With no further ado, we bring you the people and places that have changed the city for the better since our last Best of Warsaw issue!
ul. Ząbkowska 29 (Centrum Praskie Koneser)
Many good things have happened in the former Koneser vodka factory since its repackaging as a mixed use lifestyle center, but have any been better than the Koneser Grill? Not in our eyes. Brought to you from the same stable as Rozbrat 20 and Butchery & Wine, the Ferment Group’s latest opening ticks just about every box going. Amid smooth lighting, blond woods, metal fixtures and outbreaks of rich teal colors, visit for a menu based around the concept of ‘fire’. Yes, that means meat. But beyond that, do also anticipate unexpected glories such as quail Scotch eggs and grilled Fine de Claire oysters. It’s all stonkingly brilliant.
ul. Paryska 27
What’s our Best of Warsaw rundown without a mention for MOD? A perennial Insider favorite, their flagship restaurant on Oleandrów continues to blaze a trail with its eccentric crossover of Asian / classical French cooking, but this year, it’s their new venture that’s really got us talking. Shoebox in its size, it’s here you’ll find a steady queue lining up for their award-winning NYC-style donuts – featuring toppings like hibiscus; mango; salted caramel; matcha; and lemon and poppy, they’re a fab deviation from the standard Polish pączek.
ul. Wilcza 73
Some things are just worth the wait. With its opening originally pushed back due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus, the Nobu Warsaw Hotel finally opened its doors to receive guests at the front end of August: and straight away, you realized the city’s food and drink scene would never be the same. To begin with, you could mention the corner café, a white-on-white effort whose luxury desserts belong to another world. Or, Jassmine, a dark, sophisticated space that promises to become one of Poland’s most important jazz bars once the virus is finally vanquished. Mostly though, it’s the restaurant you’ll hear about, and the pedigree of its clientele hasn’t hurt the cause: Joanna Krupa, for instance! Serving Nobu signatures like Black Cod Miso and Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno its completely redefined all our established preconceptions of Japanese cuisine.
Previously described by us as the most imaginative F&B concept that Warsaw’s ever seen, little since has changed our mind. Debuting in 2019, and set in an abandoned outdoor leisure complex, this wild world of food stalls, games, drinks and weirdness combines elements of Coney Island with a free spirit party vibe that’s helped install it as a summer legend. Defined by its incredible energy and madcap backdrop (carousels and crazy golf!), their success in pooling Warsaw’s best street food points together contributed much to their success. In the unlikely event we make it to 2021, here’s where we want to spend next summer!
ul. Oboźna 11
Even before we switched en-masse to home-delivered, box-friendly foods, 2020 was shaping up to be the Year of the Pizza. And you saw just why with the entry of places like Nonna to the market. Raising the bar in an already competitive field, their wood-fired, Neapolitan pizzas captivated the public way before we locked ourselves down, and have continued to make waves for their simply stunning authenticity.
ul. Dobra 42
Epitomizing the new ‘live-work-play’ urban model, you find Elektrownia inside a vast former power station whose huge interiors have been given a spectacular reboot to leave it filled with on-trend stores and no shortage of food and drink options. Flashing with neon amid the industrial ephemera, the food hall is a multi-ethnic extravaganza and complimented by the presence of more bona fide sit-down restaurants such as Niewinni Czarodzieje 2.0 (the creation of Poland’s biggest media celebrity, Kuba Wojewódzki). Though hamstrung by Covid, this summer just gone did much to show the eventual potential of this game-changing social hub – already excellent, expect it to get even better once life becomes more… normal.
ul. Widok 9 (Puro Hotel)
Well who doesn’t love a rooftop bar? That’s the setting of Loreta, a bar that channels the spirit of this design-led hotel brand through its funky décor and eclectic art. The terrace, though, is the clincher. As night falls, retreat to a deck signposted by a neon the color of bubblegum pink; here, amid bristling greenery and low-slung seating, join other cocktail hounds enjoying house sips such as the Loreta Cup.
ul. Hoża 27
Nestled inside a small nook on Hoża, the mousehole dimensions of Aura are tempered by the tall ceilings and Moroccan-style design that’s so cool it found itself featured in Dezeen magazine. Promoting the heavy use of swivelly chrome stools and Persian rugs, the heavy hint of retro glam is balanced out by a crowd that, at times, strays into the head turning category. Find them lapping up a cocktail list firmly zoned around Aura’s collection of bourbons.
