Polish Food…All Just Pickled Cucumbers, Dumplings and Goulash?

Polish food – or certainly the food I have been eating here in Krakow – is delicious. Think blinis and salmon roe (accompanied by an obligatory shot of vodka), the thinnest veal schnitzel (my favourite), reindeer tartare (yet to try…I’m subliminally worried that Santa might need them) and of course that proper, thick hot chocolate made with very little milk.

Eating out here is just like stepping back in history. Restaurants are wonderfully old fashioned, tills look archaic and the coat or hat stand still reigns supreme – in one place it was so weighed down with people’s overcoats, fur hats and scarves that it actually toppled over.  The music playing in most doesn’t help fight this illusion and tunes seem to be from the 1920s.

The bill too, once it comes, seems frozen in time and restaurants charge nothing by comparison to what you’d expect to pay for the same quality of food in, say, London or Singapore.

Szara (main dining room pictured below) is billed as Karakow’s top restaurant and it’s a must. Their raraka will be appearing in Singapore à la Changmoh as soon as I get back because it was to die for*/die, die must try*: salmon caviar, sour cream and chopped red onion on a warm, very thin layer of slightly crunchy grated potato.

Magda Gessler’s Wentzl Restaurant (pictured below) is also very high end and things are beautifully cooked and presented without being pretentious (an all-out, three course dinner here with fabulous French wine cost just under £120/SGD$240 in total).

Another favourite, although completely different from these two, is Klezmer Hois (first picture) in the Jewish Quarter.  Serving very authentic Jewish food – although not strictly kosher – come here for the chicken noodle soup and their delicious salt beef.  We sat at the next door table to Poland’s national treasure, composer Leopold Kozlowski who wrote most of the music for Schindler’s List; if he eats here it really must be pretty good.

If I had to go back to just one? Szara for their raraka (but I’d eat it for lunch with a shot of vodka – Chopin being my new make of preference – rather than have it for dinner as a starter).


*delete as appropriate