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Krakowiak Restaurant - Polish in South River NJ

I'm looking for a good Polish restaurant in Middlesex County area and came across this name on the boards but no reviews. I am used to the restaurants in the lower east side of NY. You know, the great pierogis, bigos, stuffed cabbage, the big hearty breakfast with kielbasa. Any info on this restaurant or others would be appreciated.

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  1. I've been to Krakowiak twice, and absolutly love it. I've had Pierogis, Stuffed Cabbage, Kielbasa, and of course the Borsht (sp). The Pierogi's fall into the to die for catagory, as does the Borsht (very light soup in an almost clear pink broth), and Stuffed Cabbage (best I've ever had), and while I enjoyed the Kielbasa the method of preparation was different to what I'm used to. It was split in half and deep fried until crispy - very good, just different. I can't wait to go back myself. I also read your post on NJ but refuse to post there, to much drama on that site!

    1. krak's pierogies (non-fried option) are excellent. so is the bigos. i don't know if the beef tripe soup is offered in the summer, but it's a creamy, slippery, spicy must have treat. nice homemade-like desserts like apple cake. some of the waitresses can be a little stoic, so you may not nessesarily be treated like royalty, but you probably won't be treated with any negative passion, either.

      1. Applespam, Herm, piney,
        Thanks for this discussion. I love slavak cooking. We will definitely try Krakowiak.

        Krakowiak Restaurant
        42 Main Street
        South River, NJ (New Jersey) 08882-1225
        Phone: (732) 238-0433

        10 Replies
        1. re: val ann c

          Any other good polish/slavak up in Monmouth or Ocean county? We've been heart broken since the Green Store Polish Deli in Bradley Beach closed and we can't get our fresh kielbasa. When we travel out to Wilkes-Barre, PA to see family we bring a cooler and fill it with homemade pierogies and kielbasa!

          1. re: stack_c

            Sorry, but there is a great Polish tavern in PERTH AMBOY. It's in the yellow pages. Can anyone help me w/ the name?

            1. re: stack_c

              Off topic, (since they aren't "restaurants") but, "stack c", if you're looking for Polish delis for kielbasa, etc., there are two place near South River (both are on the edge of town, and actually in East Brunswick):

              European Home Made Provisions- 301 Old Bridge Turnpike
              Continental Home Made Provisions- 190 Main Street
              (Continental is, confusingly, in the "Old Bridge" section of E. Brunswick- "Main St." on maps is often listed as County Rt. 615 or by it's name in Sayreville, "Bordentown Ave.").

              Both are very close to Rt. 18 (and a lot closer to BB than Wilkes-Barre).

              European Provisions has a huge selection of their own cold cuts (ruined me for any "factory" meats- even Boarshead) and many varieties of kielbasa (including one approx. 4" in diameter that they slice like a cold cut) and lots of canned imported foods.

              There's also a small shop that's opened in downtown Jamesburg (Railroad Ave. & Hooker St. IIRC) with a small selection of meats, but, unlike the above, I don't think they make it themselves.

              1. re: JessKidden

                Thanks for the tips on delis! Just to clarify, we welcome all tips on chow sources here- restaurants, markets, delis, farm stands- it's all on topic if it's great chow!

                1. re: JessKidden

                  I'll second European Home Made Provisions. Like the sign in their store says, 'There is no place like us near us, so this must be the place!'. Of course Continental provisions is right near them, but honestly European Provisions is so good, I've never felt the need to seek out Continental. Just as an aside European Provisions also carries Liverwurst made with Goose Liver!

                  1. re: Herm

                    I've been going to European Provisions as long as I can remember. I bring home the kishka for my Yankee wife. Polana, the resto on Whitehead Ave in SR is very good and reasonable and 50' from where my dad was born! A monument to a great man!?

                  2. re: JessKidden

                    And in Linden, there are at least two grocery/deli/takeout places Syrena (in the National Wholesale Liquidator strip mall on St. Georges Ave just south of Styles
                    Street) and Pulaski, on Wood Avenue near the train station.

                    1. re: albinoni

                      And across the street from Pulaski on the side street there's the Bratek deli loaded with good things .
                      And of course there's Big Stash' place on the other side of Rte 1 !

                  3. re: stack_c

                    Polish American Euorpean Resturant on Rt 9 in Barnegat has great stuffed cabbage. Center of a strip mall.

                    1. re: stack_c

                      White Eagle Polish Deli
                      65 East County Line Road,
                      Lakewood, NJ 08701
                      (732) 370-3313

                      They have all kinds of home made Kilbasa and more...

                  4. Krakowiak is very, very good. Bring a hearty red wine, relax and enjoy some great homemade cooking.
                    Inexpensive enough to allow you sample an array of items.


