Warsaw Of The Future
The Warsaw That Never Was page 28
The Great Escape
Moving? page 20
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BALMAIN CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN HERVE LEGER ISABEL MARANT MONCLER GAMME ROUGE RALPH LAUREN SALVATORE FERRAGAMO SIMONETTA RAVIZZA TOD’S TORY BURCH VALENTINO
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A LITTLE FORESIGHT
mportant advice directed at anyone writing an editorial letter for the Warsaw Insider: stop looking into the future, your predictions and prophecies will never come true. It’s a warning upheld by history: just last month I spent much of this space casting dire weather warnings for the month up ahead. Reading between the lines, you would have thought civilization faced collapse; that people would be forced into the sewers, with only the strongest surviving the imminent snowpocalypse. Of course, what came to pass was one of the mildest February’s in recent memory. But if you think my crystal ball is faulty, then you should check the one Bolesław Bierut was using – Poland’s post-war commie leader had seriously big plans for the city, ones that envisioned amphitheaters and green belts, and many more bonkers ideas. Yet while he promised Utopia, what he delivered was dysfunctional Dystopia. This issue we look at his Brave New World and the Warsaw that never was – see page 24. Bierut got it wrong, and some of his disastrous decisions affect the capital to this day. But if not his vision, what does the future hold for Warsaw? We get an idea by talking to three architectural studios about their hopes and aspirations for the capital city: for that, look to page 28. This issue, however, is not just concerned with what might or didn’t happen. As the second metro line draws to its conclusion, Ed Wight goes underground to bring you the latest developments not to mention a few creepy little secrets. Finally, the Insider battle bus is back on the road: to coincide with the 70th anniversary of The Great Escape, we take a trip to Żagań to see where it happened. Enjoy the issue, and see you next month. Alex Webber firstname.lastname@example.org
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
(Illustration by Michał Miszkurka)
Officially recognized as Poland’s premier Englishlanguage magazine, the Insider is delighted to announce the launch of its new look website. Designed to reflect the nature of a dynamic and energizing capital, the Online Insider sails you through one of Europe’s most exciting cities. In a fast evolving city, the Online Insider opens the door to Warsaw’s secrets, stories and latest scoops. Don’t let Warsaw leave you behind: • Full restaurant, nightlife, café and shopping listings • In-depth picks, past and present • Features
Tying in with our futuristic issue, we’ve instructed our cover artist to go all Bladerunner on us. But could this really happen in the future? See page 28.
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on the cover
MONCLER RALPH LAUREN SALVATORE FERRAGAMO TOD’S TORY BURCH VALENTINO
Three design studios ponder the future of Warsaw
07 Opener FISP Irish Ball 07 Calendar Music, art and events around town 10 Museums Listings
31 Insider’s Pick Salto 46 Insider’s Pick Trattoria da Antonio
Cafes & Wine Bars
63 Insider’s Pick Chłodna 25
67 Insider’s Pick Bollywood Lounge
73 Insider’s Pick Victoria Galeria
13 News in Brief Design team scores headlines, Jewish Museum sets new deadline and Warsaw’s bike share returns 16 Underground Warsaw An exploration of the second metro line 30 Warsaw Foodie Latest from the blog frontline
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20 The Great Escape The 70th anniversary of the most daring prison break ever! 24 Brave New World The Warsaw that never was 28 The Next Dimension The Warsaw of the future 88 Why Warsaw? Trent Payne of 77 Creative
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WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Interview: FISP Irish Ball 7
for more events visit: www.warsawinsider.pl
EVENTS 7 / MUSEUMS 10
EVENTS THIS MONTH
2 CONCERT Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls 20:00, Proxima, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 99A Formerly of the post-hardcore band Million Dead, Frank Turner took up an acoustic-focused career change in 2005, with his performances accompanied by the backing sounds of the Sleeping Souls. His latest album is Tape Deck Heart, and you can expect tracks from that to feature heavily. Tickets from zł. 65-75, available at: eventim.pl
CHARITY FISP Irish Ball March 15, Hilton Hotel (ul. Grzybowska 63)
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF ORGANIZERS OR ARTISTS
