Many of my my guests ask me where they can eat the best dumplings (pierogies) or other traditional Polish meals. Places I recommend are not in touristy areas like the Old Town or Royal Route but generally near these areas. Most are quite hidden and you probably wouldn`t see them during your sightseeing.
First, Polish cuisine is not just pierogies, bigos (Christmas sauerkraut) or schabowy (pork chop). Dumplings of different kinds (pierogies, pyzy, kopytka) and schabowy became very popular during the communist era. It`s because ingredients to make these meals were easiest to find. Shops were empty so people had to create dishes with available products. Real Polish cuisine is much richer, colorful and sofisticated.
Before World War II, Poland was a multicultural country so all these cultures had an impact on what people ate. Also different regions of Poland had their own traditional cuisine and they all mixed with each other. Warsaw during the interwar period was famous for high quality products exported throughout Europe and Middle East. Today, a few restaurants are returningto these times and recreating traditional Polish cuisine, forgotten for decades. Don`t miss a exeptional culinary experience and try many dishes. These are my personal choices of the best Polish restaurants in town.
The Przegryź (“Snack on”) is definitely a local restaurant. It`s located in a very chic area of Warsaw`s downtown and it`s decorated in a modern style with a bit of sixties. It`s owned by a famous Polish journalist – Piotr Najsztub. Pierogies in Przegryź are great, they all have very thin dough which is very important. They are stuffed with very tasty meat or sauerkraut. The menu in Przegryź changes, right now you can also have pierogies with goose, my favorite. It`s not very common to find them in restaurants. If you like soups, you should certainly try the Rosół (chicken, duck or goose soup) which is a very popular soup in Poland and here it`s really delicious. If you are fed up with pierogies, try a cult Polish meal that I loved when it was made by my mom when I was a child – Ground pork with mashed potatoes and beetroot (Mielone z puree ziemniaczanym i buraczkami). It`s one of the most popular dishes in Przegryź (Mokotowska 52 Street).
The Prodiż Warszawski is an easy going place with comfortable atmoshphere and friendly staff. This place is little bit different because it serves also rare traditional dishes. The only pierogies on the menu are stuffed with veal and mushroom, so quite unusual. I highly recommend the crayfish soup. It`s spicy with lots of crayfish inside. If you don`t like experiments, try Veal with mushroom and mashed potatos (Gicz cielęca z grzybami). Mushroom sauces are very common in Polish cuisine. If you are brave, try Grilled beef heart in cherry and apple sauce and pyzy (kind of dumplings in the form of knobs). Offals are like hearts, tongues or chics are also used in Polish cuisine. I know organ meats may not be for everybody. But, more generally loved, try the Apple cake (Jabłecznik z prodiża) it’s a must try. (Poznańska 16 Street).
Searching something fancy, go to the Rożana. It`s housed in a pre-war villa in the Mokotów district. It`s more like a grandmother`s house; but a „classy and chic grandmother”. This is the place for an elegant date, family dinner, or as well as business lunch. On the menu you will find amazing traditional Polish starters like cold trotter, herrings and pates. Try a traditional Polish soup called żurek, it`s a leaven soup with boletus, sour cream, sausage and potatoes. As a main meal I recommend the Veal with gravy, carrots and dumplings made of mashed potatoes, eggs, and flour which we call kopytka. It`s a traditional type of dumpling from the Silesian region. For something more extravagant, pick the Deer in wine- fruity mousse, fried beetroots, pickles and also kopytka. Wild meat is deeply anchored in Polish tradition but nowadays people rarely eat it at home. It`s not common to find such meat in typical shops and it`s also quite expensive. Deer meat is very healthy so this is definitely an upscale meal. In Różana you always need to have a reservation, especially on weekends and during the week at lunch time. In summer, be sure to enjoy the beautiful garden. (Chocimska 7 Street, phone 22 848 12 25).
Kafe Zielony Niedźwiedź
The most original cuisine is served in the Kafe Zielony Niedźwiedź. This is also a very elegant and chic restaurant but it`s designed in a modern and minimalistic style. It`s housed in a small glassed pavilon in Beyer Park, so you can enjoy your meal in a green oasis. Zielony Niedźwiedź is focused on Polish pre-war cuisine. The menu changes all the time and it`s based on organic products from local farmers. Everything is fresh, and nothing comes mass produced. Meat products come from animals kept in high-welfare systems or living in the wild. The owners of the restaurant are proud of quality of their food and they promote their suppliers by using their names on the menu. Here you’ll also need a reservation (Smolna 4 Street, from Kruczkowskiego Street, phone +48 795 794 784).