you want it to be and a little bit more. Something of a feel good restaurant, this is a place where passion and talent collide in one mighty bang of rollicking tastes.