Pack some comfy trousers and loosen your belt – you’re in for a hearty feast while dining in Krakow. Food here veers towards the heavy side in the country’s classic fashion, based on comforting home cooking with an emphasis on pork, cabbage, mushrooms and potatoes. And that’s just the savoury side of things. Sweet treats range from pancakes and apple pie to enormous slices of cream cake.
However, a slew of chefs are adding international panache to the food scene here, bringing a variety of cuisines to Poland’s second city. Italy, Argentina, Mexico and Japan are among the countries represented here in culinary form.
When it comes to places to eat in Krakow, there’s no shortage, particularly in the Old Town. Charming cellar restaurants, cosy candlelit eateries and modern dining rooms mean there’s a spectrum to choose from.
Here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Krakow.
For classic Polish: Czarna Kaczka
Czarna Kaczka, aka The Black Duck, is one of the top restaurants in Krakow’s Old Town for traditional Polish cuisine. Tables are blanketed in crisp white cloths and flickering candles add atmosphere to the room. Crispy potato pancakes with goulash and homemade beef dumplings are two top choices but duck is the thing to try here. Try the old Polish style, roasted and served with cranberry sauce.
For fine dining: Amarylis Restaurant
Want to blow your budget on a knockout dinner? This award-winning fine dining spot is the place to do it. Amarylis serves up gorgeous food that’s focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients – the result is incredible. Go all out with the tasting menu and wine pairing, with dishes swinging between eel with Polish mead and beef tenderloin with porcini mushrooms.
For casual dining: Café Botanica
Hidden away in the Old Town, Café Botanica is a pretty place to stop off for coffee, cake or breakfast. The cosy interior is decorated with horticultural embellishments, with plenty of seating both inside and out. Come in the morning for a hearty start to the day – choose between stacks of pancakes, omelettes or scrambled eggs. Or duck in during the afternoon for a monstrous burger or bowl of apple pie.
For modern Polish: Art Restaurant
Attention to detail is what makes this eatery stand out – focus is paid on the food, wine and presentation. Enjoy the relaxed ambience as you dine on the seven-course menu – stuffed dumplings, sauerkraut soup and deer tenderloin all feature, alongside the sommelier’s choice of wines and spirits. Every plate that arrives in front of you is an utter work of art – it’s simply divine.
For steak: Ed Red
Hankering for a succulent chunk of meat? This steakhouse won’t disappoint. It was the first to adopt dry aged beef for its menu and this has led to an army of accolades arriving into its awards cabinet. Once you’ve settled down at a table, you can tailor your steak to your taste buds. Pick your cut, choose a sauce then add a side dish to the equation. If you’ve got room for pudding, opt for the rosemary crème brûlée with cookie ice cream.
For baked goods: Bistro Charlotte
A slice of Paris can be found in this Polish city if you know where to look – Bistro Charlotte is a breakfast favourite. Shelves of freshly baked loaves and jars of jam gleam behind the counter, while trays of heavenly-smelling croissants call your name. Opt for the breakfast kit and a basket of fresh bread and pastries will arrive at your table with butter, preserves and chocolate spreads. Along with a steaming hot brew, it’s the perfect start to the day.
For something outside the Old Town: Starka
If you’re venturing around the Jewish Quarter of the city, south of the Old Town, make for Starka. Atmospheric and cosy, this restaurant’s menu includes a who’s who of Polish cuisine. Start with the dumplings, then move onto the boneless pork knuckle or try the plum-stuffed pork sirloin. Finish off with a homemade vodka – there are 14 flavours to choose from.
For Italian: Boccanera
Craving pizza or pasta? Make a beeline for Boccanera. The chic interior is dark and clad in turquoise tiles, with inviting wooden tables. Open up the menu and you’ll find as you flick through that it’s peppered with Italian classics. An olive and anchovy topped pizza always hits the spot and you can’t go wrong with a hearty slab of pork and beef lasagne.
For value dining: Kuchnia Polska Gaska
Make your way across the Vistula River to sample the budget-friendly delights of Kuchnia Polska Gaska. Fluffy potato pancakes are its speciality – you can choose from additions such as beef stew, creamy oyster mushrooms and bacon with onion.
All this Krakow food talk left you hungry for more?
Posted: 13th Jan 2019.