I just returned from a trip to Krakow, Poland last week where I was speaking at a software developer conference. I posted details of that experience here. I also posted details about my sightseeing experiences here. This post, however, is dedicated to all the wonderful food that I ate while I was there. The lighting was not great in most of these restaurants, so I will apologize in advance for the quality of these photos.
The food during the 2 conference days was catered and it was all very good, but I didn’t take notes nor take any photos of those particular meals.
The conference organizers took all the speakers out to dinner the evening before the conference started. They took us to a bistro and restaurant called Kogel Mogel which was just a couple of short blocks from the central town square.
We stared with a wonderful sour rye soup (Zurek or zur) with mushrooms. It also had some sausage in it and also some hard boiled egg. I apologize for not getting a photo of it. It was super tasty. Different from anything I’ve ever had before. It’s made with fermented or soured grains. I liked it a lot.
Our main course was a chicken schnitzel with a mushroom sauce and mild peppercorns. A schnitzel is a meat that’s thinned by pounding and is then coated with flour, egg, and bread crumbs and then fried. We also had potato dumplings (kluski slaskie) which were pretty good. Especially when dipped in the mushroom sauce from the chicken.
For dessert we had a creme brulee, which was to die for. A week later, my mouth still waters when I think about it.
The next morning, which was the first morning of the conference, I ate breakfast down in the hotel lobby. I stayed at the Novotel Krakow Centrum hotel, which was just off the Vistula river, across from Wawel Castle. It’s a very nice and modern hotel. The breakfast buffet was quite impressive and it was included in the cost of the room. I didn’t eat too much, though because I don’t eat heavy breakfasts and I didn’t want to be weighed down at the conference.
I should have taken a photo of the entire spread, which was quite impressive. I did get a photo of the meats and also of the cheeses, though.
That evening I found a great little authentic old country restaurant, also within a couple short blocks of the central town square. This family friendly restaurant is called Morskie Oko and it is in the style of an old Highlander’s Inn. While I was eating, live entertainment included singing and dancing Highlanders in full costumes, plus live musicians.
The food was really incredible here. I started with an appetizer of baked prunes wrapped in bacon fat. Now if you like your bacon cooked well done and crispy, this dish is NOT for you. This bacon was very thick … probably hand carved … and it was very moist and greasy. It was so yummy, though. I could barely even taste the prunes through all that bacon fat. Mmmmmmmmmm.
Next I ordered the sauerkraut soup which had sauerkraut and potatoes and also a small rib in it. I love sauerkraut, so this soup was delicious! It’s sour, but it’s a different kind of sour than the fermented rye grain soup I’d had the previous night.
For my main dish, I had the boar loin in red pine mushroom sauce. Oh. My. Gosh. This boar meat was quite tender. Similar to a nice steak. It had a wild taste but not too wild. It was amazing. It had grill marks on it, so it was cooked, at least partially, over an open flame. And the red pine mushroom sauce was really great. It tasted a lot like a red wine sauce, but I’m not sure whether that taste only came from the red pine mushrooms or not, since I’ve never had those before.
The portions were not too big, so I actually had some room left for dessert. So I ordered a walnut ice cream sundae with hot fudge, whipped cream, and roasted hazelnuts. I hadn’t planned on eating the entire thing, but it was so good. I couldn’t help myself!
And here is my breakfast on my second morning in the hotel lobby. Meat, cheese, and a bit of scrambled eggs. The breakfast of champions!
That evening I was tired from the conference, so I just stayed in and ordered room service. This is just an appetizer of shrimp with garlic and chilli, but it was all I needed that evening. It was very yummy. We had snacks all day long at the conference, so I wasn’t exactly starving at dinner time.
I also got this warm soft brownie and ice cream dessert from room service. So warm. So soft. So fudgy. It was delicious.
The next day was Saturday, and the conference organizers took us speakers out for lunch at a nice restaurant called Miod Malina, which again, was only a couple short blocks from the central town square.
This is the Bruschetta, which was very simple and very good.
And I ordered the sour rye soup again, since I loved it so much a couple days earlier. Many restaurants, including Miod Malina, serve it in a bread bowl.
Miod Malina put a lot more meat in this sour rye soup than did Kogel Mogel, but the Kogel Mogel version was more sour (sour being good). Both were very good in their own way.
I finally got to dig into some good old fashioned Polish pierogis, also known as dumplings. The ones I ordered were fried meat pierogis, but the restaurant also bakes them and also has a fruit version and a potato/onion version. These meat pierogis had 3 different meats inside. Some had pulled pork. Some had beef. And some had veal, I think. They were really awesome!
This was not my plate … it was one of the other conference speakers … but I had to take a photo of it. I had seen several people eating these while I was in Poland and it looks really good. It’s veal knuckle, otherwise known as veal shank.
That same evening, I had my dinner at the Wesele Restaurant, which was directly in the town square.
This time I tried the sauerkraut and mushroom fried pierogis and they were so stinking good! I could eat 4 or 5 plates of these things!
I had ribs with plum sauce which was pretty good, although I don’t think plums are really my thing.
And I also ordered fried cabbage as a side dish. I’d never had this before and it was mild, but it was very good. My pee smelled like sauerkraut for the next 2 days, and I think it might have been from this particular dish. Although, I guess it could have been from other dishes I’d had containing sauerkraut.
My last full day in Krakow was Sunday, and I had lots of sightseeing and shopping to do, so I went straight to the central town square and ate breakfast at this little handmade doughnut shop called Krakowskie Paczki, which means Krakow Packages. It’s a popular little shop as there was quite a line of customers.
They also sold waffles. So I got a jelly filled doughnut and a waffle with blackberry jam. The filling in the doughnut was different than anything I’d ever tasted and maybe it’s an acquired taste, but the doughnut itself was spectacular. And the waffle was quite good too. And yes, I had Coke for breakfast. Hey, I was on vacation! 🙂
This entire day went by pretty fast since I was trying to experience the entire central town square and also buy a bunch of souvenirs, so I didn’t actually eat lunch. And when dinner time rolled around, I wasn’t exactly starving either. So I decided to just get an appetizer. I went to a fancy restaurant on the square called Szara.
I had heard a lot about Beef Tartare or Steak Tartare, and I had seen lots of people eating it here in Poland, so I decided to try it. Even though it is raw ground beef and raw egg yolk. It was actually pretty good. I was not a fan of the smoked herring or whatever that fish is on the plate. But when I mixed all the other ingredients together, it was an interesting and nice little treat. Going around the plate, there was raw chopped onion, chopped tuna, I believe, chopped pickes, butter, and the sauce tasted like a mild honey mustard.
I finished my small dinner meal with an ice cream of sorts called Pistachio Semifreddo with caramel and chocolate sauce. It’s very light, like a frozen mousse. A pretty fancy dish.
Well, that about covers all the awesome food I ate while in Poland! Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post detailing the trip in general along with some of my random observations about Krakow, Poland.
Thanks for your interest!