Have you ever tried Polish food? Pierogi, kielbasa, żurek…there are so many great dishes to learn about on a food tour in Krakow. But what are those dishes? I knew a few of them from my earlier visit to Poland, and others were new. Since my first year backpacking, I’ve loved eastern European foods. One thing was for sure, everything we tried on the tour was fantastic.
Obwarzanek Krakowski and Oscypek at Bonobo
That’s a mouthful, and not of food. First, I should probably mention that Polish is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn. But you don’t need to be able to stay something in order to enjoy eating it.
My food tour of Krakow with Urban Adventures began at Bonobo Restaurant on Mały Rynek (Little Market Square). It’s a hidden gem that would be hard to find outside the food tour. The small room didn’t have a lot of seats, but there was a band stage in the corner, and I could tell that by evening it would convert into an awesome, cozy music venue. Our tour guide Monika ordered our first two courses, obwarzanek krakowski and oscypek, as well as a couple local beers to sample.
Obwarzanek krakowski is a bagel-like pastry which originated in Krakow. They’re usually covered in poppy or sesame seeds and can be found for as little as $0.25 on the street corners. They make a great snack or breakfast and paired well with the beer that we were served.
Oscypek was far more unusual. Everyone thought they were small pastries when they arrived, with their golden color and diamond pattern on top. Nope. It was cheese! This smoked, salty sheep cheese originates only from the Tetra mountains outside Krakow. Oscypek is usually served warm and is a common staple in festival stalls, although they only have a shelf life of a couple days. Despite how salty they were, I had a hard time leaving them on the platter for the other tour participants to enjoy.
The two beers we sampled were called Czarny Kot (black cat) and Rudy Kot (red cat) from Browar Czarny Kot (Red Cat Brewery). I’m not the biggest fan of beer, but I had my own samples. The flavors were unique and not that bad. Beyond that, I’d have a hard time depicting their flavors.
Żurek, Zupa Pomidorowa and Zupa Buraczkowa at Polskie Smaki Restauracja
No food tour in Krakow would be complete without sampling the plethora of soups that are a staple of Polish cuisine. Zupa Pomidorowa and Zupa Buraczkowa are just Polish for tomato soup (served with pasta or rice) and beetroot soup. Żurek is the traditional Polish soured rye soup. That might not sound like the most inviting flavor, and I suppose you could consider it an acquired taste, but it turned out to be my favorite.
We were served samples of all three soups and then got to choose which one we liked the most. We were then given a full bowl of our favorite. I devoured every drop and sat wishing for more, but more food was on the way.
Pierogi at At Dorota’s
Ah, pierogi! That wonderfully delicious Polish food that’s not really a dumpling (at least that’s what the locals tell you). My first experience in Krakow back in 2015 (well, second after the epic thunderstorm) was stumbling into the bi-annual pierogi festival in Mały Rynek and trying more flavors than I would have ever thought existed. Then in my trip this year, I got to learn how to cook homemade pierogi, also with Urban Adventures.
At Dorota’s is a restaurant just outside of the old town which really focuses on authentic, local cuisine. They’re also much cheaper than nearly anything else you’ll find in the city center. At lunchtime, you can get a full meal with a soup, main dish and compote for about $4.
Monika ordered five different types of pierogi for us, plus Placki kartoflane (potato pancakes) and kompot (a European, non-alcoholic drink made with stewed fruit). The first three pierogi were savory. One was “Russian” with potatoes, cheese and onions; the same we had in the homemade pierogi class. Another was mushroom, while the third was meat-based (I don’t remember which meat). We had several plates for the dozen members of the tour, and there were plenty left by the time the second course arrived. Blueberry and strawberry pierogi were brought next. With their light cream sauce, they were heavenly. I couldn’t get enough, at least so I thought until my distended stomach refused to let me take another bite.
Dessert and Drinks at Ogródek Na Dachu Kazimierza
Ogródek Na Dachu Kazimierza means Garden on the Roof of Kazimierz. The rooftop was closed, but the cute downstairs bar was open. We each received orzechowiec (walnut cake) and a glass of zubrowka (bison vodka). Monika pointed out that Polish don’t drink as much vodka as people believe, although other Polish contested this when I relayed the fact. The zubrowka was quite nice, and the orzechowiec was downright yummy! We all sat around chatting while as the barmaid cleaned up for the night.
By the time we all made our ways back to our respective accommodations, we were fully satiated. My plan to get some writing done at the hotel was shattered as I quickly slipped into a food coma.
Booking a Food Tour in Krakow with Urban Adventures
- Meeting Location: Mały Rynek 4
- Meeting Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Price: Adults – €73 ($85)
- Phone: (+48) 693 648 528
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: Krakow Urban Adventures
- What to bring: Comfortable walking shoes and a big appetite.
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- Click here to read about my first adventure in Krakow back in 2015.
- A Humbling Day in Auschwitz
- Taking a Homemade Pierogi Class with Krakow Urban Adventures
- 10 Cool Things I Learned About the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow
- Exploring Krakow by Bike with the Cruising Krakow Bike Tour
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.
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