Everybody loves pancakes. No truer sentence has ever been uttered. Feast your eyes upon some of the top traditional spots in Europe to satisfy your cake-from-a-pan cravings, all hand picked by our team of dedicated Spotters!
1) Brussels, Belgium
We kick this list off in the capital city of Europe. Our Brussels local Wouter points out that, while he has some trouble finding pancake diversity elsewhere, “Maison des Crêpes is one of those places offering both sweet and savory fillings”. His favorite? The chicken basquaise, of course. Gourmet stuff.
2) Paris, France
Next up, the actual pancake capital of the world – the city of lights, and crêpes! Our local Tamara seeks out the perfect crêpe as a true Slav (read on to understand) would – she recommends skipping the big names and heading straight for the real deal. Le Pot O’ Lait seems like just the spot, with over 40 different combinations of sweet and savory concoctions. To top it off, you’re welcome to have your crêpes flambéed, à la mode (with ice cream) or whip creamed into oblivion. Le yum!
3) Riga, Latvia
One look at the rustic awning, the 1950’s style font slowly fading away on the facade restored over and over again throughout its existence and the classic statue of chef Vilhelm cordially inviting you in whilst casually dropping his creation says it all – this place is packed with tradition. Our local Anete says it herself – “Šefpavārs Vilhelms has been one of my favorite places since childhood”. The special recipe (probably kept under lock and key) will make sure your taste buds don’t leave unfulfilled.
4) Tallinn, Estonia
Another great spot in the under-visited Baltic states – expect to find some gigantic traditional pancakes in Kompressor. Sweet and salty kinds alike, these flat slices of circle heaven are, according to our local Annina, “absolutely delish”. They’d probably have to do some good salesmanship to get you to try the traditional Estonian delight – the herring topping one, but we’re pretty much sold on the brie cheese and ham variant. One more reason to head up north, but not quite all the way!
5) Rotterdam, the Netherlands
From the giga-cakes of Tallinn, we head over to the micro realm of Rotterdam, with plenty of poffertjes for everybody! These are the traditional mini pancakes of Holland, which, according to our local Michael, represent a gastronomical haven of sorts – “in the no man’s land of Dutch gastronomy it’s as good as it gets”. Foodies, rejoice! Your sweet tooth will be taken care of in Poffertjes Seth.
6) Zurich, Switzerland
As you’d expect from the high Swiss standards, some real gourmet pancake stuff awaits you in Zum Guten Glück. “With creations ranging from the sweet – ricotta, maple syrup and almonds – to the savory – horseradish cream and smoked ham – it’s really any pancake lover’s dream”, says our Zurich local Allan. Enjoy your gastronomical exploration in a sleek Scandinavian style interior. Classy, through and through.
7) Copenhagen, Denmark
A retro-themed basement café in the center of Copenhagen that offers thick, but not too fluffy (one might say, the Goldilocks zone) pancakes, which our local Elina heartily swears by: “My favorite is the ones with thick chocolate sauce and banana slices on top, though the Blueberry ones with maple syrup are a tough competitor”. Kalaset definitely seems worthy of checking out, but beware – make your way there before 11:00 or you might find yourself in a chock-full venue. Remember how they say – the early bird gets the pancake!
8) Moscow, Russia
If you didn’t know, pancakes have sort of a sacred status among the Slavs. But these Russians apparently take that pedestal and raise it up a notch. Or two. The creative pancake menu in Mon Blin consists of highlights such as the Ukrainian themed rice pancake, the ever so classic hot dog pancake and, to sweeten the deal, the chocolate coconut “Bounty” pancake. Our Moscow local Ilya highly recommends checking it out. Блины forever!
9) Zagreb, Croatia
Just to reiterate – pancakes are a big thing in the Slavic culture. In the Balkan countries, you should expect to find stands that sell DIY crepes at almost every corner, where you choose among the multitude of toppings to be placed inside in order to create your ultimate snack, or go for some of the well established combos that have their clear appeal. Sladomazo is just such a place. Plus, its name is a clever play on words, putting together two of the major sins – gluttony and lust, possibly hinting at their mutual complementarity.
10) Bratislava, Slovakia
By now you’ve got it – pancakes and Slavs. Lacinka in Bratislava seems like The Place to get your sweet fix on. And our local Martin certainly does – “I am there so often that I think I am addicted”. Perhaps we should be worried about him? Nah, he’ll be fine. And how could one not be when one’s got exquisite items like nougat, raspberry jam, curd with grape, sheep’s cheese, vegetable or roquefort cheese (don’t try all of these in a combo though) to choose from? And get two cakes for € 1? Makes this city (specifically, the block where this spot’s located) a good candidate for moving into and never leaving. Yep. Never. Ever.
Now you know. The sacred truth of the pancake way has been foretold unto thee, only to expand in the eons to come and bring you ever more recommendations, as our Spotters diligently weave, one by one, the tales of the legendary crêpe masters of Europe. Stayeth tuned!