We argued a lot but we also persuaded each other that we need to take into account the quality, the atmosphere and the style of Warsaw’s culinary initiatives. Suddenly, we recalled the places we have long forgotten about because we simply stopped passing them by. In the end, we produced a list of 30 spots on the map of the capital that we collectively decided have to be included in our guide to Warsaw. This is obviously a subjective selection. We believe that the places we recommend are a breath of fresh air in the culinary and cultural life of the city of Warsaw. There are far more plant-based restaurants rather than the ones for meat lovers but this due to our personal choices. The list is not complete; otherwise, it would need to be three times longer. Nevertheless, this guide is still extensive in comparison to our previous ones. Treat it as your starting point for exploring and discovering your Warsaw. If you find new spots you really like, please share them with us. Warsaw is beautiful because there is always something new going on!


Text: Monika Brzywczy

Verbena & Foie Gras

Ale Wino is one of our favourite restaurants. Especially, in the summertime, when you can sit on a warm evening in its garden hidden in the backyard of old tenement houses in Mokotowska. When the place opened several years ago, it was supposed to be a wine bar. However, when the talented, yet humble chef Sebastian Wełpa joined the team, the real character of the place took shape. This is bistronomy in its best sense – an unpretentious restaurant, without white tablecloths and exorbitant prices. The food is delicious and it is served on Polish ceramics only. The furniture was designed by Tomek Rygalik, one of the most recognised Polish designers, who also happens to be a neighbour and frequent guest at the restaurant. There are flagship dishes that are in the menu all year round, such as celeriac ravioli with cauliflower (instead of parmesan). There is also tarte tatin with foie gras shreds and verbena ice cream in the apple season from autumn until the end of winter. If you try it once, you will never forget this taste. Every day Ale Wino bakes fresh bread, it is magnificent! The quality of the products and seasonality play key role at this restaurant. Rumour has it that the owners of Ale Wino are thinking about opening a new place soon. We cannot wait!


Ale Wino

Mokotowska 48


The Land of Butter and Sugar

We described at length the new ice-cream Lukullus patisserie in one of our recent USTA issues, so we will keep it short and sweet. However, we still would like to remind the history of this establishment. Lukullus is a Warsaw patisserie, which has been operating for three generations. It started in 1946 in the district of Praga. Jan Dynowski – a confectioner and chocolate master at the Wedel factory, opened his first workshop in Stalowa Street. He took the pre-war artisanship onto the grounds of the newly rebuilt capital. His wife Stanisława and daughter Halina kept the company going during the times of the Polish People’s Republic and then made it flourish in the free Republic of Poland. Today, the grandson of Jan, Albert Judycki runs Lukullus together with Jacek Malarski. Before they took the business, they both completed the finest French culinary schools: Le Cordon Bleu and Ferrandi. They added a modern flair to both their sweets and their patisseries. They have great taste and they know how to make the best of their heritage. This what the people of Warsaw love them for!


Chmielna 32, ul. Walecznych 29

Lukullus w St. Tropez
Rozbrat 22



Paradise in Saska Kepa

We found our Eden in the modernist Functional House from 1928. The villa was designed by Czesław Przybylski for his friend and sculptor Mieczysław Lubelski. The building later served for many years other artists. This is where among others Agnieszka Osiecka, Elżbieta and Emil Cieślar, Wiktor Gutt, Barbara Turkiewicz used to live and work. In the last ten years, the villa was beautifully renovated by its new owner, architect Wojciech Popławski. To honour the tradition of artistic workshops at the villa , we invited talented Polish ceramics artists to work with us. At Eden there are many beautiful plates by Ani Ani Studio, Moja Siostra, Alchemicus, Spiek or Mua. You will have your filter coffee, quality tea or herbal infusions from Sela in porcelain cups from Fenek Studio. The main chef of this vegan restaurant is Maria Flisińska, who used to cook at Szczotki Pędzle, Dzik or Pacyfik. She serves very modern plant-based dishes inspired by Asian, Mexican or Middle Eastern cuisines. We pay particular attention to our wine selection – there are natural wines, organic wines and orange wines, the latter we have probably the biggest selection of in Warsaw. We often organise tastings and meetings with wine makers. We have a small greenhouse in the garden, where you can sit and eat in a group of 8-12 people. We also sell there succulent plants. The editorial office of the USTA Magazine is located in the same building so you may often bump into our team. Come and see us!


