We will be in Krakow for three nights in August (our first time there) and are looking for good places to eat. We have Rick Steves' guidebooks, so have some ideas, but are trying to figure out if there are some hidden gems out there that we might otherwise miss. We're not afraid to spend $$$ if the food is good. Our only caveat is that we want to stay away from really touristy things. We're staying near, but not quite in, the Jewish quarter, for what it's worth. Any thoughts appreciated.
I can't offer a specific restaurant because I don't remember the name where my cousin took me (it was Georgian food, quite tasty in a very atmospheric cellar type place). But I will say (being Polish) that you really don't need to spend big bucks anywhere in Poland to eat well. $$$ correlates with high-end business hotel restaurants (or if you're eating boar or duck or something exotic). Krakow unfortunately is touristy so all the restaurants will be a bit touristy - definitely check out the ones in the Kazimierz quarter and off the main square on smaller side streets. Also look on Trip Advisor...all the listings they have look pretty good. I like smaller type places with a lot of atmosphere or a homey feeling, and you will see a lot of those in Krakow. Just peek in and check out the menus. Also try a "milk bar" - although not the highest quality food, it's still an experience and a throwback to Communist times with (very low) prices to match. Also, try the different types of vodka - you'll see at least a few vodka bars.
The best meal I had in Krakow was the day I arrived; there was a big market going on in the Rynek Glowny and I got a big cup of beer (piwo), and an enormous plate of grilled kielbasa and potatoes and sat down at a communal table with a group of people from Wales. Other than that I recall finding an unusually excellent hamburger and poutine at a restaurant on one of the little streets off the square called Antler, and great pizza at Cyklop, which is in Rick's book and for good reason. Food in Poland--I also went to Warsaw and Gdansk--is very cheap and all varieties, sometimes when I travel I'm not always in the mood for that country's specialties at every meal.
The old market and Kazimierz ( the old Jewish quarter) areas are full of tourists - mostly Germans and Brits when we were there. So you'd probably have to go out of those areas to find "non-touristy" places. You need to decide if you want traditional Polish food, or more cosmopolitan fare. I recall enjoying a place called u Babci Maliny ( at Grandma Raspberry's) in the old town, and a place called Kogel Mogel (or something like that), but there are so many to choose from. The square on Szeroka street in Kazimierz is lined with restaurants, including Yiddish and modern Jewish (that is, Israeli) options. We didn't have a bad meal anywhere. I recall a good fancier meal at a place called Trezo, in Kazimierz.
One take-away place we enjoyed was a deli called Krakowski Kredens in the old market area that sold pork sandwiches from a window on the street.
Google up the website for In Your Pocket - Krakow, and use the interactive map to see what will be around where you are staying. Download their guide for more handy info.
One hidden gem is Cafe Camelot. The place is small and popular with locals. We also like the food at Smakolyki.
I forgot to mention this place...it is one of the most popular joints in Warsaw and you can find it in Krakow as well. It's a vegan burger place (don't laugh)...I thought I'd never see the day the Polish food would include vegan burgers, but there you have it. As a vegetarian, I'm glad.
(PS. the prices are in Polish zloty, not USD!)
Thanks for all of the recommendations! I'm going to start looking these up. My daughter is vegan, so the vegan burger place sounds awesome. Thanks again!!
We had a really really nice dinner at Farina Restaurant, the food was great and so was the service.
In Kazimierz, we stopped at Ptaszyl, it had a mix of Jewish and some more American items on the menu. It was decent, not spectacular, don't go if you're in a rush though, even by European standards the service was super slow.... BUT - we dined outside and the atmosphere in the evening was wonderful!! There was even some live music that stopped by - and they were excellent!
For a Milkbar - we had breakfast at Milkbar Thomasz, food there was great - it's not one of the "authentic" Milkbars though.
The evening market also has some great on the go options and a fun atmosphere.
Also.... Karmello! for coffee and for the chocolates!!! Especially the chocolates :)
I think you'll find more "local" type places by Jagellonian University which is still very close to the center.
This may be helpful too:
An older thread about food tours:
We ate at Pod Aniolam on Stare Miastro, recommended by our hotel because the meat was grilled over open fire. We went back a second time. Historical setting is charming too. Fantastic lamb. A "vegetable side" was a baked apple! Excellent.
My two most memorable meals in Krakow - by far - were both listed in Rick's book.
Polskie Smaki is a milk bar with traditional Polish foods. I was worried that it would resemble a canteen, but it has a very nice, warm atmosphere, and all kinds of people eating there (despite being in my guidebook, I seemed to be one of the few non-Poles there). The servers spoke enough English to explain the dishes, and the prices are so low that if you get something you don't like, you can afford to go back and get something else! The food was great - just as good as, or better than, other places I went charging much more. Don't miss the żurek, usually translated as sour soup; it's not sour, but it is delicious. http://www.polskie-smaki.pl/en/
Aqua e Vino is an Italian restaurant, charging high prices for Krakow, but much lower than you'd pay in Italy or the US for food of this high quality. Worth going to as an affordable "splurge," even if you're not seeking a change from Polish food. http://aquaevino.pl/en/
Thanks again to all of you for the suggestions. You've given me lots of ideas!