Financial Times: Five of the Best Warsaw Restaurants
Football fans visiting the Polish capital for this summer’s Euro 2012 finals will not leave its restaurants disappointed.
With huge bay windows that face the Chopin Museum across a pretty courtyard, Tamka 43 exudes relaxed chic without the pretence of tablecloths and hovering waiters. Head chef Robert Trzópek is one of the leaders of Nowa Polska (New Polish) cuisine, having earned his chops at both elBulli and Noma. Think bright, fresh food such as duck breast with cherries in a brown butter sauce and plaice with snow peas and avocado. Puddings are equally refreshing, with the likes of green apple sorbet and beetroot tapioca with pistachios.
Ul. Tamka 43, +48 22 441 6234; www.tamka43.pl
Butchery & Wine
Butchery & Wine was an instant hit when it opened in March last year. What makes it stand out, aside from its fantastic food and dark wood interior, is that owner Daniel Pawelek (who used to manage The Grill at The Dorchester) has hired a highly knowledgeable staff. As the name implies, the speciality here is meat, so expect to find a good selection of beef and game such as braised ox cheeks and Châteaubriand. Every Friday, the restaurant receives fresh trout that it grills and serves with roasted cherry tomatoes and potatoes with dill (55 zlotys/£11). The kohlrabi salad – a cousin of cabbage served with capers and onions in a citrus dressing – is a dish that takes Pawelek, at least, back to childhood: “It’s an updated version of something you were always served at your grandparents’ house.”
22 Żurawia str., +48 22 502 3118; butcheryandwine.pl
Platter by Karol Okrasa
Located on the first floor of the InterContinental, with an open kitchen and cosy tête-à-tête booths, Platter is a popular spot for business lunches and often frantic in the evenings, when it’s advisable to book. Okrasa is a well-known chef in Warsaw, having worked in a variety of restaurants across the capital. Entrées include Polish beef with foie gras and pork loin braised with bison grass. The mini pierogi with lamb and pearl barley (38 zlotys), served with powdered pickled gherkin, is an unusual take on traditional Polish comfort food, while the duck marinated in mead and served with blackcurrant and coffee sauce is a delight (89 zlotys).
InterContinental Hotel, Ul. Emili Plater 49, +48 22 328 8734; www.platter.pl
Chef Wojciech Modest Amaro has made no secret of his hopes to win Warsaw’s first Michelin star. His intimate restaurant, with fewer than a dozen tables, does not have a traditional menu; instead diners plump for either three, five or eight courses. The cooking champions under-used Polish ingredients such as pine oil, dogberry and white sorrel, often with a molecular flourish (carrot foams, bison grass sauces). Sometimes the experiments go too far, but creations such as herring with bay leaf and halibut with chive ice cream are poetry for the plate. You can team each course with speciality vodkas – and it helps ease the pain of the bill (240 zlotys for 8 courses and 129 zlotys for vodka).
Ul. Agrykola 1, +48 22 628 5747; www.atelieramaro.pl
This is not the first restaurant to try its luck in this location – a former phone exchange that was the city’s first skyscraper – but Na Zielnej (literally “on Zielna Street”) looks set to stay. Spread across a handful of rooms, all with red-brick walls and funky chandeliers, it also boasts a patisserie downstairs selling hard-to-find vodkas and liqueurs. Though the service is a bit slow, it’s worth the wait. The pan-fried venison with squared polenta and spinach (67 zlotys) is divine, while the thinly sliced duck served with pumpkin purée in a marjoram sauce (65 zlotys) is a surprisingly light option. A cosy place to while away the hours on a snowy Warsaw evening.
Ul. Zielna 37, +48 22 338 6333; www.nazielnej.pl
Originally published in the FT Weekend magazine (March 3, 2012)