Gdynia

Santo Porto Magda Gessler

Magda Gessler, for those who are not aware, is probably Poland’s best-known chef and restauranteur primarily thanks to her role as a judge on Poland’s version of Masterchef and her very popular Kuchenne Rewolucje (Kitchen Nightmares) show, where she tries to help failing restaurants turn their fortunes around. 

Her new venture in Gdynia is the latest to add to a growing stable of restaurants which cover Poland and can be traced back, in our time at least, to the U Fukiera Polish restaurant on Warsaw’s Market Square. U Fukiera was and is a visual feast as well as a literal one, with Ms. Gessler’s trademark love of fresh flowers and colourful design very evident and no doubt influenced by her degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. 

While the split-level Santo Porto might be compared rather conservative in comparison to, say, Warsaw’s Ale Gloria, the look is still far above the typical ‘out of the trade catalogue/Ikea’ look favoured by most new restaurants. We genuinely wouldn’t mind a few of the chairs in our home.

What about the food though? Well the core ingredient is fish, made abundantly clear by the selection of fresh examples in the ice box right by the door as you walk in. There are some non-maritime options such as oxtail soup, veal schnitzel, burgers and steaks, but the draw here is the fish, both from the Baltic and imported from the Spanish provinces of Galicia and Asturia. We went for a sauerkraut soup with a Gołąbek (rolled cabbage leaves with, in this case, a cod filling), followed by a delicious fillet of cod, coated in olive oil with chilli and parsley. The fish was wonderful and was perfectly accompanied by a choice of asparagus and pureed potatoes from the selection of seasonal ‘extras’. It’s worth asking the waitstaff which fish they recommend each day and whether to have it steamed, grilled, fried or baked by the chefs you can see buzzing around in the open kitchen. The menu suggests one of their many wines to accompany each dish and it really is first-class made even more enjoyable by very acceptable pricing. A glance at a nearby table, as we enjoyed our chocolate mousse dessert, also ensured we’ll be trying the tuna burger with thick cut fries sometime soon.

Why Ms. Gessler has decided to open the first restaurant to carry her name in the Tri-city in Gdynia is an interesting question but it’s well-worth making a reservation as the sight of her name in the window meant that most seats were taken even at lunchtime on a Wednesday when we visited. 

With this being a Gessler restaurant, it is very tempting to treat the lady to a bit of her own critical medicine and it is a question whether her own high standards can be maintained when she is in effect an absentee landlady, but this is nonetheless very recommendable and we’re definitely adding it to our list of places to take visiting guests.
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Amenities

Child-friendly
Facilities for disabled
Dogs Allowed

Website

Open

Open 13:00-22:00. Sun 13:00-21:00.

Price/Additional Info

€ € € €

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