A Vegan’s Guide to Poland
The Polish cuisine doesn’t naturally lend itself to a plant-based diet. Most dishes consist of meat, cream and potato, in one form or another. Not ideal for a Vegan. Yet you can’t let your diet get in the way of trying the local food. After all, food is culture. And Polish food is delicious.
Callum Hill recently travelled through Poland, from the Tatras to the Baltic, where he unearthed the best Vegan restaurants in popular destinations like Wroclaw, Warsaw, Gdansk and Kraków.
In this article Callum shares his top tips where you can discover places to try Poland’s famous pierogi, a plant-based schabowy and Warsaw’s best burger restaurant.
Best Vegan Chain Restaurants in Poland
Personally, I am a lover of independent restaurants but there are three Vegan chains that definitely need a visit:
Krowarzywa, a wholly vegan chain, has twice been voted Warsaw’s Best Burger, trumping all meat-based burgers the city has to offer. This accolade speaks for itself, all that is left is for you to try it. There are franchises across Poland including Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk, in total they have 14 restaurants in 10 cities. Beyond the scrumptious tasting burgers, the restaurants are really convenient. You can customise the burgers, they are made quickly and they only cost 20zl-30zl (£4-£6).
Mihiderka, another vegan chain, has franchises across Poland, including in Krakow and Wroclaw. With a diverse menu including curry, burgers and health bowls, you have a broader choice than Krowarzywa. The service is great, the portions are most generous, and it is very affordable at roughly 20zl (£4) for a main. They make fresh smoothies and some of the most incredible burger sauces, which you can cherry-pick from for your meal. But what really takes the pudding is the freshly made cheesecake one can devour for dessert. The main portions might be big but everyone has a dessert stomach, right?
Urban Food Tel Aviv
Potentially my favourite restaurant in Poland, Urban Food Tel Aviv is to die for. Based in Warsaw and Lodz, this vegan chain set up by Malka Kafka menu focuses mainly on delicious hummus and falafel dishes, but they also have the classic burgers and buddha bowls to please all. As a restaurant they place a huge emphasis on sustainability, as pioneered by Kafka, and they are currently aiming to cut down on plastic use. They offer vegan wines and icily refreshing juices to accompany their excellent food. But, perhaps the best part about Urban Food Tel Aviv is that, according to their website, they consume 1200KG of hummus a month. That’s an impressive haul.
Top Rated Independent Vegan Restaurants in Poland
You will be able to find great independent restaurants all over Poland and these are three of the best:
The Root – Wroclaw
I have eaten sushi in Japan at the first conveyor belt sushi restaurant, so I feel that gives me an understanding of good sushi. The Root is definitely good sushi. Wholly Vegan and made right in front of you, you can get 8 pieces for only 15zl (£3), which is a steal for the quality and quantity of food. However, the restaurant itself is very small with only 4 wooden stalls to sit on, so be prepared to get a takeaway. It is merely a 5-minute walk from the Old Town Square. Thus, it is the perfect takeaway to enjoy whilst people-watching in the city centre – undoubtedly the best part of travelling.
Vege Miasto – Warsaw
I spent 4 nights in Warsaw, and I am not at all ashamed to say I ate here every day. The food ranges from Pierogi to Pasta to Pakora, although in all honesty I’d steer clear of the Pakora. All the foods, both the traditional Polish foods and the more international options, are made fresh daily. The Cudoki, essentially stuffed potato, is quite sublime and the cakes on offer provide a mouth-watering option for dessert. Located not more than 10 minutes from the Old Town, Vege Miasto provides a perfect, cheap alternative to the distinctively carnivorous menus on offer there.
Avocado Vegan Bistro – Gdansk
Shock, an avocado restaurant for vegans. It would have been wrong to not include one really. Yet, despite the name, Avocado Vegan Bistro has so much more to it than just avocados. With a comprehensive menu there is something for everyone. Personally, I could not look past their fantastic Buddha Bowls which I would wholeheartedly recommend. It is such a popular restaurant it has now expanded into next door, where you can now find its sister store – Avocado Vegan Spot.
Tasty Traditional Vegan Food in Poland
There are various places across Poland where you can try the traditional food in a vegan-friendly way, but here are two places I would particularly recommend:
Vegan Lokal Bistro – Warsaw
Schabowy is originally a breaded pork cutlet, very similar to a schnitzel that you may eat in Austria. At the Vegan Lokal Bistro, for merely 20zl (£4), you can try a delicious vegan adaptation. It comes with the usual potatoes and vegetables but it’s a breaded meat-substitute, as opposed to pork. It is absolutely worth the visit to try this quintessential Polish dish. Furthermore, you can also try Zapiekanka – the impressive looking open top sandwich.
Pierogarnia – Gdansk
Save the best until last. Nothing screams Poland more than the famous dumplings, Pierogi. So, where better to try them than at a restaurant that just serves Pierogi. It is not a vegan restaurant; however, they do have an array of vegan options that are quite divine. If I was to suggest eating one type of food in Poland, it would be Pierogi, and the best I tried was unequivocally in Pierogarnia.
There you have it. The crème de la crème of Vegan restaurants across Poland. There is a surprising number of top-quality outlets that cater to veganism. Although this is perhaps unsurprising when one considers that Happy Cow rated Warsaw the 6th best city in the world for Vegans.
So fear not, on your trip to Poland you certainly won’t be spoilt for choice. Bon Appétit.
If you have any recommendations for vegan restaurants or places to eat in Poland let me know in the comments section below.
By Callum Hill