In my previous post, I went over all the things to do and where to stay in Poland. And now, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite parts of traveling…THE FOOD.
I was fairly well-versed in Polish food before traveling to Poland because my grandmother would make it at special occasions and holidays, so I was really excited to try all of that food, plus some other classic polish foods that I researched before going. I was really happy because the food lived up to all my expectations!
Pierogi: If you don’t know what a pierogi is…maybe you shouldn’t be traveling to Poland. (Joking.) It’s a potato and cheese, cabbage, and/or meat filled dumpling topped with butter, sour cream, bacon or fried onions! They can also be filled with a fruit like blueberries or strawberries for dessert. You can get these at literally 90% of the restaurants in Poland.
- Get pierogi in Zakopane at: “Restauracja Rusałka”
Ok, so I’m not sure if this is the actual name of the place, but it is attached to the linked guesthouse/hotel. Outside of a Michelin Restaurant we ate at, I think this was the best food I had in Poland. The restaurant is kind of a hole in the wall place, but we got meat pierogi, potato and cheese pierogi, and a fried chicken breast plate. They all came with boiled potatoes (which were somehow just AMAZING) and a side cabbage salad (also AMAZING). This is maybe a 10 minute walk from our Zakopane hotel Villa Belweder and it closes fairly early – I think around 7pm. So stay out of the main city, have an early dinner, and hit up the hotel spa for the evening.
- Get them (and a beer) in Przemyśl at: Piwiarnia Warka
Since not many folks in Przemyśl speak English, we somehow managed to communicate our order to them. It was a bit confusing because it wasn’t clear if you order food at the table or inside and we were all getting a little hangry. I also accidentally ordered 0% alcohol beer here, so be aware that is a thing. Surprisingly not that bad. (You order everything at the bar inside btw.)
Bigos: Bigos is a hunter’s stew that mostly consists of shredded cabbage and kielbasa and thick bacon-like cuts of meat. It’s served with a brown rye type bread. If you don’t like cabbage, you will not like this.
- Get bigos & pierogi in Warsaw at: Gościniec Polskie Pierogi
You can get like 20 different kinds of pierogi here. I tried bigos here and blueberry pierogi with sour cream and they were both great.
Galumpki/Gołąbki: I think the former is the Americanized spelling. It’s basically meat and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves and topped with a tomato sauce. 10/10 would recommend.
Kopytka: Basically a potato dumpling, but different than a pierogi – kind of more like a gnocchi. I wasn’t to jazzed about these. Even soaked in butter they didn’t have much flavor.
- Get galumpki and kopytka at: Kuchina n Doroty
Great restaurant for traditional Polish food
Fried Potato Pancakes and Goulash: Goulash sounds scary, but it’s just a meat stew. These usually come together and they’re so, so good.
- Get it in Krakow at: Kuchina n Doroty
- Get it in Zakpane (along with other regional foods and a beer flight) at: Ciupaga
Borscht: Borscht is a beet based soup. Not going to lie, I had never tried borscht before Poland and I’m not a huge fan of beats. However, borscht was delicious!
Traditional Polish Roast Duck with Apples or Kaczka Pieczona z Jabłkami
- Get borscht and duck in Krakow at: Restauracja Sasiedzi
We randomly came across this Michelin Star Restaurant and decided to stop because none of us had ever been to a Michelin Star Restaurant before and it was SUPER cheap. It might have been one of the greatest meals I’ve ever eaten.
Kielbasa: Polish pride and joy. One of the most delicious sausages you will ever eat. Also a popular street food – get it on a roll with onions.
Zapiekanka: This is essentially a French bread pizza with fun toppings. Corn, cucumber, ham, and mushrooms seemed to be the “traditional”, but in Krakow you can get it with a thousand different combinations. My favorite part is that it’s topped with ketchup. YES KETCHUP. AND IT’S AMAZING. Apparently putting ketchup on pizza is popular because we went to a pizza restaurant in Przemyśl and everyone was putting ketchup on their pizza. So as a ketchup lover, I happily lathered up my pizza in ketchup. It was a little different than American ketchup – a bit sweeter, so I feel like it went a little better with pizza than the ketchup I’m used to here in the US.
- Get it in Krakow at: Mrs & Mr Zapiekanka
They have like 30 different variations of zapiekanka and it’s amazing.
- Get it in Przemyśl at: Mega Zapiekanka Stand
A tiny little stand toward the beginning of the main street area. Traditionally zapiekanka have mushrooms on them, but I hate mushrooms. You can order about 4-5 different kinds of zapiekanka here, luckily including ones without mushrooms.
Obwarzarnek: This is like if a bagel and a pretzel had a baby. Served topped with poppy seed, sesame seed, or salt. They have these in carts all over Krakow’s Main Market Square.
Oscypek: Smoked sheep’s cheese. They usually serve this with cranberry jam from a small kiosk or cart. I saw this in Warsaw and then again in Zakopane where it’s literally everywhere. Very delicious.
Pączki: Poland’s national donut! Essentially a jelly donut, but more delicious
- Get it in Przemyśl at: Pączkowo Lodowo
Babka: The babka I grew up eating has a sweet, light, almost citrus flavor and has more of a bread consistency. There’s also another kind of babka that can be made with chocolate and has a heavier consistency. We were able to find both.
Makowiev (Poppy seed roll)
Sernik: Polish cheesecake
- Get it in Zakopane (with a beer) at: Roma
Roma a small place at the foothills of hiking to waterfalls. There’s outdoor seating and we enjoyed a sernik and beer after our hike.
Chrusciki: This was the only thing on my list to eat that we didn’t find. These are kind of like very thin crunchy dough sticks and are popular for special occasions because they’re hard to make. Almost like the outside of a cannoli.
Non-Polish Foods to Eat in Poland
- Get it (with a Bloody Mary) in Przemyśl at: Mamma Mia Pizza
Let me tell you, this was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. Maybe it was because it went so well with the ketchup Polish people put in pizza, but damn it was delicious. Also had my first taste of Polish vodka in a Bloody Mary.
- Get them in Przemyśl at: Kebab Reina
As in a lot of Europe, kebab places are really popular in Poland. We went to this one twice and it was delicious. Get the wrap.
- Get them in Krakow at: Beef Burger Bar or Well Done
Well Done is an American restaurant that has everything from burgers to fajitas to ribs to pancakes.
I love getting random snacks in foreign places, so don’t forget to grab fun snacks on your road trips or just while you’re walking around.