Food. One of life’s necessities, but also one of its great pleasures. No wonder we spend so much time and effort, when we are not cooking for ourselves, trying to find the best Krakow restaurants and avoiding the horrors - the over-priced tourist traps, the deathly-quiet nouvelle cuisine ‘latest hit’ with the waiter who stares down his nose, and, worst of all, the restaurant with the head chef who spends more time defrosting his months-old efforts with a microwave, than actually cooking simple, fresh food for us, his customers….. So, where do we start in Krakow? Since 2003, we have been compiling one of the most comprehensive lists of restaurants in Krakow, with lots of reviews about each one, and you can search and read about each one individually - just pick from the rather large choice below. That said, if you just want a quick, somewhat random list of where we actually go ourselves, read on!
I’ve never been sure what the distinction is exactly between a bistro and a restaurant, but either way, Zazie provides grub that is as good as you will find in Krakow. Zazie’s menu is reassuringly short - beware the restaurant with a menu that reads like an encyclopaedia - do you honestly believe that is all freshly prepared and just awaiting your order? - and in addition, you will spot Zazie’s chalkboard with specials of the day, which are reassuringly wiped out on the board one by one during the day as the ingredients are used up. Zazie’s offering is primarily French, with specialities including mussels and Entrecôte steak. Prices are reasonable for excellent food, with decent-sized portions and friendly, efficient service. The bistro can get quite busy, and there is a bustle to the place, especially with tables quite close to each other both upstairs and downstairs in the cellar. The feeling is, shall we say, ‘cosy’, so perhaps not the ideal place for sharing sweet nothings with your fiancee, discussing due diligence with a future business partner, or indeed for that break-the-ice meeting with your new spy ‘asset’.
You’re in Poland, right, so it’s time for Polish food? Well, not so fast. Polish fare is, obviously, everywhere, but there seem to be two main types of Polish restaurant - the cheap-as-chips milk bar (‘bar mleczny’) that cater primarily to locals, and the tourist-trap theme restaurants that offer pretty much the same food (and same mediocre quality), but simply embellished by waiting staff in traditional costumes, possibly some thigh-slapping folk music, floor-to-ceiling fake wooden beams, and strewn about with various other folkloric dust-collecting knick knacks (I will spare you the details). However, if you want to actually sample and enjoy proper Polish food, cooked to a high standard, Pod Baranem is probably your best option in Krakow. It is not cheap, but you can find pretty much the best examples of traditional Polish cuisine, such as Żurek (sour rye) soup, Kotlet schabowy (breaded pork chop) and Bigos (meat and cabbage stew) - all delicious, freshly-made and served to you on tables with freshly-starched linen. A favourite haunt of Krakow's literati and glitterati, Nobel prize winners and artists, the service is courteous and polite rather than back-slapping, but the food never ever disappoints.
It's small. And it serves sushi. But you haven't come all the way to Krakow to eat sushi, right? Wrong. You didn't realise it yet, but Youmiko sushi has just saved you a trip all the way to Tokyo. You can thank the staff when you meet them at their tiny place in Kazimierz. Just be sure to book in advance, as otherwise you're unlikely to find a table. Even if you do, you'll still be banging your elbows with other customers, just like in any good sushi bar in Japan. The food is outstanding, prepared to order and incredibly inventive, with offerings varying throughout the season, depending on the freshness of available ingredients. Best choice - go for the tasting menu, and you'll be regaled with a selection of sushi delivered to your table every few minutes, each course a surprise and delight. Add in rice tea or a sneaky Asahi beer, and you're all set.
The UK has Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. Poland has the Gesslers - Magda, star of celebrity TV cooking programs, and Adam, serial restaurant entrepreneur in Warsaw and Krakow. His latest creation has all the hallmarks of his previous hit in the former Hotel Francuski - impeccable freshly-prepared food, starched tablecloths, old-world serving standards, and a proper maître d' - Adam himself or one of his impeccable staff. The menu is high-end Polish with a twist of French. Think picked herring or beef tartare starters, veal cabbage rolls (Gołąbki cielęce) or Polish dumplings (Pierogi polskie) for mains, and Creme brûlée for dessert. All of this high-end food does not normally come cheap - and you'd not regret paying for such quality - but here's the kicker: every day between midday and 4 pm (12:00 - 16:00), you can enjoy an amazing 2-course lunch for just 30 PLN. Same food quality, same impeccable service, for about the same price you'd pay at a bargain basement milk bar ('bar mleczny'). A drink (normally a fruit compote or similar) is included in the price. Just go (before this place goes bankrupt like the previous ones).
