A weekend in Krakow, Poland


BYB Travels / Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Being honest, I don’t really post much about the world outside of Birmingham (this blog is called Bite Your Brum after all) but I’ve just had such a mega weekend in Krakow that I wanted to share a bit about the foodie side of the trip.

Being that so many of you gave me must see/eat/try tips before I went I figured some of you might be interested, so here we are.

It was my first visit to Poland, after booking a weekend break with four friends back in November. Having secured a gorgeous Air B&B in Kraków Old Town we had an array of cafes, bars and restaurants on our doorstep, and much of the three night trip involved eating and drinking. And beers as big as your head.

Food in Krakow

I didn’t realise I liked Polish food until I went to Poland, which is mildly embarrassing considering how much I raved about 99% of things I ate over the weekend. Dishes here are heavily based around stews, meat, dumplings and cabbage; I love all of the above which is why I left happy and very fat.

On our first night we accidentally stumbled upon the #2 rated restaurant in Krakow: Old Town Restaurant. Situated at the start of the Jewish Quarter, this isn’t the cheapest but it is one of the best. Their crispy pork knuckle, and slow cooked ox cheek left such an impression it required a return visit, but it was the homemade apple and cinnamon vodka that we all raved about. Relentlessly. It’s not much to look at aesthetically but the restaurant has plenty of charm with regards to food and service. Highly recommend this one.

Lunch on the second day came from Pierogarnia Krakowiacy; a cafe serving up traditional dumplings and soup. We ate a lot of dumplings over the weekend, it must be said. Pierogi are a cheap and popular snack – you’ll find them in 9/10 restaurants. We personally liked the veggie ones most; cabbage and mushroom are particularly good. They also nearly always come with a creamy garlic sauce which happens to be life changing.

Onion and beetroot soups were excellent for light lunches, and are available in almost all restaurants for next to nothing. I really liked the more watery soups, with the onion and rye versions being popular in our group.

At Wrega we had a sausage and cabbage stew for £3 called Kiełbasa z Kapustą that we all agreed was utterly delicious, despite eating it in a cellar that was decorated with sailing memorabilia for seemingly no reason. Slow service but great food. And don’t forget to order the cheese board which is huge.

When walking around make sure you grab an Oscypek if it appears; a popular street food snack we found outside the main shopping mall. It’s an 80p slab of cheese (akin to halloumi) cooked over open fire and topped with cranberry jam.

Similarly, if you like kebabs and sausages you’ll find pop ups across the city to buy food on the move; I found this little beauty (above) outside Wawel Castle for £2 and ate it next to the famous fire breathing dragon. As you do.

If you like goulash you can grab plenty as street food, but I recommend Stodola47 for a sit down version. This is an underground wooden/clad restaurant that’s kind of fabulous due to the fake fur adorning the walls. Also, they do massive portions and serve soup in bowls made of bread. Winner!

Desserts and cakes in Krakow

Milk Bar Tomasza offers pancakes for breakfast that will blow your mind, including sweet and savoury options. I couldn’t choose so I had both, which I’m sure surprises no one.

Piekarnia Cukiernia offers pastries and cakes that will make you very happy for under a quid. There’s another place that’s akin to Greggs but is overpriced and not as good as this small chain. Cakestster (directly opposite Milk Bar) offers vegan and gluten free brunch options, and Cupcake Corner has some seriously beautiful cupcakes.

Drinks in Krakow

It’s not hard to find vodka in Poland unless you’re blind or seriously lost. And I know that because we sank shots all over the city.

The best places make their own; big love to Starka for their homemade flavours including apple, and coconut. If you fancy making your own tasting board, Wódka is a tiny but brilliant little find just off Old Town. Try the hazelnut vodka and get a seat in the attic.

Miasto (where we discovered rose vodka) is another spot for seriously cheap shots, as was Cyber Machina that offered cocktails and vodka shots at just £3 and below. If you’re less inclined to get wasted on wodka (tbh you should go somewhere else, you don’t deserve this country) try Ratuszowa on the main square. It offers mulled cider and beer – albeit at absolutely ludicrous prices for the city – but you have some lovely views of the surrounding architecture.

What else?

If you fancy some authentic culture and music with your booze the Harris Piano Jazz Cafe off the main square is worth a visit, although on our visit it was very chilled out; we left within 90 minutes for noise and drama elsewhere. We also briefly visited a club (on the promise of free drinks and a nice group photo) called Bacarat if that’s more your scene, although watch out for the men dancing. That was a truly baffling scene.

We also really enjoyed our day trips to the Salt Mines (£20) which involved licking walls of salt 100m below ground, and Auschwitz (free) for, obviously, very different reasons. The former is surprisingly interesting, the latter is necessary. I struggle to explain effectively in detail how this place makes you feel, but just go. You can’t comprehend anything to do with this unless you’ve been and seen. Make sure you take the free 5 minute shuttle to Birkenau but be prepared to feel utterly bereft; it’s indescribable to be honest.

Just a little souvenir.. have you been to Krakow? What did you see/do? Let me know in the comments.

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