                    1. I just eat here for lunch today and I am so happy we did!!

                      The place was great! I had the beef stroganoff over noodles and my husband had the beef goulash with potato pancakes. We also ordered cheese blintes.
                      It was clearly one of the best meals we have both had in a long time. Very home-style cooking.

                      So cheap, too! The entrees were $ 9.75 each and the blintzes were $ 4.75 for 2. the plates were overloaded so, now we have lunch for tomorrow!

                      Our waitress was really nice, too!

                      I will definately go back!

                      They are closed on Mondays.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Angelina

                        Try their Krakowiak platter - a carnivores delight ! Kielbasa , bigos , stuffed cabbage and pirogie !

                        1. re: arpad

                          I saw that on the mnu and thought it looked so good! What is their version of hunter stew?

                          1. re: Angelina

                            It's stewed cabbage and there are chunks of different kinds of meat spread throughout. If I'm remembering correctly they serve rye bread with it as well. I was thinking it would be a nice thick soup and was surprised when I opened the lid. =)

                            Has anyone ever tried the steak when it's on the daily special board? I've always been curious

                        2. re: Angelina

                          Angelina, glad that you discovered Krakowiak. We have been going for several years and have always had excellent meals, never have been disappointed.
                          Relaxing, casual atmosphere is as comforting as the food ;)

                          1. re: tom246

                            Thanks, Tom! This was a great find and I am so glad to go!

                        3. Wedding planning sucks (no, not mine, DD:). Weekends have been a mess helping out.
                          On the way home from north Jersey we got off at exit 9 and hoped that Krakowiak had a table available. They did and we enjoyed a very good dinner.

                          The Polish and Eastern Europe food coming out of the kitchen is stick to the ribs good and the setting is like being in a relatives house.
                          We each started with sauerkraut and mushroom stuffed pierogi sauteed with chopped onions and bits of bacon. These pierogi will make you forget a tough day :).
                          Wife had the stuffed cabbage, three large rolls in red sauce with mashed potatoes. Delicious and a large serving.
                          I chose a special, half roasted duck glazed with fruit syrup and topped with pieces of whole fruit.
                          This was delicious and reminded me of a similar dish I had during a visit to Prague.
                          A nice bottle of rustic Carlisle Zin was perfect with the food.
                          Too full for dessert, we passed but the pierogi filled with blueberries sounded good!

                          Krakowiak has very good food served in a comfortable setting. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, its a good choice if your looking for a break from your usual places.
                          Plus the value is nothing short of incredible.

                          26 Replies
                          1. re: tom246

                            Funny thing Tom...my mother wants to go here today!!! Great review! I will let you know if we go there today...I better start fasting as those portions are huge! :)

                            1. re: Angelina

                              Angelina, enjoy if you and mom decide to go. Krakowiak shows that tasty food doesn't need to be fancy.

                              1. re: tom246

                                Tom thanks for the review....sounds wonderful..It's now on my goto list. Is this place near Ria Mar?

                                1. re: Tapas52

                                  About 1/2 mi or less, right next to the rail road tracks. My dad was born, in what is now the empty lot on the other side of the tracks.

                                  1. re: Tapas52

                                    Tapas, 42 Main St., right in the heart of town. Ria Mar is on Whitehead, around the corner from Krakowiak, about 1/4 mile away.

                                    1. re: tom246

                                      Sorry! I got confused w/ the Polish Restaurant on Whitehead Ave., whose name I forget, but may be superior.

                                  2. re: tom246

                                    Thanks, Tom! Well...the family wnet there this past Sunday...I was craving their beef goulash...we get there, and it was closed for a private party!! :( It was pure torture!

                                    1. re: Angelina

                                      Angelina, wow, that is disappointing and I agree with the torture part :)
                                      A lot of people rave about Polonia Polish Restaurant around the corner from Krakowiak on Whitehead ave but I've never been.

                                      Another plan B could have been to jump back on Rt 18 down to Rt 9 south to Shirin Cafe. You would have at least cured the pierogi urge :). The pierogi at Shirin are excellent as is everything else.

                                      1. re: tom246

                                        If anyone ever ventures to the Northern part of the state, i suggest The Royal Warsaw in Elmwood Park, affectionately known as *Poland on the Passaic*. You can also shop at the Golden Eagle, Super Deli or Piast Provisions

                                        Royal Warsaw
                                        871 River Dr, Elmwood Park, NJ 07407

                                        800 River Dr, Garfield, NJ 07026

                                        Golden Eagle
                                        452 Lanza Ave, Garfield, NJ 07026

                                        Super Deli
                                        125 Wallington Ave, Wallington, NJ 07057

                                        1. re: tom246

                                          Thanks, Ton, I was trying to recall Polonia's name. Although 2 years ago, I've dine several times at both Polonia and Krakiowak. The Polish guys I grew up w/ and I feel a preference for Polonia, more on the menu and better food for the buck. Has any else tried it?
                                          Both are very good restos. I'll be back in SR this summer and will again try both.

