Vegan food in Poland: Warsaw, Krakow & Zakopane

IMG_0273.jpgIt must be hard being vegan in Poland. Said everyone I told about my recent trip.

WRONG!

It’s surprisingly easy to be vegan in Poland. Actually not that surprising if you eagle-eyed berries heard the news that Polish capital Warsaw is fast becoming one of the top destinations for vegan travellers as reported by the FT, CNN and travel site Kayak.

This was a fairly last minute, disorganised trip so I only had time to figure out where to stay and star some vegan places in our first destination: Warsaw. It was soon obvious that I had more stars on my map that I had opportunities for meals over the 2 day first stop.

In Warsaw we were living within minutes of 100% vegan pizza, burrito, Israeli and burger places! Our second destination Zakopane at the edge of the Tatra Mountains wasn’t overflowing with options but I managed to eat well at every meal.  Final stop Krakow was just as good as Warsaw and again offered up more options than I could get through, although I did try! Read on for what we enjoyed in all these locations.

For more photos from the trip see my Instagram.

WARSAW

Momencik Burrito

Located round the corner from our Airbnb we hit vegan gold for our first meal. My notes said ‘punky, Spanish-run, cheap Mexican food’ and that is exactly what we found. The lunch deal for 22Zl (just over £4) gets you soup, a bulging burrito and homemade lemonade. With a choice of about six all-vegan burrito fillings we were spoilt for choice but both went for the California with vegan cheese sauce, soya, brown rice, chipotle mayo, black beans, onions, coriander and radish. Served with a choice of four different homemade chilli sauces it knocks Chilango out the park any day.

Krowarzywa

With outposts in Warsaw and Krakow and a reputation for serving up some of the best vegan burgers around (we overheard meat-eaters espousing it’s tasty scran in another bar) this was a must. It met all our expectations and some. I had the seitan burger and Tristan the tofu burger, both topped with ‘bacon’ and served in wholemeal rolls. These on their own were mammoth so our sides of roasted potatoes were probably a bit unnecessary but you gotta order sides, right?! At £2.50 – 3.50 a burger these are unbelievably cheap compared to what you’d get back in the UK and in a lot of cases much more tasty too!

Vege Bistro

I thought that Poland would be a country that I wouldn’t be able to sample much traditional cuisine but several places including this Polish vegan cafe proved me wrong. Here you can get a range of local dishes including pierogi (dumplings), cutlets and stews. We shared some dumplings and a potato cutlet with millet, mushrooms and vegetables. Somehow we managed to resist their selection of vegan cakes! It closes at 8pm so be sure to get down early or for lunch.

Bal Bar

In hip district Praga Bal Bar is the main place that comes up on Happy Cow.  We almost didn’t actually go there as the online menu didn’t excite us – which shows it pays to check places out IRL as the menu was totally different! We shared a platter of hummus, kale, pea dip, salad, bread, roasted chickpeas and spinach pesto and then a huge plate of dumplings. So huge we had to take over half of them for our journey the following day!

Vegan Pizza

We didn’t actually eat here but I’m including it as it looked really good and we heard rave things about it. If we’d have had longer we would have certainly popped in. ‘Vegan vegan vegan vegan VEGAN vegan’ is what greets you from the outside. Clearly my type of place. The menu includes tofu and smoked sausage as toppings plus vegan cheese and all the vegetables. Kind of gutted now that I didn’t have a spare stomach to try this place too.

ZAKOPANE

Grass/Bar Gorski

Confusingly listed on Google maps and HappyCow as Mountain Bar this cafe is now called Bar Gorski but also says Grassa in the window and they have no distinguishable website. Either way it’s just off the main road opposite a small gallery. All the vegan options are clearly labelled however the menu is only in Polish. Nothing a little Google translate won’t solve! They do traditional food like pierogi, cutlets and soup as well as burgers and wraps. Easily enough on the menu to dine here several times.

Zakopianska

This restaurant is part of the hotel Villa Jagiellonka and we only had breakfast there but it was great for vegans. They put on some special dishes for me on the buffet and explained what I could and couldn’t eat. This included salads, breads, dips, vegetables and fruit. On the last morning they even brought me coconut milk. If staying there you do need to speak to them in advance and I’m unsure of the restaurant’s usual offerings but worth enquiring as they were accommodating for our stay.

