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Krakow – Poland’s “Food Capital”

Krakow is no stranger to Culinary Tourism, and the Municipality of Krakow’s, Tourism Marketing Department was smart enough to realize the positive effect it has on promoting their city, and that trying new foods, especially regional foods, and eating local specialties, is a significant part of every visitor’s experience.  The Tourism Marketing Department should continue to promote “Culinary Tourism”, and should also consider promoting Krakow as a “food capital”, since it has a high concentration of unique restaurants, cafes, pubs, and clubs, and it has numerous recommendations in the prestigious Michelin guide. And after a recent visit, where I enjoyed many Polish specialties in charming restaurants, located in historic buildings, it has my recommendation as well. It is also much less expensive compared to other beautiful European cities.  The city is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list and has about 360 churches and cathedrals.  Many people visit Krakow to see Wawel, The Royal Castle, and other sites like the gothic St. Mary’s Basilica , the trade pavilions of the gothic Cloth Hall, Mariacki Church and the Church of St. Wojciech located in Market Square, which is the second largest square in Europe after St. Mark’s Square in Venice.  Outside the city many traveler’s make a daylong excursion to the museum at Auschwitz and the Salt Mine in Wieliczka.  After visiting the historic sites of Krakow you can change yourself from a “tourist” into a “culinary traveler” and go out and enjoy some Polish cuisine in a 400 year old historical cellar, or a former tenement house in the Jewish district called Kazimierz.

At we encourage you to try as many Polish specialties as possible, and always try the national dishes of every country you visit.  It’s alway fun to discover a new restaurant or pub, on your own, or from the recommendation of a local, instead of from a guide book that hundreds of thousands of people have read.  We have included some places below that offer Polish foods, local specialties, or the national dish of Poland.  Some of the local and national specialties are Bigos (considered a national dish made with stewed sauerkraut,meat,sausage), Flaki (traditional Polish stew), Zurek (sour rye soup, with sausage and egg), Pierogi (dumplings stuffed with either meat, cheese, potato, sour cream or sauerkraut), Kielbasa (sausage), Pig Knuckle with crispy skin, or Roasted Krakow duck served in a variety of ways. Wash it down with a Zywiec beer, or some popular Polish vodka, like the Bison Grass Vodka.   

There are a lot of restaurants around the Main Square on Grodzka Street which leads to Wawel Hill the “Polish Acropolis”. There are also many good restaurants around that area on the following streets; Slawkowska, Tomasza, Jana, Poselska, and Karmelicka. Most restaurants are open until 11:00pm, if you are out later than that and want some Polish Pierogi, then go to Pierogi by night, which is open 24 hours a day and is located at Slawkowska 32.  For some late-night Polish street food  you can visit the hot kielbasa stand outside of Hala Targowa on Grzegorzecka.  Another popular local specialty is “zapiekanka” which are hot cheesy baguettes, with your choice of toppings, the best place for them is on Plac Nowy in the Kazimierz district  at a place called “Endzior”.  Some other places for Polish food are Jagienka located at 3 J. Matejko sq. and Restauracja Stodota 47 (located at Florianska 47) which is great on cold night because they have a hot fireplace, and you can get a warm bowl of Zurek the “national soup” of Poland and a 1/2 litre of Zywiec beer. Try the Roasted Duck with Currant Sauce at Rubinstein Restaurant, or the Knuckle of Pork in Honey and Beer at Galicya Restaurant.  After dinner you can walk over to Piwnica Pod Baranami the legendary Bar & Pub Jazz Club at 27 Main Square/Rynek Glowny 27 or choose your own pub or club.  Many bars/clubs/pubs are located in cellars or “pod” and you can’t always see them from the street, but you can hear the music sometimes coming out of the air vents by the sidewalk.  Krakow has all types of food for all types of people, even vegetarians.  Here are two that I found – Greenway Bar Wegetarianski located at Mikotajska 14 and Mlynek Cafe, which is wireless, and also serves breakfast located at Wolnica 7 in Kazimierz District.  You’ll really enjoy your visit to Krakow with all of the historic sites, good prices, friendly people, and discovering all the unique places to eat and drink, while on your own “culinary tour”  of this beautiful city.

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