Come Valentine’s hour you’re advised to keep your eyes on your date. Even so, a room with a view goes some way to adding that missing pinch of magic to the evening ahead. By Alex Webber
Clicking through the ground floor turnstile one is left in no doubt you’ve entered a protected corner of corporate Warsaw. Functioning as a private members club, entrance to Pure Sky is found via a lift which dispatches guests onto Floor 22. Looking luxurious with its gleaming style and deep plum colors, this inner sanctum allows guests to rise above it all with dazzling views of the neon-lit capital. But while these corridors of power are usually kept off limits to all but members, on Valentine’s they’re open to Joe Public for an exclusive six course degustation menu. With prices set at zł. 300 per couple, you’ll find it money well spent – cooking is left in the hands of Paweł Michałowski: a onetime protégé of Gordon Ramsay.
Think of a Gessler and one thinks of Magda G., arguably Poland’s best known restaurateur. Yet in contrast to Magda’s exaggerated décor and riotous interiors, Marta Gessler’s Qchnia restaurant is restrained and low-key. Then again, anything else would be a needless embellishment. Comfortable in the luminous, candlelit interiors, your view from this reconstructed castle spills down onto the canal and park way down below. With its dreamy location and refined cuisine, Qchnia has Warsaw’s best terrace. But on a cold, ashen day you’ll discover it’s also a part of a romantic winter’s evening spent between a walk in Ujazdowski Park and an outing to the modern art gallery that occupies the rest of the zamek.
Warsaw will never compete with Venice in terms of romance, but that’s not to say that romance in Wa-wa is dead. Wrap up warm to walk the cobbled alleys and narrow twittens of Old Town, before coming to a stop on the corner of the square. A few years ago those choosing to eat dinner in the Rynek would have been locked away in a guarded institution – but not anymore. Pitched somewhere between the casual and the elegant, Bistro Warszawa affords ringside views of Warsaw’s quaint market square, and an intelligent menu that hits the right notes – much like the jazz sounds that croon in the background. As the February fog settles on the square, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Venice is overrated.