Escaping the regular tourist restaurants in Polish cities can be a challenge at first. With their English menus and central locations, many of the restaurants that you see can be oriented towards foreigners, but that’s no surprise since it is a country currently enjoying a tourist boom! For this reason, locally frequented venues can be well hidden, and some look more foreign than they are local at first, but delve deep into Gdynia’s bar and restaurant scene and eat with the locals at these popular venues in one of Poland’s popular Baltic seaside ports.
Green Way Wegetarianski Bar Mleczny
Restaurant, Polish, Vegetarian, $$$
The Green Way Wegetarianski Bar Mleczny is a local favourite for all sorts of vegetarian treats including great curries and cheap breakfasts starting from just 3.40 złotych (€.80). It might come as a surprise too, since a seaside city like Gdynia is normally famous for its seafood dishes and Polish people love meat, but this is a popular haunt for the local non-meat eaters. Nearby Gdańsk also has some great vegetarian restaurants, and so this is Gdynia’s contribution to the up-and-coming vegetarian scene.
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Bar Mlecznys (also known as “Milk Bars”) are a Polish institution. They are widely known as the common cheap, easy, and local place to buy good, standard, Polish cuisine in a simple, no frills restaurant. This venue, Bar Mleczny Domowy (The House Milk Bar), makes for a good value option for those wanting to escape the busy streets of central Gdynia. This bar has virtually zero tourists in it and is in the district of Grabowek, slightly northwest of the city centre. It’s very typically Polish, so you might need to bring a dictionary or learn some Polish! It offers a typical range of Polish dishes from 6 złotych (€1.40) and upwards.
One extremely popular local venue with a lot of history in Gdynia is Cyganeria Kawiarnia. Having been open since 1946, this is truly a Gdynian institution where skilled and creative writers, poets and musicians used to come to share ideas back during Communist times. These days, they still do but in a more recently refurbished interior and with less political stigma that was rife in the past. It’s more of a restaurant than a café now and it has great food, an alcohol licence and long opening hours. It still clings to some of its past, too, bearing a traditional interior, with even the original brickwork still visible. Tasty fish dishes and pork knuckle with cold beers and wines ensure this remains a firm locals’ favourite, located in the city centre.
Bar Pomorza GDY 50 is your splendid seafood option on this list and a bit of a local gem. Despite being a restaurant on a boat anchored in the prestigious location of Gdynia harbour, on one of the most expensive coastal parts of Poland, this place manages to be great value and a local favourite! On the menu, try the trademark fish and chips with an almost mandatory shot of vodka. The restaurant also sticks to tradition, as meals are still served on paper plates with plastic cutlery.
Bar Mleczny Słoneczny (literally “Sunny Milk Bar”) is probably the most popular local restaurant in Gdynia, being another one of the famous Polish Milk Bars. The venue has been serving up great pierogi (Polish dumplings), nalesniki (Polish pancakes) and a range of Zupa (Polish soups) since 1959. Drink-wise, try the famous Kompot (standard fruit juice in these parts).
Bliżej is a modern European style restaurant in the city centre of Gdynia, situated on the famous Plac Kaszubski (Kashubian Square), one of the main attractions in the city. In here, you can expect a really tasty menu, while still enjoying low prices. From gourmet burgers to healthy salads to burritos and a fresh choice of desserts, the place is popular all year round. There is also a good bar menu, and cocktails are a good evening option when dining here.
Gdynia has an eclectic mix of cafés, bars, pubs and restaurants, and locals know the secret spots in each niche. If you are planning to sample some of the best sweet treats in Gdynia, Delicje is the place to be. This is a speciality café in central Gdynia, which is independently run and owes its red carpeted and golden sparkly interior to a bygone era. It has traditional Polish cakes called Makowiec, great coffee, an unusual range of ice creams and plenty of space over two floors.