Białowieża is a quaint and typical Polish rural village located just two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Belarusian border. The appeal here is that it acts as the gateway to the remote Białowieża National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and Europe’s last primeval forest. Due to the sheer number of visitors, the village enjoys a tourist boom year-round, resulting in truly fine and exquisite restaurants to dine out in. This mix of regional, national and global food venues should satisfy all gastronomic preferences on your visit.
The oldest surviving restaurant in little Białowieża is Stoczek 1929. Of course the venue itself has been renovated and refurbished through the years, but one constant remains: superb food, a welcoming staff and a warm atmosphere. Taking its inspiration from both Polish and Belarusian recipes, the chefs serve up a fine mix of treats to satisfy customers. The beer menu also has a wide variety with Lithuanian, Belarusian, Russian and Polish beers, all available in light, dark and wheat options.
Bar Lesna Dzupla is a delightful little bar and restaurant with a green exterior, a rustic interior and a classic beer garden at the rear. Seating is limited during peak hours, but food and drink is served all day. On the drinks menu, try one of the local beers (Zubr or Prazubr), a soft drink or a tea or coffee. The food menu contains lots of freshly made Polish and Belarusian style dishes, including pierogi Ruskie (dumplings with cottage cheese, potato and onion), kotlet schabowy (pork chop) and plenty of soups. Bar Lesna Dzupla is located on Generała Aleksandra Waszkiewicza, just a few minutes walk from the Białowieża National Park visitor centre entrance.
Restauracja Parkowa is a stylish and modern venue set in the Białowieża National Park visitor centre and is part of a complex that contains a shop, hotel, museum and visitor information centre. The well-stocked bar contains over 20 varieties of crafted beers from Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. The food menu has something for everyone, from children’s meals to soups, salads and starters. The main courses include steaks, pork cutlets and Polish venison, all served with fresh vegetables. For a traditional Polish dish, try the pierogi (dumplings), the bigos (Hunter’s stew) or the barszcz (beetroot soup). There is also a superb ice cream menu featuring the famous Menorquina ice creams. Restauracja Parkowa is also one of the rare places in town to have fast WiFi and televised sports.
Gospoda Pod Żubrem means ‘inn in front of the bison’ and is so called as it sits right in front of the main tourist entrance to Białowieża National Park. In the summer months, there is indoor and outdoor seating. In the winter, it’s too cold for the front garden to be used, but the business continues inside. The fridges are stacked with Polish, Belarusian and Lithuanian beers with a focus on regional craft ales. The food menu has superb desserts, such as szarlotka (Polish apple pie) and raspberry tart. There are also specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails and teas, including a Belarusian style fruit tea and a Polish bison grass vodka cocktail. Main dishes are contemporary takes on Polish cuisine. For example, you can order the kotlet schabowy (pork cutlet) with chips and salad or a pierogi dish served with smietana (sour cream). The meat options include interesting varieties like deer, goose and duck.
Kartoszka is one of the best restaurants in Białowieża for those looking for more regional cuisine, as this place doesn’t just provide Polish and Belarusian dishes, it specialises in Podlaskie cuisine. Podlaskie cuisine refers to hearty meals that are typical of the Polish province that contains the capital city Białystok, as well as the nearby Białowieża National Park and bordering parts of Lithuania and Belarus (which at one point in time, were part of Poland). So what can you expect on the menu for Podlaskie cuisine here at Kartoszka? Try the babka ziemniaczana (potato pancakes) with smietana (sour cream), the kopytka (potato dumplings with fried onions) or the local pierogi (dumplings with all sorts of fillings).
Babushka Bistro is one of the most popular restaurants in Białowieża. It sits only two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Belarus border and offers a fine blend of Belarusian and Polish food. Even the entrance sign here is written in the Belarusian cyrillic text. It is not only one of the busier restaurants, but probably the most spacious. On busy summer days, the venue spills over into the large beer garden and car park, as customers enjoy the relaxation opposite the Białowieża National Park entrance and the Białowieża Palace. Chefs dish up typical local treats, such as pierogi, uszki (mini dumplings), venison cutlets with vegetables and bigos (Hunter’s stew). The venue serves beer on tap, as well as a good range of craft beer by the bottle. The wine list should satisfy all wine lovers, and of course, there are many varieties of vodka available.
Bar Biesiada is located opposite the school in the centre of the village of Białowieża and is a small, yet cosy restaurant to get a cheap and easy fix of local food. The food is served fresh from the kitchen by the family who runs the restaurant, while the main indoor part of the restaurant has a few beers on tap, vodka by the bottle and tea or coffee. In the summer months, the compact beer garden is a great place to eat and relax. The menu is as typical as a Polish restaurant in these parts gets – expect well-made pierogi, delicious barszcz czerwony (beetroot soup) and gołąbki (cabbage rolls).