ince humble beginnings 16 years ago, FISP (Fundacja im. Św. Patryka) have raised and distributed in excess of four million złotys to registered Polish charities. That’s very noble, but who are they and why are they relevant to our events listings? In short, because they’re the people that organize the annual Irish Ball, an event that has emerged as the most high-profile ex-pat fundraiser in Poland… and certainly the most fun. “It being St. Patrick’s weekend, I think the timing is crucial to its success,” says Niall Leonard, a member of the five strong Irish organizing committee. “Given that tickets are zł. 600, I never imagined we’d get beyond the 400 person mark we breached back in 2010 – but word has spread about the quality of the event, and a lot of former Warsaw-based ex-pats still fly in once a year especially for this – the Irish know how to throw a party, whilst at the same time giving a little back to their adopted nation.” In the past year ‘giving a little’ has meant new doors, windows and heating for eight schools in Northern Poland, it’s also meant 25 hearing aid units for the deaf and the fit-out of a soup kitchen for the homeless in Łuków. This year looks set to break all previous records, with around 550 people anticipated to attend. And the reason for the clamor is apparent to all those familiar with Warsaw’s black tie circuit. This is not the conventional ex-pat ball. Forget dreary ceremonies and rambling speeches, here the Irish organizers place an emphasis on fun. Aside from the five-course dinner and free-flowing stout, entertainment lined up includes a celebration of Irish song and dance, not to mention a raffle whose highlights number a trip to Hawaii, tickets for the Barcelona Grand Prix, stays in five star hotels in Ireland, Poland and Turkey and a trip to watch Barca v Real Madrid. Woah indeed. And those that don’t win? They get to enjoy one of the most memorable nights in the Warsaw calendar. Warning: plan two days for recovery. Tickets: zł. 600 per head, zł. 6,000 for a table of 10. Book your place: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONCERT Simple Minds 20:00, Stodoła, ul. Batorego 10 It’s been a couple of decades since Simple Minds could fill the world’s biggest arenas, but this Scottish outfit retain a hugely loyal following, not to mention a growing number of new fans. Expect their biggest hits to get an outing, such as Alive & Kicking, Belfast Child and Breakfast Club anthem Don’t You (Forget About Me) – it’s going to be a belter! Tickets from zł. 150, available at: eventim.pl
3 CONCERT Tom Odell 20:00, Palladium, ul. Złota 9 Of his early performances Odell recalls they were “full of humiliation: dragging a keyboard round, turning up to find out I’d been taken off the bill, gangs of lads grabbing the mic off me and laughing.” Guess who has had the last laugh? The winner of the 2013 Brits Critics’ Choice,
CULTURE 4&5 CONCERT James Arthur 20:00, Palladium, ul. Złota 9 The controversial winner of the ninth edition of X Factor sold 2.5 million copies of his debut single, Impossible, and visits Poland as part of a European tour promoting his first album: James Arthur… Tickets available at: eventim.pl
5 CONCERT Skunk Anansie 20:00, PKiN, Sala Kongresowa, Pl. Defilad 1 Better known for their hard riffs and intense festival performances, Skunk Anansie present a more mellow side with an acoustic concert inspired by the success of their 2013 appearance at the Cadogan Hall. Defining themselves as ‘clit rock’, anticipate some newer material alongside hits like Hedonism and Weak. Tickets from zł. 120-180, details at: kongresowa.pl
7 DANCE Josh Wink 1500m2, ul. Solec 18 The Philadelphia DJ remains best known for 90s tracks such as Don’t Laugh and Higher State of Consciousness, and has also been responsible for stunning remixes of Moby, Ladytron, Depeche Mode and many more. Blurring lines between techno, house, acid and drum’n’bass, this promises to be the clubbing highlight of the year so far. Ticket details unavailable at press time, check: 1500m2.com
best with this production of Shakespeare’s classic love story. His interpretation of Prokofiev’s ballet originally premiered in Edinburgh to rave reviews, with British critics moved to proclaim it as ‘breathtaking’ and ‘a stroke of genius’. For further details see: teatrwielki.pl
9 CONCERT The Webb Sisters 20:00, Fabryka Trzciny, ul. Otwocka 14 Handpicked by Leonard Cohen to support him a few years back, The Webb Sisters have been described as ‘dynamic performers with expressive voices and plangent harmonies.’ Tickets from zł. 99, more info at: fabrykatrciny.pl CONCERT Anna Calvi 19:00, Art Basen, ul. Konopnickiej 6 Nominated in the past for Mercury, Brit and Guardian awards, this British songstress has been favorably compared to PJ Harvey and Siouxsie. Something of a style icon, the glamorous Ms. Calvi will perform songs from her 2013 album One Breath, not to mention her breakthrough debut album Anna Calvi. Tickets from zł. 75-85, available at: eventim.pl
14, 16, 18, 19 OPERA Madame Butterfly Teatr Wielki, Pl. Teatralny 1 Puccini’s classic has, according to critics, ‘lost none of its perfect beauty.’ Find the Polish National Opera in action complimented by the full skills of conductor Andriy Yurkevych. ‘Amazing,’ say those who’ve viewed past performances. Further info at: teatrwielki.pl
