Welcome to my mini Warsaw series, which was first created for the MRG newsletter prior to the media conference in the capital of Poland in November 2016.
This time I'm going to focus on those who love food and dare to try delicious Polish cuisine.
Finally, there's a food hall in Warsaw resembling Lisbon’s Time Out market or La Boqueria in Barcelona. The building itself is a must-see piece of art nouveau architecture (designed by the main Warsaw architect Juliusz Dzierżanowski), sympathetically restored in 2012 to its former glory. The building hosts numerous restaurants, bars, design shops and supermarkets. Upstairs, there’s an art gallery as well as a display of the restoration of the original building. It’s a great place to hang out and you’d be spoiled for choice. Decisions decisions.
Top tip: Try 'barszcz' (Polish beetroot soup) at Siewcy Smaku. You won't regret it.
To visit Poland and not eat, at least once, at its milk bars (‘bar mleczny’) is a big mistake. Milk bars are known for affordable, delicious, home-cooked food and, as such, are still extremely popular amongst students, pensioners and intellectualists craving a proper Polish feast outside their homes. Created after the Second World War and frequently associated with the communism era, milk bars are currently going through a revival as an alternative to more metropolitan cuisine served across Warsaw. Don’t expect a breath-taking ambience; think retro dining. Totally recommend having a three-course dinner consisting of a gherkin soup (‘zupa ogórkowa’), a pork schnitzel with potatoes and a cucumber, sour cream and dill salad (‘schabowy, ziemniaki and mizeria’), and an apple pie (‘szarlotka’) for a total of £5. You could have a glass of milk with it (hence the name), but probably better to have a black tea with lemon or fruit compote.
Top tip: Check their cultural events. Food and art is a perfect combo.
For all of you who do enjoy fine-dining and are avid readers of the Michelin Guide, Belvedere Restaurant is a must visit. Its unique location – New Orangery in the Royal Łazienki Park (don’t forget to check The Royal Baths) guarantees a royal dining experience…almost. The award winning chef Marcin Przybysz creates innovative and seasonal Polish dishes that are not only delicious but are considered works of art. Dining amongst tropical plants including 100-year-old palms is an experience in itself.
Top tip: Book in advance and don’t forget your credit card.
If you are a vegetarian, you are probably thinking that Warsaw is not the place for you, but don’t fret, there are places catering for you too.
’Warszawa Wchodnia’ restaurant has been created by Mateusz Gessler, a celebrity chef with a famous surname associated with high quality cuisine. The restaurant took over an industrial building in The Soho Factory complex, so expect good interior design and a welcoming atmosphere combined with a modern take on Polish food; Polish-French fusion to be precise. The kitchen operates 24/7 and is situated in the middle of the restaurant, so you can watch your food being prepared. Great for groups.
Top tip: Try to visit at lunchtime (12-4pm) for a special menu only 25zl (£5). Bargain!
Dom Wodki or The House of Vodka is another place recommended by The Michelin Guide. The place is dedicated to professional pairing of delicious, contemporary Polish food with a suitable vodka (the choice is vast, trust me). It is truly unique experience, not for faint-hearted or those with a weak head, so just drink responsibly.
Top tip: Try Polish herring with your shot of vodka. Yummy!
If you visit Warsaw and fall in love with Polish food, please check Ren Behan's fantastic book 'Wild Honey and Rye' full of modern Polish recipes.
To find out more about Warsaw, check my previous posts from Your Warsaw Insider series.
Photography: Monika Pick.