Krakow: 14 Great Places to Eat or Drink
September 15, 2018
by Harriet Reynolds
Krakow has a huge selection of cafés, bars and restaurants and it’s generally very affordable to eat and drink out here. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite places (in no particular order):
Bunkier is a bar/café located right on the Planty (that’s the green belt park that runs around the centre of the city). In the summer everything is open so it’s as close as you can get to drinking in the park (which, by the way, is illegal in Poland), and in the winter the whole place is enclosed in a sort of transparent tent to keep it heated. Half the place is designated as smoking and half non-smoking, the two sides being divided by a plastic screen which is more or less effective at keeping the smoke on one side.
Alchemia is quite possibly the most well-known and archetypical bar in the Kazimierz district – with mismatched antique furniture, candlelight, portraits on the wall and so on. There is also a second Alchemia around the corner, “Alchemia od kuchni” (Alchemia from the kitchen), where they have a great restaurant with both Jewish-style and international food. Both are located on Estery street.
Eszeweria is a cosy bar/café in the Kazimierz district, on Józefa street. It’s particularly nice in the summer because it has a great garden around the back. Inside, it can get a little smoky, but the place is made up of a couple of different rooms, with tables and sofa seats in nooks and crannies. If you want to avoid the smoke, stick to the tables in the first room you enter, as this is the non-smoking area and is also much better ventilated.
Mleczarnia is another quirky bar/café in Kazimierz, and can be found on Beera Meiselsa. The highlight about this place is the interior decoration – you can spend hours looking at the old photo portraits hanging on the walls, trying to figure out who these people were and what happened to them.
Akita Ramen is, as the name suggests, a ramen bar, and they certainly know how to make a good one. You can find it on Węgłowa street.
Che bontà is an Italian “salumeria” in Kazimierz, on Brzozowa street, where you can buy a variety of different Italian products. It also happens to be the place where you can get the best pizza in Krakow (in my opinion, at least).
Massolit actually have two locations, Massolit Books and Café is on Felicjanek street, and then Massolit Bakery and Café is on Smoleńsk street. Massolit books stocks new and secondhand English-language books and the café part is cosy and quaint. To the side they have another room, a sort of reading room, with plenty more books and periodicals to browse as well as tables and chairs – the kind of room you can spend hours in if you’re a book-lover. Massolit Bakery, which is just a couple of minutes away from Massolit books, has a much different feel to it, and is not the kind of place you would while away a Sunday afternoon. It is however a great spot for a light lunch – they serve salads, quiches, bagels and a dish of the day – and they have amazing cakes (I particularly recommend the zucchini brownie).
In Polish, “Szafa” means “wardrobe”, which makes sense if you go there. The place is decorated with numerous brightly painted wardrobes which have been converted into seats. It has more of a bar vibe than a café one, but they do make good coffee and have a few cakes on offer as well. Café Szafe can be found on the same street as Massolit Books – Felicjanek street.
Dolnych Młynów used to be a tobacco factory, but has now been converted into a complex of bars and restaurants. There are a huge variety of different places to try here, but certainly top amongst them is Weźże Krafta – a multi-tap bar, which always has a large variety of international beers on offer – and Veganic – a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, which serves veggie-friendly versions of traditional Polish food as well more international dishes (of which the burgers are particularly delicious). There are also plenty of other cafés, bars and restaurants to try within the complex, each one with its own different atmosphere and specialties, so there’s certainly something to please everyone. The complex is situated to the west of the Old Town, about 15 minutes walk from the main square (Rynek).
Close to Dolnych Młynów, is Café Lisboa, a Portuguese-style café. Their speciality is the freshly baked Pastéis de Nata that you can see them baking on-site – little Portuguese pastries with a sort of custard filling – and they have a great deal where you can get a pastéis and an espresso for 8zł (that’s around €1.80).
The food in Dynia is perhaps a little more expensive than elsewhere, but it is good quality. It’s best to go here in summer as they have a nice courtyard garden around the back. The restaurant is located on Krupicza street.
Chimera advertises itself as a salad bar, but don’t let that put you off, they serve plenty of other tasty morsels. For 14zł (just over €3), you can choose 4 freshly prepared mini-dishes from the displayed selection – from soup to chicken drumsticks to, you guessed it, salad. It’s one of the cheapest lunch or dinner options in Krakow and the great thing is that it’s right in the centre, just off the main square, on the street Świętej Anny.
The name of this little fast-food outlet is, in fact, a play on words in Polish, Krowarzywa is made up of the overlapping words “krowa” (cow) and “warzywa” (vegetable) and when you read it in Polish it sounds the same as “krowa żywa”, which means “alive cow”. From the genius name you can probably guess what they serve here – veggie burgers! They have a variety of different patties, bread types and sauces to combine so you can almost always try something new. They’re conveniently located in the Old Town, on Sławkowska street.
Nowa Prowincja is a cosy café/bar in the centre of the Old Town, on Bracka street. They do great a great hot chocolate (the kind that is rich and thick and delicious) as well as mulled wine and beer in the winter, and of course all the regular stuff you would expect from a café or bar.