7-9, 20-22 & 23
BALLET Romeo & Juliet Teatr Wielki, Pl. Teatralny 1 The celebrated choreographer Krzysztof Pastor is at his
CONCERT Bonobo 20:00, Palladium, ul. Złota 9 Regarded as a ‘downtempo pioneer’ and famed for his
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
complex basslines, British-born Bonobo – real name Simon Green – plays this cult hangout as part of a promotional tour for his 2013 album release The North Borders. Tickets from zł. 110-125, available at: eventim.pl
20-27 FILM FESTIVAL Spanish Film Festival Kino Muranów (ul. Andersa 5), Kino Luna (ul. Marszałkowska 28) The world’s largest overview of Spanish film outside of Spain arrives to Poland, with screenings to be held in seven Polish cities. Warsaw’s the first city on the list, with a program that will include art house cinema, documentaries and more mainstream hits. For details see: manana.pl
24 CONCERT Rufus Wainwright 19:00, Palladium, ul. Złota 9 Nominated for a Genie award for Best Original Song at the tender age of 15, Wainwright’s career has been a helter skelter of peaks and troughs that have numbered a crystal meth episode and two Juno awards. The multi-talented singer-songwriter is guaranteed to perform in front of a sell-out audience. Tickets from zł. 140-160, available at: eventim.pl
27 CONCERT Aga Zaryan 20:00, Palladium, ul. Złota 9 Signed to the prestigious Blue Note Records, Aga Zaryan is one of the top jazz vocalist talents there is, with her style compared to Joni Mitchell and Shirley Horn. Her status as one of Poland’s top singers has been confirmed via scores of awards and glowing reviews in the west. Tickets from zł. 85, available at: eventim.pl
28-29 & 31 Rodriguez 20:00, PKiN, Sala Kongresowa, Pl. Defilad 1
Subject of the award-winning documentary Searching for Sugarman, Rodriguez has enjoyed epic global success since the release of the 2012 film. Originally scheduled to perform twice, his Warsaw concerts sold out so quickly a third was hurriedly added. All tickets are gone, so use slight of hand to gain entry – it’s a must.
29 CONCERT Rea Garvey 19:00, Hybrydy, ul. Złota 7/9 The former lead singer of Reamonn has achieved considerable solo success since parting with the band, with hits including the multi-platinum Can’t Stand the Silence. Perhaps lesser known are his collaborations with Nelly Furtado, Paul Van Dyk, Jam & Spoon and Mary J Blige. Tickets from zł. 59-69, available at: eventim.pl
30 CONCERT Chris Norman 18:00, PKiN, Sala Kongresowa, Pl. Defilad 1 Name rings a bell? Course it does. As the front man of Smokie Chris Norman is best known for hits like Living Next Door to Alice and Midnight Lady. As a solo musician Norman has cast a spell across central Europe. Tickets from zł. 99-259, available at: eventim.pl
30 CONCERT Beth Hart 20:00, Proxima, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 99A This L.A. singer-songwriter fuses blues rock with soul with her lyrics often based on a roller coaster life that has seen her battle with addiction problems. Gloriously talented, her Warsaw concert is expected to be a dazzling celebration of her eclectic style and endless charisma. Tickets zł. 140, available at: eventim.pl
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF ORGANIZERS OR ARTISTS
Odell’s mix of indie pop brought him to the attention of the Rolling Stones who booked the artist to support them. Tickets from zł. 79, available at: eventim.pl
Media Patronage March 18 & 19
March 19 & 20
Michael Gira Pardon, To Tu, Pl. Grzybowski 12/16, www.pardontotu.pl
Postcards from Europe 19:30, Och-Teatr, ul. Grójecka 65
illed as a ‘sad comedy’ this play follows the story of Avery Sutton who returns home after eight years of travelling. But all is not as he remembers – the house leans on the edge of a sinkhole, Aunt Ester is running a phone-sex line out of the kitchen and the dog needs feeding! Better known as 37 Postcards in the West, this Michael McKeever play has been described as ‘moving and real’ by the New York Times, and is filled with absurdist humor. Furthermore, here’s a chance to view celebrated actress Magdalena Zawadzka (appearing as Evelyn Sutton), in her 45th year on stage. Further details at: www.ochteatr.com.pl
arsaw’s best venue for alternative live music has started the year with a bang, already attracting names like Michael Zerang and Marc Ducret. This month the highlight is the arrival of Michael Gira, who is scheduled to play two nights as part of a European solo tour. Known for his role in the critically acclaimed Swans, the L.A. born singer-songwriter also fronts Angels of Light and the Young God Records label. Celebrated for his avant garde sound and experimental approach to music, Gira’s Warsaw appearances promise to be a sell-out. For ticket details check Pardon, To Tu’s website closer to the event.
