The capital of Poland is a fascinating place to visit. The complex history of Eastern Europe has made the city a very interesting place, and the beautifully restored Old Town rivals any in Europe.
And while Warsaw isn't ordinarily known as a food destination, the truth is, you can find some truly delicious things to eat here. Polish cuisine is as unique as everything else about the country, and the Warsaw food scene is one of the best places to try delicious food — not to mention excellent and very affordable Polish beer.
Polish food has just as many proud traditions as any other national cuisine in Europe, but Poland is also more open than most to outside influences. Therefore, you'll find some absolutely delicious cuisines from around the world in the capital, from excellent sushi to tasty Chinese food to great fusion cuisine.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Warsaw, and let your journey through Polish cuisine begin. Whether you want to dine at a Michelin-starred Polish restaurant or try the best street food in Warsaw, you'll find Warsaw's food has something to offer just about everyone. And don't worry, vegetarians. You'll also find plenty of vegetarian and vegan cuisine at the best vegetarian restaurants in Warsaw.
Warsaw Food: Pierogies
Probably the most iconic item of Polish cuisine is the pierogi. These versatile dumplings have spread around the world, but Warsaw remains one of the best places to try them for yourself.
Pierogies come in sweet and savory varieties, and you can find them just about anywhere in Warsaw. They're usually quite inexpensive, so they make a great snack or even a meal if you order a few.
The great thing about pierogies is that no matter what you like to eat, there's probably a pierogi for you. The dumplings can be stuffed with meat, mushrooms, potatoes, cottage cheese, feta cheese, or just about anything else you can imagine. Frequently served with sour cream and fresh cheese as a topping, pierogies are a classic item of Polish food, but they also lend themselves to reinvention.
If you want to try one of the best pierogi in Warsaw, head to Zapiecek Pierogarnia. This chain of restaurants specializes in Polish dumplings, and they have locations all over the city.
Another great option for pierogies is Barbakan Delicatessen, a popular deli located in the city center. Barbakan serves up traditional Polish fare like kielbasa and bigos (a Hunter's stew), but their pierogies are definitely worth trying.
Warsaw Food: Potato Pancakes
If you're looking for something a little heartier than pierogies, try placki ziemniaczane. These potato pancakes are usually served as a side dish, but they can easily be a meal on their own.
Placki ziemniaczane are made with grated potatoes, egg, flour, and salt, and they're usually fried in butter or bacon fat. They're often served with sour cream or applesauce, and they make a great accompaniment to just about any Polish dish.
You can find placki ziemniaczane on the menu at most Polish restaurants in Warsaw, but one of the best places to try them is U Kucharzy. This Warsaw institution has been serving up traditional Polish food since 1826, and their potato pancakes are some of the best in the city.
Another great option for placki ziemniaczane is Przystanek Pierogarnia. This popular pierogi spot also serves up excellent potato pancakes, and they have a few locations around Warsaw.
Warsaw Food: Bigos
Bigos is a Hunter's stew that's popular all over Poland, but it originated in Warsaw. This hearty dish is made with sauerkraut, chopped meat, and often fresh mushrooms, and it's usually served with mashed potatoes or bread.
Bigos is the perfect meal for a cold day, and it's one of the most iconic dishes of Polish cuisine. It's relatively easy to find on the menus of most Polish restaurants in Warsaw, but one of the best places to try it is Polskie Jadlo. This popular restaurant specializes in traditional Polish food, and their bigos is definitely worth trying.
Warsaw Food: Sushi
You might not think of sushi when you think of Polish food, but Warsaw has some excellent sushi spots. The city's large Japanese population means that there are plenty of great Japanese restaurants to choose from, and if you're looking for a break from traditional Polish cuisine, sushi is a great option.
One of the best sushi spots in Warsaw is Kanto. This popular restaurant has several locations around the city, and they serve up some of the freshest sushi in town.
Another great option for sushi is Wasabi. This restaurant is located in the heart of Warsaw's Old Town, and it's a great place to stop for lunch or dinner if you're exploring the city. And for anyone who doesn't eat fish or meat, head to Edamame Vegan Sushi for a plant-based take on this worldwide favorite.
Warsaw Food: Zapiekanka
If you're looking for a quick and easy meal, zapiekanka is a great option. This Polish street food is made by topping a piece of baguette with cheese and mushrooms (sometimes other toppings as well), then grilling it until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Zapiekanka is a popular late-night snack, and you can find it at most Polish restaurants in Warsaw. One of the best places to try it is Zapiekanka przy Krakowskim Przedmieściu, a small shop located in the city center.
Another great option for zapiekanka is Zapiekankarnia. This popular spot has several locations around Warsaw, and they serve up some of the best zapiekanki in town.
Warsaw Food: Polish Sausage
No trip to Poland would be complete without trying kielbasa, the country's iconic sausage. Kielbasa is usually made with pork (sometimes beef or turkey), and it's often served with sauerkraut or mashed potatoes.
