Polish cuisine has long conjured images of queues in milk bar cafeterias and cottage kitchens with surly babcias behind the counter, but the reputation of the national kitchen has been on the rise as a new generation of Polish gourmands have been reinventing traditional dishes and rediscovering the diversity of Polish products and tastes. Though once decried as bland and boring, modern Polish cuisine is now hailed for its simplicity and richness of flavour, and a newfound appreciation for the creativity and inventiveness of Polish food (particularly its embrace of pickling vegetables for the winter) has emerged. Since medieval times, and with little change since, Polish cuisine has actually been rooted in the principals that have now gained traction internationally in contemporary gastronomic trends like the 'slow food,' 'farm to table' and 'eat seasonal' movements.
While Polish food's rep has been on the rise, Kraków's restaurant scene has become arguably the most competitive in the country thanks to 10 million visitors a year on average, all of whom want to try a taste of what the locals eat regularly. It's all culminated in Kraków being named the 2019 European Capital of Gastronomic Culture, a title quite frankly unthinkable for anyone who visited twenty years ago, but one that aptly illustrates just how far the local gastronomy market has come in recent decades. Below we list the most modern, innovative and inherently Polish restaurants in Kraków today. Whether you're a neophyte, or your babcia fed you rosół and bigos your entire childhood, you'll be surprised and delighted by how these restaurants are taking Polish cuisine to new heights. Smacznego!