Eden Bistro
Jakubowska 16


Coffee and Vinyls

There are many places with specialty coffee in Warsaw: in the centre, in Mokotów, in Żoliborz. We are glad that our home district of Saska Kepa is back on the good coffee map (we all remember excellent Francuska 30 from back few years ago). The newly opened Hałas Vinyl + Coffee is the second café under this name. You will drink there good coffee (drip and all espresso-based options), eat something sweet (nice cakes and breads), and finally, you can buy there vinyls and coffee beans from Swedish and British roasters (such as Morgon Coffee Roasters). There is also head barista Kuba you can chat with. We like the simplicity of this place – cosy room with nice music in the background, plants and warm light coming through the windows. Hałas is located in a beautiful tenement house at the corner of Elsterska and Lipska streets. The place has just opened, do pop in! (photo: Bartek Porszke)


Hałas Vinyl + Coffee
Elsterska 10


The New Opasły Tom

It is impossible to talk about the Warsaw gastronomy without mentioning Kręglicki family. Sister and brother, Agnieszka and Marcin, launched 20 years ago first modern restaurants after the years of dry spell in the culinary life of the Polish People’s Republic. They opened Italian Chianti, Greek Meltemi, Mexican El Popo and French Absynt – that was a real blast. Today, with so many new restaurants opening every day, some of these places have slightly faded. However, another restaurant of Agnieszka and Marcin, Opasły Tom from Foksal Street, has recently opened in new location. The place was created in co-operation with one of the most talented architects from Wrocław Buck.Studio. Opasły Tom is definitely one of the most beautiful restaurants in Warsaw today. This is the first project of the architects in the capital, after Wrocław’s Dinette, Nanan or Campo, interiors that received numerous awards. Wavy walls upholstered with green velvet, anticato marble on tabletops, burled wood and the genius designer lamps composed of many lampshades from old Polish factories. Each detail is polished, and goes perfectly well with the interior. This still new concept, opened in December 2018, is likely to receive an award in international architectural competitions. Traditionally, the main chef at Opasły Tom is a woman. Currently, Flavia Borawska, daughter of columnist and culinary expert Tessa Capponi-Borawska, runs the kitchen. Flavia received her culinary education and training in Florence (Cibréo, Teatro del Sale), London (Le Cordon Bleu) and Copenhagen (Noma). What is more, every three months there is a new resident chef joining the core team. Recently, it has been Maciej Nowicki, main chef at the King John III Palace Museum, Wilanów. Speaking of the Kręglicki family, one most mention food market taking place every Wednesday at Forteca (the Fortress) – it is a must-go. You can buy there fresh vegetables from Pan Ziółko, yoghurts and cheese from Mleczna Droga, bread by Monika Walecka, mushrooms from Tomek Grzela from Ecological Button Mushroom or cheese from Sebastian from Żeby Kózka. Forteca is a true mecca for Warsaw foodies. Kręglicki family did there great job supporting small eco producers.


Opasły Tom
Wierzbowa 9

Forteca Kręgliccy – Targ
Zakroczymska 12 www.kregliccy.pl


Classy Minimalism

In our opinion, this is the best shopping destination in Warsaw. Mysia 3 is not a very big shopping centre located in the building of, luckily ancient, Warsaw censorship office. It is located in the very centre – at the back of Trzech Krzyży square. You will find there excellent stores such as Cos, Muji and NAP, and original boutiques Alba1913, Sote, Elementy, Bałagan or 8288 Concept Store. In the same building sits Leica Gallery, which organises modern photography exhibitions. In the backyard, you can take break from shopping in a cosy bistro. This is also a place where USTA Magazine organises its major thematic events: The Festival of Flowers, The Festival of Body, the Festival of Tea and Coffee and Crops. You will find us on the third floor in the spacious, minimalist, white room (quite different from the rest of the interior). We hold there our cyclical lectures, meetings and small fairs where we present Polish brands. Those days are always beautiful and special. You need to join us!


Mysia 3


Mizeria, Mielony, Maciejowski

Przegryź is a cult place in the heart of Warsaw. It was opened by Piotr Najsztub at the time when he was still editor in chief of the famous weekly “Przekroj“. The name of the restaurant Przegryź is an allusion to the magazine title. This initially small bar has grown over the years, and yet, the paintings of Marcin Maciejowski still decorate the walls. The artist used to be a feature at the weekly in the past. Since the beginning, Dominika Krzemińska had been in charge of the menu and, in fact, she has been managing the restaurant on her own for years. The menu is very simple and contains Polish classics: pierogi, borsch, braised beetroots, kotlety mielone (Polish meatballs), mizeria (cucumber and cream salad), kołduny (meat dumplings), and compot  – both locals and tourists are very fond of them. Additonally, there are the sweets – Dominika’s specialty. Her Hungarian tort has no match. She is just about to open her own patisserie Kukułka next doors.


