Eating out in Kraków is a wonderful chance to sample Polish history and culture. There is something for every taste and wallet, from cheap eats to quality dining. Because of culinary tradition, dining in Kraków is an unforgettable experience. Besides, there are a lot of restaurants, bistros and cafes where you can find as well as Polish meals, as the international cuisine.
Close to the ICE Congress Centre you can find one of the best known areas of Kraków – Kazimierz district. If you are looking for unique pubs, cafes and restaurants, cross the river and visit the former Jewish district.
Many of the city prime restaurants are located away from the tourists routes. In Kraków you can also find a lot of vegetarian or vegan restaurants and cafes. It is customary to reward good service with a 10% tip.
What to eat
Traditional Polish cuisine is the result of melting pot and diverse European and Eastern influences. Poland was inhabited by entrepreneurs, merchants, soldiers, worldly gentry and considerable number of immigrants such as: Jews, Germans, Italians, Hungarians etc., who have left a significant mark on the national and Kraków menu over ages. All these influences are traceable in contemporary Kraków cuisine. The treasured lore of ancestral ingredients influenced the unexpected tastes. The mix of domestic herbs and exotic spices, sparkle of fermentations makes Kraków cuisine unique and amazing.
Polish cuisine features abundance of meats, mushrooms, berries and freshwater fish. Poles still possess the knowledge of ancestral recipes, that is why different appetizing local dishes are easy to find.
A typical Polish meal consists of two dishes in which the soup is preceded by a meat dish with potatoes and vegetables.
The most famous of all Polish food is bigos – dish made of finely chopped meat of various kinds, stewed with mushrooms, shredded fresh cabbage and sauerkraut. Another icon Polish food are pierogi – dumplings filled with mixed potatoes and cheese (pierogi ruskie), meats, strawberries, sauerkraut and mushrooms. You can find a lot of different versions of them. If you like cabbage you must try gołąbki - stuffing made of minced pork or beef, onions and rice or barley wrapped in cabbage leaves, baked and served with tomato sauce. The most famous Polish soup is żurek – sour rye soup with meat.
Those who prefer food without meat, can enjoy vegetarian equivalents of Polish dishes.
Kraków and the Małopolska region is home to some exclusive local products whose origin and geographical indications are protected by the EU. The most famous is obwarzanek krakowski, one of the symbols of Kraków. It is braided ring-shaped pretzel, boiled before being baked. It is usually sprinkled with salt, poppy seeds or sesame. Another local product is prądnicki bread, traditional rye sourdough bread. Małopolskie voivodeship is also famous with oscypek produced in the Podhale region. It is a decorative traditional smoked sheep’s cheese.
What to drink
Visiting Kraków you cannot miss out kompot. It is the typical Polish non-alcoholic sweet beverage. It is obtained by boiling together fruits, water and sugar or raisins. Its taste depends on seasonal fruits and the way of preparation. Adults can taste alcoholic beverage miód pitny (mead). It is created by fermenting honey with water, usually with a various spices, fruits and hops. It is created by fermenting honey with water, usually with various spices, fruits and hops. Depending on the alcohol content, meads are produced as ‘dwójniak’ (equal amount of water and honey), ‘trójniak’ (two units of water and one unit of honey), etc.