- Piwnica Swidnicka (Wrocaw): At first glance, this pub looks like a classic tourist trap; but it's actually an excellent traditional Polish restaurant serving big plates of classic dishes.
- U Kucharzy (Warsaw): It's perhaps an ironic comment on Polish cooking that one of the capital's best restaurants -- it received a Michelin "Bib Gourmand" -- is actually in a hotel kitchen. If you're a kitchen voyeur, book a table in front of the mega-burners to watch the chefs prepare Polish mainstays up close and personal.
- Alfredo (Szklarska Poreba): Proof that in Poland you can never judge a restaurant by its cover. If so, you'd never dream of stopping at this tiny mom-and-pop, and you'd end up missing some excellent home-style Polish cooking.
- Pawowicz (Warsaw): A take-out-only, hole-in-the-wall operation that draws a constant flow of customers looking for the city's best doughnuts (paczki) and pastries at bargain prices. You'll find branches in Sopot and Wrocaw.
- Bolków Hotel Restaurant (Bolków/Jawor): The restaurant at the tiny Bolków Hotel specializes in home cooking done well, including big plates of roasted meats served with mounds of mashed potatoes. The desserts are homemade, and the throwback atmosphere to the 1920s is fun and inviting.
- Ciagoty i Tesknoty (Lódz): Perched between two ghastly apartment blocks, this small, unassuming restaurant is an oasis of '50s jazz and fresh flowers. The menu is perched somewhere between home cooking and haute cuisine, with salads, pierogi, and pasta dishes, and some seriously good entrees. Take a taxi to get there or risk never finding it.
- Wierzynek (Kraków): This esteemed eatery has played host to visiting dignitaries, celebs, and heads of state since way back in 1364. The cuisine is an imaginative take on traditional Polish cooking, with an emphasis on local treats such as wild boar, quail, and venison.
- Dawno Temu Na Kazimierzu (Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz) (Kraków-Kazimierz): Finally, a Jewish-themed restaurant in Kazimierz that doesn't feel like a kitschy tourist trap. The interior is relaxed and intimate, and the food is great.
- La Rotisserie (Warsaw): For those in the know, this is one of the capital's most inviting splurge options. It helps to be a foodie to know some of the terms on the menu, but everything is great, so just point to an item and relax. For great value, try the five-course Sunday "linner" (a word play on "lunch" and "dinner").
- Hacjenda (Poznan): This is rumored to be the best place in Poland to try czernina, a soup made from duck's blood and bits of offal. They also do a good roast duck, if blood soup isn't on your list of must-tries.
- Jurta (Kruszyniany): A breath away from the Belarusian border, you can dig into hearty Tatar cuisine made by descendents of the original Mongol invaders. Try the donuts; they'd outmatch Krispy Kreme's any day of the week.
- Kawiarnia Nalesnikarnia (Jelenia Góra): What a surprise to find this excellent creperie -- with fantastic concoctions of chocolate, nuts, and whipped cream -- right on Jelenia Góra's handsome town square.
- Fantasmagoria (Katowice): Easily the best restaurant in town, and possibly all of this part of Poland. Excellent and inventive home-style cooking that takes equal inspiration from Ukrainian and eastern Polish classics, mixed with more modern notions of using local ingredients and a fresh presentation.
- Ogródek Pod Jaboniami (Augustów): A casual, family-friendly restaurant set alongside the Augustów canal in an apple orchard. You won't find any airs or themes here, just owners Pawe and Sylwia, who want you to leave with good culinary memories of the local fish and traditional soup and meat dishes.
- Knajpa U Fryzjera (Kazimierz Dolny): Wacky Jewish-themed tavern restaurant with hearty dishes featuring roast meats and stews. The atmosphere is festive, with lots of alcohol to accompany the excellent cooking. In nice weather, grab a table out back and drink long into the night.
- Maszoperia (Hel Peninsula): A simple fish restaurant where all they need for you to have an "I've never had fish this good!" experience is a frying pan and a little butter to fry the fish in. The setting is nothing more than a high-end fish shack stuffed with fishermen's tools.
- Muzealna (Zamosc): Handsome and memorable restaurant set in three brick Renaissance cellars that look like they've just stepped out of the 16th century. The traditional Polish cooking is superb.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.