Jazz & Burger

As we passed the menu caught my eye with the last item being ‘vegan burger’. Hurrah! It wasn’t a patch on the beauties enjoyed in Warsaw but for a couple of quid it was a decent dinner of a chickpea and sweetcorn pattie with salad on a seeded roll. The chips were plentiful and delicious. Worth checking out if you’re looking for some variety when in town.

Czicago pizza

Sure, they don’t offer dairy-free cheese but the waiter was really accommodating and swapped cheese for kidney beans (something I hadn’t had before on pizza – it worked) and provided more sauce too. The pizza was thin, so not a typical Chicago base, but it was decent and well-priced. There aren’t many pizza places in town and some are at posh Italian places so this seemed like a fair middle ground.

KRAKOW

Mihiderka 

A small plant-based haunt on trendy Józefa, this place specialises in super healthy burgers. So healthy they’re served with carrot batons instead of chips (something I cannot condone). However given our burger success in Warsaw and the fact we had one in Zakopane too we opted for more traditional dishes of a lentil stew with polenta and a quinoa and vegetable plate which was so bursting with colour it made my little vegan heart happy. The simple things.

Vegab

Given my absolute love for What the Pitta! in London I wasn’t sure if this vegan kebab joint would live up to my expectations. Well it did. And some. I went for a traditional offering with tzatziki and salad and Tristan went for a more unusual ‘Hamster’ with peanut butter and coconut which ended up being totally lush. We swapped halfway! The larger kebabs are monstrous proportions but oh-so-good. Maybe my top Krakow eat.

Hummus Amamamusi

A hummus cafe done the right way. Take note Hummus Bros. and use some garlic in your frigging hummus! Anyway… at this stylish cosy cafe you can enjoy a sharing bowl of all range of flavours including jalapeno, sundried tomato, caper, roasted garlic and many more. Sadly only the classic comes in smaller portions but a slice of that is worth popping in for alone.

Cafe Mlynek

The only place we went twice and both were amongst the best meals we had. For dinner we shared potato latkes – like rostis – with a mushroom sauce and some bigos: a mushroom and cabbage stew with crusty bread. They also offer pierogi, salads, samosas and more. For breakfast the following day I had a momentous salad plate with three dips plus shredded tofu and carrot and tonnes of bread whilst T opted for the corn pancakes with fruit. All vegan, all delicious.

Glonojad

A vegetarian cafe (with a confusing fish logo) that serves one vegan breakfast option – a tofu and pesto ciabatta which is so much more delicious IRL than it looked or sounded. Homemade pesto is the absolute boss. There were many more lunch options including salad and pierogi (of course) but we were only there for breakfast so I’d recommend checking it out later in the day.

HariPrasad Samosa & Curry

A great find in the Jewish district for a cheap light bite. This place does what it says on the tin – samosas and curry. All vegan! I had a spinach and chickpea samosa and it was on point. Tasted like India with a perfect balance of flavours and spices. The tamarind and tomato chutneys were also authentic in taste. Just a couple of doors down is a vegan momo place also worth checking out.


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2 comments

  1. Love your recommendations! I need to try some of those places, the vegab looks amazing! I really like how Warsaw is developing, and how many amazing new vegan spots are opening, almost every week. I have also noticed that many non-vegan place are becoming more open and vegan-friendly. I have many friends in Warsaw, and not all of them are vegan, so sometimes when we want to go out it is difficult to find a place that will be approved by everybody. Last time my friends took me the a restaurant called the Akademia. It was not vegan, so I was really afraid that I would leave hungry… Well, I was wrong :p It turned out that on request they do prepare vegan dishes, so I had really nice, delicious dinner, just like all of my friends. It was a pleasant surprise, because I would never expect that a restaurant with Polish food would offer something like that, and what is more that the food will be so good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is amazing to hear! I was so pleasantly surprised in Poland. It goes to show that the vegan movement is growing as is the pound/dollar/Euro that is disposable with it. Hope you have many more positive experiences.

      Like

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