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Seriously: The Best Places to Eat in Poland Right Now

...More Where to Dine and Stay in Warsaw

 
 

❖ Lunch at Brovarnia in the Hotel Gdańsk

Szafarnia 9, 80-755
Gdańsk, Poland

☎+48 58 320 19 70
Website

 

After a longish walk past the shipping canal, a small respite was in order and we stumbled upon the Brovarnia and just like Gdańsk, it was secret gem that exceeded expectations. The five-course lunch was a mesh of local delights that excited the palate:

 

  • Veal Loin Carpaccio with arugula and truffle olive
  • Young spinach salad with goat cheese, beetroots, pine nuts with lemon-nut vinaigrette
  • Wild mushroom consommé with truffle dumplings
  • Beef cheeks confit with roasted vegetables, potato dumplings and red wine sauce
  • Apple Crumble with Baileys sauce and ice cream

After lunch, we immediately proceeded to The European Solidarity Centre for one of the best museum experiences anywhere. In 1980, the American news media caught wind of Solidarity, a Polish labor union led by the charismatic Lech Walesa. Every night, the national news would show this David standing up to the Goliath of communism.

Who would have guessed that this union would be instrumental in the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, and the primary catalyst that would transform Poland from a repressive communist satellite to the EU member democracy it is today?

Our visit to the Solidarity museum reminded us of the daily anti-commie rhetoric, which fueled our nuclear fears and dislike (hate) of the Soviet Union. The museum's 'Roads to Freedom' exhibit is centered in the Gdansk shipyards where Walesa rose to lead the shipyard workers. Inside, elaborate dioramas and props recreate the bare cupboards and empty shop shelves with only lard and vinegar of Poland in the ‘80s. Slideshows and crackling film-reels tell the stories of the political uprisings and the nightmare of martial law.

The famous 21 demands of the August 1980 shipyard strike, handwritten on plywood boards and honored by UNESCO's World Heritage List, are also on display along with letters of support from all over the world.

 


 

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❖ Winne Grono Restaurant

ul. Mikołaja Kopernika 17a
80-280 Gdańsk

☎+48 60 221 88 17
Website

Before catching the train back to Warsaw, dinner was slated for the Winne Grono Restaurant and it seemed to take forever to get there. More than once we thought about getting by on the first class train meal that awaited. Boy, are we glad we didn’t skip this restaurant.

If you want to know why the Polish food scene is as good as it is today, come here. The modest restaurant tucked into a residential area was a gastronomic delight. The smoked duck breast with celery salad, walnut, Roquefort cheese, red beets, and apple sorbet is easily the best duck we had in Europe. If you want a vegetarian option, there’s nothing better than the fried goat cheese with pear in red wine, marinated pumpkin, rocket and sunflower pesto.

 


 

Kozłówka / Lublin / Kazimierz

 

The search for cuisine continued with easily the most intriguing and emotional day of the trip, starting with a two hour forty-five drive to Kozłówka. Here, you will find picturesque Zamoyski Palace, the only remaining authentic Polish aristocratic residence in the region. In a miracle of fate, the palace was not destroyed in World War II. Time has stood still at the palace since Count Konstanty Zamoyski had it rebuilt and redeveloped at the turn of the 19th century. Not only did he order numerous copies of the finest paintings and original works of art, but also equipped the place with modern bathroom, waterworks and sewage system. Opt for the private tour and request Magdalena as your private docent.

Traveling further southeast to Lublin marked another day of remembrance to those we, as a people, let perish through racism, ignorance, and indifference. Majdanek was a concentration and forced labor camp that evolved into a death camp. It was located in a suburb just three miles from Lublin in Poland in the center of the General Government area.

Majdanek opened in September 1941, initially for Soviet prisoners of war, and was liberated by the Soviet Army in July 1944. During this time approximately 360,000 victims died or were murdered, 120,000 of them Jews.

The inmates of comprised people of 54 nationalities from 28 different countries. They included Soviet prisoners of war and Jews from Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Belgium and Greece. In addition, many non-Jews from Belorussia, the Ukraine and across Poland were taken to the camp as political prisoners or slave laborers.

 


 

❖Ego Restaurant at Hotel Alter

ul. Grodzka 30,
20-112 Lublin, Poland

+48 601 902 800
Website

With Majdanek draining us of all available energy, the Ego was just the remedy to recharge. The brilliance of Chef Karol Zając lights the way through a rediscovery of the long hidden secrets of polish cuisine merged with flavors from the far-reaching corners of the world. Nothing can compare to the beef tartar with anchovy-sephia emulsion and pickled boletuses. As a matter of fact, the pumpkin ravioli with burnt butter foam is worth the 11-hour flight and three-hour drive alone. The wine was so good that each of us packed two bottles of wine and brought them back in our suitcases.

After Lublin, we zipped over to Kazimierz Dolny for a night tour. It is one of the highlights of anything in the general vicinity of Warsaw as one of the most beautifully located little Renaissance towns in Poland. Its greatest prosperity dates back hundred of years and has become a popular holiday destination, attracting artists and summer residents. The tour featured visit to their iconic 16th century Parish Church, the ruins of medieval castle and tower, and Old Town filled with studios and local artisans. The highlight of the trip was the torch lit hike in the driving rain through the Jewish cemetery followed by local liqueur tasting—a tour of a lifetime.

 


 

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❖Zielona Tawerna

Nadwiślańska 4,
24-120 Kazimierz Dolny, Poland

☎+48 81 881 03 08

We had heard the buzz around Zielona Tawerna and were curious about trying it. Now we cannot stop thinking about going back. It’s simply that good; some of the best Polish flavors you will find in town. The moment you enter the old house, with a garden, the scent of herb—sage, mint, rosemary, and lavender—engulf your senses. Since it was the forest mushroom season, our hostess recommended the chanterelle soup, fried cabbage, and Ruskie pierogi (dumplings with cottage cheese and potatoes) and it was if your aunt from the old country spent all day cooking in her own kitchen. A wonderful meal before our long trek back to the hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

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