Following a year and a half never staying in the same place longer than a week, we had six weeks to relax in an apartment our beloved friends were nice enough to lend us while they were in Argentina. So while we were sorting out our Belorussian and Russian visas we compiled some info on where we ate, cafes, shopping and outdoor stores around Warsaw.
For this episode we present to you our top picks for Warsaw By Day.
Although we were on a budget and beer reigned over coffee we did manage to visit a few good cafes.
Juliana Ursyna Niemcewicza 3
Located, funny enough, in the Filtry area this place has the best coffee in Warsaw. Many of Warsaw’s best baristas have at one time or another served up steaming cups of caffeine delights here. We were lucky enough to be staying right around the corner so we were able to enjoy the good service and friendly staff numerous times.
No website available
This was our first stop in Warsaw whilst we waited for the keys to the apartment. There’s good coffee to be had and the chef is amazing at sending out Italian style pizzas from the kitchen. You can also buy many Italian products including imported wines and beer.
Next door you’ll also find Akademicka Cafe which puts on a good coffee and breakfast at a decent price.
Obroty Rzeczy (The Revolution of Things)
Named after the first workings of poet Miron Białoszewski this cafe is located on a quiet street in the Ochota area. It has a chilled atmosphere thanks to the ‘grandma’s lounge’ interior and soothing soundtrack coming from the speakers. The staff are super friendly and you’ll find craft beer here along with nice cake and snacks.
Again due to our budget we didn’t get to too many restaurants and the ones we did were mainly cheap Soviet style canteens. For these you’re best to come armed with at least a few simple food translations which will benefit you greatly, especially if liver and tripe aren’t at the top of your favourite foods.
Bar Mleczny Familijny
Nowy Świat 39
Located on Warsaw’s main shopping street this place is very inexpensive. Order and pay at the cashier, hand your ticket to the kitchen and then hope you can remember how the name of your food sounds so it doesn’t sit on the bench going cold after they call it out several times. Like ours did.
Zabowski Milk Bar
Ząbkowska 2, Praga
Located on the east side of the Wisla River in the Praga district this is another typical Soviet style canteen that only deserves a visit if you’re in the area. This one has a menu in English though it misses out on a few translations.
We stumbled upon this place while looking for a late lunch on the cheap near the Palace of Culture. Set in what feels like the foyer of an office building cheap lasagna and paninis were on the menu and while the wine was a little on the pricey side the setting was a step up. We can imagine this place draws quite the after work crowd. Take the lift downstairs to check out the plush toilets!
Zaścianek – Kuchnia za ścianą
Aleje Jerozolimskie (between Williama Lindleya and Tytusa Chałubińskieg0
This is again a soviet style canteen though it leans more towards vegetarian dishes. You can see everything on offer making selection easy. Just pick want you want, they weight it and you pay, bingo!
As we were staying in Warsaw for six weeks with an apartment we cooked at home quite often as we enjoy it, we know what we’re getting (handy when you can’t always read the menu) and it’s usually cheaper. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
Złote Tarasy mall
This is the largest centrally located supermarket in town and has everything you need. An extensive deli counter has ready made meals, there’s loads of different fresh breads and a huge beer and vodka selection. Oh and plenty of pierogis on offer here.
The Corner Store
There’s one thing Warsaw does really well and that’s the good old fashioned corner store. They’re inexpensive and are located throughout the city and usual stock a variety of fresh produce too. The choice isn’t as varied and sometimes you have to take what you can get though they are convenient and on occasion cheaper than the big supermarket rivals. You should have no problem throwing together a cheap healthy meal from one of these.
Don’t leave without trying…
Considered the national dish these bad boys are a great snack whilst drinking, a hangover cure and just plain tasty. They come either savoury or sweet, fried or boiled. Cheap and easy to cook we overdosed a few times. Try the mushroom with some sour cream, mmm.
Sarah will disagree but Matt ate these morning noon and night, usually in an oil and herb concoction. You can decide for yourself.
Too many varieties to name so do what we did and just point at the juiciest ones on offer. Again great for breakfast, lunch and beer.
Forget Żywiec, Warka and Lech. Poland’s flourishing craft beer scene is the go in Warsaw. Though if you’re at Pijalna Wodki i Piwa €1 Warka is impossible to say no to.
Impossible to avoid you’re going to try it no matter how much you resist. Made from potatoes or grains there are certain ones that added ethanol and other impurities so get the low down from the locals on which ones they like. For us our favourite is the mint flavour from Żołądkowa Gorzka who also do a good herb version and a fig one that’s a little too sweet. Soplica is great, we had it several times in our Gluhwein at the Christmas Markets. Hazelnut is the best. Then of course there’s the world famous Żubrówka which we love straight from the freezer and neat.
TIP: Store your vodka in the freezer. They taste a million times better and slide down with ease!
Shopping in Warsaw
There are a couple of malls in the centre, namely Zlote Tarasy and Galeria Centrum, which have your typical stores such as H&M, shoe shops and the like. Zlote Tarasy is worth a visit just to check out the amazing glass ‘Skylight’ ceiling. Also in every city underpass, metro or railway station you’ll find a multitude of cheap shops for food, clothes and even a bar or too.
The best place in town for all your travelling needs. Our friends are outdoor enthusiasts and this place ticks all the boxes when it comes to techie outdoor gear, clothing, camping equipment, you name it they’ve probably got it.
You won’t find name brands here though the prices are cheap and most likely the quality. They also have ski and snowboard equipment rental and service.
aleja Niepodległości 227/233/4
These guys only stock Mammut products though they are super helpful and the prices are good by European standards. Sarah managed to get a great deal on a new pair of hiking shoes and was even told she could wear them around the house for a few days and bring them back if she wasn’t happy.
Zlote Tarasy mall
Located in the Zlote Tarasy mall this German company has great quality gear and Matt picked up one of their backpacks and water bladder for a reasonable price. They also make a great camera bag though we had already had the inner compartments which fit perfectly into the backpack we purchased.
CSI Foto i Video
Whilst in Warsaw we needed to have our Canon 28 – 300mm lens fixed as Matt slipped on the ice one day jamming the sliding zoom mechanism. These guys are Canon repair and sales specialists and come highly recommended. We also purchased a couple of reasonably priced filters and on our last day in Warsaw our tripod broke. Turns out they stock a high quality Polish brand of tripods, one of which we ended up buying.
Stay tuned for our follow up blogs Warsaw by Night and Warsaw the Sights for more tips on how to spend your time here.
Click on any of the images above to check out our Flickr page for more pics of Poland.
* Special thanks go out to our amazing friends Ola and Robert for putting us up and giving us the chance to explore their wonderful home city!