CULTURE Copernicus Science Centre ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 20, tel. 22 596 4100, www.kopernik.org.pl Interactive, witty and surprising, Copernicus allows visitors to experience an earthquake, blast recyclable objects into space and become a mystery cracking detective. Ongoing until March 30: Accelerating Science. This temporary exhibition poses the question, ‘how was the universe born’? CSW ul. Jazdów 2, www.csw.art.pl Situated in a baroque-style castle the center hosts artists from all over the world (Edward Dwurnik, Jenny Holzer, Annie Leibovitz, Wilhelm Sasnal, Andy Warhol). The on-site bookshop is of particular interest for artists and intellectuals. Ongoing till April 21: Future Perfect, Contemporary Art from Germany. The works of 16 artists from the ‘middle and younger generations’ are presented, including those of Cyprien Gaillard, Dani Gal, Annette Kelm and Armin Linke. Ongoing till May 16: Martha Rosler: Guidance for the Lost –
How to Succeed in New Poland. The American artist takes a look at the realities of everyday life in modern Poland. Dom Spotkań z Historią ul. Karowa 20, www.dsh.waw.pl The History Meeting House wins points for frequently excellent exhibitions that cover topics such as ‘rebuilding Warsaw’ and ‘Socialist Realist architecture.’ It won’t take longer than twenty minutes to peruse whatever exhibition is on, but it’s still a very worthwhile diversion. Ongoing until April 6: The Ordinary Year of 1934. Photographer Willem Van De Poll’s pictures of Warsaw, Vilnius, Łowicz and the Polish borderlands offer a poignant look at a world that will soon brutally disappear. Jewish Historical Institute ul. Tłomackie 3/5, www.jhi.pl Officially opened in1947 the Jewish Historical Institute was created to serve as an archive of Jewish culture in Warsaw. It contains art work, historical artifacts and important documents from the city’s rich Jewish past. Ongoing until April: The Photographs of Yoram Gross. An intriguing
collection of photographs taken by filmmaker Yoram Gross in 2012 when he toured Poland to show his grandchildren the country of his birth. Historical Museum of Warsaw Rynek Starego Miasta 28/42, www.mhw.pl The granddaddy of Warsaw museums is over the worst of a lengthy refit and gradually reopening bit by bit. The ground floor cinema is a must – playing a 20 minute film that details the powerful story behind the destruction of Warsaw. Preludes of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews ul. Anielewicza 6. T his hugely impressive museum is already luring streams of onlookers eager to preview the temporary exhibits housed in the opening halls. Ongoing: Biographies of Things. A temporary display of items donated to the museum, among them toys, artwork, photos, religious items and everyday articles like travel trunks and clothing. The Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw Ostrogski Palace, ul. Okólnik 1,
THE ROYAL CASTLE in Warsaw
chopin.museum Recognized as one of the most hi-tech museums in Europe, the world even, computer chip tickets allow visitors the chance to personalize the museum experience as never before. Over 5,000 objects are present, among them Chopin’s pocket watch, last piano, a lock of hair and even his death mask. Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw ul. Pańska 3, www.artmuseum.pl The very first museum of modern art in Warsaw, still fighting for a proper location, bravely manages to provide visitors with a display of contemporary art, including works of Alina Sapocznikow, Zbigniew Libera, Paweł Althamer, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Miroslaw Bałka, Katarzyna Kozyra and Artur Żmijewski. Ongoing: As You Can See – Polish Art Today. The most ‘up-to-date’ collection of Polish modern art to date, will apparently be, “critical, liberating, psychedelic, often brutal and perverse, dense and ambiguous.” Ongoing till Sept 14: In the Near Future. Works from 47 artists demonstrating the social changes that occurred after 1989. Ongoing till June 1: As You Can See: Polish Art Today. Billed as ‘a review of forms of seeing and perception’ this exhibition, we are told, ‘centers around what you can see, how you see it, and what becomes visible through and in art.’ National Museum Al. Jerozolimskie 3, www.mnw.art.pl Famed for its collection of Dutch and Flemish masters, it’s also the final word in Polish art, with all the greats represented – inc. Matejko, Witkiewicz and other such stars.
