What are the best plant-based places to eat in Krakow? After the first part of our vege map, here comes the second. Enjoy!
Ka Udon Bar
ul. Rakowicka 14 A
Definitely the most awaited opening of 2017. As the name suggests, we are entering the kingdom of Udon, the appearance of which wouldn't be that exciting, perhaps, considering the richness of the Krakow culinary scene, if it wasn't for the fact that this udon is... vegan! The difficult art of making vegetable broth and udon noodles has been passed down to Krakow chefs by a Japanese master. The restaurant's breathtaking interior design acts as a prelude to the upcoming symphony of tastes. Crystal chandeliers, gray concrete and natural wood join in harmony while tall wooden stools by the counter wait for you to take a seat and admire the chefs staging a meticulously crafted culinary performance right in front of your eyes. Earthy hues of tableware - baked earthen tassels, bowls, plates, and cups - harmoniously blend with bronze and ochre. The menu is short: udon served warm and cold, vegetables in tempura, and a couple of taste-enriching extras - including delicious tofu in honey coating - matcha ice cream, coffee from a local roasting company and natural wine. Beer is brewed on site.
ul. Krupnicza 6
If you feel like pranking a meat-lover, take them to this faux meat paradise. Chances are they won't taste the difference. Why should they? The menu, with its "fish", "chicken", and "beef", won't make them feel suspicious. But the quotes have to mean something, don't they? The idea behind fake meat, i.e. a well-seasoned seitan, may not be new, but this is the only spot in Krakow where you can actually taste it. Rich and intriguing, the menu consists of 30 dishes arranged according to the taste of "meat". We have spring rolls, sushi, miso, curry, African dumplings, as well as Thai, Chinese and Korean options including fried, raw, and pickled vegetables. Something for everyone, no matter how picky you are. The restaurant is divided into three sections depending on your need of privacy.
ul. Szewska 21
Neapolitan pizza, so popular these days, has no equal in Krakow. For those who love the crispy and thin Roman pizza crust, each new place serving this rarity is a gem to be cherished. There isn't much space in the parlor - a couple of stools inside and a few more outside during summertime. Pizza, however...is to die for! It's sold by weight and its price stays the same regardless of your taste preferences. Pizza with potatoes, cream-mozzarella sauce and fresh rosemary is definitely the meatless number one. But you can have a slice with vegan cheese if you like. At the end of the day, the owner likes to prepare something special out of what's left in the fridge. A gift in the form of strong Italian espresso is waiting for the biggest pizza lovers.
ul. Dolnych Młynów 10
Vegetarian and vegan cuisine - deluxe version. A well-designed space (surprisingly spacious, with a dozen or so tables) betraying the owners' love for unusual objects and contemporary design icons, promises a feast as much for the body as for the eye. The menu changes with seasons and includes a few vegan and vegetarian breakfast options, e.g. scrambled eggs and tofu omelet, as well as beetroot falafel burgers, oyster mushroom chops and pierogi ruskie, but in less traditional versions, with tofu and sweet potatoes. Green cocktails are deemed the specialty of the place.
The "Massolit" empire grows stronger and stronger, with Massolit Cooks joining the already established Massolit Books&Cafe and Massolit Bakery&Cafe. A beautiful interior designed in the 1920s fashion - with its copper bar and round interior windows - is exceptionally elegant. What Massolit spots have in common are delicious cakes baked on site, good for vegans, vegetarians, as well as the glucose- and lactose-intolerant. Rugelachs and hamantashes - traditional, tiny Jewish pastries - enjoy an equally well-deserved fame. Bagels, however, are what the place is known for, served with different types of bread and various fillings, usually pastes and baked vegetables (eggplants, carrots, beetroots) accompanied by a red onion preserve, ginger, pesto, or spicy zhoug, and a cup of locally-roasted high-quality coffee.
ul. Krupnicza 9
When it comes to the Krakow scene, we can call them veterans of vegetarian and healthy food. For 16 years now, Naturalny Sklepik has been famous for offering a wide range of ecological and fair-trade products from local producers and farmers. Inside, next to fresh vegetables and fruit, you will find various kinds of cheese, bread, sweets, wine and cider. If you're hungry, waiting for you are vegetarian and vegan lunches, soups, pastes, hummus, and cakes. A friendly and competent service will help you choose what's good for you depending on your diet restrictions.
