“We’re in a stabilization phase in Poland when it comes to vegan and vegetarian gastronomy,” says Natalia Mętrak-Ruda, author of the book 'Eat the vegetables. Leave the meat. A short history of vegetarianism'.
Why is plant-based cuisine so popular in Poland? – “Big-city Poles are open to trends; they’re not so attached to their own cuisine and they like to try new things, so there was no need to convince them as much to plant-based cuisine (as the Czechs or Italians, for example),” Natalia adds. “And the second reason is that it's a bit of a counteraction to meat culture. You don't need so many vege pubs in Mediterranean culture. There are plenty of vege dishes in every pub anyway. But there are many vege places in the UK, Germany or here in Poland. We’ve always been told – not necessarily rightly – that dinner is a cutlet. It’s always basically been the case that the vegetarian or vegan movement is strongest where there’s an emphasis on meat as a key part of the diet,” says Natalia.
Meet some not necessarily new, but for sure great vegan and vegetarian places in Krakow, Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw, Lodz and Gdansk. They are recommended by residents of these cities who and who either do not eat meat at all or who try to restrict it on a daily basis.
Warsaw: Peaches and Lychees
Peaches Gastro Girls, Mokotowska 58
Lychees, Bielańska 1
Peaches Gastro Girls has been going for several years. It serves plant-based dishes from all over the world enriched with unusual ingredients. At Lychees, on the other hand, you can have a vegan breakfast and, in the evenings, deli sub-style sandwiches with lots of (delicious!) ingredients. Both establishments were founded by Klaudia Górak and Monika Mazurek.
"Girls are changing the world, setting new rules in gastronomy, without compromising and they’re paving the way for change. I hope this continues – and not only in the gastronomy industry,” says Basia Starecka.
Basia Starecka, culinary journalist, creator of the podcast and blog Nakarmiona Starecka. She cooperates with many press titles, and she recently also started hosting a second gastronomy podcast for Vogue.pl.
Wrocław: Wilk Syty
Trzebnicka 2, Wrocław
Wilk Syty is a collaboration of two separate projects – the vegan Food Fight team and the home-made patisserie Sugar Szop. It has an intimate, relaxed atmosphere, serving eclectic dishes from around the world.
“The restaurant isn’t new, but every now and then they surprise you with a new menu with rich, seasonal flavours. On top of that, they’re right in the heart of Nadodrze – a charming, artisanal district of Wrocław,” says Sonia Mielnikiewicz, activist, journalist, reporter and creator of the "Rusz ten beton" project.
Jackowskiego 38, Poznań
At Wypas you’ll find a 100% plant-based dishes. The place isn’t big, but in good weather you can also eat outside.
“At Wypas they refer to various cuisines, so it's easy to find something to suit your taste. Tasty, healthy, colourful," recommends Andrzej Szewczyk, editor from Wydawnictwo Poznańskie.
Krakow: Targowa 2
ul. Targowa 2, Kraków
"Targowa 2 at Targowa 2 (!) is a fairly new place, as it's barely over a year old. I don't eat meat, so this is where I like to drop in to eat when I’m in the area. A morning and evening menu awaits. An omelette with truffle and leek crisp, tomatoes with fresh bundz from Kleparz with roasted nectarines and flower salt, or simply bread with lots of butter and Maldon salt. The space isn’t ideal, but still very appealing – just the way I like it," writes Ola Koperda.
Aleksandra Koperda, cultural animator, art historian, journalist, curator, author of books on design ‘Rozmowy o dizajnie’ and ‘Dizajn miejsc codziennych’. Since 2016 she has been running Hygge Blog, where she talks about inspirational people – designers, designers, artists, craftspeople – and the interiors they live in. She lives in Krakow.
102a Piotrkowska St., Łódź
"At Zjadliwosci you'll find a seasonal menu, they always cook using what's best at that time of year. They have a short menu – you can usually choose from three or four dishes, all of which are well thought out and simply excellent. This cuisine stands out from the rest, the chefs clearly have great talent and outstanding taste. They often use regional cuisine but they add 'that something special' to it. The dish I remember and recommend is a typical Łó∂zki speciality; dumplings with strawberries served with fried cabbage. I know it sounds strange, but it was heaven in the mouth!" recommends Wiktoria Podolec.
Wiktoria Podolec, designer, craftswoman. Since 2017, with Jadzia Lenart, she’s been running the Tartaruga weaving studio in Łódź. The Tartaruga atelier creates contemporary kilims, carpets and decorative textiles. All products are made by hand using traditional tools and techniques. She lives in Łódź.