Plac Zamkowy 4 tel. (+48 22) 35 55 170 www.zamek-krolewski.pl email@example.com
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
The Neon Museum ul. Mińska 25 (Soho Factory), www.neonmuzeum.org A complete departure from the stuff museums in Poland are famed for, this long awaited
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF ORGANIZERS OR ARTISTS
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
project brings together the neon lights that once illuminated the city. Among the collection are 35 landmark signs, many of which date from the 60s and 70s. Palmiry National Memorial Museum Palmiry, www.palmiry.mhw.pl An excellent multimedia exhibition set next to a cemetery holding the graves of 1,700 Poles executed in the first years of Nazi occupation. The museum tells their forgotten story, with archival video footage complimented by exhumed exhibits and plenty of background info dealing with the siege and subsequent occupation of Warsaw. Pawiak ul. Dzielna 24/26. What was once a Tsarist prison assumed a doubly sinister function under the Nazis. Some
100,000 Polish political prisoners were held here, 37,000 of which were executed on-site. Split in two sections, cells are found on one side, while on the other the full story of the invasion and occupation. Poster Museum in Wilanów ul. St. Kostki Potockiego 10/16, www.postermuseum.pl With a collection that touches the 55,000 mark, here’s the biggest poster museum in the world – and also the original. Art spans the period from 1892 till 2002, and while the majority is Polish orientated works on display also include those by Dali and Warhol. Railway Museum ul. Towarowa 1, www.muzkol.pl Inside the museum contains an unimaginative formula of train models (including one charmingly
outdated model displaying a crash!), uniforms and paintings depicting Polish rail travel through the passage of time. Outside it’s a different story – find an amazing collection of locomotives, including armored vehicles and Comrade Bierut’s luxury saloon car. The Royal Castle in Warsaw Pl. Zamkowy 4, zamek-krolewski.pl Meticulously restored after WWII, highlights inside include the lavishly decorated 18th century royal apartments with 22 paintings by Bernardo Bellotto (known as Canaletto), the Senators’ Chamber in which the Constitution of the Third of May was signed in 1791, the biggest collection of Oriental rugs in Europe in the Tin-Roofed Palace and two remarkable Rembrandt paintings.
Warsaw Uprising Museum ul. Grzybowska 79, www.1944.pl Cope with the crowds to discover the definitive story of the Uprising. Exhibits range from a full size replica of a Liberator plane, to a sewer beneath the cinema screen and a slice of bread preserved from 1944. And don’t miss the ‘City of Ruins’, a five minute 3D film which takes you on an aerial journey over devastated Warsaw. Zachęta National Art Gallery Pl. Małachowskiego 3, www.zacheta.art.pl Featuring in the collection are works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Ernst and Picasso, as well as luminaries of the Polish art scene such as Tadeusz Kantor, Alina Szapocznikow, Katarzyna Kozyra and Zbigniew Libera. Ongoing until Aug 31: Anemona Crisan: Installation for the Interior.
INFRONT CITY NEWS 16 / DESIGN 13 / WARSAW METRO 14
New Kids on the Block(s)
PHOTOGRAPH BY KEVIN DEMARIA
A Spanish/Polish design studio have made headlines after producing a series of best-selling paper cut-out models featuring iconic PRL-era structures. Based in Poznań, Zupa Grafika came up with the idea after being inspired by the capital’s communist carbuncles: “Some people are struck by sunrises, however, we appreciate the power of Polish architecture and blocks.” Speaking to the Warsaw Insider, the design duo of David Navarro and Martyna Sobecka continued: “As a graphic design studio we appreciate the composition of their facades and perceive them as pieces of art. The repetition of the patterns, touched by the passing of time, makes them unique, full of amazing textures, colors and movement – like a hypnotic concrete dance that we see every day, but somehow don’t seem to notice.” Modestly describing the ‘Blok Wshcodni’ project as a sideline to ‘give vent to their private design folly’, the cut-outs have won Zupa Grafika national acclaim and viral internet attention. The complete collection features five paper models, ranging from high-profile structures such as the Rotunda, to lesser-known blocks out in Tarchomin and Mokotów. “Somehow,” say Navarro and Sobecka, “the project felt like an archaeological exploration of Warsaw. It’s a very peculiar city, with so much built from pre-fabricated ‘Wielka Płyta’ blocks. We wanted to capture them before they became extinct – the whole series, therefore, is our attempt at understanding the city’s architecture: from the suburbs to the centric great examples of Polish modernism, all the way up to the Rotunda, which in a way integrates the whole collection and becomes its reference point.” What they forget to mention, is they’re also bloody good fun – not least on a dull, deskbound Monday. There are deeper points behind such projects, though, and Zupa promise their next models will be “a socially engaged cut-out collection bringing up serious issues concerning Polish reality.” For more on their work, click: www.zupagrafika.com
IN THE CITY Office Gossip
Work has started on the Domaniewska Office Hub, a sustainable state-of-the-art office building offering a total of 27,000 sq/m of Class A rentable space arranged over seven levels. Situated in the immediate vicinity of Galeria Mokotów, and with two levels of underground parking accommodating a total of 430 vehicles, completion of the project is slated for Q2 or Q3 of 2015.
On Yer Bike
Months after being name-checked by USA Today as one of the Top 16 bike share programs in the world, Veturilo have announced that their bike share stations will return to action on March 1 – weather permitting. Figures released show 150,000 users are now registered to use the bikes, a leap of 36% since they were originally unveiled in 2012. For registration info check: en.veturilo.waw.pl
Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz Waltz faced renewed criticism after Warsaw failed to make an impression in an fDi report on the ‘European Cities of the Future’. The Polish capital failed to chart at all in the survey’s Top 10 Eastern European Cities category, a list that was topped by Budapest. Wrocław, Katowice and Poznań all made the cut. In all, Warsaw was only deemed worthy of a mention in two categories, ranking 10th for ‘Cost Effectiveness’ and 6th for ‘Business Friendliness’. Commenting on Warsaw’s poor showing Maciej Białecki sniped: “this is a truer assessment of the achievements of Hanna Gronkiewicz Waltz.”
