Warsaw is nicknamed 'The City of the Phoenix', due to its ability to rise from the ashes after being nearly completely destroyed during the Second World War. The city's Old Town was beautifully reconstructed as part of the large scale rebuilding project and is today recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to some of the capital's best cafes, restaurants and bars, making it ideal for those wanting to taste both local and international cuisine.
Fukier – Warsaw's oldest restaurant
Fukier certainly doesn't fall under the 'budget' category, unless you happen to be amongst the ranks of some of its famous diners. Past guests of this upmarket restaurant include Margaret Thatcher, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell to name but a few. First established in the 16th century, Fukier is recognised as the city's oldest restaurant and its lavish interior would certainly appease old-style aristocrats.
The menu boasts a range of classic Polish cuisine, including veal dumplings, smoked eel and breaded pork cutlet served with cabbage.
Fukier serves both lunch and dinner and is particularly alluring in the evening, as the candlelit dining room comes to life with chatter, delicious food and an extensive wine list. Its Old Town location and popularity with locals mean you're best advised to make a reservation in order to avoid disappointment.
Just a stone's throw from the Old Market Square lies Podwale 25, a much loved establishment located within one of the Old Town's historic buildings. With ample outdoor seating during the warmer months, as well as a range of home brewed beers on top, there's not much to dislike about Podwale 25.
The interior is modelled after the classic Bavarian beer halls, complete with long tables, live music and hearty food. Expect a mix of wiener schnitzels, pork ribs, grilled meats and potato salads – all washed down with a pint or two of local lager.
Guests at the Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, Warsaw on the look-out for a light lunch or dinner featuring local and Italian dishes should take a short stroll along to Pierrogeria.
This charming eatery is low on cost but high on quirky décor and outstanding food. Small lamps provide the centrepiece of each table, whilst the walls feature old street lights, plants and hand painted designs. The menu features the best of Polish and Italian cuisine, including an extensive choice of pierogi (dumplings) filled with anything from camembert cheese to sour cabbage, pepperoni sausage, salmon or ricotta.
Pierrogeria is fast becoming the Old Town's worst kept secret, so booking in advance may be your best option, particularly during the evenings.
Trattoria Bellini is another great option if you're keen to stick with the Italian theme. As well as dishing up some of the best pizzas in town, Trattoria Bellini also offers one of the most atmospheric dining settings in the Old Town. An old winding staircase leads down to the vaulted dining area, complete with brick walls, candles and old wine barrels. The intimate tables for two make it ideal for a romantic evening, whilst the long wooden tables lend themselves well to larger groups seeking an Italian feast. The menu boasts pizzas, pasta, seafood and a delicious Panna Cotta dessert.
Located in the heart of the Old Town Plaza, this Italian establishment is the ideal spot in which to relax and re-fuel after a long day of sightseeing.
Polka Magda Gessler
Polka Magda Gessler has become a big hit with local residents and tourists, partly due to its splendid interior. Wooden floors and furniture adorn the dining area, with flowery designs winding their way up the walls and onto the curved ceiling. Large windows ensure it retains a light, uplifting feel, which more than matches the superb food on offer.
As well as traditional Polish dumplings you can enjoy black pudding served with apple and mustard mousse, pork chop coated in breadcrumbs and trout seasoned with roasted almonds and garlic butter. A kids menu is also available, whilst the impressive cocktail list may well entice you to stay for a while…
Senator serves a terrific blend of traditional local, European and Oriental dishes in formal yet relaxed surroundings. They specialist in local dishes so prepare to tuck into roasted pork knuckle accompanied by grated cabbage, baked potatoes and horseradish. Seafood lovers may wish to sample herring with stewed onion and red sauce, whilst the Pierogi dumplings stuffed with cabbage, wild mushrooms and meat are a local favourite.