Polishing Off Some Polish Food
Anyone who has seen the Austin Powers movie cannot forget the fictional villain Fat Bas***d and his famous line, "Come on! Get in my belly!" That is exactly how I began to view Polish food upon arrival to Warsaw. As mentioned in a previous blog, Barry had already been fortunate to visit Poland, and so he knew what was to be expected. As for me, I was ready to be introduced to Polish cuisine and whatever it had to offer. I truly had no idea what to expect, and I am so grateful that I had no expectations because with 1) an open mind and 2) a clean palate I was in the prime spot to eat away.
It must be said that aside from one or two food spots, we did not haphazardly stumble upon the following eateries. For Barry and I, food is extremely important wherever we go simply because we love to eat, and we enjoy trying out all sorts of cooking styles. Due to the fact that we consider restaurants as attraction sites themselves, we devote large amounts of research time to them when creating an itinerary. After all, we all have to eat at some point throughout the day, and it would be a dreadful shame to waste away excellent edible opportunities!
Finally, no one thinks of Poland in culinary terms. It is not one of the major worldwide cuisines. However, we hope that through this blog we can help change this misperception. Feast on!
Delicja Polska serves traditional Polish cuisine and we immediately fell in love with this restaurant for its décor, customer service, location (just off Castle Square), its price range, and OMG it's exquisite food. I must admit that although I did not order typical Polish food, i.e.: crispy potato pancakes with smoked salmon and creme fraiche as a starter followed by a chicken Caesar style salad, it was fabulous. However, Barry jumped right in, and ordered Polish style sour cream soup with rural white sausage followed by rolled beef rashers with buckwheat groats and roasted beets puree. We shared a home made hot apple pie with vanilla ice-cream, and it was then and there that I picked on the fact that the Poles do desserts the way I like it...not too sweet, but just right. Our server spoke very good English, and he had a good sense of humor while teaching us a few helpful Polish words. We are so looking forward to going back in July!
Another great restaurant serving traditional Polish cuisine, Zapieck is a chain restaurant that is open until fairly late (23:00), its tasty food is fairly priced and it has excellent customer service. Its interior design gives off a 'homey' and cozy feeling, and its menu offers a wide range of handmade wheat or spelt dumplings (also known as pierogi). Pierogi are often semicircular, but triangular and rectangular ones are also found. Typical fillings include potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, and fruits. The dumplings may be served with a topping, such as melted butter, sour cream, or fried onion, or combinations of those ingredients. Zapieck prides itself in that its dumplings are all made with natural ingredients. Fortunately, our hotel was only 10 minutes away from Warsaw's Old Town where this particular restaurant is located.
Restauracja Leśny Dworek
Located in Wyszków, Poland, 59 km (37 miles) away from the capital, Leśny Dworeki
is a beautiful quaint hotel which happens to have a fantastic restaurant on its premise. Aside from the fact that a car is required to visit this lovely, small restaurant, another limitation to this eatery would be that servers speak very basic English. In addition, it would be advisable to query the English menu for the element of surprise may not be too far when ordering, i.e.: I ordered 'raviolis' but was served pierogis. See what I mean?! However, it was silly of me to think I was ordering raviolis for pierogis are like raviolis, Pierogi are especially associated with Poland, Ukraine, and Slovakia, where they are considered national dishes. It was here that we tried "ogorki kiszone," a Polish-style pickled cucumber with a strong, sour taste to them served with lard, white onions and bread. It was worth a try.
Street Food and Cafés
We came across fantastic quick bites (not all Polish, as the first picture reflects, but still yummy), and nutritiously delicious natural juices which I absolutely miss from back home, Colombia. The Polish hotdog's presentation was something new from what I have been accustomed to when going to baseball games back home in Houston. I was in heaven the whole time we were in Poland - options galore of freshly squeezed juices at a dirt cheap price! As the old Spanish proverb says, "Barriga llena, corazón contento” (Full stomach, happy heart).
Located in the historic city of Łódź, 125 km (80 miles) away from Warsaw, we became enamored with this farm-like feel restaurant which offers home-cooked flavorful Polish dishes with a bit of an innovative twist. We ordered beef cheeks from specially selected beef with endemic variety cherries from Lviv accompanied with a side order of casserole cabbage with raisins and cloves, and a plate of different kind of sausage meats, according to traditional, old polish recipe. Its serving portions tend to be on the big side, and prices are very reasonable for foreigners, but expensive if on a Polish budget. Galicja Restauracja's level of customer service was excellent, and the servers tend to speak good English.
Restauracja Stary Dom
Holy moly! Wow! Wow! Wow! This restaurant blew our socks off! Only a 15 minute drive to the airport, this happened to be our last stop in Warsaw prior to coming back home. It was the perfect way to wrap our Poland trip. Restauracja Stary Dom offers traditional Polish dishes at reasonable prices for foreigners, and it is set in a cozy, old style Polish character interior décor. While Barry kicked off our meal with a platter of Polish charcuterie which comprised of venison sausage, home made smoked pork neck, wild boar sausage home style brawn, and marinades from Hajnówka village, I savored a free range chicken broth soup. Delicious comfort food. The main courses included potato filled pierogi made from a well kneaded dought, mixed with deglazed onion Ruthenian, and a plate of oven roasted duck with a potato purée and red cabbage. Finally, although we were about to burst out of our jeans, we agreed to share an apple pie which made my eyes roll back. It was perfect. Our server shared with us that all desserts are made in house every single morning, and it is made by a top notch Polish baker. Oh, nothing disappointed us. Nothing. Everyone spoke very good English, customer service was A+, and as you can imagine, it is on our itinerary for our upcoming trip.
Oh! Polish cuisine! How hearty and flavorful you are! It was as if we were always eating big and filling portions made with love in grandma's kitchen.
Please join us for our next BESPOKE travel blog post where we will admire colorful, artistic street art found throughout various Polish cities.
Until then, happy reading and safe travels!
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