A note to my foreign friends who at some point might decide to travel to Ukraine. The beautiful city of Lviv is a place you MUST visit on your trip! There are many things that are unique about this city but all the special concept restaurants are something that really deserves your attention.
Basically, every restaurant or a coffee place in Lviv is built around some concept. If a place doesn't have a concept it's considered uncool.
All of it started with a restaurant called "Kryjivka". "A hiding place" would probably be the closest English translation. The official location of the restaurant is "somewhere on the Rynok square". The restaurant is built in the last hiding place of the soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (a very controvertial unit alledgedly fighting both the Nazi and the Soviets during WWII). After finding the place (there are no signs anywhere) and saying the password you get inside of a bunker filled with grenades, rifles and other military antiques. It's a great idea to have someone Ukrainian-speaking with you so that they can explain to you all the fun stuff about the menu. The restaurant is visited by an insane number of people each year and you will probably have to wait in the line before you get to the entrance. However, the area inside is huge and the line moves fast, so be patient and you will be rewarded!
Once you are inside make sure you visit the rooftop terrace with the anti-aircraft gun. While it might not be the coolest place for the table (you do want to sit in the bunker itself), it definitely offers a great view of the city!
Getting inside: You have to learn to say "Slava Ukrajini! Gerojam slava" which means "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to its heros!". If you don't know the password, you won't be allowed to enter. No Exceptions!
Location: somewhere on the Rynok Square
2. Lviv Coffee Mining Factory
It's not really a factory, nor is it a mine. However, the place features a maze of underground tunnels, a coffee mine (not a real one), you get a mining helmet when you enter and you can try the burning coffee in the basement. The burning coffee comes in two alternatives. If you are here for your morning coffee, maybe you should go for the caramel one. The other one is a bit more hardcore and comes with sambuca. Whichever you take, the firing ritual is exciting enough to come here just for the sake of it. And the coffee is delicious as well.
Location: 10 Rynok Square
3. The Three Broomsticks
Actually, the original English translation of the name of this place is "The Three Brooms". I guess it's because "The Three Broomsticks" restaurant is a registered trademark of the Universal Studios in Orlando. The truth is that, who really cares about the name as long as you can get some Butterbeer, try on a cloak and get your personal wand! Make sure you have enough time to spend in this restaurant. It will probably take you quite some time to figure out what to choose on the menu. It features some House Elves' dishes, a Dragon's Neck barbeque and a Tiramisu ("because Muggles were asking for it").
All of the attributes in the restaurant are made in Hollywood by Warner Brothers and are exact copies of the things used while shooting the Harry Potter movies.
Location: 1 Javorivskogo Square
4. The Most Expensive Restaurant of Galicia
Not to be confused with Galicia (Spain)!
The locals often call this restaurant "Freemasonry". Like with the Freemasonry, to join the club you have to be invited by its member. In practice it means that there are no signs and the entrance looks like a normal residential apartment door. You knock, a grandpa opens and here you can start bullshitting him or your friends, dependent on whether they know where you are going. You can start talking to the grandpa like you've known him for years and introduce your friends to him. He'll be playing along, saying something like "Oh, hi, haven't seen you for ages. Welcome in, I'll make some tea". You enter a small hall that doesn't look very promising, but then as you open the second door you get into the restaurant.
I don't advise you to go there without the Lokal club card (it's the customer loyalty card of the Fest holding, valid in all their outlets). The restaurant is called the "most expensive" for a reason. With the loyalty card you get a 90% discount on the menu prices, which practically means that nobody goes there without the card. The prices are just too crazy otherwise.
Location: 14 Rynok Square, Apt. 8 (2 floor)
A Fifty Shades kinda place except for the place is older than the book! The restaurant is dedicated to the famous Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (who was apparently born in Lviv) and features all different kinds of stuff. I won't really tell you what you can find there, you have to go and check it out yourself. But be prepared, if you can't pay the bill, you might get spanked. For real.
Location: 7 Serbska Street
6. Kryva Lypa
And now, finally, the answer to the question that has been bothering you since you began reading this post: Where to get some delicious BORSCH?
Pretty much everything on the menu is DELICIOUS. The portions are huge. The borsch comes in a bread loaf (wait, what?). Their carpaccio is a must try. And the best thing about this place: here you can eat and relax. Nobody will try to spank you here.
Location: 8 Kryva Lypa Passage
The list is not complete at all. There is still "At the Golden Rose" restaurant where the menu comes with no prices and you get to pay whatever you manage to bargain for. There is "The House of Legends" with a real car and a golden rain on the rooftop, as well as a fire-breathing dragon on a wall. There is so much more. In fact every restaurant or a cafe in Lviv comes with its little "wait, what?". Like that cage in the "First Lviv Restaurant of Meat and Justice". My best piece of advice to you would be to get yourself a Ukrainian friend that will guide you through all of these amusing places. And to never go to the same place again unless you've got plenty of time to spend in Lviv!