Almost a year ago, while my parents visited me in Gdańsk, we stopped in to eat at Chef Food & Friends, attracted by the friendly atmosphere, and its central location. Recently I decided to pop in again. The cozy restaurant is extremely accommodating. Remarkably, it’s one of the few places in the Tricity not only to stay open late but also serve gourmet food — long past other restaurants’ bedtimes.

It is a pleasure to be able to watch the chef making pizzas in a wood-burning oven in the restaurant. Few restaurants in the Tricity area use wood. High-quality ingredients make the food top-notch. Their menu is short and well-designed – a mark of a strong concept. Moreover, the servers, as well as the owners, will make you feel at home—all something to be very proud of.

Krzysztof Bagiński, co-owner of Chef Food & Friends standing in front of his wood-burning pizza oven. Photo: Luca Aliano

Time to be My Own Boss

Krzysztof Bagiński, co-owner of Chef Food & Friends met me and briefly showed me around the restaurant. He has worked in the restaurant business for ten years and has traveled to Italy several times – even studying the art of cooking real Italian pizza. “I used to work in an Italian restaurant for an Italian chef,” he said. There, he perfected his pizza craft. However, Bagiński dreamed of opening his own business. He explained, “after some time, I felt that it was time to be my own boss.”

Wood-burning pizza oven. Photo: Luca Aliano

Part of the charm of the restaurant is its modest decor. Though small, it is nevertheless comfortable, and relaxed. Krzysztof and his friends came up with the name Chef Food & Friends as a way to make the place memorable. “I wanted to show that a restaurant can be special. It is not just a matter of food but it is a fact of atmosphere,” said Krzysztof. Gdańsk gets a lot of tourists this time of year — especially from Nordic countries he said — and Chef Food & Friends hopes to be a welcoming place for locals and tourists alike.

Interior with pizza oven. Photo: Luca Aliano

Late Night Oasis

One thing that sets the restaurant apart from many like it is that it’s open late – even into the early morning hours. “Our motto,” says Krzysztof, “[is that] until the last person gets up to leave from a table, the kitchen will remain open.” He lamented,“not all restaurants keep this promise and deliver great quality food after certain hours.”

Exposed kitchen. Photo: Luca Aliano

Chef Food & Friends

Steak tartare with black truffle and quail egg. Photo: Luca Aliano

Following my server’s recommendation, I tried the steak tartare with black truffle and quail egg. His drink pairing for the starter is pure vodka. “Drink a shot… spread a bit of tartare on the bread and eat. It will taste much better,” he said. I liked it because the pair had a powerful explosion of flavors, the strong boozy, astringent vodka mixed with the minced meat, creamy egg yolk and earthy black truffles. I highly recommend this starter course.

Żurek. Photo: Luca Aliano

After this Krzysztof proposed a Polish soup called żurek. I particularly enjoyed this soup. Not every restaurant can guarantee the freshness of ingredients. Żurek can be light and delicate or hearty, stuffed with pieces of sausage and potatoes. But this time was really light and pungent because of a sprinkle of black pepper.

Crispy pork belly with mashed potatoes and pickled onions. Photo: Luca Aliano

Crispy pork belly with mashed potato and pickled onion tasted really good too, I’ve never eaten pork belly before. As its name suggests, the skin really was crispy – pan fried to perfection. The mashed potato cream reminded me a bit of pure’ di patate very popular in Italy as side dish perfectly matched with meat courses. Pickled onions added a nice acidity to round everything out.

Friendly Spot

Overall, the restaurant uses fresh ingredients, authentic methods, and offers it all at fair prices. What’s not to admire? Feel at home and relax while enjoying a delicious, smoking hot pizza directly from the wood oven. It’s open late for night owls as well. They stay open and serve great food until the last person leaves. Feel free to ask servers for their suggestions, they will be happy to guide you to choose a great set of courses. Krzysztof is an accommodating host and a friendly guy. Stop in and try some of the food for yourself.

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