ul. Augustiańska 5
Astonishing with its green & pink interior hues, this breakfast restaurant serves fantastic vegan and vegetarian food. It's famous for the best shakshouka in the city (including a special version with real feta cheese), sabih (a Middle-Eastern-inspired sandwich), and Buddha Bowls - simple and tasty blends of grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and oil seeds. Seasonal and bold taste mixtures (a stunningly delicious Asian-cuisine-inspired sandwich Ptak Mi fuses Halloumi cheese and pickles with a sweet roll) and the "breakfast is a state of mind, not part of the day" motto have brought loads of fans to this tiny spot. Great coffee from local coffee roasters and real Prosecco are just the icing on the cake - served with breakfast, of course!
ul. Dietla 49
Iconic MOMO is the progenitor of each and every meat-free food joint in Krakow. Its iconic status has even earned it a Facebook fan page with a telling name „Codziennie tęsknię za smakiem baru wegetariańskiego MOMO” [Every day I miss the taste of the MOMO vegetarian bar]. A heaven for the enthusiasts of warming North-Indian cuisine, MOMO–with its modest interior and a view over the more and more beautiful Dietla street–offers cheap yet tasty food. It’s worth composing your own thali (the Indian equivalent of a lunch platter) by selecting both warm and cold options. The place specializes in Tibetan dumplings and masala dosa, i.e. a type of pancake stuffed with potato filling with a hint of cumin and mustard seeds. The menu always offers a few soups and warm dishes with rice as well as salads. Tea lovers will surely appreciate a wide range of teas to choose from.
Vege To Tu
ul. Zwierzyniecka 8
Everything started with a food truck, the first one of this kind in Krakow, or so they say. One thing was certain–their appearance at any event always brought the promise of an incredible feast for all herbivores! Since recently, they have been running a small joint in the city center, offering wraps as their specialty. Corn and wheat flatbread is rolled around curry, falafels, hummus, chickpeas and seasonal vegetables. A soup and vegan dessert–always on offer. Green shakes in summertime. Simple, beautiful and tasty.
ul. Smoleńsk 27
This 100% vegan spot is located on a ground floor of a tenement house in what used to be a spacious „typical Cracovian apartment”. Old and beautiful wooden floors meet wooden windows and furniture from the sixties. The cuisine is plant-based, but with an Indian-Arab-African twist. Countless curry variants, grains casseroles, plant pâtés, intriguing soups and desserts. The menu may be short–only 5 dishes–but changes on a daily basis. (Every morning you can find the updated menu on their fan page.) Usually, nothing’s left by the end of the day. But this only speaks well of the chef and owner in one. It’s good spending a little while in here, relishing the view over one of the most beautiful streets in Krakow.
ul. Józefa 36
A coffee shop and a reading room merged into one. The only place in Krakow offering open access to books on Jewish and Middle East subjects. Hundreds of books in both Polish and English fill the shelves. Filling plates, on the other hand, is vegetarian food, labneh, hummus, Israeli and Lebanese chickpea salad, and soups. On evenings during Shabbat there is a special menu with reasonable prices. The café is famous for its coffee with spicy seasoning brewed in a metal finjan.
Extra places (not-included on the map):
ul. Barska 4
Good bread is like the first love – unforgettable. After several years of searching, Zosia has found a perfect place for her Zaczyn – a bakery and breakfast bar in one – in Kraków’s Dębniki. Zaczyn [a Polish word for leaven] offers leavened breads, baguettes, challahs, and sweet buns. The owner buys coarse-grained wholemeal flours from trusted mills and farms and grinds them herself. The preparation of each bread includes a long process of cold fermentation and lasts up to 25 hours. Thanks to slow fermentation, rich flour aromas can fully develop, endowing baked goods with deeper and fuller tastes. Interestingly, leavened sweets and breakfasts are 100% vegan, often based on eco products. Have yourself a sandwich with tahini and Sicilian oranges, bean paste and rosemary olive, or hummus and baked carrots, followed by a cup of delicious coffee from local roasters.
ul. Barska 39
Hidden a few blocks away from Zaczyn, this petite joint offers incredible fresh juices, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and oatmeal. Their cakes, absolutely unique and delicious, are no-bake, vegan, and free of sugar and gluten. Everything is made on site and from fresh seasonal products grown by local farmers. Colorful cocktails are served in little glass jars, so you can take them to work or on a trip. You can also have your breakfast to go if you like.
text: Kasia Pilitowska
photos: courtesy of restuarants