Nouveau-Polish Fare, Any Time of Day
“Polish food is much more than just pierogi and pork,” says Monika Brzywczy, co-founder of new culinary journal Smak (magazynsmak.pl). “It’s just in the past year or two that gastronomy has come to life here; it’s all about rediscovering Polish food from before the war, but with a twist.” Here, Brzywczy reveals where to find the best new cuisine throughout the city.
BREAKFAST: “Sam (Lipowa 7; sam.info.pl) is a bistro-bakery that opened just a year ago but is already one of the most popular spots in Warsaw. They offer a wide selection of homemade breads baked daily; try their fresh bagels, with locally prepared cottage cheese.”
LUNCH: “Everyone is buzzing about Koszyki (Koszykowa 63; facebook.com/koszyki), which is located at the entrance to an old food market that’s being restored. They mostly serve small plates made from whatever’s fresh at the market. I love the quinoa salad with avocado and broad beans, which I get with the Camembert cheese baked with honey and rosemary. Be sure to wander the open-air farmers’ market that sells, among other things, pungent Polish cheeses.”
DINNER: “Atelier Amaro (Agrykola 1; atelieramaro.pl) just became the first Polish restaurant to receive a Michelin star. Choose between the three-, five-, and eight-course tasting menus (145, 220, or 280 zloty—roughly $45, $70, or $85). The offerings change seasonally, but recent standout dishes include waffles with tomato chutney and blueberry glace. We always take our visiting chef friends here, and they talk for hours with chef Wojciech Amaro. Book a couple months in advance.”
LATE-NIGHT SNACK: “It’s hard to find great food in Warsaw after 10 p.m. Bufet Centralny (Zurawia 32/34; bufetcentralny.pl), which is open until 5 a.m. on the weekends, is the exception. The menu is a blend of Continental cuisine and Polish standards with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Get the salmon tartare or the herring, which is marinated in cucumber and sour cream and served on dark bread. Finish off the night with a house soufflé overflowing with hot chocolate sauce.”
Vodka, Varsovian Style
Though Arek Stefaniak’s bar Pies Czy Suka (Szpitalna 8a; piesczysuka.com) is known for its award-winning experimental cocktails, “Warsaw is still a vodka town,” he says. Here, he picks his favorite vodka-heavy Soviet-style zakaska bars.
“The minimalist design of Czysta Ojczysta (Zabkowska 27/31; czystaojczysta.blogspot.com) is meant to make you thirsty for pure, ice-cold vodka. They serve probably 50 types, including Mlody Ziemniak, made from young potatoes.”
“Open 24 hours, Przekaski Zakaski (Krakowskie Przedmiescie 13; gessler.pl) caters to a late-night crowd. The dark interior hasn’t been renovated in years, but the vodka is cheap—and the bar serves traditional drinking foods like pickled herring and pierogi.”
“Le Bar, located in the Sofitel Warsaw Victoria (Królewska 11; 48-22-657-80-11), is more upscale. Try their Goldwasser, with flakes of gold suspended in it.”