Przegryź / Kukułka
Mokotowska 52


Bar, Bistro & Dancing 

Wozownia opened one year ago in an old, long-forgotten carriage garage, at the back of Nowy Świat Street. The place is open all day round and it continues the tradition of Bar Koszyki, closed several years ago. Set up by Koszyki’s former owners, Wozownia was supposed to be a mix of a bistro, a bar, a dancing and a market. The people of Warsaw had a different vision. This beautiful space, with a big garden (full of plants and especially charming in the summertime) turned out to be mostly a place for evening-to-late-night meetings. At Wozownia, (just like at the legendary Plan B that we will not describe, as everyone knows it) you can bump into your friends without actually arranging to meet them, dance, drink (some nice cocktails) and even have a bite (brioche with cauliflower is just delicious!). If you ask us which place in Warsaw in now in fashion, Wozownia is the answer.


Wozownia Bar
plac Trzech Krzyży 16A (wejście od Nowego Światu)


Singapur, New York, Warsaw

Mod opened as first. The concept was quite daring – American donuts with unusual icings (passion fruit, hibiscus, matcha) together with a ramen bar and a French-Asian fusion restaurant in one place. The chef is Trisno Hamid, a Singaporean who has been living in Poland for many years. Mod is located in the charming, tiny Oleandrów Street. We were delighted when the restaurant opened and we still remain frequent guests. The same owners opened then Regina Bar. Again, they went for unconventional cuisine combination: Regina’s menu is a mix of two districts of New York – Chinatown and Little Italy. There is pizza on thick crust, slightly burned at the rims (so called leopard) as well as Chinese food, such as General Tso chicken and noodles with wontons. Finally, the bar serves exceptional cocktails, engineered by talented Ewa Nowicka.


ul. Oleandrów 8


Regina Bar
Koszykowa 1



Vegan Pad Thai in Wabi Sabi

There are two sister restaurants in the side street leading to Komedia Theatre in Żoliborz. The first is Secret Life Café (opened 7 years ago), one of the three specialty coffee places in Żoliborz (apart from Fawory and Jaskółka). You can have there breakfast and coffee in the morning and pop in for wine in the evening. Just next doors the same owners, Zuzanna and Michał Marchocki, run a vegetarian restaurant Ósma Kolonia. This small restaurant with just a couple of tables and a wabi-sabi styled wall, serves lunches and food a la carte. The owners take pride in the quality of their products, order them from the best suppliers with eco certificates (e.g. from already mentioned food market at Forteca). The menu includes vegan pad thai, banchan – a set of Korean pickled and marinated starters, spelt flatbread with asparagus or vegetarian ramen. The food is quite varied but it is all delicious. No wonder Ósma Kolonia is usually full of people.


Ósma Kolonia & Secret Life Cafe
Słowackiego 15/19


Izakaya in a Pavillion

The Warsaw district of Ochota is virtually a culinary desert. There is almost no place to go. An exception is a low-profile restaurant, located in a pavilion, which probably used to host a grocery’s store or a laundry. We liked the place from the very moment we entered it for the first time. The subtle Japanese aesthetics, with just a couple small decorations, can turn even the simplest place into something cosy and original. If you add to it a punk-rock attitude of the staff and a menu without Japanese cuisine banalities, you get your perfect place – Sato Gotuje. The founder is Satoru Yaegashi, a Japanese who came to Warsaw eight years ago after he fell in love with a Polish girl. There are only a couple of tables at his restaurant. The place is open from Tuesday to Sunday in the afternoons and evenings (it is worth giving them a call ahead your visit as there are some exceptions to their working hours). Sato is very often there, cooking himself. The kitchen is open and it might take some time for the dishes to be ready (especially with a full house). The direct contact with the kitchen and the staff is truly captivating and remind us of the small izakaya bars in Japan. From the menu, we recommend excellent simple cucumber fermented in miso, fried tofu and eggplant in miso sauce or grilled mackerel. We love the taste of braised duck, enhanced by wasabi mustard. Sato’s cooking is simple and straightforward. He reminds us a bit the samurai from the restaurant’s logo. However, instead of a sword, he wields his kitchen knife.

