From Indian-themed eateries that ooze cumin and garam masala to authentic Italian pizzas with buffalo mozzarella and all the finesse of the Sicilian kitchen, we range across Poland’s second largest city to find the top budget eats in town. Smacznego…
It’s the dal fries and the bubbling chickpea curries that keep the crowds pouring back to this half sit-in, half hole-in-the-wall on busy Krakowska street. A perfect place to drop in before hitting the bars of Kazimierz, you can expect a medley of flavours from the subcontinent – think crispy onion bhajis and oodles of garam masala, not to mention the ubiquitous mango lassies to finish!
Le Pizzette channels the culinary prowess of Sicily to field a menu of simple, crispy pizza sandwiches. With juicy buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomato passata, the takeaways evoke the fresh tastes of The Boot. The place itself is tight-knit and narrow, tucked into a corner of bustling Kazimierz neighborhood. The best part though? You can expect to pay just 7 zloty (£1.50) for a simple margherita, and then just 2 zloty (40p) for any extra toppings.
U Pani Stasi is nothing short of legendary on the Krakow culinary scene. Made famous by its mastery of the classic Polish pierogi dish, the joint serves up these traditional dumplings from morning until, well, until the kitchen runs out (and that’s typically around midday!). Drop in and try the iconic ruski flavour, which comes packed with cream cheese and potatoes and topped with sautéed onions.
Krowarzywa is one of the many establishments riding the new culinary drive towards vegan and veggie food in Krakow. You can typically find it packed to bursting in the heart of the Old Town area, touting its array of creative meatless patties. Choose from a menu that’s got seitan and tofu, and elect to pack your crusty bun full of extras like vegan bacon and cheese. Oh, and if you’re still hungry post-burger, you can even nibble away at the plates in this quirky little joint…
Mounds of tossed tomato mixes, potato salads, beansprouts and pulses await behind the canteen-style food cases of Chimera; the undisputed king of all the salad bars (and there are quite a few) in Krakow. Payment depends on the size of the plate, with a medium serving of a trio of choices from behind the bar costing just 15 zloty (£3). After that, it’s just a matter of finding a nook in between the blooming ferns and alcoves of the verdant interior space.
One thing’s for sure: Da Silvano certainly isn’t known for its customer service. Patrons can invariably expect to hear the rambunctious shouts of the larger-than-life Italian chef echoing out from the kitchen as they eat. However, if you can overlook the heavy-handed front-of-house, you do get a great choice of bargain (think 15 zloty [£3]) pizzas that are paper thin and topped with uber-fresh tomato sauce.
Warsztat might not look like an out-and-out budget eat, but thanks to its colossal portion sizes, it’s hard to deny there’s plenty of bang for your buck here. Yep, the name of the game is piled-high tagliatelle dishes and penne pasta bakes – perfect if you’ve worked up an appetite flitting between the historic spots of Kazimierz. The venue itself is homey and charming; laden with antiques and old wallpapers that ooze a vintage charm.
Nestled just a couple of blocks north of the Old Town proper, semi-subterranean Calavera Mexican Grill offers all the zesty flavours of the Yucatan. You’ll get wraps packed with grilled meat and crushed avocado, spicy salsa doused over nachos, taste-bud-tingling tacos with a dash of lime and jalapeno – the list goes on. There’s also a food truck run by the folk at Calavera, which can often be found flitting around the Podgorze and Kazimierz neighborhoods.
Although certainly better known as one of Krakow’s top summertime hangouts, Forum Przestrzenie is also a great place for a quick (and low-cost) bite to eat on the far side of the Vistula River. It’s housed in the hulking great shell of a dilapidated Soviet hotel, boasting a menu that’s packed with homemade pizzas and paninis. In the warmer months, be sure to get in early to nab a deck chair on the gravel out front.
No trip to Krakow could possibly be complete without at least a sampling of one of the town’s most iconic culinary exports: the zapiekanki. Essentially a long pizza bread cooked on a halved baguette, the dish comes with a whole host of possible toppings, from Greek feta cheese to wild mushrooms and charred onions. Locals consider it the perfect drinking base, which is why this famous joint is so well placed between the buzzing bars of Kazimierz district. Expect a queue.