Does anyone have any restaurant recommendations for Warsaw & Krakow?
Do you have Rick Steves Snapshot Krakow, Warsaw, and Gdansk? I found it very useful for all kinds of things, including restaurants.
The two most memorable restaurants in Krakow were Polskie Smaki, which had Polish food at lower prices for equal or better quality compared with most of the other places serving Polish cuisine I went to, and Aqua e Vino, with delicious high end Italian food at prices high for Krakow, but not high compared to what you'd pay for food of this quality in Italy or the US.
In Warsaw, I remember not liking the vibe at all in Foksal Street, where Rick recommends eating; one spin around the attitude, and I left without eating there (one of the few things in the book I strongly disagreed with).
Mindy, where are you staying in each city? In Warsaw, there are a zillion nice places to eat on Nowy Swiat / Krakowskie Przedmiescie, which is pretty much the main drag. My favorite was Specjały Regionalne at 44 Nowy Swiat, because the portions were not overwhelming and reasonably priced. I agree with Harold to skip Foksal Street - too trendy and self-consciously hip. Pick up some pastries at Blikle's on the other side of street.
In Krakow, there are even more nice restaurants. We enjoyed Kogel Mogel, and U Babci Maliny ("at Grandma Raspberry's") in the old market, but also found a cluster of interesting restaurants on Szeroka Street, in the old Jewish area of Kazimierz. The old market area in Krakow (Stary Rynek) is completely walkable and packed with shops and restaurants, so you can just wander and see what grabs your attention.
Some of this is in RS guide, but google up "In Your Pocket Warsaw" and "In Your Pocket Krakow" and you can check out all sorts of restaurants shops and attractions, with interactive maps that are a gold mine for visitors.
Two years ago, I had an absolutely stellar meal at "Platter by Karol Okrasa" which is in the Warsaw Intercontinental. This was an expensive meal by Polish standards, but you would pay significantly more for a similar meal in my area (DC). The restaurant serves contemporary polish cuisine and the chef is evidently a celebrity in Poland (has a tv show). This is kind of a "foodie" restaurant, so depends if that is your style.
Krakow: Restaurant at Hotel Esther.
Everything I ate in Poland was fantastic. I also received a few great recommendations from the woman who ran the guesthouse at which I stayed. I strongly recommend Cafe Camelot on Tomasza Street and Restauracja Zdybanka on Szczepanska Street, which are both just off the Main Market Square as well as Zalewajka on Waska Street in the Kazimierz area.
i just returned from Krakow and a few other places. Normally i dont have a chance to have sit down meals or can handle a large meal anymore, but i tried the Polskie Smaki in Krakow. I made a mistake of ordering off the menu instead of what was ready. Not that the food i ordered wasnt good, but i wanted to try some local cusine, so i went back for a 2nd try. l loved the food and i ended up going back 2 other times too. that was the only place on my trip i had more sit down meals. I do wish i had tried their lunches but i wasnt in the area at those times or wasnt hungry.
im sure there are other places way better and way worse, but for me and what i had, lets just say my plate was clean. when i go back i will try them again, but also others.
one thing to look at. There is a market square with many food vendors. Some of them were making what looked like a version of Pealla. Im not sure you into that type of food, but it sure did look delicious.
In Cracow I recommend Chimera on Sw. Anny street off the main square for a great salad bar (on street level) and traditional Polish food (in the cellar below street level).
Also for the best wood-fired pizza in town (with unusual toppings) -Cyclops on Sw. Mikolaj street off main square in direction of St. Mary's church.
Down the hall from Cyclops is U Stasi for cheap traditional Polish food. Only open for lunch.