Tatts, hats and plaid shirts aplenty in Krowarzywa: a survivor of the hipster era, for many it’s the epitome of Warsaw’s vegan scene. The burgers set a benchmark that all but a few can surpass.
ul. Marszałkowska 27/35, ul. Hoża 29/31, ul. Jana Pawła II 41a and Hala Gwardii, krowarzywa.pl
First came a food truck, then a cargo container. Now, Kuchnia Konfliktu have a legit address they can finally call home. First founded to provide work for refugees fleeing conflict zones, this social project has won acclaim not just for social initiative, but also for its food. With employees hailing from the likes of Iran, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Iraq, prepare to dive deep into the exotic.
ul. Wilcza 60, fb.com/kuchniakonfliktu
Geometric patterns, plant arrangements and the large format illustrative artwork of Dominique A. Faryno decorate Leonardo Verde, an upmarket – but inexpensive – Italian joint. Pizza is the forte – order the ‘hot romantic’, a combo featuring chili, avocado and tabasco.
ul. Poznańska 13, fb.com/leonardo.verde.restaurant
Lokal Vegan Bistro
Aside from a small menu consisting of more standard vegan offers, this stalwart keeps Homer Simpson characters in mind with regular guest slots for street 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.
ul. Krucza 23/31, lokalveganshop.com
Steamy, tight and sweaty, this pokey subterranean cavern has one key thing going for it: burritos that outrank the majority of ‘proper Mexicans’ in town. The salsas, too, are magnificent (ooh, pineapple), arguably the best in the city.
ul. Poznańska 16, fb.com/momencik
Restaurant, bar, hangout: call it what you will, there’s much to like about this versatile all-rounder starting with a design that’s all scuffed brick, wood furnishings and crazy murals of an all-seeing eye. Now you’re seated, combine eco-minded bites such as Korean Fried Tofu with a small choice of frontier-bending craft beers.
ul. Bracka 20, fb.com/noproblembracka20
“People shouldn’t be excluded from high standards just because they’ve chosen the vegan path,” says Malka Kafka, the owner of Tel Aviv. As such, find a plant-based menu that gives the tastes of Israel a fancy schmancy style – so fancy that Depeche Mode ate here last summer!
ul. Poznanska 11, telaviv.pl
Brought to you by Taira Matsuki, the owner of the outrageously successful Uki Uki, the menu includes alternatives such as kimchi-cheese gyoza dumplings, spiced soy meat and ‘vegan eel’. The real plaudits, however, are reserved for the ramen. A pure umami foodgasm, pair your broth with a cute wooden box filled with seasonal vegetable toppings and a crazy colored butterfly pea flower tea before spoiling yourself with a jet black charcoal and coconut ice cream – you won’t regret a thing. You’ll be tagging yourself in an interior that’s big on Japanese wood joints and concrete finishes.
ul. Koszykowa 49A, fb.com/ukigreenramen
An entrance beset with candles, plant pots and seasonal veg charms people in, and they tend to stay on to dine on creative vegetarian options that nearly always hit the spot. The tacos are a bit of a disappointment, but the quinoa burger is fabulous, and the homemade Russian pierogi an absolute highlight. As for the mushroom burger: wow. Even committed meat eaters recognize there’s something special going on here.
ul. Radna 14, vegdeli.pl
A raw, hipster era design (monkey wallpaper, cheerful street art, retro fittings and cheeky, offbeat touches) is set against a menu that presents X-rated food porn at its filthy best. The meat-free kebabs and kimchi mad-dogs sell well, but it’s the burgers that make the news. The Smurf-colored Big Blue is a towering wonder of gooey ingredients, though the BBQ Blackout is what we’d return for: composed of vegan bacon, roasted onions, pickles and a bun that’s blacker than midnight, it’s the final word in junky pleasure.
ul. Poznańska 3 & Racławicka 7, fb.com/vegemalpa/
Youmiko Vegan Sushi
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.
ul. Hoża 62, youmiko.vg