I'm finding it hard to even start this blog... even though I did decide on DAY 1 of my Kraków trip that I would dedicate a blog entry entirely to the food I ate in Poland. I suppose the idea came from the slightly violent 'I HATE YOU' response I received from my Polish colleague Voy, after I sent a photo of food to him. Indeed, it was his own fault that I was there... he'd insisted on me going there for months that it was somewhere I had to go to while I was in Europe - one of the best places on the planet (a statement for which I must agree with him now). It was also his own fault that following that abusive response, I continued to send him photos from his favourite restaurants and foods... each resulting in extremely amusing reactions.
So here I am, writing my food blog... hopefully this will make your taste buds water, get your travel bug to start stretching its wings and even give you some ideas if and when you do get to Kraków for some TOP places to go. After all, I was there on good authority, and had locals (Voy's friends and Basia, my accommodation host) showing me around and giving me great tips!
Of course, there are many other amazing things I tried apart from those below, but some were at the markets and others I don't know the address… you'll just have to ask around and find things for yourself… the food is amazing, so you won't be disappointed! Or try different things on the menu from the places listed below.
And take note, that almost everything is super cheap, food wise! I don't think I spent over €12 for any meal… and that would have been a really lavish/expensive meal! This isn't going to be a flowing sentence like blog... more like a dot-point, address book, food describing blog. Enjoy!
Bagels - Kraków is the home of the bagel - where they were invented, and thank God! Though not as many shops sell them as you would think. So, I did some searching and took myself down to the Jewish quarter to try a good one. But this place had an amazing menu with anything you could ever want, and reasonable prices.
> Where: Bagel Mama - Dajwór 10, 31-052 Kraków
> I had: Sesame Bagel with sun dried tomato cream cheese and fresh basil
Muesli - Ok, this is German/Swiss, but it tasted amazing, so I had to go there twice. The other options on the menu were great too, and while I'm not a coffee drinker, I was told that this was a great place for it. Besides the muesli they had amazing French patisserie pastries… Yum!
> Where: Charlotte - Plac Szczepański 2, Kraków
> I had: Berry and nut Muesli with plain yoghurt, and a butter croissant
Pancakes - Nalesniki are Polish pancakes - and I was lucky enough to have them home made by my wonderful host Basia. Filled with cottage cheese whipped with sugar and cream and with some jam/honey type stuff on top… Don't have a place to go for this, so can't help you there, but try it if you see it on the menu!!!
A special mention for breakfast is: Pergamin Chill Out Music Bar, while technically a bar/club, it still has great breakfasts with lots of choices and a nice terrace setting.
Kebabs - Ok, so this can be classed as breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack… but who cares - they're tasty and if you find a good shop (some I'm told can give you food poisoning, so get a recommendation before trying) they're almost as good as those you can find in Berlin. The only question that needs to be asked is 'spicy sauce?', then you can be sure that they know what they're doing… So good!
> Where: Corner of Plac Dominikański and Grodzka - a sign says 'Antoni Suski' above the corner door. 'Kebab' window
> I had: Doner Kebab with lamb and spicy!!! It's not burn your mouth off 'spicy', just definitely good!
Croissants - They make them well in Kraków! So you really can't go wrong. But one of the best places for them is a chocolatier in the old city
> Where: Karmello - Floriańska 40, 30-962 Kraków
> I had: Croissant and dipping chocolate, with a large hot chocolate. 'Breakfast II'
Pretzels - There are stands all over the city selling 'Obwarzanek' Polish Pretzels, and I've been told some many thousand are sold every day… but they're a great snack to have while walking around and there are many different kinds. You can't miss finding a few hundred stands on your way to and at almost every tourist attraction. Try them all, and get in early… some even sell out of theirs by lunch time.
Salad - These are unfortunately a little hard to find in Kraków, especially a good one… there is a lot of meaty and often fatty food (all of it tasting amazing, but even so). I had a local take me along to this place when we weren't able to get a table at Zazie (below). The food was amazing and very well priced for the large serving sizes.
> Where: Duży Pokój - ul. Izaaka 3, 31-057 Kraków
> I had: Mediterranean style Chicken salad with a nice beer (see below)
Zapiekanki - Apart from this being the Polish, or at least Kraków equivalent of stumble-home-drunk-need-food Kebab, this is definitely an any-time food… You can get different top toppings, but the main serving is a dense half baguette with mushrooms, cheese, dried onions, tomato sauce and a type of mayonnaise. You can get them almost anywhere, but the Jewish quarter is particularly good, near the Plac Nowy
> Where: Bar Namaxa - ul. Nowy 4b / 12, 31-056 Kraków - (Plac Nowy, Jewish Quarter)
> I had: Standard style Zapiekanka with chives.
Sandwich: Sometimes, what you want is a good sandwhich, ie something tasty that is served in bread. After Mike (Voy's friend) and I were not able to get a table here, I decided to return a few days later, as he'd raved about it so much. Definitely wasn't disappointed. French in style, but amazing food and the drinks were great too - I had a lime and basil mojito type drink.
> Where: Zazie Bistro - Józefa 34, 31-056 Kraków - (Jewish Quarter)
> I had: Tomato marinated Prawn baguette with brie and lettuce - Amazing!
Żurek - Often said to me to be better hangover food than anything, this was still something I had a few times and always enjoyed it. A sour rye soup with pieces of sausages, mushrooms and herbs and served in a bread bowl… just too good!
> Where: Gruzińskie Chaczapuri - Grodzka 3, 31-021 Kraków
> I had: Żurekwitha nice beer
Tatar - Not something that most tourists would try, and those who do probably eat it incorrectly. Raw meat (mince, in this case) isn't really my thing, and I was definitely hesitant in trying this! Though, I'm glad I did, because it was amazingly tasty. The trick is to mix everything together that comes on the plate with oil, salt and pepper and eat it with the bread roll that is served. Try everything on the menu though for this place. Hellishly cheap and amazing food (€2 for each meal) and drinks (€1 - any drink)
> Where: Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa - świętego Jana 5, Kraków
> I had: 1 serving of Tatar… and you have to have it with straight vodka, not the flavoured ones that tastes amazing!
Pierogi - Polish dumplings. I was lucky enough to be there on the Pierogi festival night, but this isn't going to come along every day… unfortunately. Try all the different kinds, including the sweet ones. The best I had were duck and goats cheese - festival winners. Again something that you can have almost anywhere, but hey, why not go with the recommendation of some of the locals. This place was great and their other dishes are traditional too and really good! Servings come in '20s' so either order a half serve or have friends with you. They change their hand drawn menu every day and publish it on Facebook.
> Where: Gospoda Koko - Gołębia 8, 31-007 Kraków
> I had: Spinach and cheese, and mince with herbs… try anything and everything.
Another special mention for the dinner category, to: Pod Wawelem (św. Gertrudy 26, Kraków) - not a super Polish food restaurant, it's very much like a Hofbrauhaus style of place, but daily specials (including huge Parmigianas) and amazing food none-the-less.
Vodka - All of it is good! But the cheapest (€1 per shot) and best place I went to… and often was:
> Where: Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa again to start with! - for €1 you definitely can't go wrong. But try… oh... everywhere!
> I had: My favourite was definitely Pigwowa (Quince) vodka - almost like a smooth strong sherry!
Beer - Try: Brackie, Żywiec, Tyskie
> Where: Everywhere - there are hundreds of bars in the city… chose one!