Kriváň (Restaurant and Museum)
Where: Viedenská 257 (100 metres south of Nový most [New Bridge] on the Petržalka side of the Danube)
English menu: Yes
Open: daily 11:00-24:00
Rating: 7 out of 10
On a recent mid-June day, the weather in Bratislava was windy and rainy, the swollen Danube River was at some spots less than a metre short of spilling into Petržalka, and Kriváň - the new boat restaurant and museum on the river - was rocking in the excited water.
Kriváň opened just this spring, across from the Old Town, down-river from Nový most (New Bridge). While the unseasonably cool weather has kept visitors to its deck at a minimum, the staff appears to have spent the down-time polishing up their act, resulting in an excellent dining experience.
Patrons will be attracted to the open deck on the east side of the boat. But if the weather is threatening, head into the hull where waiters promptly present customers with a menu listing their specialities: fish from the Danube. The interior is mainly wooden - simple yet comfortable - with several boating relics now serving as decorations: life preservers, coiled ropes, black and white photos of ships from decades ago. The western wall is covered in a sprawling mural tracing the path of the Danube from Germany to the Black Sea.
The Kriváň waitstaff is quick and professional, although the cooks are a bit slower: my order of catfish in a garlic and wine sauce took over 30 minutes to arrive. After one bite, though, the wait was forgotten. Served with potato pancakes and a side of vegetables, the long, thin slab of catfish was delicious, cooked to perfection.
Slovaks and foreigners earning a Slovak wage may find Kriváň a bit expensive, but for foreigners changing western currency into crowns, a meal here is a bargain. The varied fish dishes go for around 200 Slovak crowns ($4), soups (including cream of garlic) for under 50 crowns, a half-litre of Staropramen beer for 39 crowns, a two decilitre glass of wine for 38 crowns, and cappuccino for 30 crowns.
The boat also houses a Danube River museum (open for tours on weekends only, at 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00). Families will enjoy Kriváň, too, as a corner in the hull has been set aside for children, complete with diminutive tables and coloured pencils for drawing.
On this stormy day, I wrestled with the restaurant's rating, finally settling on a strong seven. But an asterisk should be provided, for I venture to say that Kriváň's rating would increase in fairer weather, when guests will surely be sitting on the sunny deck, gazing at the busy city across the way, floating upon the very water whence their meals were snatched.