We've been in mixed minds about recommending this place. Why? Because we've always wanted to keep it to ourselves. U Stasi is one of the few remaining places in Krakow that hasn't changed in decades. The collapse of communism, Poland joining the EU, the arrival of the Great British Tourist On A Stag Do - all these profound events seem to have passed U Stasi by. Right in the heart of the Old Town, but tucked away down an uninviting corridor, this is a simple milk bar ('bar mleczny') with standard, filling food prepared freshly and enjoyed by a loyal clientele of locals. Walk in, sit down, someone will come and take your order, and deliver to your table. Pierogi, bigos or soup - the choice is not extensive, but the food is really good and the prices low. A place to load up with the carbohydrates, rather than relish every course. Strangers will share tables. Your plate, once the food is eaten, will be quickly removed. Don't wait for your bill and a waiter with a card terminal. Once you're done, just stand up and make your way to the till, where you can simply tell the cashier what you ate, and be charged then and there. Poland must have looked like this in the 80's. U Stasi is your window to the past.
Fantastic service and lovely environment.On the food Beef bagel starter wasawesome as was the duck for main course. However the chicken masla was far from good. first dish was cold, the second was just chicken in tomato sauce had no taste.other than tomato
Very upset triple than prices on menus
Probably the best restaurant in Krakow for typical Polish food. Always excellent service as well. A bit on the formal side, but overall a great experience.
The one place I am always recommending to friends visiting Krakow. Outstanding food, great service, reasonable prices.
I waited for my order for too long. People who came after us got their orders faster. I guess polish citizens receive their food faster than people of other nationalities. Waiter screamed on me and was very rude. Pizza was just terrible. Shrimps were too salted, my salad was terrible. All food here is disgusting
STAFF IS RUDE!!! THEY DISCRIMINATE PEOPLE BY NATIONALITY AND SAY THAT “THEY MAKE RULES HERE!” THEY DECIDED TO BE RUDE TO US BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT WE ARE UKRAINIANS, WHAT IS THE HELL!? We came from Germany and paid for everything we ordered. We just wanted to pay and leave earlier because they ruined our evening! From the beginning we were badly served and waited too long. We wanted to have a good time there but instead we had awful food and faced discrimination, rude attitude and getting personal. The person who spoke to us seems to be an owner of this place because “he makes the rules”. In italian place they said that they cook polish food. If so I guess Italian dishes should be removed from the menu. Food is not tasty at all, it feels like it was cooked long time ago and just warmed up. Pizza is really bad. Pasta is bad! Chicken is super dry. Even tiramisu was awful. Waiting time is around 40-60 mins. Chairs are not comfortable.
Z przykrością muszę podzielić się naszą opinią o wizycie w restauracji Wierzynek kilka dni temu.. Pora obiadowa, jesteśmy jedynymi gośćmi. Zamawiamy gołąbki z musem grzybowym. Spodziewamy się smakowitego dania godnego tradycji kuchni polskiej. Niestety, nasze talerze prezentują się słabo a potrawa smakuje jeszcze gorzej. Na talerzu są dwa mikroskopijne, bardzo twarde, prawie czarne liście kapusty włoskiej oporne sztućcom. Wewnątrz liścia słabo zwiniętego jest może łyżka suchej, rozlatującej się kaszy pęczak. Obok tego mała porcja musu grzybowego i połowa grzybka. Widok mało estetyczny a degustacja zostaje w pamięci jako koszmar. Zapłaciliśmy 178 zł za dwie porcje, wyszliśmy głodni, zdegustowani i bardzo rozczarowani. Nie polecamy tej restauracji.
Best bread in Krakow. Everything they bake is amazing, and whatever bread you choose, you will not be disappointed. You'll only be disappointed if you get here too late.... the bread tends to sell fast, for obvious reasons!