Seven years after the cornerstone was laid, it has been announced that the Museum of the History of Polish Jews will finally open on October 28th later this year. The museum has already attracted in excess of 200,000 visitors after opening a temporary exhibition last year to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The core exhibition that will be unveiled this autumn promises to become an international class attraction. Whether President Obama keeps good to his word to attend the launch – made during his visit to Warsaw a couple of years back – remains unclear.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY EXCEPT TOP LEFT BY KEVIN DEMARIA
Launch Looms For Museum
It’s taken a rail-y long time getting here, but Warsaw’s second metro line is finally pulling into the station – and it's only about 100 years late. This issue, the Insider takes a deeper look at the metro’s checkered history, its spooky sightings and its alluring sex appeal. BY ED WIGHT
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
t hasn’t exactly been an Express service. Started in 2010, Part Two of Warsaw’s metro line was originally planned to open its doors in time for Euro 2012. A series of calamities including floods, fires, WWII bombs and general disorder put paid to that, but now the end is in sight. And that has got locals excited. “They say it will be ready by September and, to be honest, it will be great as it means we’ll finally have an underground subway system which, although not on the same level as the Paris Metro or the London Underground, at least shows that we are a proper capital city,” says Warsaw student Kasia Binkowska, 22. “More importantly,” says boyfriend Rafal Dzidzinski, 24, “it will improve people’s standard of living, increase investment, improve the environment and reduce the number of cars and busses.” Costing around 6 billion złoty of EU cash, Line 2 will begin the process of connecting East and West. Passing 8-meters under the Vistula River this first (central) part will stretch 6.1 km from Rondo Daszyńskiego to Dworzec Wileński. Eventually, the plan is for it to reach from Połczyńska in the far east all the way across to Bródno and Gocław. And there’s even talk of a third line. But no one’s holding their breath... That’s because of the metro’s overall snail-pace history. Conceived in 1918 it was to take nearly 80 years for Line One to come to fruition. Admittedly, the Great Depression got in the way, and then so did World War Two. And then there was over 40 years of communism to deal with. Initially, post-war commie City planners had given the go-ahead for a deep underground system to move troops around swiftly, and by 1953 over 700 meters of tunnels had been hewn out of the capital’s underbelly. Then Stalin died and work was abandoned, not to be resumed until 1984. The thing finally opened in 1995 with 11 stations, and rolling stock from Russia. In the 14 years since, the line has been extended to include 11 more stations. The effort hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last month CNN included the Warsaw metro in its list of Europe’s 12 most Impressive Metro Stations. Coming in at number 11, praise was heaped on the line’s Plac Wilsona stop which they suggested looked like it had been “built by UFOs.” Warsaw’s local government denies any extraterrestrial involvement, but that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists nor accounts of other oddities. For a start, there’s talk of
a ghost train. In 2010, there was speculation that metro chiefs were planning to hire a ghost hunter after workers reported sightings of a mysterious, driverless train hurtling around the track at breakneck speeds. According to some reports, workers were even afraid to go to work, despite underground CCTV failing to pick up any supernatural activity. But workers were adamant. One terrified witness was quoted as saying: “I’ve seen it once. For as long as I live I will never forget it. Rushing around at full speed and with no lights on. I reported it to the management but no one wanted to listen. They just laughed at me. But I really saw it and a few of my colleagues saw it as well. I guess they’ll have to hire an exorcist to drive the damn thing out.” They didn’t but then two years later during the construction of Line 2, a video emerged online claiming that hundreds of dead bodies lay hidden along the new route. The discovery of the corpses, said the video’s author Herbu Grabie, were being kept under wraps and “workers were ordered to keep the whole thing secret under pain of disciplinary dismissal. Workers have uncovered human skeletons and human remains in various stages of decomposition,” he said. “The number of corpses is estimated to be in the hundreds, but no one knows the exact number. Bones and skulls are loaded directly onto trucks and taken to a landfill and dumped.” The claims were picked up by news channel TVN who contacted the police and prosecutors office. Both denied any reports of dead bodies or of remains being taken away by trucks. But suspicions remained. Not that that has seemed to bother some. Indeed, according to bearded sexologist Zbigniew Izdebski, randy couples have taken to bonking on it. In his book The Sexuality of Poles in the Early Twenty-First Century, Izdebski says he found that a whopping 4.3 percent of Warsaw’s population had had sex on the metro. This led daily paper Gazeta Wyborcza to conclude: “The Metro is quite a romantic place, which is well known to filmmakers and directors of musicals.” Whether Line 2 provokes as much amour remains to be seen. For metro bosses, top of their sexy list are the BMW trains from Siemens. With glowing handrails, ambient lighting and front ends looking like “trust-building” faces, the 20-odd, six-car trains will be able to carry up to 1,500 passengers each. All in all, that sounds something worth waiting for. It’s just the ticket, in fact. facebook.com/warsawinsider
BROUGHT TO YOU BY PRAGA KONESER CENTER
SOMETHING FOR THE CONNOISSEUR Touted as a unique marriage of history and contemporary, the mixed use Praga Koneser Center is breathing life back into the Old Praga district.
