You would be forgiven for thinking that Poland was no place for a vegetarian (wegetarianin, jarosz) – after all, Poland is famous for its meaty stews and sausages. However Poland is surprisingly vegetarian friendly.
If you look at the menu of any restaurant serving traditional Polish cuisine, you will almost certainly find mushrooms in one form or another. Whether it is flavoursome wild mushrooms (aromatyczne grzyby
) served on buckwheat pancakes (naleśniki gryczane
) with a generous dollop of sour cream, or pierogi
stuffed with mushroom and cabbage, mushroom dishes served with a mixed salad on the side can make a more than adequate meal, especially when preceded by a tasty beetroot or tomato soup. Also look out for salads – far from being a collection of limp lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato, many smaller cafés and informal restaurants in Poland serve salads that are almost a meal in their own right, especially when served with a slice or two of crusty bread.
International cuisine is always a good back-up option for a vegetarian with a hearty appetite. Even in smaller towns you’ll find an Italian restaurant or pizzeria where you can feast on meat-free pizzas and pasta dishes. Larger cities offer a wider range of ethnic restaurants (etniczne restauracje), which means that you’ll be able to take your pick from Asian style stir-fried vegetables and tofu with noodles, Middle Eastern falafels and salads, Indian daal and other types of lentil-based curries, to name just some of the many vegetarian-friendly ethnic options available in Poland.
There are also quite a few dedicated vegetarian restaurants available throughout Poland. Keep an eye out for the green and yellow Green Way logo; this restaurant chain, which has over 34 outlets across Poland, offers an excellent range of freshly prepared soups, salads and main-courses such as enchiladas, koftas and vegetable bakes. “From the very beginning, our aim has always been to improve the quality of peoples’ lives” explains Jerzy Szkolnicki, one of the founders of Green Way. “Offering truly delicious and healthy vegetarian fare has always been our highest priority. We knew that in order to run the restaurant successfully, we needed to provide absolutely tasty, healthy meals served in generous proportions at a reasonable price and with great service”.
I found couple reviews from customers dining at Green Way in Kraków:
“Literally a stone throw from the Rynek Główny, this canteen style (but still nicely decorated) restaurant is a must for lunch and/or dinner. The menu has a wide range of vegetarian delights, and being more of a meat eater, I was still very impressed. The restaurant is pretty much self service, you basically order your food, they give it to you (in less than 5 minutes) and then take it to a free table. Recommend you sit first peruse the menu and then order especially if the place is busy. Food was tremendous and massive portions. We had the enchilada, and the mixed 6 dish (which was a selection of 6 of their dishes). I couldn’t recall what was in it, but it was great as was the enchilada. Total cost for these and 2 drinks were 48zl…BARGAIN and we were stuffed!”
“A perfect place for vegetarians, and more. Anyone who wants to meatless meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s something for everyone. Portions are big, prices affordable, tasty dishes, wide selection. Everything is served very nicely. The downside of the premises is not enough space and often at lunch time and hard to get here. Above the heads of eating, however, pressed the checkout queue.”
Before you head out to Poland, make sure that you pack a copy of Vegetarian Europe, a 288 page guide to vegetarian restaurants in 23 countries including Poland, which will help you to locate vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants and health-food shops. Compiled and reviewed by vegans and vegetarians with extensive local knowledge, the guide also provides valuable phrases in the Polish language, including “I am a vegetarian” and “I do not eat meat, chicken or fish”. You can also check some websites that will give you a list of vegetarian restaurants, like this one for example: http://www.happycow.net/europe/poland/
Few phrases for you:
vegetarian – wegetarianin
vegetarian dish – danie wegetariańskie
vegan dish – danie wegańskie
gluten free – bezglutenowe
diet – dieta
I’m on vegan diet – Jestem na diecie wegańskiej
I do not eat meat – Nie jem mięsa
Whatever you eat, wherever you eat, Poland is a country that is full of culinary delights. Smacznego!
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)