20th March 2019

What I Ate & Drank in Krakow (Vegetarian Recommendations!)

Before heading to Krakow I was nervous that, as a vegetarian, I would struggle to find places to eat. Eastern Europe has a reputation of being very meat heavy and while that is true of traditional Polish cuisine, Krakow is a city aimed at the young (it is a student city after all) and there was a fantastic selection of really great restaurants to eat out at. Even the more traditional Polish restaurants always had at least one vegetarian option and as everyone’s English was perfect, no-one had any problems understanding that I was a vegetarian.

So, here are my vegetarian recommendations based on where we ate and drank in Krakow.

Breakfast

Charlotte – plac Szczepański 2, 31-011

After reading about Charlotte I was happy to see it was on the same street as our apartment, just a short walk away from the main market square. A french, stylish restaurant which I had high hopes for but unfortunately, Charlotte wasn’t the best for breakfast. The menu was small and fairly pricey even by Polish standards. They didn’t have two of the three pastry flavours (I opted for lemon, then raspberry and then got given chocolate) and the food was just okay. David said his omelette was good, but they didn’t really make any effort with the presentation.

I think this place is a lot better at coffee and dessert than breakfast, so would be a perfect spot for an afternoon treat. It is very instagrammable – but I think this place has a bit more style over substance. 

Bistro Bene – Świętego Krzyża 17, 31-023

Bistro Bene is a funky, very Instagramable, health restaurant, serving food all day long. We went for breakfast, served between 8-11:30am. 

This cafe is about a 10-minute walk from the main market square, on a little side street. 

David went for scrambled eggs, which came served with ciabatta and I went for grilled vegetables, hummus and toasted bread. The portions weren’t huge, but it was tasty and the setting was lovely. I also went for an energy ball, made from dates and coconut and it was delicious. Again, it was a bit on the pricer side by Polish standards, but it’s clearly aimed at the millennial market. 

Urban Garden – Rynek Główny 11, 31-042

Urban garden is located just off the main market square and like a lot of buildings around this area, it is tucked away – hidden out of site. Once again, this is another quite instagrammable place, serving food all day long. For breakfast there are different ‘set menus’ you can have based on different countries e.g american breakfast, english breakfast, european breakfast etc. David opted for the european breakfast which came with scrambled egg, smokey sausages and a croissant whereas I just went for the granola and yogurt with fresh fruit.

Everything was very well presented and the service was good so would certainly recommend this place for breakfast.

Lunch and Dinner

Miód Malina – Grodzka 40, 31-001

Miod Malina is a polish restaurant not far from the main square and has a quaint old-fashioned setup. The menu is large, offering traditional polish dishes. David tried the mushroom soup that came in its own bread bowl and I went for perogi with potato, cheese and onion filling (delicious!).

The desserts were really special though; a hot cheesecake (I only ordered to see what it was like – turns out not so bad) which is a Krakow ‘speciality’ and we also tried the raspberry tiramisu which was absolutely divine. They really cared about the presentation of the food here and the price and service were fantastic. A must if you want something traditional in the heart of Krakow!

Sissi – Krupnicza 3, 31-123

We visited here on our first evening and were very impressed by the quality of the ingredients and the price. This place is contemporary bistro in nature, serving a variety of meat dishes but it did have a vegan option. David went for confit of duck which came with spatzle and red cabbage and I had the vegan stew which was hearty and full of flavour. For dessert, we tried the chocolate mousse (so rich) and the apple cake.

The only thing that let this place down was the service, it was an exceptionally quiet night so the staff were just all talking to each other and not really paying us any attention. It was a shame, but the meal was still delicious.

Hamsa – Szeroka 2, 31-053

Hamsa was our favourite restaurant from the whole trip, it was so good we visited twice! Set in Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter, this restaurant is about 20 minutes from the main market square. It is certainly worth the walk though!

Hamsa is a middle eastern restaurant and is fantastic for vegetarians. We ordered a lot; a few starters, a main meal each, a couple of sides and desserts and we weren’t disappointed in anything. To start we tried the falafel (the best we have ever had) as well as the hummus with pine nuts and pomegranate.

For our mains, I went for the sweet potato and sheeps cheese salad, which was so big and came with so many different flavours and textures; grapefruit, pumpkin seeds, pomegranet – ooft it was so good. David had the chicken shish and for sides, we had bulgar wheat with vegetables and some flat breads. We were completely full but we had to squeeze in a dessert so we tried the malabi, a traditional middle-eastern dessert made with rice flour and milk. It was mousse-like in texture and very creamy. It came with a raspberry coulis and pistachios and was light and refreshing, not to heavy and the perfect way to finish of the meal.

Hamsa is a must if you want to have something a bit different in Krakow!

Peroigania Krakowicy – Szewska 23, 33-332

We visited here as I had read the perogi was cheap and filling. Its self service so you order at the counter where they give you a number and then shout it when it is ready to be collected. You can tell everything is made fresh and despite it being very cheap, the quality of the perogi is still good. They do lots of different flavours, some sweet fillings too – so if you are looking for good quality perogi, you can’t go wrong here.

Cafes 

Cafe Lisboa – Dolnych Młynów 3, 31-124

I had heard of Cafe Lisboa from a local, who said that it was like a little slice of Portugal in Krakow. Cafe Lisboa is only 15 minutes from the main market square and is a tiny little cafe serving coffee and portuguse custard tarts. It’s very popular so I would advise going early in the morning to grab yourself a spot. Decorated with dreamy blue and white tiles and playing portuguse music in the background, this is something different to try when in Krakow.

Tribeca Coffee – plac Szczepański 9

We visited Tribeca as a fuel stop after a busy day of site-seeing and it was a lovely little cafe, with a vast array of drinks and the most insane cakes. They are really inventive with their drinks here, I tried the pistachio latte and also a winter-y cocktail that came with lemon, ginger and chilli. Both were delicious. I didn’t get to try any of their cakes (no room after a big lunch!) but I wish I had, the cake display looked seriously impressive.

Bars

Wodka – Mikołajska 5, 31-027

Wodka is a bit of a novelty bar that is mainly where all the tourists go. It has hundreds of different flavoured vodkas and you can sample six for about £7-£8. We let the lady behind the bar choose for us so we had chocolate, salted caramel, raspberry, hazelnut, elderflower and fig – the fig and elderflower were disgusting but the rest were really nice. I could have drunk the chocolate one straight from the bottle!

Movida Cocktail Bar – Mikołajska 9, 31-027

After Wodka, we hopped over the road to Movida Cocktail Bar for a couple of drinks. They had two for the price of one on cocktails and for £4 a cocktail it was an absolute bargain. Plus the cocktails were strong. We were getting quite peckish so we ordered nuts, crisps and popcorn to go with our cocktails – it was a great and cheap night out!

I hope you enjoyed my vegetarian recommendations in Krakow, it’s a city that has got so many great restaurants which cater for all diets. Have you visited Krakow? Did you enjoy it? 

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