Warsaw on the plate

The capital is an excellent spot to start a visit to Poland.

Old Town, the former residences of the kings, museums, and art galleries are not the only attractions in the city. Warsaw is also a place for the food tourists craving a culinary experience. From the end of the XVI century, when it became the capital, culinary art flourished. At the end of the XVIII century, king Stanisław August Poniatowski established the tradition of the famous Thursday Dinners. They were banquets gathering many representatives of the world of culture, art, science, and politics. Paul Tremo, the court chef, and then Jan Szyttler, his apprentice, served the guests Polish cuisine that combined local culinary traditions with French, Lithuanian, and Belarusian influences. 

Also, Warsaw was a vibrant and exciting place for the bon vivant between the First and Second World Wars. Film stars, poets, book authors, painters, and politicians spent time in cafes and restaurants. During the communist era, life was difficult, and diet was not as sophisticated as it used to be. The shortage of products greatly impacted Polish cuisine, which became much more straightforward. 

Nowadays, Warsaw offers a wide variety of places. From cheap bars to fancy restaurants and cocktail bars. One can also try traditional Polish food, fusion cuisine, and foreign dishes. In 2019 capital of Poland, Warsaw was announced as the sixth most vegan-friendly city in the world. The list was put together by The Happy Cow. It is an organization that helps travelers find plant-based places to eat. 

From triples to a sponge cake with whipped cream

Warsaw also has its own specific dishes. Some are more connected with home cooking, but you can still find them on the restaurant’s menu. Triples are good example. They have been eaten in Poland for centuries. Veal triples were a popular food among nobles, and they are even mentioned in the oldest printed Polish cookbook – Compendium ferculorum, from 1682. Warsaw is famous for its own style of making this dish. In the capital, the triples are served in aromatic stock with meatballs.

You can try it in bar Pyzy, flaki gorące!, and U Wieniawy restaurant, which name is inspired by a famous general from the first half of the 20th century. Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski was not only a man of state but also a writer, gourmand, and the life of the party, who knew all the best places in the city. You will also find a great selection of Polish dishes in the restaurant, from herring to dumplings, beef rump, and roasted duck. 

Warsaw also has its own dessert. It is called Wuzetka. This chocolate sponge cake with whipped cream and a layer of fruit jam originated in the communist era. One of the theories indicates that the name comes from the W-Z, which is an abbreviation of Wschód-Zachód route (East-West route) in Warsaw. Time passes, but this a bit nostalgic, and oldschool dessert is still served in many pastry shops.

The only such a museum in the world

In the heart of Warsaw’s Praga district, there is a special place on the culinary map of Warsaw – the Polish Vodka Museum. It is housed in the 19th-century distillation and rectification plant within the premises of the former Koneser Vodka Factory, in the revitalized space of the Koneser Praga Centre. 

Interactive exhibitions, film screenings, unique exhibits, and a lot of information about this alcohol await visitors. Polish Vodka is also worth mentioning because of its long history and importance in food culture. It was included on the list of Protected Geographical Indications.

The Museum is also home to unique bars. In ¾ Koneser Bar, you can enjoy artisan cocktails and homemade liqueurs. At the same time, Setki Powodów Bar tempts guests not only with cocktails but also serves modern Polish cuisine and live music events. 

The consistency, rich meaty taste, and a little lemon juice or vinegar make it an enjoyable culinary experience. When talking about wódka, you also have to mention zakąska – an exceptional food served along with alcohol. The most popular ones are herring, beef tartare, meatballs, smoked fish, or cold meats. Also, pork jelly is a good company for Polish vodka.

Modern cuisine with a heart

Also, on the right side of the Vistula river near the Warsaw Zoo and the beautiful Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene, you will find Źródło restaurant. Vibrant but cozy interior. Energizing green color just boosts an appetite for Polish cuisine with a modern twist. Seasonal menu, full of flavors. The selected wine list and artisan ciders. Do not forget to try the beef tartare or kopytka (kind of dumplings) served with brown butter and gratted cheese. 

On the other side of the river, in the restaurant Polana Smaków the traditional dishes are served in a hospitable atmosphere. Chef Andrzej Polan creates beautiful plates full of comfort food. Kotlet milelony (meat patty) with potatoes brings the memories of Sunday dinner and is very Instagrammable. In full of life Powiśle district, there are many places for foodies. Cafes, artisan ice cream, pastry shops, and bistros. Among them, Las is worth mentioning. 

Bustling outdoor places for spring and summer

During the late spring and summer, many foodie things are happening in Warsaw. Along the Vistula river bank, you can choose among different pop-up restaurants serving international food and cocktail bars. 

Also, the Nocny Market (Night Market) is a must. It is a street food event at the old train station in the city’s center, every week in the evenings from Thursday till Sunday. Spring and summer are also a time for picnics and culinary festivals, not to mention ice cream. Many places are also open during the autumn and winter. Artisan one is trendy in Poland. You can find them in big and small cities.

Good morning Warsaw!

Artisan bakeries and patisseries have been significant food trends in the last few years. Poland has a long history of bread baking dating back middle ages. This is also an essential breakfast and supper product. Sandwiches with sourdough rye bread, wheat flour rolls with ham, salmon, or spreads, or buttery challah are served in cafes for breakfast. 

Many bakeries also do a warm first meal with eggs, bacon, or sausages. If you prefer something sweet for breakfast, there is also a selection of viennoiseries. During July, the hottest foodie word is jagodzianka – a sweet bun with blackberries. Journalists, food bloggers, and ordinary people are traveling around the city and are making rankings of the best bun in town. Good spots for breakfast and coffee are: Bakery Browary Warszawskie, Charlotte, Być może, Forum or SERSO praskie bajgle (they specialize in bagels).

Something sweet for the end

Warsaw-based Lukullus pastry shops & café are easy to recognize because of their visual presentation. Bright, yellow color catches attention. Here you will probably eat the best choux in Poland – perfect puff pastry and rich in taste creamy Passiflora feeling. 

Lukullus also has other cakes, sweet buns, and traditional-style doughnuts. You can grab something sweet on the way or chill out in a good design interior. In Kukułka patisserie must have is miodownik. They serve a modern version of the cake with a very long tradition. The honey cake had an essential meaning in old Slavic culture. It was a pastry devoted to gods and a necessary element of wedding celebrations. 

There are many ways of serving it, and each is worth trying. Éclair lovers visit patisserie and ice cream shop BOZZO. They have in offer classical tastes like pistachio or hazelnut. There is also something for those who prefer fruits. Warsaw has many faces. You can choose among different types of Polish cuisine, from very traditional to modern, or find a place serving something international. One thing is for sure, there are many exciting places to visit and good dishes to try.

Restaurants, bars, pastry shops, and cafes

U Wieniawy
Plac Piłsudskiego 9

Pyzy, flaki gorące!
Podwale 5

Restauracja Źródło
Targowa 81, Warsaw

LAS – Lokalna Atrakcja Stolicy
Solec 44

Nocny Market

Polish Vodka Museum, ¾ Koneser Bar and Setki Powodów
Plac Konesera 1

Bakery Browary Warszawskie
Grzybowska 56

Al. Wyzwolenia 18

Być może
Dobra 22/24

Elektoralna 11

SERSO praskie bajgle
Józefa Szanajcy 16

Mokotowska 52A
Rozbrat 22/24
Chmielna 32
Walecznych 29

Mokotowska 52
Krasińskiego 10

Chmielna 27/31
Dzielna 64/U9

Text: Magdalena Tomaszewska-Bolałek
Photo: Pixabay


/ Artikkelit