Eat well in Zakopane. It used to be easy – oscypek, moskole, huge skewered meat grilled over fire, highland cuisine. I still remember when we took my cousin’s boyfriend to Zakopane 12 or 13 years ago. He’s Brazilian living in the USA. I don’t know what he liked more? Magical, snowy landscapes or food which he must have eaten here for the first time???
Then, the dark times came.. It was getting worse year after year and the phrase ‘eat well in Zakopane’ started to sound like an oxymoron. Because how can you possibly eat well when regional inns on ul. Krupówki transform into food for PLN 3 per 100g? When the highland ladies sell frozen oscypek cheese? When the windowpanes scare you with kebab and restaurants look like fast food bars where somebody throws you a plate wanting you to eat faster and make room for someone else?? We have a lot of negative stories regarding the culinary side of Zakopane. Stories we tell when we talk about poor service and a culinary demise. Waitresses who say: ‘What do you mean by broth in a mug? I already poured the borscht into a cup that’s enough of exceptions for today!!!’ and 2 slices of lemon for PLN 1.5… I wrote a bit about this ugly side of Zakopane HERE.
But fortunately, there is hope! There are places which are still worth visiting and what’s more important – new places that makes us believe that there will be culinary reasons to come to Zakopane once again.
Here’s our TOP 6:
1) ZAKOPIAŃSKA RESTAURANT – ul. JAGIELLOŃSKA 18
It must have been our first ray of hope that it can be better! We went there in May after recommendations from our chef-friend. ‘Try Zakopiańska, they really cook well there!’ We went. Far from ul. Krupówki which made us even more hopeful! We loved amazing soups with goulash soup and kwaśnica cooked on mutton stock being an absolute hit, we were intrigued by the dumplings such as ones with bryndza, pesto and sundried tomatoes. Maks liked kids’ menu and kids’ corner. We then wrote that it’s a culinary hope for Zakopane! We’re still positive about that and it’s getting better!
On Sunday we had delicious dumplings with lamb filling and kale and aubergine chips. Dumpling with dough that reminded us more of a highland moskol ( I love them!) then of a regular dumpling with delicious and nicely seasoned filling inside. Yummy! Reportedly they also have great steaks – we’ll surely check them out next time 🙂 There’s also a well stocked kids’ corner – toy cars, bricks, toys and my favourite – a memory game with animals from Tatra Mountain National Park. A must!
2) GÓRALSKA TRADYCJA – ul. Krupówki 29
We first got there after a really long car trip in August. Definitely my favourite interior in Zakopane. Perfect combination of elegance and highland style. There’s also a terrace for hot days where you don’t feel the madness and chaos of summer ul. Krupówki despite being just a few steps away. They serve Polish cuisine made the right way with plenty of oscypek, traditional duck or lamb chops in pistachio and corn batter. A spacious interior, a kids’ corner and best service in Zako. A strong contender for a place for a romantic dinner for two or a special family lunch.
3) JAVORINA – UL. STRĄŻYSKA 1
Javorina was recommended by somebody who we trust when it comes to food (Thanks!!!). Another place located far from ul. Krupówki, food per grams and stands with noisy toys. Another that has to fight for is name with good food since the location does not help. But it will surely be on your way if you’re planning to go to Strążyńska Valley or for a walk near Regle. First thing you see is a charming kids’ corner – a wooden house with toys and ladybird-lamps from IKEA which Maks liked so much that we had to go to buy our own in IKEA afterwards. Really good dumplings with blood sausage, pork belly and gorgonzola sauce, great beetroot cream and a tender and fragrant mutton. A round of applause for a tasty and unusual barley and pork fat dumpling and for the kids’s menu too!
4) U RYŚKA (MARZANNA) – ul. Oswalda Balzera 17E (opposite to Nosal)
I heard about this place many times but I never managed to go there. I heard from the frequent visitors, from the locals too. Therefore we decided it was right about the time we pay a visit.
A visit to ‘U Ryśka’ is not just food but a whole experience. First thing you see are two huge, orange pieces of cutlery that are so fluorescent that it’s hard to look at them, holing a sign reading: ‘Groom welcomes you because Grandma is the boss’ and MEALS written in huge letters. I remember this piece of paper from 2,3 or even 5 years ago, even though I didn’t know about Rysiek at the time. Inside it’s as interesting, however it’s the menu that is the most fascinating. There’s only a few ordinarily described meals – there’s much more descriptions like ‘chicken breasts the way Rysiek likes it’ 🙂 It’s homemade and tasty! Huge pork chops, potatoes, tasty soups and a must – dumplings with blueberries! AMAZING!:) They’re so full of juice that you have to puncture them a little before cutting because as the menu reads: ‘no safety clothing will be provided’.
It’s a perfect place if you want to eat well and cheap – a lunch for 2 adults and one child is something around PLN 50-60.
5) BĄKOWO ZOHYLINA – ul. Piłsudskiego 6 (Niźnio) i ul. Piłsudskiego 28a (Wyźnio)
I was wondering if I should put Bąkowo on the list. It’s a place we’ve been coming back to for years but lately it has not been as good as it used to. But I still get the impression that if you want to eat typical and simple highland food such as skewered meat, moskol, oscypek or mutton sausages ear ul. Krupówki, Bąkowo is the best option. Tasty, not too pricey and with friendly staff (which is not so obvious on ul. Krupówki).
We visit the place pretty much every time and eat the same stuff most of the times. Since my pregnancy I love boletus soup with noodles! Even though it’s one of the most affordable propositions ‘almost on ul. Krupówki’ I definitely prefer Bąkowo Zohylina Wyźnio, located near the jump. In winter, when it’s covered in snow it looks like a fairytale house.
6) LE CHALET – ul. Sądelska 86b, Murzasichle
If you’re our frequent readers you know that this one is about 🙂 Le Chalet is a controversial place. Some love the place (like we do!!!), but there are some that hate it. They hate it because of the controversial owner, because it’s impossible to hate the food!!! Whoever loves real Italian cuisine will be happy in Le Chalet. For us it’s one of the best if not the best Italian restaurant in Poland. Nobody makes such ricotta, spinach and sage or pumpkin and amaretti tortelli. They’re so perfect that each bite is a little culinary orgasm! Delicious Italian cold cuts and cheeses for starters and a panna cotta or tiramisu for dessert. We often drive from Cracow just to have lunch which makes 10 km from Zakopane nothing!! 🙂 Le chalet is a real gem because who else could run a successful Italian restaurant in a tiny town for 25 years??? Don’t know anyone!
Have a tasty Zakopane!