SATISFY YOUR APPETITE FOR CRACOW
Exploring the scenic surroundings of this Central European gem of a city will surely make you want to sample some of its well-kept culinary secrets too – and Cracow is neither a culinary desert, nor a place where you may only find stereotypical pierogi, kielbasa or cabbage-serving restaurants. Back in time, the court of Polish monarchs residing atop of Wawel Hill was famous for large, a few-day-lasting feasts, with its tables bent under the weight of lavishly served delicacies, wine and mead. A fascinating mix of filling Polish cuisine, mystical Jewish fare, oriental dishes transplanted to Cracow by its minorities and various admixtures of European culinary traditions (including the refined tastes of France or heavy menus of Austria-Hungary) awaits you there at a number of stylish restaurants of Cracow. Choose wisely where you want to dine at, not to miss the best flavour the city offers – the carefully selected restaurants placed below will definitely make your choice simpler. Smacznego!*
*[smaʧ̑ˈnɛɡɔ], a Polish phrase meaning: “Enjoy your meal!”.
A BIT(E) OF TRADITION AND FOLKSY FARE
Cracow,the capital of Lesser Poland region, is located some 100 km from the culturally distinctive mountainous region of Podhale. These two culinary traditions have their place in the cosily rustic restaurants of Cracow, dazzling with the vivid colours and ornaments of Polish folklore after you open their doors. The Old-Town-based Czerwone korale restaurant will welcome you with the flowery patterns on its walls, the hypnotising images of traditional wycinanki and elements of Goral culture filling the space. A wide choice of dumplings (pierogi), the sour taste of żurek soup or great selection of meats sprinkled with fresh dill will make you familiar to the essence of traditional Polish cuisine.
Bombonierka, located in the magical Kazimierz district combines the dynamic images of whirling dancers of the Lesser Poland region adorning its walls with impeccably elegant tables. Sampling the tartare or country-style herrings served there, or being introduced to a vast array of Polish soups is a great way to start your adventure with the culinary tradition of Poland. The Main Square will make you come across another fine example of a traditional Polish restaurant – the Michelin-recommended Wesele, whose interior alludes to the tradition of rural Polish weddings – organised with impressive lavishness and sumptuousness. The wood-fitted space of this fine candle-lit restaurant and traditionally-embroided tablecloths make the consumption of aromatic dishes of roast deer, hare legs or roe-deer saddle pure pleasure.
Morskie Oko (named after the stunning mountainous lake located in Zakopane) is yet another restaurant serving the core traditional meals of Gorals. The interior of the place will carry you straight away under the peak of Rysy, making the ‘simple’ cuisine of Tatra region taste adequately delicious. The sheep’s cheese, crunchy bread profusely covered with aromatic lard or grilled Poland-specific blood sausage will not taste better than when you are seated at a beatifully carved wooden table. Visitng Zalewajka or Chlopskie Jadlo restaurants will let you sample delicious and filling potato pancakes or the specialty of Polish cuisine – the ‘schabowy’ pork chop – alongside with other examples of local culinary pride.
CRACOW TASTE OF NOBILITY
The noble pastimes of hunting, apiculture, mushrooming and feasting have left the mark on the distinctively wild nature of Polish cuisine. Kawaleria Szarża Smaku restaurant, with the space arrangement of a country manor house, serves typical noblemen’s fare: herring in gingerbread, stuffed cabbage rolls and the best fruits of Polish orchards served with mead of superb quality. Another similarly-themed Cracow restaurant, Miod i Wino (‘Mead and Wine’), will let you feel like a real nobleman from the 16th century, feasting upon a generously filled table where the boletus soup in a bread plate or game-based dishes will satisfy the appetite of even the most starving guests.
In one of the cellars of the Main Square Pod Aniolami historical restaurant may be found, providing its guests with a wide selection of herb-marinated hams or huntman’s steaks. The Kazimierz-based Miodova represents the modern face of noble culinary tradition of Cracow with a tint of French, Italian and Jewish cuisines. Chimera restaurant will provide you with a great selection of regional cheeses and pickled mushrooms and one of the finest dishes of Polish cuisine warm hunter’s stew is. The noble aftertaste may also be found in the locally famous Hawelka restaurant, with its 19th-century charm of a place where the most renowned citizens of Cracow would dine at; its menu being filled with groats, soups, sour-cream-topped meats or Easter yeast cakes.
GOURMET RESTAURANTS UNDER THE WAWEL HILL
The award-winning restaurants located in Cracow will satisfy those of the most refined palates. Wierzynek 1364, acquiring its ingredients from carefully selected local suppliers, has been operating at the Main Square since the 14th century, with a few intervals only. Its beautifully decorated historical chambers will provide light stimulation for the betterment of your mood before you taste the caviar, roasted fish fillets, meats or seafood prepared by the masters of culinary art.
Cyrano de Bergerac restaurant, with its medieval charm of cellar surroundings, will let you taste the finest flavours of French cuisine while in Cracow. The Michelin-recommended Renaissance Copernicus restaurant, chosen to host monarchs and heads of states during their diplomatic visits to Poland, enables you to sample such dishes as marinated trout with rhubarb, with its monthly-changed menus. While at highly praised Pod Nosem restaurant, you may discover the exotic taste of traditional Polish cuisine in a modern form. Elegant Wentzl, with its pates, caviar and tender meat-based main courses, is one of the best-known culinary brands on the map of Cracow. Szara, located at the Main Square, will provide you with a half-familiar, half-unexpected fusion cuisine of Polish and European culinary traditions.
The Art-Nouveau Europejska is a great place to have a filling omelette for breakfast or sophisticated lunch composed of fine dishes representing various culinary traditions of the continent. Miod Malina, operating in Grodzka street, will proudly serve its mouth-melting mix of the Polish and Italian cuisines to you once you sit at one of its tables surrounding a large brick oven. Other noteworthy gourmet restaurants of Cracow include Pod Baranem, Amarylis, Corse, Trzy Rybki, Marmolada or Kogel Mogel – all of which were placed in the prestigious guides of Michelin.
JEWISH AND MULTI-KULTI AFTERTASTE OF CRACOW
Cracow would be a city of rich multicultural background for centuries. The kosher Jewish cuisine, with its admixture of East European traditions, is what you will experience in the district of Kazimierz. The menu of charming Dawno temu na Kazimierzu restaurant, resembling an old newspaper, will provide you with fine Jewish caviar, kalahora soup or chulent. The variety of chambers inside the nearby Ariel restaurant, with works of Jewish art hung on their walls and Klezmer music accompanying the consumption of Gefilte fish or Jewish-style karp, is another outstanding example of fine Kazimierz-based restaurant.
Galicja (the culinary heritage of Austria-Hungary) or beer-oriented C.K. Browar are also promising places to dine at. More ideas on how to explore the multicultural past of Cracow culinary tradition are provided by Studio Qlinarne (creative fusion cuisine based on the local tradition), Cherubino (the Italian menu), Balcanica (tzatziki, olive oil and fresh feta cheese), Gruzinskie Chaczapuri (a popular Cracow restaurant with the Georgian specialties of Chaczapuri, and chinkali dumplings on the menu) or Hungarian Balaton restaurant (serving spicy goulash and Transylvanian plates).
Test the taste of Cracow during your stay there - the richness of its culinar legacy will not let anyone be disappointed!