Hi everyone. I just wanted to let you know that I'm a food-lover living in Krakow and if any of you are planning (or even just considering!) visiting this beautiful city, you are more than welcome to ask me any questions about recommendations in Krakow!
I've been to tons of places here from the most expensive to the cheapest but tastiest keilbasa stand you'll ever experience...
Let me know what kind of places you're looking for!
Are you talking about the guy that sells grilled sausages under the bridge, late at night?
I ate them last year, and they were amazing!
Anything new that's worth trying in the Old Town area? I am planning to go to the Jarema restaurant, specializing in the east of the border cuisine. Any other suggestions?
haha yeah you got the right sausage guy! it's the best after a late night in the clubs on wielopole ;)
to be honest i've never even heard of Jarema, but after a quick google just now i think i remember a friend telling me about it, and that it was quite nice! i just have bad memories of restaurants on plac matejki as the one and only time i had some polish food on that square, a homeless guy sitting right behind me started unloading his previous meal very loudly and violently just feet away from me!! gross!! i was totally put off my pierogi!! :)
anyway, new in the old town i would suggest checking out Wesele. If you've heard of or been to Miod Malina on Grodzka, you'll be happy to know that because of the massive tourist takeover there (and rightly so, miod malina rocks) the owners decided to expand onto the main Market Square. unlike miod malina though, wesele serves only polish food (miod malina has italian too) in a rustic environment. if you know the play or even the movie "wesele" by wyspianski, you'll be interested to know that it really influenced the decor!
another unique place, though not in the Old Town but in Kazimierz, is Pierogi u Vincenta - a fantastic pierogi joint with a great menu of the usuals plus some new and more experimental ingredients (i heard they used to even serve pierogi with chocolate inside!!?). cool van gogh inspired decor too :)
just opened a new location on bozego ciala - check it out :)
hope this helps!
well, in general kazimierz is more of a place to go to relax in those pseudo-bohemian cafes and bars :) but there are a few things you have to check out there, food-wise, apart from the pierogies at Vincent's!:
- zapiekankas on plac nowy! a zapiekanka is a kind of pizza baguette. it's not terribly polish, but i have to admit it's some of the best late night junk food i've ever had!! there are a few places on that square that serve it - make sure to check it out with: onion and garlic sauce, plain (mushrooms + ketchup is plain here!) with chives, or my fave - spinach and oscypek (polish smoked sheeps cheese!). you can get that one at Bar Ha-Ha on the south side of the square. there's also a sausage stand there that is not half-bad!
in kazimierz you also have that Momo organic/vegan restaurant i mention below in the vegetarian post.
otherwise, here there is nothing that original that you can't have elsewhere in the world - steaks, italian, sushi, etc etc
there is one place i keep meaning to try, but to be honest it's kind of pricey for me :)
a new cuban restaurant called buena vista - it looks pretty good!
now apart from that in kazimierz, you have to visit at least two of the best and most typically-kazimierz bars/cafes here:
if you go to singer and then go have a zapiekanka... well then you can consider yourself a local ;)
by request, here is some useful info for vegetarians and just veggie-lovers like myself!
first of all, get used to the fact that you will have to settle for stuff you are not necessarily used to - vegetarian food is often differently interpreted here. instead of getting leafy lettuce-based salads (lettuce is not really common here... and forget about fresh spinach leaves altogether) expect dishes such as:
1. cabbage based meals - either cooked or raw (smells bad, tastes fine!)
2. chopped salads - usually with cabbage, raw veggies, beans, pulses etc, maybe some couscous, rice, or cold pasta thrown in - served in either a vinaigrette sauce or a mayonnaise-based sauce
3. other common veggie dishes: quiche, cooked tofu in a curry sauce (polish version i.e. lame and not very spicy at all ;) or tomato sauce, lasagna, crepes (a polish speciality!)
