The Best Restaurants in Kraków

If the only Polish foods that come to mind are kielbasa and pierogi, you probably already have a pretty positive attitude for exploring the cuisine of Kraków. From the simple pretzel bought on the street, to the exquisite dessert at one of the medieval city’s fine-dining restaurants, to a robust lunch eaten in a communist-era milkbar, you will find much to love in the food here.

Szeroka 18, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
Alongside the revival of Jewish culture that has taken place in Krakow in the last two decades, the number of restaurants serving traditional Jewish cuisine has grown. Several places fight for business in Ulica Szeroka, near the Old Synagogue. The majority of dishes will be familiar to those with European Jewish ancestry, and despite a heavy dose of kitsch, restaurants such as Ariel (pictured here) and Klezmer Hois do a reasonable job in promoting nostalgia for traditional Jewish cuisine. For kosher dining, the Hotel Eden in Kazimierz imports certified kosher meals from London and is Poland’s only fully kosher hotel.
1 Czysta
During the communist era, milk bars could be found in every Polish city. These were canteen-style restaurants where workers could come and eat decent, inexpensive portions of simple food in a no-nonsense setting. Despite their popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, most of the milk bars died away as the Polish restaurant scene was rapidly modernized; however, the few that survived are now increasingly treasured as an important part of Poland’s cultural heritage. U Stasi is well-known for its friendly service (something that milk bars traditionally lacked) while Bar Mleczny Górnik (Miners’ Bar) is basic to the core in all ways except the food, which is consistently good and outrageously cheap.
plac Kossaka 1, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
A short walk away from the center of the Old Town is the four-star Hotel Kossak; its rooftop Cafe Oranżeria has a fabulous panoramic view over the Wawel royal complex, the Vistula river, and the Old Town. It’s easy to spend an evening in the Oranżeria and barely notice the food, so spectacular is the view. Fortunately the quality of the cuisine is also first-class and it is rightly considered one of Krakow’s best restaurants.
21 Józefa
In the last two decades the shops along the narrow alleys and cobbled streets of Kazimierz have attracted a variety of artists who have set up their businesses here as the neighbouhood has become Krakow’s bohemian quarter. Visitors can now spend several hours happily browsing the shops along Ulica Jozefa. Cheder Café offers Middle Eastern snacks and is decorated in a contemporary style that is unmistakably Jewish in character and feels like a relaxed library.
1/10 Lwowska
Owned by a Chinese chef who spent time cooking for French celebrities in Paris, Chez Nicholas is a small restaurant with big flavor. Here, Chef Nicholas serves five-star French cuisine to a smattering of tables (always make a reservation to avoid disappointment). For the best possible meal, don’t choose your own dishes—just order the five-course prix fixe, which comes in “simple” or “deluxe” versions with or without wine pairings, and let Chef Nicholas take it from there. Once a month, he does a Chinese weekend, with gourmet dishes from different regions of his home country. No matter when you stop in, however, expect exquisite food accompanied by the elegant sounds of French music and opera (the chef’s favorite).
Flisacka 3, 30-114 Kraków, Poland
Eataway is so much more than just dinner. Started in Kraków but quickly spreading to other cities, countries, and even continents, the creative concept involves local people cooking for guests in their homes. Interested parties simply book and pay in advance via the Eataway website, then receive directions to their dinner with their confirmation email. Meals vary greatly, so it’s up to you to browse the options and choose one that suits your needs, whether that’s pierogi the way your grandmother used to make them, or a sophisticated feast made by an aspiring chef in their own kitchen. Offerings also go beyond Polish food, as Eataway’s network of cooks includes expats like Mira from Korea and Sheuli from India, who prepare their national specialties extremely well. Besides the fact that the food is always delicious and authentic, it’s very reasonably priced—you can typically enjoy a three-course meal for around 50 to 130 Polish zlotys. Above all, you’ll meet interesting people and get a glimpse of real, local life. Eataway’s creator, Marta, remains at the heart of the community, serving “happy meals” from her home in Kraków.
4B plac Nowy
After a night of barhopping, it’s only natural to develop an appetite. Visit Plac Nowy in Kazimierz for zapiekanki, a Polish pizza-style snack of baked bread with a topping of tomato sauce, cheese, ham, and garlic sauce. There are a few stalls in Plac Nowy serving zapiekanki late into the night, but only Endzior has a constant line of loyal customers. Another Krakow institution is the sausage stand outside Plac Targowy where men in white coats serve an eager line of customers with delicious sausages smoked over their wood-burning stove and delivered in a bread roll with mustard. This makeshift stall has been on this spot every day between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. for longer than most of their customers care to remember.
Świętego Marka 16, 31-018 Kraków, Poland
As its fish-and-sack-of-flour logo suggests, Farina serves fresh seafood and homemade pasta, prepared with seasonal ingredients to the very highest standards. In addition to Mediterranean fare, chef Monika Turasiewicz also offers a small selection of traditional Polish dishes—her pierogi ruskie are among the best in town—and a special seafood menu Thursday through Sunday. No matter what you order, your meal will start with the restaurant’s signature appetizer of truffle-and-mushroom pâté, served with scrumptious little rolls that are baked in-house. Farina also has a solid selection of wines, plus a sommelier to recommend the ideal pairing.
Sienna 12, 31-041 Kraków, Poland
A five-minute walk from the main market square and you’re at Kogel Mogel, a cozy, velvet-curtained spot for traditional Polish cuisine. On the cheeky menu, printed to look like a Communist newspaper, watch out for the pierogies and the house specialty: goose marinated in red wine and served with plums.
5 Szczepańska
The Summer Restaurant in the Hotel Stary offers top quality food with a bird’s eye view over the market square (just be sure to ask for a table with an OId Town view).
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