You might have heard of Polish milk bars. To put it briefly, these are cheap establishments usually associated with the communist period, serving home-style food (a lot of dishes are dairy-based, that’s where the name comes from). In Kraków, there are several milk bars in the centre, usually packed with tourists. If you’re looking for something more authentic and off the beaten path (not too far, though), Bar Krakus is where you should go.
I’m lucky to be working close-by and I head there whenever I feel like eating authentic Polish food for lunch. There are two dishes I usually order: pierogi ruskie, famous Polish dumplings (even though they’re called “Russian”) with cheese, potatoes and onions. The best part? This proper main dish costs just 4.70 PLN – yes, that’s just one euro! For roughly the same price you can get naleśniki zielone (spinach crepes) or several versions of barszcz, Polish beetroot soup (I always recommend it to my friends from abroad). Meaty mains (including side dishes) cost an estimated 10-15 PLN, which is still extremely cheap.
There’s more to Bar Krakus than just affordable and delicious food. The interior is very basic and milk bar-ish (don’t expect anything fancy), and finally, it’s a great place for people-watching. Every social group goes there, from middle-class workers to elders (most of them being regulars). If you want a true Polish experience, in terms of food and getting to know the society a bit more, Bar Krakus is the place.