I'll be in Warsaw for a couple of days in early June; I need to choose one place for dinner and two places for lunch. I've been looking at the Polish cuisine possibilities on the Warsaw Life web site, but for every review that gushes with praise there's another one slamming the same restaurant. I need some Chowhound sense!
I'm open to learning about all price ranges, but I'd like to feel that I've made good choices at any price point. I'll be staying at the Sofitel Victoria, but I'm happy to walk 20 minutes each way for deliciousness -- whether peasant or haute.
Warsaw Life list:
Czerwony Wieprz (Red Hog)
Restaurant Przy Zamku
If anyone can recommend a place not on this list, please feel free. Thanks.
So far the best food I had in Poland was in restaurants run by Magda Gessler. In Warsaw, I think, nowadays (because it changes!) she runs AleGloria, U Fukiera, Slodki...Slony, Papu and Zielnik Cafe. I will never forget the food at the Tsarina, that sadly went out of business a few years ago.
Qchnia Artystyczna run by her former sister-in-law Marta Gessler is also a great choice. She also owns a restaurant called Ogrod Smakow that I have heard good things about.
One of the best and most famous is a restaurant at the Lazienki Palace, called Belvedere.
And another suggestion- Malinowa Restaurant located at the Bristol hotel (btw, the best hotel in Warsaw with a great location right next to the Old Town and the presidential palace).
All these places should have websites, so go ahead and look at them before you make your decision!
I lived in Warsaw for a summer three years ago, and I am having some trouble remembering names of places, but at least some of the restaurants you mention I recall being very touristy Old Town places. Which meant I didn't tend to eat at them, though the food may have been good. My favorite Warsaw guidebook (www.inyourpocket.com/poland/warsaw) on Przy Zamku: "You couldn't make this place more of a tourist trap if you added trip wire and land mines. Expect a horde of tourists and ordinary food."
Many ex-pats raved about the Polish food at Tradycja, though it was out of my budget so I never ate there. Delicja was popular at the high end as well.
If you want to eat less like a noble and more like a peasant, Chlopskie Jadlo is a popular chain in Poland--it's a huge phenomenon, and though the surroundings seem kitschy, many Poles love it. The food is delicious and hearty--they give you lard to put on your bread. Try some of the peasant eats with Okocim Palone--a really strong, intense Polish dark beer.
And if you want to eat Polish food with a twist with artsy Varsovians, try Qchnia Artystyczna (a favorite of my Polish theater-producer cousin), inside the Museum of Contemporary Art (itself housed in an old palace). The food is delicious, the view is beautiful, the crowd is stylish--what more can you want?
Only three meals in Warsaw -- what a predicament! Fukier, however, is a classic. For the other meals: It's not Polish, but consider Tandoor Palace (ul. Marszalkowska 21/25) -- some of the most wonderful tandoori dishes not only in Poland but, in my opinion, also on the continent. The tandoori paneer is excellent. And by no means should you miss Café Blikle (ul. Nowy Świat 33) for dessert!
But now for some more plebeian recommendations (!): For authentic Polish, pass on the "haute" and head to a bar mleczny, or milk bar (more properly "dairy bar"); these relics of Communist Poland continue to dish out meals of Polish comfort food which, courtesy of state subsidies, should amount to no more than 10 złoty. The quality of the food -- which you are likely to maneuver with plastic cutlery, in motley company -- can be hit-or-miss; it is satisfactory, however, at one of Warsaw's most popular bary mleczne, Universytecki (ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 20, by the statue of Copernicus in front of the Polish Academy of Sciences). And for a quick snack, try a zapiekanka ("Polish pizza") from one of the stalls in front of Warszawa Centralna (the central train station; I believe there are only two there), which serve the best in town -- order it "z dodatkami" for the works.
We were in Warsaw few months back (I'm Polish by birth) and had the most spectacular duck at the Tradycja ( http://www.warsaw-life.com/eat/restaurants_details/97-Tradycja ) and there is a fantastic wine bar / restaurant called Mielzynski Wine Bar ( http://www.mielzynski.pl/ ) but you have to book in advance. I think both places you'll need to get to by taxi but your hotel should organize that for you ...calling them yourself if you do not speak Polish can be an experience!!! But it is cheaper if you do that.
The "pierogi" we had at the Pierogarnia close to the barbakan were OK but I think the ones at U Hopfera were much nicer.