4. vegetarian food to look out for in normal polish restaurants:
your best friends will be soups (poles love em!). just watch out as some soups, such as "zurek" - a white sour rye soup, are traditionally served with sausage and boiled egg. also look out for pierogi which are mostly served with vegetarian fillings such potatoes, white cheese, cabbage, mushrooms, and best of all - fresh fruit! yumm!
if you want to avoid meat related stuff altogether, make sure you get your pierogi with sour cream or just butter, as often they are served with bits of bacon or skwarki - small bits of fried... lard? i'm not sure how to describe it :)
as for particular vegetarian restaurants in krakow you've got:
Chimera - an amazing salad bar with a great outdoor patio and cellar
Vega - has a few locations, great vegetarian cheap restaurant
Greenway - very similar to above!
Momo - vegetarian, vegan, organic, yummmyy
hope that helps! enjoy :)
well actually the milk bars are not as dirt cheap as they used to be and i haven't been to one in ages! but the one i used to always go to was the one on grodzka near poselska street. it's decent! just stick to the vegetarian menu, as i don't always trust those scary ladies in the back to handle their meat very carefully! ;)
Well, I will try Wesele, thanks for the suggestion.
Regarding Kazimierz- yeah, it's mostly about bars. Singer is the cutest, with all the Singer sewing machines acting as tables. Also, on Plac Nowy there is this famous place called Endzior, quite an institution for rustic food lovers out there. I also ate only once in a restaurant in Kazimierz- it was at the Ariel restaurant, decent food, Jewish in origin.
As far as Old Town (Mikolajska st)area goes try, if you haven't already, a little place called U Stasi. The food is homemade, the real deal, and I guarantee you will never see so many professors and students from the Jagiellonian University anywhere else!
I've been visiting Kraków periodically since the late 1980s, and it is one of my favorite cities. Among the fancier restaurants in the old town, I have had some fine meals at Restauracja Pod Aniołami, Hawełka, and their beautiful room upstairs, Restauracja Tetmajerowska. I have not been to Wierzynek in years, but if you're only going to Kraków once, it's someplace to see. Among more moderately priced restaurants for traditional Polish food, I quite like Chłopskie Jadło.
I keep meaning to try that kiełbasa guy under the bridge, who is legendary, but I haven't gotten there yet. Next time!
I'll have to try Singer next visit, because I'd be interested to know where the good zapiekanki are nowadays. In the waning years of Communism, zapiekanki were the most popular street food. There were stands where they sauteed onions and garlic fresh and they were served on a thin split ficelle with cheese and a kind of spicy ketchup, and everybody ate them. In recent years zapiekanki have been displaced by shawarma stands locally called "kebab." So a few years ago I ordered a zapiekanka from one of the few remaining zapiekanki stands (they seem to have become an anachronism), and the guy took out what looked like a Stouffer's french bread pizza from a plastic bag in the freezer and heated it up for me in a microwave oven, leading me to conclude that almost every aspect of life has improved in Poland with the return of democracy, with the exception of zapiekanki.
re: David A. Goldfarb
well yes it definitely depends where you're getting your zapiekanka! it's true that with all those modern things like microwaves popping up in eastern europe in the last 20 years, good food has been harder to track down. but you'll be glad to know that if you go to a proper zapiekanka joint (such as the ones on plac nowy) you're almost always getting a baguette that's been in an actual oven, rather than a microwave ;)
depending on the place, you will get either a frozen baguette to start with, or a premade, more home-made style one. there is actually one zapiekanka/kebab place on Florianska Street (i wish i remembered the address... or even the name!) which serves the most home-made tasting ones.
zapiekanka always come as a baguette with mushrooms and cheese on top to start with. then you can add any combo of toppings that you like.
endzior is definitely a nice choice... but beware of the queues! i've had to stand for over half and hour at this one... definitely not worth it in my book.
I was in Krakow about 3-4 weeks ago and had an excellent Thai meal at Honai in Kazimierz. I had sesame-covered shrimp for an appetizer and beef red curry for an entree. It was expensive, but worth it. On the way there from Czestochowa I had an excellent meal at a restaurant in a small town that you go through to get to Auschwitz. I was in Poland for 5 days and never had one bad meal. All the food was good in every restaurant I tried. I live on the German-Polish border and Gubin, PL has some good restaurants too.
just a quick correction - the restaurant is called Horai, and for those interested in visiting it's on Plac Wolnica in Kazimierz. Indeed quite nice Asian food (for Polish standards at least), but avoid the sushi... the noodle bowls are quite good though! you can see they have an idea of what they're doing :)