Though handed the shock of their lives by the coronavirus, this month we salute the places that raised themselves from the floor to provide a chink of light…

Best of Warsaw 2020: The Pandemic All-Stars! Best of Warsaw 2020: The Pandemic All-Stars!

Home Delivery

Delivery services have thrived in the chaos wreaked by Covid, but not all proved equal during these difficult few months…

Room Service (roomservice.pl)

Delivering to your door through a variety of platforms, the number of eateries offering the contactless transfer of goodies rocketed with the first lockdown. Gathering them together under one umbrella, it was Room Service though that became the Insider’s savior of choice, an honor largely based upon the sheer diversity of their offer: focusing on quality restaurants rather than the usual back street kebab and pizza options, extra points were earned for flawless English-speaking service and punctual deliveries courtesy of a fleet of pioneering three-wheel scooters. Founded as Warsaw’s first such home delivery service over 15-years ago, this local firm continues to outshine the big industry players that have since entered the market on just about every level going.


Food

From the struggles of the last few months, a clutch of restaurants have stood out more than others throughout these complicated times…

Ale Wino (ul. Mokotowska 48)

Lord knows how many take-aways and home deliveries the Insider enjoyed over the course of Lockdown No. 1, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say well over one hundred. The best? Not one came close to matching the quality of Ale Wino. Already regarded as one of the best meals in the city, that they managed to box it up and meet their impossibly high standards said much for a restaurant that has remained firmly on top of its game throughout the duration of this year most wicked.

Guru (ul. Widok 8)

With sanitary standards a dominant topic, the Insider’s favorite Indian restaurant gave other restaurants pause for thought not just by segregating tables with plastic partitions, but by unleashing certified UVC technology that was the first of its kind in the country: eliminating bacteria and other such nasties with 99% efficiency, Guru became leaders in their field in more ways than one.

Grupa Warszawa

That the coronavirus laid bare the ugly selfishness of many is impossible to ignore, yet away from the more lurid stories a lesser-publicized, kinder picture of humanity also emerged. Take, for example, Grupa Warszawa’s #PosiłekDlaSeniora campaign. Cooking at the firm’s Syreni Śpiew address, and boosted by generous public donations, they delivered hundreds of meals to seniors and other at-risk groups during the height of the first lockdown. Bravo!


Drink

Making quarantine a darn sight more fun than it could have been, we tip our hats to this trio of legends…

Raj Piwosza (Bora-Komorowskiego 56A)

Ok, so we all prefer drinking in a pub, but if there’s one thing we learned during the opening lockdown it was just how easy it was to enjoy a brewery fresh pint from the safety of a sofa. Making that a reality were a range of specialty stores pouring fresh-batch deliveries into bottles and growlers, our favorite being the Gocław-based Raj Piwsoza. Touting twelve taps dedicated to showcasing some of Poland’s more innovative beers, extra points are awarded for ample fridge and shelf space dedicated to both domestic and international artisan beers. No kidding, the place became a lifesaver.

Mr. Oh (Al. 3 Maja / ul. Kruczkowskiego)

Opened just before some total idiot ordered the bat soup in Wuhan, Mr. Oh looked a dead cert to dominate the year as just about the hottest address in the city. A semi-secret world for those In The Know, it was to this dark and decadent address that the A-list headed for late nights and Asian-themed cocktails that felt fun, playful and in tune with the vibe. And then covid happened. Not to be put off, they helped pioneer the sale and home delivery of exotic cocktail pre-mixes available in both party packs and individual bottles while also launching a city-wide delivery service that grouped together a tight crew of cult restaurants (knajp.pl).   

Fat White (ul. Andersa 6)

Upping Andersa’s cool factor to impossible heights, Fat White has always been an Insider fave: after all, how can you not love a place attached to a buzzing barbershop and filled to the gunnels with miniature figurines of action heroes and Simpsons characters. Fully committed to the cause, they responded to the lockdown by taking their show on the road with co-owner Piotr setting off on his wife’s bike to deliver coffee to wherever it was needed. “After all that,” he laughs, “we might have to change our name to Fit White.”

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