or years, old Praga has been the most remarkable, magical part of Warsaw. Untouched by the turmoil of war, it is a place where pre-war architecture together with the unique folklore of Praga is combined with modern culture, art and business. In the heart of the district, in the former “Koneser” Vodka Distillery, a new project is being created: it is as unique as its surroundings. Among the 19th century historical brick buildings there will be centers of culture, luxury lofts, modern office buildings and retail and service premises. Together they will form a project unique to Europe: an open space full of city life. PRAGA KONESER CENTER IS A PLACE WITH CLASS. The former splendor of the Warsaw Vodka Distillery is preserved in the old 19th century factory buildings while the undefinable color of the Praga district creates a space that brims with inspiration. It is a magnificent place where the spirit of Old Praga seamlessly fits within a metropolitan atmosphere full of modern character. The very style of the factory buildings and the one-of-a-kind vision of this project will make Koneser a landmark for the whole district, and serve as its center point for cultural, social and business activities. KONESER IS A SHOWCASE for so called mixed-use space, integrating residential, commercial, business and cultural
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
functions within one project concept. An indisputable asset of Koneser is its scale and the diversity of the architectural solutions adapted to the contemporary needs and aspirations of the residents, customers and office workers. The stimulating energy of the location, its creative potential and metropolitan character, promise to be a clear indicator of Koneser’s identity. RESIDENTS OF THE APARTMENTS AND LOFTS will discover the ideal conditions for living. The enchanting nature of the cafes and restaurants will be ideal for causal or business meetings, while the museums and galleries will lure art lovers into a world where cutting edge modern design and artistic events are celebrated. Underlining the slant towards new trends and styles will be a series of shops and boutiques. PRAGA KONESER CENTER IS A MODEL for contemporary city space: open, friendly and accessible. An inestimable asset is its location on the timeless ul. Ząbkowska, in the very heart of Old Praga. Its proximity to prestigious real estate developments and municipal projects (e.g. the second metro line, Wileński Square, the Praga Museum and Targowa Creativity Center) will add to Koneser’s status and make it a district icon as well as a spiritus movens for the modern transformation of Warsaw’s east bank.
For more information: Praga Koneser Center ul. ZÄ…bkowska 27/31, (sales office) tel. 22Â 630 3355, www. koneser.eu
ANNIVERSARY THE GREAT ESCAPE
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
The Great ESCAPE March marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most
celebrated prison breaks ever: The Great Escape. The Insider heads to the forests of Żagań to learn the story. BY ALEX WEBBER | PHOTOGRAPHS BY ED WIGHT
ANNIVERSARY THE GREAT ESCAPE
f all of the crafty plans formulated by the Nazis, perhaps one stands out for its gross stupidity. Discounting their ill-advised lunge at the Soviet Union, few schemes had more flaws than the decision to house the most persistent Allied POW escapees together in one super-max complex. Did the Nazis really expect that lot to behave? Apparently so. Constructed in 1942, Stalag Luft III saw one of the most infamous prison breaks of all time, one that would be later immortalized in the film The Great Escape. The story has been told and retold numerous times, and as such much misinformation swirls overhead. Coated in thick Hollywood schlock, the reality was there were no plane heists and nor were there motorbike chases. And pictorial evidence suggests no-one looked much like Steve McQueen – in fact, any American involvement was limited to a bit of early digging: by the time the plan was in full swing American prisoners had been transferred to a different compound. But the escape did happen, and to most people’s surprise, it happened here in Poland – at least, what is modern day Poland. Of all the misconceptions perhaps the most common concerns the camp’s location. To this day myth persists the camp was/is situated deep in the dark forests of Bavaria. In actuality, it was in the town of Sagan which, following the post-war carve-up of Europe, was renamed Żagań and awarded to Poland. Set 500 kilometers west of Warsaw, reaching it is no easy task. A place of puddles and potholes and shuttered shop fronts, Żagań is typical of backwater Poland – as such, it’s not long before we’re hopelessly lost: “it’s starting to feel like the great mistake,” groans the driver. But our persistence is eventually rewarded as the car chunters up a track and stops outside the gates. As something of a history buff, I’ve traveled to numerous camps
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
in Poland, and as a rule they’re all somber, silent places of mournful contemplation. That is not the case with Stalag Luft III. On the other side of the gates, seasidestyle cutouts allow visitors to stick their heads through a Great Escape poster, while meters away, a rowdy group of children are engaged in a BBQ. Teachers struggle to retain control of the rabble as sword fights featuring red hot pokers break out sporadically. Ahead of us stands a recreation of Hut 104, the barrack from which Squadron Leader Roger Bushell planned the escape. Rebuilt not long back thanks to the combined efforts of RAF personnel and local volunteers, its door slams with a thud. We shuffle over squeaking floorboards into a room designed to mimic the living conditions endured by the prisoners. The dormitory is spartan but livable – there are pictures of sweethearts back home, food parcels and suitcases. In truth, it reminds me of my former boarding school. Only a sign pinned to the wall suggests it is not: “Escape from prison camps is no longer a sport,” it declares, before issuing dire ‘shoot on sight’ warnings. The Allied officers interred here were not serving hard time, certainly not in the way the Soviet and Polish prisoners were in nearby camps. On the contrary, the Allied airmen here kept themselves busy with cabaret and theater performances, football matches, swims in the water reservoir, and even model boat competitions.
