Krakow is renowned for its medieval square as well as its Communist and WWII historical sites, but it’s growing number of gourmet restaurants and reputation for good value for money is fast making it an ideal destination for foodies.
For cheap and cheerful favourites: If you want pierogi like your babcia used to make, head to Polskie Smaki just off the main square of Old Krakow. A popular place for students and locals, Polskie Smaki’s simple and cheerful decor matches its previous history as a milk bar during the Communist regime. Here hungry visitors will find several classic Polish dishes like the sausage-based Kielbasa or the barley Zurek soup, along with the all-important pierogi dessert in fruity flavours like blueberry. The menu might vary each day, but the restaurant’s good value for money does not, with a pint of Tyniec beer, a hearty main and a plate of pierogi setting your wallet back about £10. Polskie Smaki, ul. St. Thomas 5, 31-014 Krakow; open from 10:00am to 22:00pm daily; http://www.polskie-smaki.pl/en/index.php.
For chocolate lovers: Belgium might hold the title as the centre of chocolate production in Europe, but one rich morsel from Krakow’s Karmello chocolatier might be enough to convince you otherwise. Stocking a range of dark and milk chocolates in a wide variety of flavours and designs, their liqueur chocolates are particularly worth trying. For a truly indulgent treat however, nothing beats having a tall glass of their hot chocolate on a chilly evening. Karmello, 40 Florian Street, Krakow; open Tuesday-Sunday 7:00am to 23:00pm daily, Fridays 7:00am to 22:00; http://www.karmello.pl/.
For gourmet dinners: Krakow might not have a Michelin-starred just yet, but it has several restaurants that are Michelin recommended for a fraction of the price of its contemporaries. Head to Miod Malina, or Honey Raspberry, where diners can try traditional dishes from the Leonardo region. Particular favourites include the roe-deer in a dark cherry sauce, and the lamb chops marinated in a rosemary and garlic marinade. Expect to pay approximately £30 for a main and drinks. Travellers that book far in advance should try to get a table at Wesele, whose rustic interior reflects its traditional Polish menu. Miod Malina, ul. Grodzka 40 PL – 31 044 Kraków; open from 12:00 pm to 23:00 pm daily; http://www.miodmalina.pl/en/. Wesele, Rynek Glówny 10 PL – 31 042 Kraków; open from 12:00 pm to 23:00 pm daily; http://www.weselerestauracja.pl/pl/.
For traditional Jewish food: Head to the old Jewish quarter known as Kazimierz, where you can get a taste of Jewish life in Krakow prior to WWII at Dawno Temu Na Kazimierzu (Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz). The entire restaurant is filled antiques to resemble a Jewish home, with even candle the only source of light. Make sure you head there on a Tuesday evening, when you can enjoy a big savoury plate of kasha to the sound of a live band playing Jewish tunes from yesteryear. Dawno Temu Na Kazimierzu, ul Szeroka 17, Krakow; open from 10:00am to midnight daily.
For vodka-philes: Deviate from Krakow’s main square to the smaller one on ul.Mikołajska street, and there you will find the Wodka Cafe Bar. This cosy drinking hole boasts an entire wall of vodka, ranging from your standard Polish Zubrowka bison grass vodka to more adventurous flavour options like grapefruit or pear. Ask for a chilled glass and then sit back and peruse the unusual artwork for sale on the wall. Wodka Cafe Bar, ul.Mikołajska 5, 31-027, Kraków; open Monday to Thursday from 15:00 pm to close, Friday to Sunday from 13:00 to close; http://www.wodkabar.pl/; https://www.facebook.com/pages/W%C3%B3dka-Cafe-bar/206241002621