Baron The Family
Krakowskie Przedmieście 4
The Insider’s former Chef of the Year (2019) can’t do any wrong! Proof of that comes with his latest project, a concept that could have been born with these times in mind – set around a spacious network of canopied outdoor wooden cabins, Aleksander Baron presents a casual food offer (“Perfect for hangovers!” he says) built around his passion for ‘food from the fire’. Yes sir, that means suckling pigs; sausages flavored with gingerbread spice; tartare served inside fried bread; piles of ribs; and other hefty foods that make you feel good about life. And then there’s the booze: craft ciders, bio Polish wines, boutique vodkas and beers poured straight from a customized tank. Having evolved from maverick talent to national treasure, this is The Good Baron at his thundering best!
ul. Jazdów 1B
Attractively located in a lush expanse of leafy parkland, Klonn finds itself planted inside a low-level building just a whisper from Ujazdowski Castle. Dark and slick on the inside, the reverse is true of an exterior dedicated to expressions of street art. Yet while a big deal has been made of the visual creativity and the feast of artsy events that are in the post-covid pipeline, it’s the food that leaves the real impact. A harmony of flavors, the hybrid cuisine includes luxury pizzas, hearty beef fillets and sophisticated desserts washed down with light, balanced cocktails fixed with freshly picked herbs and seasonal fruit: everything about this place is a fantasy of skill.
Al. Jana Pawła II 50
In a city where most Thai is over-priced and under-spiced Bangkok Soi are a knight in shining armor. Dispensing entirely of formality, order from a crumpled sheet of paper at the counter before seating yourself in a basic room decorated with Chang beer pennants and Muangthong United football scarves. Replicating the street tastes of Bangkok, what next arrives is a whir of full-throated flavors that you never expected. It’s easy to become hopelessly lost in waves of bliss.
Pl. Konesera 4 (Centrum Praskie Koneser)
In the past, if you had used the word knife edge in the same sentence as Praga it would have been in reference to a mugging or a robbery. Nowadays, though, it’s the knife edge cool that everyone talks about. Don’t believe us? Then step inside Syreni Śpiew on any given night. Almost insane in the scale of its ambition, the multi-floor set up is a big, sexy mash of steel stairs, velvet sofas and industrial add-ons. As for the weekend parties, these are an exercise in excess with all kinds of lunacy breaking out: trapeze artists, sword swallowers, burlesque dancers and more. Leaving, it’s with the senses spinning in a swirl of disbelief. The very definition of debauched decadence, the brilliance is underlined by flawless cocktails and the best-looking crowd in the country – it’s places like Syreni that have you yearning for a return to ‘normal’.
ul. Kruczkowskiego 3B
Found in a saucer-shaped building that began life in the 60s as a ticket booth, the retro-inspired Warszawa Powiśle is even better than the cult bar once found here. Polished up, and still touting original features such as power boxes and concrete floors, giant windows and a PRL era neon perched atop of the building, the scene is set for classic cocktails imbibed and enjoyed in a rotunda decorated with vintage tables, velvety poufs, leafy plants and an underlit, marble-topped bar. It’s nothing less than super cool.
Kur & Wino
ul. Andersa 21
Formerly demonized for its brutally dehumanizing architecture and Orwellian atmosphere, Andersa street has evolved to become something of micro scene rich in hip haunts: in this renaissance, Kur & Wino have more than played their part. Cooked rotisserie-style, the big points go to chicken from Podlasie and guineafowl from Wielkopolska served with a medley of creative sauces. The cool, funky backdrop adds to the buzz.
ul. Bracka 20
No Problem’s vegan menu scores a direct hit when it comes to health-minded comfort food but there’s a bar scene as well with a range of craft beers served in a buzzy space that’s Berlin in its spirit: rough-hewn walls painted with street art, wobbly wooden furniture and posters advertising upcoming gigs. There’s no longer a shortage of places that have nailed the whole resto-bar concept, but this was arguably the first vegan joint to try the same and actually pull it off.
