Pierogi, pork, and pancakes: Explore famous Polish cuisine in Warsaw

A short trip to the Polish capital will immerse you in some of Poland’s finest and best-known dishes – with fine dining and street food options aplenty.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 11.04.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 11.04.2024) Reading time: 7 minutes

If you’re searching for tasty, new cuisine just a few hours from Prague, look no further than neighboring Poland’s capital, Warsaw. Abrim with tasty traditional Polish cuisine and kind on the wallet, Warsaw offers a wide variety of dishes that will undoubtedly leave a good taste in your mouth – some of which you may never have heard of!

Warsaw has hundreds of restaurants serving up both local cuisine and international offerings. A stroll in the center, or śródmieście, takes you to some of the capital’s finest (and tastiest) establishments. 


The English translation of this central restaurant is moth: fitting, because this 24-hour eatery is always alight. Part of the country’s well-known Mateusz Gessler (a Polish cook) culinary chain, you’ll find Poland’s most famous and beloved dishes at affordable prices.

To warm up your taste buds, a bowl of żurek – a Polish soup with soured rye flour and meat (often boiled pork sausage) – will introduce you to typical Polish cuisine, setting you back just PLN 29 (CZK 170).

A portion of Poland’s famous dumplings (pierogi), filled with a combination of meat and cabbage or goat cheese, costs PLN 25-30 (CZK 147-176). The ambient restaurant also serves a generous plate of bigos – a special Polish dish that contains chopped meat with sauerkraut, shredded fresh cabbage, and spices – at just PLN 30.

If you fancy starting your day in Warsaw with a Ćma breakfast, a portion of gzik (costing about CZK 100) will introduce you to Greater (west) Poland cuisine. This dip consists of cottage cheese, radish, chives, and sour cream, combined well with bread or potatoes.

Kieliszki na Próżnej

This 2023 Michelin Guide-featured establishment, based less than 10 minutes on foot from Warsaw’s iconic Palace of Culture and Sciences, offers a convenient blend of Polish cuisine and wine (its name literally translates to Glasses on Próżnej Street). A standout starter is rosół, a centuries-old traditional Polish soup based primarily on meat broth, often with chicken inside.

You can enjoy this restaurant's refined and flavorful offerings without breaking the bank: the lunch menu, featuring an appetizer and dish of the day, is priced at just PLN 45 (approximately CZK 250).

Tatar wołowy (beef tartare), a dish found on dinner tables across the whole country, also features at this classy establishment. Rabbit dumplings, although sounding eyebrow-raising, may also pique your interest.

Kieliszki na Próżnej also offers unique, Polish-grown cheeses such as Bursztyn and Górski Sudecki, and serves up Polish wines such as Winnica Modła Wrestling.


  • 1.Pierogi: Dumplings filled with various ingredients like potatoes, cheese, or meat.
  • 2.Bigos: Hearty "hunter's stew" with sauerkraut, meats, and spices.
  • 3.Żurek: Sour rye soup often served with sausage and eggs.
  • 4.Gołąbki: Cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice.
  • 5.Kotlet Schabowy: Breaded pork cutlet served with mashed potatoes.
  • 6.Rosół: Traditional Polish chicken soup made with clear broth, and vegetables
  • 7.Oscypek: Smoked sheep's milk cheese, often grilled.
  • 8.Kielbasa: Traditional Polish sausage made from pork or beef.
  • 9.Placki ziemniaczane: Potato pancakes served with various toppings.
  • 10.Makowiec: Poppy seed roll filled with honey and nuts.

Elixir – House of Vodka (Dom Wódki)

Despite its name, this central restaurant offers traditional Polish dishes along with alcohol in its special foodpairing offering that allows you to taste the best of Polish food and drink – complete with suggested pairing recommendations. Its place on the Michelin Guide 2023 makes a visit to this unique venue even more worthwhile.

Jellied pigs’ feet (galaretka z nόżek) and herring salad (szuba) – two popular dishes in Poland – are two plates you may want to try for the first time here. The restaurant suggests you pair these starters with Belvedere and Dwór Sieraków, both high-quality, Polish-produced vodkas. One foodpairing will cost you about PLN 70 (CZK 410) – not a bad price to try some of Poland’s most famous food and drink.

Saska Pigwa, a traditional Polish liqueur made from quince fruit, Pravda Citron, a Polish premium vodka with roots dating back to 1743, and Tarninówka Gen. Bema, an old-fashioned Polish berry liqueur, are also all options to help you wash down your Polish dishes and get in the mood.

Stary Dom

This restaurant, located in Warsaw’s southern Mokotów district, has a cozy feel with its expansive wooden interior and offers some of Poland’s best-known dishes.

