Written by Lucy.
In May of this year I was lucky enough to get to spend 5 days in the beautiful Polish city of Krakow. Renowned for its architecture, Krakow is a vibrant and exciting place with a rich and fascinating history. It’s also very affordable, making it the perfect destination for a city break.
After how easy I found eating vegetarian and gluten free when I visited Prague last year, I was looking forward to seeing what Krakow had to offer. Although it was a little trickier finding restaurants that catered for me, there was still plenty of choice, and these were my top favourite restaurants and cafes.
Pod Baranem was the first restaurant we tried during out visit, as it was close to our Air BnB and had the most extensive menu of traditionally Polish gluten free and non-gluten free food. It’s a large restaurant, with charming rustic décor and the service was great. We visited twice during our stay and didn’t need to book, but this was during the week – at the weekend it might be worth making a reservation.
As I mentioned, the menu is extensive with a lot of choice, and 5 pages just for gluten free food, including pierogi! (but these are on the bar menu and only available before 7pm.)
The vegetarian GF section is smaller, with less choice, which isn’t surprising as Polish food does seem to include a lot of meat. And be careful – some items that may seem veggie on the menu actually aren’t (meat in the beetroot soup, and bacon in the roast potatoes as two examples) so be sure to check with your server before ordering.
I had savoury pancakes with cheese and spinach, and mozzarella and sundried tomato salad, which were both delicious, but there was also stuffed cabbage leaves and vegetable stew to choose from. The dessert menu was huge however, and although the raspberry cake I tried on the first night was great (and so pretty!) the crème brulee was incredible – it was worth the visit for that alone!
Both meals came to around £30 a head, for three courses each and drinks, which is incredibly reasonable for the standard of food and service. The non-coeliacs of the group also loved this restaurant, so it gets a big thumbs up from me, and I would thoroughly recommend it.
We tried Café Mlynek on the second night of our stay in Krakow. It’s located south of the Old Town in Kazimierz, on a beautiful and lively square with some great bars, and, as everywhere in the city, gorgeous architecture.
We chose it after a lot of googling as, although the menu is small, they had vegetarian options, and GF clearly marked on the menu. There’s cosy seating inside and out, and we chose to sit outside as the ambience in the square was lovely.
To be fair, there wasn’t great deal of choice for me, but they did have GF pasta and our server was very helpful at explaining what I could and couldn’t have. I went for the spinach and ricotta pancakes, which were really delicious, and I had a mojito or two, which were the best I tried during my stay.
Overall I enjoyed Café Mlynek and would go again, but it might be a better destination for lunch, rather than an evening meal. Our dinner came to £12 each though, and was the cheapest of all the places we visited, so if you’re looking for good food at a great price, this could be the one for you.
This was one of my favourite restaurants that we visited while in Krakow, in the heart of the Old Town, Nota Resto is a high-end stylish restaurant serving modern European cuisine, and would be a good destination for a special occasion or a treat. The prices are still very reasonable for how great the food and service was, with two courses each, and a lot of Prosecco, our meal only came to £30 a head.
Gluten free options aren’t marked on the menu, but our server was very helpful at explaining what I could have, and they keep gluten free pasta in the kitchen too. I went for pasta and pesto as my starter and a GF pizza (made from soy flour) as my main, with goats cheese, walnuts and pear – this might be the best GF pizza I’ve ever had!
I couldn’t possibly have fit in a dessert, although there were GF options available too, if I ever go back to Krakow I’ll have to give them a try! With lots of options for the non-coeliacs in the group too, I would definitely recommend Nota Resto.
Krowarzywa Vegan Burger
If you’re ever in Krakow, you have to try Krowarzywa Burger, a small vegan burger place located in the Old Town, just off the old town square. Everything on the menu is vegan, two of the burgers (the beetroot burger, and the smoked tofu burger) are gluten free, and they have GF buns.
I tried both, and although the beetroot was great, I liked the tofu best. The portions are big, so you get a good meal for a very reasonable price. The menu on the wall is in Polish, but they have English menus at the till, and the servers were helpful, and gave me a hand with ordering. It was such a treat to get to eat a burger in a bun, and to have it taste so good too!
Cakester Café was another gem in the Old Town of Krakow, with a great menu with a lot of vegan, GF and sugar free options.
There are GF waffles, pancakes, crepes, and toasted sandwiches. There’s also a selection of cakes that changes daily, and a range of vegan icecream.
With so much choice it was really difficult to choose what to try, but I went for the waffles with fresh fruit and coconut cream, which was a huge portion and really delicious!
On another visit I tried a GF toasted sandwich with goats cheese, spinach and pear (yum) and a slice of banoffee cake. The cake was great, but a little heavy – the cakester philosophy is no sugar and healthy food, so if you want decadence and indulgence these cakes might not be for you, but it was wonderful having so much choice, and I would really recommend Cakester as a fab destination for breakfast or lunch.
Other places to try
I picked up a veggie map of Krakow from Café Mlynek, which maps out other good eateries for vegetarians and vegan visiting the city.
Which is worth a look – generally I find that restaurants with lots of veggies options are more likely to be aware of allergies and cater to them. A bit more research might be needed to check GF options are available, but it’s a good place to start!
Momo is listed on the map and came up in my research before our trip. I’m really sad we didn’t have time to try it, as the Indian inspired menu sounds fab, and it was recommended a lot. They have a written menu that changes daily with vegan and gluten free options clearly marked.
Wielopole 3 is a completely vegetarian restaurant, with gluten free options available, this is another that we ran out of time to try ourselves, but came recommended when I looked it up online. If we ever get the opportunity to visit the city again this is one that will be on my list to try!
Good Lood we didn’t know before visiting, but it turns out Krakow is famous for its amazing ice cream! There are ice cream shops everywhere, but our favourite was Good Lood, located on the same square as Café Mlynek. The portions are huge, the flavours are great (the caramel with pink Himalayan salt was amazing), and they have vegan options and gluten free cones. There’s often a long queue, but it’s well worth the wait.
A little Polish goes a long way. Pretty much everyone in Krakow spoke very good English, so you can get by easily without needing to learn the language, but we found the people we spoke to warmed up when we had a go at talking in Polish. Just the basics are all you need, we found YouTube a good source when we were learning.
Take hayfever tablets. We visited in May at the beginning of summer, the weather was beautiful, but my hayfever was totally out of control – Krakow is surrounded by forests and greenery, if you suffer like I do, make sure you prepare and take your medication!
Wear comfortable shoes. Krakow is not a huge city, and although there are trams and bikes for hire, we loved walking everywhere as you can take your time exploring and taking in the sights. All that walking is hard on your feet and a lot of the paths are cobbled, so be sure to take comfy footwear.
Lucy is a contributing author at The Gluten Free Veggie. She is a 30 year old vegetarian Coeliac with a passion for great recipes! Check out all of her posts here. When she’s not cooking up delicious treats, Lucy is creating greetings cards for her business. Check out her Facebook page here.
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