For a country with a cuisine that is known for being very meat-heavy and where they seem to cook most of their dishes in lard, it might seem that Krakow would not be the best choice for two vegans. Well, it might come as a surprise but, turns out they love their plants. More and more people are cutting meat out in favour of a healthier lifestyle with so many restaurants and cafes advertising vegan options and a huge amount of high quality vegan food spots all over the city. In fact, Poland has the highest rate of fruit and veg consumption in Europe. Yes Poland.
Krakow is a beautiful place and there's plenty to see. I'm excited to go back when it's a little bit warmer. It was freezing. Literally. -10C.
So my first port of call whenever I arrive in a new country is Happy Cow. It is a life-saver for any vegetarian or vegan travelling to a new place. There is always somewhere on Happy Cow no matter where you are! Actually that's a claim that I can't back up because you might be in Antartica so please don't sue me.
Anyway, here are some food highlights from our trip to Krakow:
A beautiful vegetarian restaurant with a great atmosphere. We felt like being a little bit fancy so we took ourselves here and it did not disappoint at all. Great variety of vegan options with familiar favourites, to traditional dishes with some unusual choices in there too. We started off with rosemary polenta chips and for our main course we both had buckwheat pasta with homemade pesto, pine nuts, walnuts, olive oil, avocado, basil and lemon. So. Good. I'd highly recommend this lovely place. It's a little bit more expensive than other food spots but it's definitely worth it!
Krowarzywa Vegan Burger
Burger place (I was on my holiday so I'm allowed to let my hair down. Happy Em takes priority over Healthy Em sometimes!). There was a great selection of burgers ranging from tofu, seitan, millet and chickpeas, all served in a bun of your choice (gluten-free options available). They use local and seasonal produce and each burger comes packed with a load of veggies. I saw a review before I went here that simply read "THESE ARE THE BEST BURGERS YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE" and my friend who had been to Krakow last year said the same. I had extremely high expectations. I had the chickpea burger. The burger was chewmongous and packed with so much flavour. We loved it so much we went back again (I never normally do this unless I am completely in love with a place) and I tried the millet one second time round. So yeah, turns out it was pretty spectacular.
A relaxed and casual Tibetan fusion cafe with a whole range of options from juices, to salads to traditional Tibetan dumplings called Momos. We had a plate of their signature homemade Momos and tucked into a Dosa Masala. A dosa with all kinds of spices, potatoes, vegetables and a peanut sauce. I could have eaten two. It was great. They don't use any kind of preservatives, additives or anything at all in their cooking and I (obviously) love that. They cater to all kinds of dietary needs and all the food is freshly made on site! Would definitely recommend getting here early if you do fancy a visit though as it gets pretty packed during busy times and service can be quite slow.
An Asian vegetarian restaurant with a really extensive vegan-friendly menu. We got the Vegan Sushi set. Avocado and mushroom nigiri, maki rolls, rolls with guacamole (think they could tell I'm a huge guac fan) and inari. A fifteen piece sushi set wasn't enough to satisfy these two greedy piglets so we ordered the momos too. The whole meal was great. Thinking about that meal is making me pretty hungry right now.
A tiny little spot that does the tastiest juices and sandwiches! We were taking a trip out of the city one day so we ordered a kale hummus and vegetable sandwich to take with us and although our Polish isn't up to scratch they couldn't have been more helpful. So tasty and all freshly made on the day. We also had a homemade seed and nut bar (full of sunflower seeds, nuts, goji berries and cranberries) so it definitely gets the thumbs up from me.
There was a whole heap of other spots that we wanted to try out and didn't get a chance to but I've heard seriously good things about these spots:
Lody Si Gela (they do amazing ice cream here apparently. Slightly heartbroken that we never got to try them out but it was full on snowing when we went so didn't feel right when it was -10C outside!)
Also I found a really useful bunch of phrases that might help when you're trying to spot things on a menu:
mieso - meat
ser/serem - cheese
mleko/mlekiem - milk
maslo/maslem - butter
jajka/jajkami - eggs
boczek - bacon
zelatyna - gelatin
All that writing about food has made me so hungry so I'm off to stuff my face and wish I was back in Krakow!