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            Tried them both and prefer Krakowiak .
                                            Prices are about the same and so is quality .

                                            Krakowiak Restaurant
                                            42 Main St, South River, NJ 08882

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                BTW how's life up among the moose and the Frenchmans or did you move to the Southwest already ?

                                                1. re: arpad

                                                  I began teaching in NM nearly 40 years ago; getting vested in a second retirement!
                                                  Found Polish food in 2 shops in Albuquerque.
                                                  Back to Maine for June & July, down to NJ for family & food fix. Will be meeting other NJ hounds; email me if interested.

                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    Bummer, I'm walking distance to Krakoriak and live less than .25 miles from Polonia. I'll be leaving beautiful NJ where I've lived the past 28 years....to move to even more beautiful Boulder, CO.

                                                    1. re: RPMcMurphy

                                                      Are you sure? I am a bred born raised NJite and the few years I lived in Rochester NY totally freaked me out as I was so far from the ocean. The air, weather were just so totally wrong.

                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                        I live on the outskirts of Cranbury and that's the absolute furthest I've EVER lived from salt water !

                                                      2. re: RPMcMurphy

                                                        Murph, the Sayreville Bombers prepare one for anything! You'll love Boulder! f
                                                        Fine dining and the Rockie Mountains. less than an hour from Denver. We'll be heading up there at some point. If ever in the Albuquerque area, a day's drive down I-25, let me know.

                                                      3. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        Hmmm . . . South River for Polish home cooking. Wow, that seems awfully familiar. Maybe a quick stop by St. Mary's to see if Father Stosh will bless the bobka? Only this time, I can't expect a five dollar bill to be discreetly pressed into my hand just before I leave (instead, I have to pay???)

                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                          If Father stosh will not, go further up Whitehead and Have Father O'Reilly at St Peter & Paul's do it. We can do that now.

                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                            Just so long as I don't have to go to confession first.

                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      BTW you might enjoy this - a real free swinging site !


                                                2. re: tom246

                                                  Thanks, tom!! We are HUGE fans of Shirin!! Just last week we were there! Albert is such a great host!!!

                                                  We winded up going to Tuscan Grill on Rt. 9 in Manalapan because my parents wanted to try it...I know..I know..another Italian!!! It actually was pretty good!

                                                  Maybe next week we will try again to get to Krakowiak!

                                                  Krakowiak Restaurant
                                                  42 Main St, South River, NJ 08882

                                                  Shirin Cafe
                                                  345 U.S. 9 South, Manalapan, NJ 07726

                                                  1. re: Angelina

                                                    Maybe a CH gathering at Krakowiak could be arranged?

                                                    1. re: equal_Mark

                                                      Krakowiak would make a great place for a CH gathering. Big enough room that is rarely full, very reasonable menu so people can afford to attend, SR is centrally located, its BYO if your into beer, wine etc and most important, the people who run the restaurant are nice and very friendly.

                                                      Count me in if it takes place.

                                        2. The food at Krakowiak is like good old fashioned grandma home cooking. The first time I went there was with a friend that grew up in Poland. Its the only Polish restaurant she will go to. My husband started with the tripe soup and really enjoyed it. The prices were really affordable and the portions were good. i've tried their pork cutlets, pierogis, potato pancakes and the hunter stew. I was slightly disappointed with the potato pancakes but everything else was great. During lent season I order the potato pierogis minus the bacon. Its also a BYOB which is a plus when going with a group.

                                          Krakowiak Restaurant
                                          42 Main St, South River, NJ 08882

                                          1. I have not eaten tripe soup (flacki ??) since I was in college many years ago. It was at
                                            my favorite downhome Polish restaurant in East Village, NYC. On First Ave and the only
                                            sign on it read "Polish Restaurant". Just a lunch counter served by Polish women in
                                            house dresses. The place is gone now but it served great food and a real treat for a poor
                                            college student.

                                            The tripe soup at Krakowiak is excellent and a meal by itself. I just wish that the place was closer to my home.

                                            1. Odd goings on at Krakowiak for lunch today. Went with Tapas52 to try them for lunch for the first time. Walked in and the place was empty except for one other table.