One of the restaurant’s noteworthy dishes is the popular Kashubian herring, originating in northern Poland’s Kashubian region, which costs under PLN 50 (CZK 293).

Stary Dom, or the Old House, also offers a board of Greater Poland cold meats, allowing you to experiment with smoked liver sausage and steamed Złotnicki bacon (a special type of Polish meat).

Warsaw-style tripe will also undoubtedly be of interest. This thick soup dates back to the 14th century and features thin, cleaned strips of pork tripe in a broth – the regional Warsaw version features meatballs and marrow. During your time in Poland, keep an eye out for mushroom, chicken, and tomato soups, which are served almost everywhere due to their popularity in the country.

Minced cutlet or pork chop (kotlet schabowy), while not a dish originating in Poland, is extremely popular in the country and would feature in the majority of Poles’ top-10 list of most popular main dishes in Poland. You can try this hearty, meat serving at Stary Dom for just PLN 47 (CZK 275).


If you’re strolling through Warsaw’s Old Town and you suddenly feel a pang of hunger – but want to keep expenses to a low – then this hearty (called Guesthouse in English), budget-friendly restaurant is the place to go. 

Aside from serving dumplings in over 10 flavors – including cherry, champignon, and bacon versions – Gościniec also offers potato pancakes (placki ziemniaczane), a popular savory dish in Poland often served with goulash sauce and sour cream. Five large pancakes will cost you just PLN 35 (CZK 205).

This traditional eatery also serves up a classic Polish dish – stuffed cabbage with pork meat (gołąbki z mięsem), one of the country’s most famous main dishes, is also popular in Czechia and other Central European countries.

Homemade lard, Polish-style pork knuckles (golonki), and borscht (barszcz) – all popular dishes in Poland – are also ready to be tasted here.

Koneser Grill

This restaurant’s location – draped in history – makes it a worthy place to dine in.

Koneser Grill is based east of the city in Warsaw’s interestingly named Praga district. Notably, this industrial-looking restaurant lies on the premises of the former Warsaw Vodka Factory.

Covered in redbrick and built in a neo-Gothic style, one of Koneser Grill’s standout dishes is Polish-style black pudding (or blood sausage) called kaszanka, at an affordable PLN 36 (CZK 211). Polish steak also predominates at this meat-based historic restaurant. 


If you have a sweet tooth, or simply want to experiment with Polish deserts, this is the place to be. Słodki…Słony (translating to sweet and salty) offers many traditional Polish desserts.

Arguably the most famous Polish dessert you should acquaint yourself with here is Polish-style apple cake (szarlotka). 

This chic and Instagram-friendly cafe also offers Poland’s version of the poppy-seed roll (makowiec), as well as yeast cakes (ciasta drożdżowe), Kraków cheesecake (sernik Krakowski, which has a sweet cheese and sultana filling), and Polish-style doughnuts (pączki), which are deep-friend, flattened balls tending to be ultra-sweet with several fruit fillings. 

Street food

Just walking through Warsaw’s center will introduce you to an array of typical Polish street food, which tends to be especially kind to the wallet.

A stone’s throw from the Vistula River, head over to Elektrownia Powiśle – a curious-looking site of a now-defunct industrial power plant – for a range of quickly served food options in food halls.

For another atmospheric and bustling place to eat cheaply and quickly, head over to Hala Koszyki, which is a renovated market hall that dates back to the 19th century. 

You’ll also inevitably see several small food stands dotted around central Warsaw on your trip: be sure to try Poland’s most famous street food offering, the zapiekanka – a toasted open-face sandwich topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese, and other toppings.

If you’re a cheese fan, you’ll delight in oscypki. Originating from the southern Polish Tatra Mountains, this small snack consists of smoked cheese made from salted sheep milk, dating back to the 15th century. 

You’ll also likely see simple offerings of sausage (kiełbasa), often served in an open-facing bread roll, forming a Polish-style hot dog. This meat – often grilled – is a firm favorite in Poland, with many street vendors offering it for PLN 15 (CZK 90) or less.

Vegan options

With its diverse range of food options, Warsaw also caters exclusively to vegans and vegetarians, with over 10 plant-based restaurants dotted around the capital. 

Lokal Vegan Bistro is certainly worth checking out: located in the heart of Warsaw, this calm eatery offers a range of favorite Polish dishes, including: cream soup with vegetables (PLN 20/ CZK 117), pork chop (PLN 35/CZK 205), and vegan tartare (PLN 22/CZK 130).

If you’re a burger fan, look no further than the well-known Krowarzywa chain in Warsaw, which offers a wide range of 100-percent plant-based burgers and wraps, featuring seitan steak. It even incorporates Polish cuisine with its potato pancake burger.

This article was written in association with the Polish Tourism Organization. See our partner content policies here.

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