Sato gotuje
Adolfa Pawińskiego 24


Punk Vegan Ramen

Vegan Ramen Shop is a small restaurant opened in Finlandzka Street by ex-journalist Maja Święcicka. Before she opened the place, she used to organise many ramen pop-ups. We observed her path towards successfully opening her restaurant. Together with Basia Welento (and with a help of Maja’s boyfriend) they started a restaurant, which turned out to be a hit on the Warsaw vegan culinary map. Sometimes, you even need to stand outside in a line to get a table, especially during weekends. Minimalism rules in the menu – there are only four types of ramen – shio, clear shoyu, tantanmen, and spicy miso – each worth a try. There are also special ramens on special occasions, e.g. Halloween ramen. All ramens are vegan, the staff is cool, yet very effective – you can leave a tip for them in Japanese music money boxes. The interior was designed by an architect duo MFRMGR. The project of the Vegan Ramen Shop was inspired by street food bars. Inside, there is a narrow bar with high stools; sitting on them, you are more likely to talk to each other, even with strangers, rather than dive in your mobile phones. We are the regulars at Vegan Ramen Shop since USTA Magazine is just round the corner. If you don’t feel like standing in the line in Saska Kępa, we have good news – there is the second Vegan Ramen Shop, even bigger one in Mokotów.


Vegan Ramen Shop

Finlandzka 12a / Kazimierzowska 43 / Jana Pawła II 52/54


Common Room, Theatre and Wine

The old workshop hall building – an ancient garage of MPO (Warsaw Waste Management Company) designed by Tadeusz Emmel, few years ago was transformed into a modern theatre space for the actors of renowned director Krzysztof Warlikowski. Teatr Nowy is not only a space for excellent shows, concerts or performances, it is also a place, where you can pop in for coffee, breakfast, lunch or wine. Inside, there is also famous bookstore Czuły Barbarzyńca, relocated from Powiśle. In the building next to the theatre, there is a Summer Bar with pizza and concerts. In the summertime, each Saturday morning, yoga classes are organised on the lawn in front of the theatre. Another special event held on weekends is a ceramics workshop with brunch. Nowy Teatr has become a new heart of Mokotów – a large common room and a culture centre in a beautiful space, which always buzzes with people. You will easily bump into the actors of the Nowy Theatre, having a bite at the bar in between rehearsals, and a bunch of other creative people of Warsaw.

Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury Nowy Teatr
Madalińskiego 10/16


Journey through the Polish Cuisine

Bez Gwiazdek (Eng. Without Stars) is a cosy bistro run by chef Robert Trzópek, who used to cook at Tamka 43. At Bez Gwiazdek he explores the classics of the Polish cuisine. The menu changes each month and each time it is dedicated to a different region of Poland. Robert Trzópek attempts to present his interpretation of traditional, regional dishes and products. Recently, the menus took us on trips across Podkarpackie, Łódzkie, Świętokrzyskie and Western Pomerania. Menu inspired by the latter included: hołubcie bielkowskie (stuffed cabbage rolls with pearl barley and potatoes), paprykarz szczeciński (fish and tomato spread) and fish broth. The restaurant is open only in the evenings (Sundays excluded). This goes in line with the work-life balance philosophy of Robert Trzópek: “We want to live and cook in a sustainable way. We buy the vegetables ourselves from Pan Ziółko, the fish is delivered by Mr Bernard; we try to buy the best possible and ecological products. We think about the food we would like to eat ourselves and that’s how we make and serve it at the restaurant”. Bez Gwiazdek has a very good selection of wines, including Polish ones. We also appreciate that the wine pairing does not hurt the pocket.

Bez Gwiazdek
Wiślana 8


Artisanal Bakery

Praga is not an easy part of Warsaw. And yet, Stalowa Street is one of the most pretty ones in the city, lined with old tenement houses and black locust alley. The area is as beautiful as it can be scary. The sculpture of Paweł Althamer “Guma” (Eng. Rubber) representing a staggering drunkard, mounted near a liquor store and reminiscent of characteristic residents in the area, did not survive the clash with the locals. We hope that the bakery Rano (Eng. Morning), opened not too long ago, will survive. Rano, as many other places have foreshadowed that Praga will become the Williamsburg of Warsaw. Large windows, old wooden door and retro tiles on the floor. Inside, big machinery and a table to form the loaves – the baker’s workshop in full view. And this incredible smell of bread! When we arrive, there are the last loaves of bread left and a couple of sweets – scones and bostocks. We grab them quickly as there are already new customers coming inside. They must be the bakery’s neighbours, warmly greeting Ania, Weronika and Mateusz – the owners of Rano. We get a thick slice of the classic wheat bread to try. It is soft with crunchy crust, served with country butter and filter coffee. Life is perfect when you can eat such a bread!


