Warsaw, the historical capital of Poland, is one of the best cities to try traditional Polish meals from all regions. Once derided as bland, the national kitchen has peaked as a new generation of Polish chefs have been modernizing traditional meals with an assortment of Polish tastes and local products. Contemporary Polish cuisine is now praised for its richness of flavor and simplicity. Therefore, here is the list of the top restaurants in Warsaw to devour on the most authentic dishes, including notorious pierogi (Polish dumplings) and bigos (spiced meat and cabbage stew).
Bar Mleczny Prasowy
For an entirely local experience, come to Prasowy Milk Bar. Open since 1954, this local fave still serves tasty and cheap Polish food. Milk Bars were a governmental program during the Soviet times to create cafeterias offering local meals at the lowest prices.
Praswoy has a typical and simple interior providing various dumplings, plus a nice variety of kotlet schabowy (Polish version of Wiener Schnitzel), bigos (meat stew with sauerkraut and shredded fresh cabbage), placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes), naleśniki (crepes), and others.
Restauracja Polska Różana
Rózana is a charming and elegant old-style restaurant offering light and delicate meals from the local cuisine. Embroidered tablecloths, fresh flowers, and discreet piano music add a distinctive character to the restaurant.
The restaurant is most famous for its freshly-made traditional Polish dumplings (pierogi, kopytka, kolduny) and homemade noodles. Try their duck meat meal enriched with forest cranberry sauce or traditional Silesian leaven soup.
U Fukiera is the oldest restaurant in Warsaw, dating back to the 16 century. It is also the most famous venue visited by world-known guests such as Henry Kissinger, Naomi Campbell, Sarah Ferguson, and various royalties.
Adorned with antiques and paintings that harmoniously blend with the tastes and scents of the food, there is no wonder that U Fukiera is a beautiful restaurant for a memorable dinner. Expect pre-war Polish cuisine with a modern twist of south-European cuisine.
Restauracja Portretowa is another wonderful restaurant in Warsaw to try traditional Polish meals in a charming and friendly environment. Their simple yet hearty meals include a hot appetizer made from sauerkraut with mushrooms, meat, and plums served with bread, homemade pierogi, sour rye soup, and golabki (Cabbage rolls), to name a few. And for something sweet, try their hot apple pie with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.
This colorful, cozy, and elegant restaurant makes you feel like a guest in an old-fashioned Polish home. Owned by Magdalena Gessler, a well-known local cook who let Polish edition of Kitchen Nightmares reality show and a judge of MasterChef, the venue offers a wide choice of local meals made from eco-friendly produce.
The meals are either roasted or baked, and the menu includes crispy duck in honey served with pan-fried beetroot, pork chop coated in breadcrumbs with onion mashed potatoes as a side, and traditional Polish stew in a bread bowl.
Czerwonym Wieprzem (The Red Pig) nestled in a historical building given to Warsaw at the end of the 1960s by the German Democratic Republic leader perfectly matches the history of that time. It is an excellent venue to travel back in time and try not only Polish meals but also from countries no longer on the map, including GDR, USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.
This PRL themed bar (PRL stands for Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa, The Polish People’s Republic in English; the name Poland was known for during the Communist times) is in a district where the first Polish socialist/communist movement was born.
The name derives from an original Inn of the area frequented by the Red communist leaders, such as Fidel Castro, Leonid Brezhnev, Lenin, and others.
The restaurant’s interior reflects its history showcasing its famous guests with portraits, photographs, and flags on its walls.
Translated as ‘old house’ in English, Stary Dom has a long culinary tradition, and a homey atmosphere open since the 1950s. The interior resembles old Warsaw and a classic city restaurant with beautiful wooden furniture, candles, and paintings.
Besides offering traditional Polish cuisine using old recipes, this place is unique because the chef himself makes delicious meals in front of you.
Come here to try zurek (sour rye) soup with mushrooms, broth with homemade noodles, and pork knuckle (Golonka).
Gościniec Polskie Pierogi
Nestled at the entrance of the Old Town, Gościniec boasts hearty food from dozen different boiled or fried pierogi to soups, from potato pancakes to various meat dishes at very reasonable prices.
While you can try pierogi almost anywhere, come here for other traditional meals such as golabki, bigos with dried plums served in a bread bowl, or barszcz, a Polish version of Borscht.
Gościniec Polskie Pierogi has two other locations in Nowy Swiat and Piwna streets if you decide to venture around Warsaw Old Town before lunch.
If you are after a restaurant frequented by locals that also serves rare traditional Polish meals not seen anywhere, then Prodiż Warszawski is the place to dine.
With a cozy environment and a friendly staff, the restaurant’s menu offers an amazing line up: pierogi stuffed with mushroom and veal, crayfish soup, grilled beef heart in apple and cherry sauce with pyzy (dumpling variety in the form of knobs), and calve’s brain with egg and onion served on toast, to name just a few.
Kafe Zielony Niedźwiedź
Chic, elegant, and housed in a small glassed pavilion in Beyer Park, Kafe Zielony Niedźwiedź is another local favorite offering pre-war Polish meals.
The restaurant focuses on dishes made from organic products harvested by local farmers with a constantly changing menu. Therefore, everything here is fresh, and nothing is mass-produced.
The owners pride themselves on the quality of their food and promote suppliers by using their names on the menu. Prior reservations are recommended to dine here.
If you want to try different meals under one roof, wander the stalls of Hala Koszyki, a historic market home to gourmet restaurants and extravagant bars. Nestled in an Art Nouveau-style building of the early 20th century, craft-beer stations, artisanal chocolate shops, and a wide choice of traditional Polish bites, plus other non-Polish fares.
Pressed for time in Warsaw? Check out How to Spend 48 Hours in Warsaw.