I’m starting this post at the plane as we fly back from Warsaw where we spent some great holidays time!
The first thing that surprised us was how modern and nice the city centre landscape was; specially considering that only 70 years ago the city was completely destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt from its ashes in record time.
The best way to understand this part of its history and the following Soviet domination years is to visit the Uprising Museum: a very modern and visitor’s friendly museum (only 10 years old) that tells the history of the 1944’s Uprising carried out by the brave Polish resistance army and even braver and resourceful Warsaw’s citizens in an attempt to liberate Poland from the 5 years German occupation, that end up with thousands of victims and the massive destruction of the city. Everything is told in a very educationally way, including the moving survivors testimonies. 100% worth the visit!
The rebuilt Old Town and the shopping areas are also great! The parks distributed all around the city are massive, remarkably green and beautifully landscaped.
The second nice surprise came on the food front: the gastronomic offer is huge, varied and cosmopolitan: traditional Polish, traditional with a modern twist and ethnic cuisine from around the world is easy to find at a very good quality and reasonably priced .
Something I particularly enjoyed was that it is the custom to have soup as a first course, all restaurants offer at least two or three soup options and normally a lunch formula consisting of soup+main course at a very convenient price. Soup is a staple dish in Polish cuisine, and of course I tried as many as I could, so expect some recipes as soon as the autumn arrives!
The first evening we had dinner at Kameralna restaurant, at city centre. We’d spotted it during the morning and weren’t disappointed at all with our choice. The menu offers traditional cuisine and we had Flaki zupy (tripe soup with garlic and marjoram); Zurek zupy (sour rye soup with white sausage and boiled egg) and Sznycel z burakami i kapusta (Schnitzel with beets and sauerkraut), the portions were very generous, great for sharing. The restaurant is very nicely decorated, big and has a beautiful terrace to enjoy at summer. Good service and most importantly nice food!
Our favourite discovery was Kitchen restaurant also at city centre. It has a modern, Mediterranean and eclectic menu with great choices for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Besides it has plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free choices. With an open kitchen, meals are freshly prepared and service is very friendly! We enjoyed a mildly spicy lamb casserole with hummus, Feta cheese and pomegranate and a lunch menu consisting of a potato cream soup and a meat and fresh summer vegetable spaghetti stir-fry. For dessert we had an excellent coconut panna cotta with mango coulis. As it was so good we came back for a full breaksfast: an Israeli formula with scrambled eggs (to die for), hummus, grilled aubergine and Halloumi cheese and a chorizo omelette, fresh squeezed orange juice and great lattes! Totally recommend it!
For an authentic local experience don’t miss “Deja Vu dawniej Retro” in the bohemian Praga district; here we tried the typical pierogi (Polish dumplings), they were home-made and freshly prepared. It has an enchanted atmosphere decorated with vintage furniture. Apparently they only speak Polish but they were very polite and we managed to order! They also serve the lunch formula.
There is a wide selection of tea and coffee bars to choose from that serve excellent teas, coffees, lemonades, shakes, wine, cakes, ice-creams, sandwiches, breakfasts, soups… with a very trendy decor, which I really appreciate. Our favourite one was Shabby Chic in the Old Town: friendly service and excellent drink and food in a romantic unwinding environment. I totally recommend the cakes! We discovered it the first afternoon and liked it so much that came back throughout our stay in Warsaw. Another lovely café is Café Lorentz, next to the Narodowem Museum with a very chic chill out terrace!
When it comes to fast food, apart from the typical Kebabs (had a Turkish one and it was good!), and all the famous fast-food chains, we soon discovered, to our joy, that there are a lot of Vietnamese Pho restaurants with a varied menu of pho and other Vietnamese dishes. They’re self-service and informal, don’t expect a fancy decoration but be ready to a good tasty Pho! We visited and totally loved these two restauarnts: Tòan Pho (we had beef pho and wonton soup, both excellent!) and Bonjour Vietnam, here we tried Bun Cha, a delicious crab soup! I guess pho success in Warsaw might be because of the Polish and Vietnamese shared love of soup. I reckon that Pho restaurants are the best option for a cheap but comforting, utterly delicious and healthier fast food; I wish I had some nearby! By the way, if you enjoy pho, here’s my humble approach to it.
It caught my attention that a local healthy snack are the sunflower seeds, but unlike the processed ones I’m used to, curiously you can buy the whole flower and eat the seeds out of it directly, isn’t it wonderful?
Finally, Warsaw was the right place to increase my mugs and bowls collection, since they produce beautiful ceramics and we even found a wonderful kettle we couldn’t resist to buy, specially considering that ours had just broken a few weeks before!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour and that it might be useful should you visit this amazing city!