Gdańsk is the jewel of Poland’s Baltic Coast. It is a city steeped in history, from the Hanseatic era to the times when it was the ‘Free City of Danzig’ to the Solidarność movement of the 1980s. These days, it has turned into a popular tourist city, which has meant an increase in both the number of restaurants and the prices they charge. This budget list will ensure you can still save some cash while eating out at some of the best restaurants in Gdańsk.
You can still find a cheap eat on the busiest street in historic Gdańsk. Commercial capitalists out there might be disappointed to hear that legendary Gdańsk remains pristine and pure to its roots; right in the middle of its most popular tourist street, Ulica Długa, is a cheap and cheerful Polish Milk Bar. This is Bar Mleczny Neptun, a real gem of a place, if you are able to find it. Get excited about delicious pierogi, soups, salads and meat dishes served cheaply from 7:30am onward in an old two-storey building. Apart from the great food, another bonus is the price. You can be sure to find the cheapest meals in this part of Gdańsk without any doubt!
The ever-reliable and popular Polish chain Pijalnia Wódki I Piwa (drinking house of vodka and beer) has a venue right in the heart of Gdańsk’s Długi Targ (long market). These are no-frills bars with incredibly low prices and consistent décor. You can get any item on the food menu for between 8 and 10 złotych (€1.85-2.25), and it is open until 5am. Typical dishes here include sledz (herring with onions), kiełbasa (Polish sausage) and toast. Vintage Polish newspaper reports adorn the walls, and staff serve up 4.5 złotych (€1) beers until dawn.
Bar Turystyczny is for sure the cheapest place to eat in Gdańsk. It is a well-known budget restaurant in Gdańsk’s Old Town. If you happen to visit it during peak hours (lunch time from noon to 2pm or from 5pm to 7pm), there are normally large queues. This is because the prices are some of the cheapest in the city, and the food is also good. For breakfast you can get jajko sadzone (scrambled eggs) for 1.5 złotych (€0.35) or fasolka po bretońsku (British-style bean dish) for 5.5 złotych (€1.30). The lunch menu has items such as soups like Barszcz ukraiński for 5 złotych (€1.15). For main dishes, try the kotlet schabowy (pork cutlet with vegetables) for 8.5 złotych (€2) or the pierogi for 9 złotych (€2.10).
Bar Harcówka is a little bit of a hidden gem. It’s kind of like a Milk Bar (a Bar Mleczny) that isn’t advertised as a Milk Bar and doesn’t even have a sign outside it. This is because Bar Harcówka is housed inside a building used for offices and workers. The restaurant is on the ground floor, and the entrance is on the street Za Murami in the same building as Learn Polish in Gdańsk. It’s a cafeteria-style restaurant; you get a tray and join the queue. The food also changes regularly from day to day. Once you join the queue, you can see the different items on offer starting with soups, salads and vegetables and finishing with mains. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are also available, but no alcohol. Typical Polish foods such as pierogi are priced from 12 złotych (€2.75) or nalesniki (pancakes) from 9 złotych (€2.10).
Believe it or not, there is a wonderful little restaurant in Gdańsk famous for its potato-dominated menu. Pyra Bar is the perfect place to have a date where you can only eat potato! On top of this, it’s great value, and the food is locally recommended. Naturally, the menu is dominated by potato, as pyra is the word for potato in the city of Poznań. They have potato cakes, potato bread, potato casserole and even potato-based desserts. It’s a definite way to impress your partner while also sipping good cocktails, beers or the homemade kefir.
Jadalnia Pod Zielonym Smokiem translates into English as ‘dining room under the green dragon’. This name might sound odd at first, but once you step inside you are down in a basement and will see the colour green on the walls. As well as Polish dishes such as kotlet schabowy (pork cutlet), there is also a chicken and rice curry and a tasty spaghetti Bolognese on the menu. There are some vegetarian options, as well as great salads and a range of soups. The restaurant is fully licensed and acts as a cool shot bar and beer venue by night, staying open until 2am.
No to CYK is a classic throwback to Poland’s Communist times, prices included. Once you walk through the door, prepare to be mesmerised by the wall displays and random memorabilia that decorate the interior. Banknotes and coins of a bygone era, gas masks, socialist artefacts and propaganda posters are all part of the experience here. However, the real bonus is the price of the food and drink. With lunch and dinner treats like Polish sausage and tatar from 8 złotych (€2) and beers and vodka shots from 4 złotych (€1), it’s a hit for those on a budget. Please note that No to CYK is cash only – the final proof that we have been warped back to 1984.