Officially ranked as the ninth most vegan-friendly city in the world, Warsaw’s fixation with plant-based foods has proved far more than just a fleeting fad. Cutting the wheat from the chaff, we present a slimmed down roll-call of the best there is.
Mikołaja Kopernika 25
Anchored by a geometric mural that declares ‘Guilty Pleasure’ in glowing pink letters, this pocket-sized locale exudes a sense of fun. Written on a blackboard, the menu casts it net over the biggest comfort foods known to man, and these include Not Dogs forged from marinated carrots, onion and red cabbage and a stonkingly brilliant chimichanga. Looking directly down Tamka, the hip ambiance captures modern Warsaw to a tee.
The four-table intimacy of this timber-encased room charms immediately but does make reservations mandatory – with that in mind, the opening of a terrace has been welcomed. Head chef Magdalena Kurowicka mixes familiar faves (order the tacos!) with more fine-handed concoctions that are veganized with love – for example, soy meat bourguignon or scallop-style Eryngii mushrooms in a white wine sauce abetted by chili, saffron, lime and three types of seaweed.
Cooped up during lockdown, flat mates Monika and Klaudia began scouring the web for exotic recipes and veganizing what they found. Sharing their creations with friends, the positive feedback led them to open Peaches, a place with a cool, scuffed courtyard and radical orange interiors. Substituting meat with Portobellos, their tacos are as authentic as they come, while the wontons deserve their own gold medal.
The menu is a bamboozling work of Byzantine complexity, but think of that as a charming quirk – as it turns out, it contains treasures galore. Alive with fragrant, fresh flavors, the nem rolls, tofu bulgogi and yuba cha (fried tofu skin) all come recommended, as does the house kimchi: a pungent, tangy mass of spiced, fermented cabbage. The pho completes your plunge into gentle happiness.
Aside from a small menu consisting of standard vegan offers, this stalwart keeps Homer Simpson characters in mind with regular guest slots for ‘junk food’ that’s given a full vegan makeover. Offhand, that’s meant vegan kebabs, cheesesteaks, burgers and zapiekanka, all of which have been pretty darn fabulous.
Poznańska 16 You don’t need to be vegan to enjoy Momencik, for such is their magnificence that this meat-free establishment outranks many of the ‘proper Mexicans’ in town. Limiting their menu to tacos, burritos, gringas and tostados, this pokey subterranean den has come to be regarded as one of the city’s cult addresses.
We’ve heard some describe Vegan Ramen Shop as serving “the best noodles in the world!” They’re definitely memorable, and the spicy miso ramen will for sure convert those suspicious of this claim. Eat them in a mega cool room divided up by stacks of ‘levitating shelves’ adorned with Japanese nick-nacks. Also in Muranów (Jana Pawła II 52/54) and Mokotów (Kazimierzowska 43), though for us nothing beats the original!
Exceptional in every respect, Youmiko’s tasting menu is one of the undisputed highlights of what’s become known as the vegan square mile. “Our aim,” declares their manifesto, “is to mix traditional Japanese approaches with Polish creativity and surprise you with new textures and flavors.” Mission accomplished.