Rano Piekarnia Rzemieślnicza
Stalowa 47



Good Coffee Destinations

The first specialty coffee café in Warsaw was Filtry, founded by Konrad Konstantynowicz, who also happens to co-operate with USTA Magazine. Soon after Filtry opened Relaks in Mokotów with the beautiful wooden interior designed by MFRMGR and a collection of old Polish posters. This is the favourite place of the freelancers of Mokotów, sitting at the tables, working and sipping their filter coffees. If you are looking for the top specialty coffee spot in the centre, check out Forum. For many years, it was located in Nowowiejska, now you will find them in Elektoralna Street. Their professional approach to coffee and numerous awards in barista competitions do the job. No wonder coffee lovers from the other end of the city come to have a cup at Forum. There is also Coffeedesk – a spacious café with two rooms, comfortable chairs and a big table. It offers a whole range of classic and alternative coffees. It is no surprise since the café owners also have the biggest Polish online coffee store Coffeedesk.pl. You will find there the most comprehensive offer of coffee accessories, filters and coffee beans in Warsaw. Are there any cons?  It is often hard to get there a free table.


Forum Pop Up Coffee Shop
Elektoralna 11

Puławska 48

Wilcza 42


Drinks after Dark

Pacyfik is an example of a place that keeps evolving. It started as a bar with Mexican food, tacos, mescal and tequila. Colourful furniture inside, a bed with a canopy and a nice logo in the shape of a sun going down. The bar soon became a place to go if you want to try some crazy cocktails and excellent late night food inspired by Japanese, Mexicana and American cuisine. Pacyfik is definitely one of Warsaw’s favourite places to have fun at. You will meet there your friends and some cool strangers – this is what you come here for. The parties usually last until late at night.


Pacyfik Bar
Hoża 61


Coffee ain’t Black Magic

In the past, it was just about drinking coffee. Then Stor was born and we knew that from now on only bitter, aromatic drip or fruity aeropress matter. When you go down the Tamka Street, you pass a tenement house with dark walls and panoramic big windows on the ground floor. Sitting in front of this seemingly inconspicuous place are the regular guests of the café. They’ve been coming here for years for great coffee and atmosphere. Not to mention the interior, which hasn’t aged at all and still reminds us of our favourite cafés in Stockholm or New York. Inside you will meet the baristas and the loyal regular coffee drinkers, many of them coming every day. Stor is a café full of sunlight and plants. There is a large photo covering the entire wall. For the outsiders, it is a holiday memory of one of the founders – Michał Janica. The motto of the café is “Good coffee ain’t black magic”. Give it a try and order filter coffee of the day and vegan cashew cheesecake! At Stor you can read the Guide to Alternative Coffee in Poland by the second Stor founder and owner Krzysztof Rzyman. Good news is that Stor will have a sister café in Bracka Street, which is just about to open.

Tamka 33


Udon or Ramen?

Uki Uki is one of the most authentic Asian places in Warsaw. This is where groups of Japanese visitors pilgrimage to eat food like at home. Taira Matsuki opened Uki Uki few years ago in order to show the people of Warsaw how to eat udon – the thick home-made Japanese noodles. You can have them solo or in sets – e.g. with fantastic kakiage (vegetables in tempura) or salmon. The ramen was added to the menu some time ago. The restaurant also serves the best green tea ice cream in the city. The staff is super-efficient, the food is very quickly delivered, and still, there are long lines of people waiting at the entrance (especially during weekends). The restaurant does not take reservations so you need either to be patient and wait, hope for some luck or come on a less frequented day. Recently, a sister restaurant of Uki Uki has opened. Uki Green has a similar menu but it is strictly vegetarian. Uki Green, on the other hand, takes reservations. It also has a lunch menu. We recommend checking both!


Uki UkiK
rucza 23/31


The Power of Simplicity

Abandoned for many years, Warsaw’s oldest and first skyscraper was finally renovated and put back into service as Hotel Warszawa. The building in minimalist marble was brought back to life by the Likus family. In the underground of the hotel, sits Warszawska Restaurant, headed by Dariusz Barański, a chef well-known from Concept 13 (a restaurant at the luxury store Vitkac by the same owners). The opening of Warszawska was widely talked about; the menu and the precision of the dished received many compliments. Personally, we especially like the starters – they are light, uncomplicated, yet interesting. The main dishes like, half chicken or a plate-sized pork chop have become the signatures of Warszawska Restaurant. We are not so much fans of those and while we appreciate their simplicity, the interior make you expect a more pompous fine-dining experience. We would also expect the wine menu to include more avant-garde offer. Still, if you feel like a good pork chop and some luxury go ahead and book a table at Hotel Warszawa – the ancient Prudential building.

Warszawska Hotel Warszawa
Powstańców Warszawy 9



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