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Warsaw Restaurants: A Foodie’s Dream
May 27, 2011   
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Warsaw has a bigger selection of restaurants than any other city in Poland. It also boasts restaurants that are rated among the top 10 in Europe. The prices are very reasonable by European standards and the service has improved immensely. Most waiters speak English, particularly in establishments in and around the Old Town and in downtown Warsaw.

The Polish capital has a myriad of restaurants, bistros, beer gardens, cafes, little cake shops and ice-cream parlors that are among some of the most exciting in Europe. Each has its own décor and ambiance, either modern or with an Old World charm to complement the cuisine served. They offer fast food, fine dining and continental cuisine with flavors from every part of the globe, as well as restaurants that specialize in national dishes. New places seem to be opening weekly. Some Warsaw restaurants have also become well known abroad.

The hit in recent days has been a return to traditional Polish cuisine. Following the craze for pasta, fusion cuisine and sushi, now classical Polish food is in fashion, particularly among foreigners and tourists: steak tartare or herring served with a thimbleful of vodka, borsch, bigos or pierogi. These age-old dishes are being served in new forms—in refined versions as well as in the traditional way like the quintessential Polish babcia (grandma) used to prepare them.

Poland has a rich and distinctive culinary heritage. Polish cuisine owes its diversity to the country’s tumultuous thousand-year history. The Slavic background of the modern Polish cuisine is elegantly mixed and balanced with foreign influences from countries such as Turkey, Hungry, Lithuania, France, Germany and Italy, as well as some regions of Spain and the Netherlands. Hence, the Polish table is like a huge melting pot of recipes and ingredients, which also includes the Jewish culinary tradition and spices from the Orient. Over the centuries all the foreign dishes have become part of a unique Polish cooking style. And creative Polish chefs today have adapted these age-old recipes into a delightful contemporary art form.

Food Matters
Expat Mike Cosia chats with Jolanta Wolska.

What brings you to Warsaw?
I was invited by friends. I fell in love with the people so I am still here.

An artist with a Canadian and Italian background obviously loves food…
I love to explore different tastes.

How do you find the restaurants in Warsaw?
I look for particular ambiance and service. I’ve found restaurants in Warsaw that make me feel good. I choose the cuisine that suits my mood on the day.
There are many areas in Warsaw with good eating places, among them Francuska Street; it has a fantastic atmosphere and some great restaurants, including Indian.

Is service good here?
In the couple of years I’ve been here it has greatly improved.

Do you like Polish food?
Some Polish dishes in particular, although many are similar to those of other countries.

What are your favorite Polish dishes?
I’ve discovered steak tartare—it is new to my palate and I love it. I like roast duck and I’ve taken to borsch with dumplings.
Which is the most important meal of the day for you and what would you eat?
Breakfast. Norwegian smoked salmon and cream cheese with croutons. There’s a place on Trzech Krzyży Square where they serve a great breakfast.
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