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Hi! I am Asta! I am a philologist and a philocalist to the heart's core. Here I share things that I consider being aesthetic and fantastic!

14 Sept 2016

Exploring Poland, Part 7: Where and What to Eat

Before my journey to Poland I wrote that "we have three weeks to explore this country: to taste it's traditional cuisine (sadly, I imagine, it is quite similar to ours...)". And my dear Lord, I couldn't have been more wrong...

Poland consists of different regions, so there's the local cuisine to take into the consideration. What's more it's the Polish passion to all sorts of different world cuisines too! Also, all the local ethnicities, like Jews, had and still has their own restaurants and food to offer... So, I have to admit that Poland was a real gastronomical adventure!
   My advice is to be modest with your orders. It's all because of those large portions! If you want the three meal course, you are risking already, because I can guarantee that it will be just too much! Pick a soup and a light dish, or a salad and second dish. Desserts are best enjoyed some time after the dinner, so me and my husband, we chose to walk around and sit down in another cafe. Or if we ordered dessert in the restaurant, we asked to bring it not right away. 
  One more thing - food in Poland is cheap, at least cheaper than in Lithuania and the portions are definitely bigger! So this is a great chance to eat outdoors and to get to know the country... through your stomach!
   So, these are the places that I recommend you to eat in when in Poland:

1. Karczma Jana in Olsztyn

Karczma Jana has the best herring that I ever ate (top photo)! Even my husband, who is not a fan of this fish tasted it and said it was good! Also, this was the first place where we ate traditional pierogi - dumplings with meat filling. In my husbands plate there is Russian pierogi, with minced meat filling, and I tasted pierogi with potato and curd filling. Everything was washed down with cold kvass! Tasty dishes, polite and English speaking waiters - I really liked it!

2. Tawerna Mestwin in Gdansk

Very interesting interior with lots of local arts. Actually, it felt quite homely! One tiny minus is that the waitress didn't speak English so we had more or less to guess what to order.
   In the top picture there's a potato pancake with goulash (if I remember correctly, that's typical Mazurian dish). I ate cutlets with salad. The dessert was a home made pie, chocolate kind, if I remember :) Portions here are HUGE so bear that in mind when ordering. 

3. Gothic Restaurant & Cafe in Malbork

We went to Malbork castle and before leaving tried some desserts in the cafe that was in the basement of the castle. You just MUST visit it! It's not cheap, I have to admit, even by my Lithuanian standards (two desserts and coffee cost more than 20 €), but my God it was tasty! My husband ate pancakes and I tasted the Gothic cake with goat cheese. I am not a fan of dairy products that involve goats or sheep in their production, but this was tasty! Creamy layer, crumbles, mix of fresh and dried fruits... A real joy for your palate! 

4. Cytrynowy Pieprz in Jelenia Gora

This Italian restaurant is an exquisite place to eat! We ordered duck breast and it was finger-licking good! The meat was done in perfect way - not too dry, but not dripping either. Gnocchi were a perfect companion for the duck, and I generously washed it down with a glass of vine, recommended by our waitress (it matched the dish perfectly!). For the dessert we ordered different variations of ice cream: my husband tasted the one with chocolate truffles, if I'm not mistaking, and I scooped the frozen pineapple filled with pineapple sorbet! Just look at the plate that it's on!

5. Pierozki u Wincenta in Krakow

We went to eat pierogi once more. This time, we took a mix of meat pierogi (35 pieces of pierogi with all sorts of meaty fillings - from chicken and pork to lamb) for two people. I can say in advance that it's too much even for two! We also ordered some borscht in a cup and juice. I really liked the atmosphere there and the waitress was very helpful!  

6. Trattoria Wawel in Krakow

During our trip to Wawel, we sat down to eat something in this Italian restaurant. I think the fact that it is INSIDE the palace adds a lot! The food was really tasty: we ate traditional Polish soup (I can't remember how it's called) and onion soup. For our main dishes, we ordered some pasta (mine was with tuna, my husband's - spaghetti a la carbonara). We went out stuffed (again), because the portions were large (again). Soup was unnecessary. Don't repeat our mistake.

7. La Petite France in Krakow

Tasty desserts and good coffee. The place itself looked a little bit shabby, but I guess that it's the part of the idea (?). I ate the best lemon cake ever here! 

8. Kleizmer-Hois in Krakow

After our unforgettable (in many ways) trip to Auschwitz , we went, as I wrote to my papa in SMS, to celebrate life. 
   For starters we ate hummus with matca and I have to admit that it was delicious! For the main course I picked chicken breast with carrots and ginger, my husband's choice was a trout with potato cake. The dishes were kosher and looked really simple, but the taste was rich. For a dessert my husband ordered a traditional Jewish sweet (I forgot how it's called) and I chose the carrot cake. Both were very tasty!

9. Karczma Smakosza in Lublin

In Lublin Rural Museum we ate in this karczma. I ordered pork cutlet and it was simple, I liked fresh potatoes more than the meat itself. But the traditional Lublin pierogi which my husband ate was something divine! First time ever I saw dumplings accompanied by salad, but it was delicious! We also ordered a dessert - two kinds of pies, but they were so tasty, that it melted away before we managed to take photos... And one more thing! They put your food on recyclable plates, made from bran, so they can be composted after usage!

10. Zapiecek in Warszawa

Another perfect place to eat pierogi! This time we ate it as a dessert. For our main courses we picked variations of sausages with onions and cabbage. I drank the largest cup of Sangria ever! It was delicious - filled with all sorts of fruits... I really recommend this place if you want to taste traditional cuisine!

11. Kafka Cafe in Warszawa

This place is amazing! It has wide menu and you can order from a cup of coffee, to soup or pasta. The food is finger-licking good! I tried cold tomato soup and salad with chicken, while my husband dug into the pesto salad and later - delicious pasta. Our desserts had to wait for their turn, but both were super delicious!

What else you can try...

...freshly baked pączki with marmelade...

... fresh trdelník...

... and, of course, ice-cream! 

That's it, folks! This is the last post on my vacation in Poland! I hope that you find it interesting and informative! I'm happy to move on and write about other stuff now :) 

Photos © Vincas Razma and Asta Skujytė-Razmienė