Dziurka od Klucza
Fort Służew 1B
Having upped sticks from their spiritual home in Powiśle, the DoK team magically teleported themselves to Fort 8 where they’ve carried on much as before: that is, knocking out beautiful homemade pasta and other Italian staples to appreciative audience that’s followed them for years. And it looks pretty fine as well – immerse yourself in an intimate and engaging interior decked out with door frames and hanging plants.
ul. Wilcza 9A
Before Covid strong-armed itself into our lives you’d have found Foton firmly implanted as one of our favorite late nights. Looking good with a design that’s startlingly simple yet beautifully composed, think raw materials, steel frames and a vast, green fleet of tumbling plants. The F&B ain’t bad either with Latin American street bites and a dynamic cocktail list involving exotica such as chili mango margaritas. Most of all though, it’s the atmosphere you return for.
ul. Racławicka 99
Fired out from the same canon as Ale Wino and Kukułka, the latest project from this celebrated team was well on its way to conquering Warsaw when along came that virus whose name we shan’t speak – seen as an effortlessly soothing post-industrial cavern (iron girders and tables made from demolished old barns), the one thing better than the interior is the exterior outside: it’s not a garden as such, but a whole bloody park. Give me back summer you want to scream. But there’s substance to this all as well, and it’s amply provided by Daniel Uliczny’s carefully composed menu of little bites of this and small plates of that. International influences abound all tied around a highly seasonal philosophy. Drinks, also, are a joy: house cocktails that often use homemade fermentations and top class liquors.
Pardon To Tu
Al. Armii Ludowej 14
After a cpl of years of flirting with temporary accommodation, PTT finally returned in full last year, positioning themselves inside a corner of the PWC office building just south of Zbawiciela. But despite the upgrade in surrounds, they’ve retained the leftfield spirit of old thanks to flexi hours (pre-Covid), a commitment to obscure sounds, and a well-spaced interior that references their former venue through its decadent color scheme and wall of favored musicians. The air of friendly, unforced cool is unmatched in the city!
ul. Poznańska 7
Hands up who loves hot wings? Right, that’s all of you then. Savagely messy yet unforgivably addictive, roll into Zkurczybyk for juicy chicken tucked inside a crispy, crunch coat smothered and slathered in an array of irresistible sauces. No kidding, they’re things of near profound, holy beauty. Fun and compact, a close quarters interior filled with turntables, ammo boxes and corrugated iron connects well with the whole hip hop / street food vibe – yep, we’d happily live here.
ul. Walecznych 68A
With its smart navy blue exterior festooned with pot plants, this tiny townhouse seduces all who pass – but if the front terrace is a gem, then enter to find a place that simply bubbles with warmth and the engaging air of gentle chaos. While there’s no frills or fancy with the food, there really doesn’t need to be: you dine on pillowy pittas and skewers of meat while enjoying carafes of wine brought to you by Takis, an enthusiastic owner that wears his heart on his sleeve. By the time the evening closes, you feel like one of the family – and that, surely, is the essence of hospitality.
Hałas Vinyl + Coffee
ul. Elsterska 10
Hałas is that brilliant little secret that every neighborhood deserves: a cool little café snuck down a leafy residential street – amid the vinyl albums for sale, find a crew of staunch regulars arriving for weird non-alc. beers and specialty coffee brewed by a super friendly team inside an attractive basement comprised of crisp white walls and retro fittings. You want summer to return just to be able to sit on their outdoor bench and wallow in the shade.
ul. Mokotowska 52
Already synonymous with good taste, high fashion and the slinky things in life, Mokotowska street hit another home run with the 2019 launch of Kukułka, a joint initiative formed from an alliance between Ale Wino and Przegryź. Recruiting the acclaimed Beza Projekt studio to handle the design, the result is a funky two-level space with monochrome floors, spirally stairs and little blasts of color set against the stark, concrete finishes. But what really gets you are desserts that lift this piece of Warsaw in the direction of heaven – the cream puffs are something else.
ul. Zakręt 8
In this little pocket of Denmark, a good mood prevails throughout and just by being here, you gain a little understanding as to why the Danes are often cited as the happiest people alive. Brought to you by the same husband-wife team that created the award-winning Nabo, their new venture has quickly proved equally notable. Inside a sunny room filled with retro posters, super cool lighting and original PRL floor tiles, gather to enjoy staple Nordic favorites such as fish stews, open-faced smørrebrød sandwiches, heaving steaks and curious beers from the likes of To Øl and Mikkeller. When it comes to leaving, you do so with the sense that great things have happened.
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 9 (Hotel Warszawa)
Found on the sixth floor of a 1930s tower that was, for a time, ranked Europe’s second tallest building, Szóstka was the fine dining experience that EVERYONE loved. For that, credit goes to Dariusz Barański, a highly skilled chef fond of presenting such dishes as crab meat toast with lime and mango. And there’s the setting, as well: seen as a long, slick space decorated with steel tubing, bursts of greenery and a coved glass ceiling, dining here has been one of the Insider’s great, recent pleasures.