Restaurants, bars, pubs...
Cream of porcini mushroom soup, prawns in cream or a bowl of pierogi – the menus of the two oldest Polish restaurants, Piwnica Swidnicka in Wroclaw (serving continually since 1273) and Wierzynek in Krakow, are made up primarily of Polish traditional showpiece dishes.
In recent months the latest culinary craze has been for .... Polish cuisine! After the frenzies for pasta, fusion cuisine and sushi the fashion has returned for the classics like Steak Tatare, herring served with a shot of iced vodka, beetroot soup, bigos and minced pork rissoles. Dishes that have been known for years are now prepared in a new way and are served in a refined way by impeccably dressed and trained waiters in a sophisticated atmosphere as well as in homely surroundings.
Guests can now dine in exquisitely luxurious restaurants like Ale Gloria (the jewel in the crown of the Magda Gessler restaurant empire) and Dom Polski in Warsaw, Jadka in Wroclaw and Nostalgia in Krakow. For the traditional Polish dish of pierogi it is best to choose a restaurant that specialises in their making like the Pierogarnia in Warsaw, U Fryziera in Kazimierz Dolny or Dom Pierogow in Nowy Sacz.
Regional flavours are best tasted in their home environment. Therefore, in Poznan you should order "Pyry z Gzikiem" (potatoes with curd cheese), in Opole "Kluski Slaskie z Modra Kapusta" (Silesian dumplings with sweet red cabbage), in Szczawnica "Kwasnica" (Pickled Cabbage Soup) and in Krynica "Rydze prosto z blachy" (Wild mushrooms from a griddle).
Along the coast, in the Budzisz Tavern near Puck you can sample a dried flounder or freshly smoked whitefish, and eels in the "Pod Sieja" Inn by Lake Wigry. In metropolitan Warsaw you should try "Zimne noszki z chrzanem" (Pig's trotters in aspic with horseradish), in Krakow the speciality in the C.K. Dezerter restaurant is its apple strudel and the Sodas Restaurant in Punsk is known for its repertoire of frontier dishes like "Czenaki" (meat, cabbage and potato bake), "Kibiny" (dumplings with meat) or "Cepeliny" (potato dumplings with meat).
Poles love "Chlopskie Jadlo" (Peasant Food), therefore a chain of restaurants under the same name has become very popular. Dishes like home-made lard with marjoram spread on fresh bread, grilled smoked ewe's cheese (Oscypek), pickled cabbage soup or grilled shoulder of pork can be enjoyed in dozens of outlets, with their traditional thatched roofs, that are scattered all around the country.