Warsaw

Hala Koszyki: Where Culture and Gastronomy Meet

22 May 2024
For many people, the idea of a combination food hall/shopping center conjures up images of malls and cafeterias. But let Hala Koszyki dispel that notion right here, right now. 
This revitalized market hall trades those outdated ideas of mall food courts for a new, modern concept, complete with a sleek, industrial-style contemporary interior, and pops of color and light. Not only is the interior stunning, but the culinary offering is also top-notch, from sushi and dim sum to burgers and gelato. Let’s dive in…
Hala Koszyki's design elements never cease to amaze

How Hala Koszyki Came to Be 

Once you get over the initial aesthetic awe and the deluge of design delight that sets in once you see the hallowed Hala yourself (the pictures don’t nearly do it justice) you’ll likely start wondering about this history. The ‘new’ Hala Koszyki opened in 2016 after a giant 5-year restoration and revitalization project helmed by Griffin Real Estate and designed by JEMS Architects. Their mutual love of the original market hall – designed in the secessionist style (art nouveau) over 100 years ago by Juliusz Dzierżanowski in 1906-09 – is apparent in every last detail, right down to the cleaning and the reusing of original individual bricks, restoring original lattice metalwork and sculptural details relating to products on sale in the original market by sculptor Józef Zygmunt Ott.
 


Thanks to many of the modern design tweaks and incredible aesthetic details like the expertly curated background music, walking around Hala Koszyki, perusing the stalls, and finding out what its tenants have to offer, is a wholly unique experience.
It’s almost like taking a step back in time and forward into the future, all at once. Hala Koszyki isn’t exactly a shopping center and it is perhaps the furthest thing from an American style ‘mall’ you may ever find. The designers and investors were certainly inspired by the mission and functionality of the original Hala – a community marketplace where locals could do their daily or weekly shopping, commune over some good food, gossip a bit and maybe pick up a light bulb or two. With the entirety of the central hall devoted to eating establishments with a big old sexy bar in the middle, they took this initial communal concept and multiplied it times Warsaw.
It's rare to find a food hall with meals and drinks like this!

Eat or Drink… Why Not Both?

So how many world cuisine eateries, of various sizes, can you squeeze into one space and how many is too many? One of the biggest ‘problems’ Hala Koszyki poses to visitors is where and what to eat (though is that really a problem?). Any time of the day or night you enter the building your taste buds are immediately assaulted by smells and flooded with flavors wafting from many of the gastronomic outposts in the main hall. The creme de la creme of the last decade of Warsaw’s gastronomic trends are all on offer including hummus, sushi, burgers, curry (Indian and Thai), seafood, grilled meats and artisanal sandwiches galore (check their website for a full list). Top class little independent bistros sit next to some of Warsaw’s biggest chain restaurants. 
 
Cheers to shopping and eating your heart out!

But what about that bar… This is without a doubt one of the biggest attractions of Hala Koszyki and immediately gives the hall the laid back ambiance of an after-hours lounge. In fact, thanks to the bar, all of the food vendors also offer their own alcohol and many of them offer different craft beers on tap and in bottles, artisanal ciders, wines, original cocktails plus a bevy of alternative non-alco beverages from mango lassis to John Lemmons and everywhere in between. This is all well and good but it also means that once you finally find your food of choice, you’ll have to do a second round to find the perfect beverage to wash it down with!

A Plethora of Options

Food and beverages aside, there is indeed a “market” here! The name itself, ‘Koszyki’, is actually a play on words as koszyki means baskets (think shopping baskets – even though that’s not where the name comes from). So what can you actually put in your basket? If you enter the market through the left wing you’ll undoubtedly run smack into the meat stall ie Crazy Butcher. They offer cuts of meat that you can normally only find in the finest restaurants in the city. You’ll also find Smak Natury which is a deluxe health food emporium. Elsewhere on the ground floor you’ll find a tea shop, a kitchen shop, a Mediterranean deli, jewelry, flowers and more. This is a place not only to spend an afternoon, but a whole day! Work in a coworking space, grab some lunch at the food hall, grab an after-work drink with friends and make sure to get in some shopping before you head home – it’s all here! 
There are quick bites, too! 

Insta-grand

Now that your basket’s full, take the elevator to level 1 for a bit of culture in the in-house modern art gallery. This level is also home to a culinary school, a travel agency, another art gallery and coworking spaces. Stroll along the catwalks and just try and resist the urge to pull out your smartphone and instagram everything. Don’t worry, you certainly won’t be alone. Hala Koszyki has been voted as one of the top 10 instagrammable spots in the city.
Hala Koszyki has become a staple in Warsaw and, rather unsurprisingly, proved amazingly popular amongst the young and the beautiful, who flock here in droves every day (almost 3 million people visit every year!). It also has a robust cultural agenda, bringing in weekly concerts, orchestras, exhibitions and more. 
There is no questioning this is the place of the moment so get there in a jiffy and don't forget to look up, down, sideways etc. as beautiful hidden details abound!

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