If you're looking for a traditional kielbasa experience, head to Krakus Market. This popular market is located in the heart of Warsaw's Old Town, and it's the perfect place to pick up some kielbasa to take home with you.
If you're looking for a sit-down meal, try Polska Chata. This popular restaurant specializes in Polish cuisine, and their kielbasa is not to be missed.
Warsaw Food: Zurek
Zurek is a Polish soup made with sourdough bread, white sausage, and egg. It's a hearty dish that's perfect for a cold day, and it's one of the most iconic dishes of Polish cuisine.
You can find zurek on the menu at most Polish restaurants in Warsaw, but Polska Chata is one of the best places to try. This popular restaurant specializes in traditional Polish food, and their zurek is definitely worth sampling.
Another great option for zurek is Zalana Łacha. This small restaurant is located in Warsaw's Old Town, and it's known for its excellent soups, including zurek.
Warsaw Food: Warsaw-style herring
Warsaw may be pretty far removed from the sea, but herring remains a popular dish in the city. In fact, there's even a Warsaw-style herring, which is made with cream, onion, and egg.
This dish is usually served as an appetizer but can also be enjoyed as a main course. If you're looking for a traditional herring experience, head to Hala Mirowska. This popular market is located in the heart of Warsaw's Old Town, and it's the perfect place to pick up some herring to take home with you.
If you're looking for a sit-down meal, try Kresowa. This restaurant specializes in Polish cuisine, and their Warsaw-style herring is definitely worth trying.
Warsaw Food: Chłodnik
Chłodnik is a chilled beet soup that's popular in Poland. It's usually made with buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream, and it's often garnished with fresh dill.
This refreshing soup is perfect for a hot day, and it can be found on the menu at most Polish restaurants in Warsaw. One of the best places to try chłodnik is Bar Mleczny Pod Temidą. This popular milk bar is located in the heart of Warsaw's Old Town, and it's known for its excellent soups.
Warsaw Food: Pork Chop
Pork chop is a popular dish in Poland, and it's often served with potatoes and sauerkraut. If you're looking for a traditional pork chop experience, head to Zapiecek. This restaurant has several locations around Warsaw, and their pork chops are some of the best in town.
Another great option for pork chop is Polska Chata. This popular restaurant specializes in Polish cuisine, and their pork chops are definitely worth trying.
Warsaw Food: Borscht
Borscht is a soup made with beets, cabbage, and potatoes. It's a hearty dish that's popular in Poland, and it can be found on the menu at most Polish restaurants in Warsaw. It's a great way to beat the chill of a Polish winter, but it doesn't need to be cold outside to enjoy this classic dish. Despite the simple ingredients, a good bowl of borsch can have some surprisingly intricate flavors, so don't miss the chance to sample this classic soup while you explore the beautiful city of Warsaw.
Warsaw Food: Wuzetka
Wuzetka is a chocolate cake that's popular in Poland. It's made with two layers of chocolate cake filled with cream and topped with chocolate glaze.
You can find wuzetka at most Polish bakeries in Warsaw, but one of the best places to try it is Podwale Piekarnia. This bakery is located in the heart of Warsaw's Old Town, and their wuzetkas are some of the best in town.
Another great option for wuzetka is Cukiernia Wedel. This historic bakery has been around since 1851, and their wuzetkas won't let you down.
Warsaw Food: Milk Bars
This isn't a specific food item so much as it is a way of eating, but it's such a unique food experience in Warsaw it would be a shame to leave it off the list.
A milk bar is a type of restaurant that was once very common in Poland. They were created during the communist era to offer cheap, nutritious meals to workers and students, and they continue to be popular today.
Milk bars usually have a simple menu of Polish classics like pierogi, bigos, and kotlet schabowy. The food is served cafeteria style, and it's usually very affordable.
Some of the best milk bars in Warsaw include Bar Mleczny Pod Temidą, Bar Mleczny Przy Okopowej, and Bar Mleczny Dworzec Gdanski.
Traditional Polish food doesn't always get the recognition it deserves. The truth is, age-old Polish recipes offer some great flavor combinations and hearty food that anyone can enjoy. Substantial meals like pierogies and pork chops are designed to beat the chill of an Eastern European winter, but Warsaw also has some great options for lighter meals and street food that is ideal for munching on while you explore.
Of course, with all these high-calorie dishes, you may be worried about going home with more than a few extra pounds as souvenirs of your Warsaw trip. Luckily, there's a solution. Check out the best hikes in Warsaw for some calorie-burning outdoor adventures that will show you some of the city's most beautiful spots while at the same time helping you fit into your clothes.
Eating your way through Warsaw is a great way to get acquainted with the culture and history of the city. So don't be afraid to try something new. Chances are good it will be absolutely delicious.