                                              The waitress came to our table and explained that they did not have much to offer as the owners had just come back from vacation. "Do you have Borscht?" "No." "Cucumber Salad?" "No." "Hunter stew?" "No." Turns out they only had the stuffed cabbage and pierogies, which was OK by me as those were the dishes I had been most interested in. We had initially hoped to get the Platter Krakow, but they had no kielbasa or Bigos.

                                              So we each got a couple stuffed cabbage, one with tomato sauce and one with mushroom, and each got some mushroom & kraut as well as potato and cheese pierogies, which came with a side of sour cream.

                                              The waitress then approached the other table and asked if they wanted a cucumber salad... ?? We looked at each other... "Didn't you try to order that?" "Uh, yeah..." Then came to our table and asked if we would like some. "Sure..."

                                              Meanwhile a guy came in and asked if he could order some takeout, and after some back and forth asked if they were sure they would have some food tomorrow? "Yes, we're pretty sure..." Then he left.

                                              The other table finished and left...

                                              Our food started arriving and everything was quite good, as good as all the reviews had led us to believe. The cucumber salad was not chilled, and we suspected they had just whipped it up (Tapas joked that he was surprised not to have seen someone coming from the market across the street with some cucumbers...), but it was still tasty.

                                              Next a lady with a couple kids opened the door and started to come in, and our server stopped them and told her that the place was closed and would reopen the next day. They left and we looked at her... "Don't worry! you can stay as long as you like!" It should be noted that the server was exceptionally professional and helpful and was trying her best to maintain what seemed to be a difficult situation. She came to the table several times to see how things were going and offering refills of our drinks.

                                              Again, all that we had was very good and
                                              I was even contemplating ordering some food to go but
                                              (luckily in hindsight) did not.

                                              We asked for the check and were noting that is was a bit high as we had ended up ordering everything a 'la carte instead as part of a platter. We were figuring out the tip when from one of the back tables we heard, in a strong Polish accent "Thats OK boys, you can leave now! We looked over like "Is he talking to us?"

                                              "Just go now! We don't need your money!" We must have just gaped at him because he repeated "Just get out of here and take your money, we don't want it!" Meanwhile the nice blonde lady who had been serving us was shushing him and telling him to shut up. "Please ignore him!" He was still going on about not needing our money and we were saying we wanted to at least leave a tip for the server and he was going on like the Soup Na@i from Seinfeld (No Borscht for You!).

                                              So we left the money anyway and booked... Nice little floor show all in all...

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                Funny you should post this.... On my last visit, which was about 2 months ago, there was a strange guy sitting to the right of the counter. (if your back was to the door) The service was sucked, and I got the feeling that we were not wanted there. There was only one other table, obviously a regular by the waitresses familiarity with him. When we were finished with dinner, I went up to counter to pay. The guy on the right was staring at me. I presumed he was a manger of some sort, so I just nodded and said hello. He said nothing, and just kept staring. I was close to asking him if there was a problem, but I figured it would be best just to leave and write the place & their delicious food off. I'm going back.

                                                1. re: Herm

                                                  Meant to write that I'm NOT going back.

                                                2. re: equal_Mark

                                                  To continue with what =mark has written above this was one of the most Outrageous acts of disrespect to a customer I have EVER seen in a restaurant. Let me also add that after this idiot in a chefs uniform which was probably the owner kept repeating to me as his wife tried to calm him down in Polish,
                                                  "Just go now! We don't need your money!" he said it 4x,5x...he had a look on his face & in his eyes of pure rage and for a second or so I though he was gonna get up and come toward us in a violent rage and I was ready to go to blows & go "Brooklyn" on his A$$for sure!!....
                                                  what a jerk!!!!

                                                  What a shame as the food was very good but now who would ever want to go back there ?......
                                                  There are other great Polish Places we will try for sure....

                                                  CH'ers beware!

                                                3. http://polishplate.com

                                                  Rozmaryn in Trenton is very good and don't worry ... it's on the North side of Rte 1 On Olden Ave just a block or so on the left .

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: arpad

                                                    Rozmaryn looks good....will try when in the area...thanx

                                                    1. re: Tapas52

                                                      Rozmaryn is very good and the owner is VERY nice :)

                                                      1. re: Tapas52

                                                        Another good choice in the area is Barbara's Hungarian Kitchen on Parkway ... Olden turns into Parkway as you drive north and Barbara's is in the Mazzarro Shopping Center .

                                                        1. re: arpad

                                                          arpad....Thanx Barbaras is another on my list to try also...

                                                          1. re: Tapas52

                                                            What an experience! I have been there and the food is great. What a loss, I would never want to deal with what you went through. As I was reading your post I was wondering if maybe that was a robbery in progress and they just wanted you out.. but then again he said he didn't want your money! What a weird experiene you had! Thanks for sharing your story.. wow!