Coward that I am, I ponder that I’d have waited the war out with a nice cup of tea and a few games of checkers. But that’s why I’m not a war hero. Bushell & Co. were cut from a different cloth... Bushell had already been involved in two escape capers, and his accomplices shared a similar pedigree. Their plan, to bust out a multi-national assembly of 250 airmen, was the boldest project to date – in simplified terms, it went something along the lines of, “we’ll build three tunnels, one of them is bound to work.” Taken as a whole, construction of them made ingenious use of 4,000 bed boards, 3,424 towels, 2,000 knives and forks and 1,400 cans of milk. As a feat of engineering it really was something. Pleasingly though, Hut 104 is not, unlike the film, just designed to appeal to jingoistic Brits. This was an international escape, and other nationalities are remembered in a series of draughty rooms – the French and Czech connection are prominent. Other escape bids that took place here are also noted, not least the legendary ‘Wooden Horse Escape’. Also later made into a film, this breakout utilized a wooden exercise horse to cover up a tunnel constructed right under the noses of the guards.
he museum’s masterstroke lies, however, in making history come alive. Sensitive in the right parts, in others it actively engages visitors: kids scale guard towers, shimmy under barbed wire and strike movie poster poses. Never do such larks feel disrespectful; the museum, you sense, encourages positive energy. The highlight though is the tunnel, a 30 meter shaft that allows visitors to squeeze on a trolley and then pant their way to freedom. Although three times shorter, and seven meters higher than the original tunnels, it’s a severely claustrophobic experience – you sweat, you swear, you feel moments of panic. Exiting, in the bright light of day, there is a new appreciation of the daredevil bravery of those who were involved.
A grim piece of concrete houses another museum, its chilly hall filled with relics recovered from the site: forged ID cards, currency, crockery and chess sets. While many of the displays are glassed off, other are simply left lying out in a big rusting heap – shovels, rifles and assorted metallic hardware. If you’re used to Warsaw’s new generation of museums, welcome to how they used to look: cold, confusing and completely compelling. But the journey is not over. Under the guidance of an enthusiastic staff member, we set off into the surrounding woodland. Amid the tangled undergrowth, original camp foundations survive, not least those of the notorious punishment block: the cooler. And in the ground, a 111 meter stretch of paving marks out where ‘Tunnel Harry’ ran, its stonework inscribed with the names and nationalities of the 76 men who made it out before the escape was busted. Of that number 73 were caught, with only two Norwegians and a Dutchman making it safety. Fifty of the escapees were shot, and many – including Roger Bushell – are now buried at the Commonwealth Cemetery in Poznań. Nowadays, the anniversary of The Great Escape is marked in Żagań on March 24th by way of a multi-national ceremony attended by a dwindling band of veterans. Words do not convey their courage.
URBAN SPACE THE PAST
A city of bewildering, scrambled styles, Warsaw presents an eccentric ensemble of aesthetic contrasts. But that really wasn’t supposed to happen... BY ALEX WEBBER
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
PICTURES TAKEN FROM SZESCIOLETNI PLAN ODBUDOWY WARSZAWY; BOOK SUPPLIED BY DOM SPOTKAŃ Z HISTORIĄ
BRAVE NEW WORLD
arsaw, 2014: faced with a visitor from outer space, how would you describe the city’s architecture? Myself, it’s not a question I dwell on (if I saw an alien I’d hide), but I’m sure words like chaotic, disorganized and ad hoc would be common. The challenges of the 20th century have left Warsaw with a layered patchwork look and a spontaneous style. Personally, I kind of like that: to rely on a weak analogy, it reminds me of kids playing football – everyone chasing the ball, playing for themselves, not the team. The greater good, the bigger picture: both can get stuffed. It’s left the capital looking like a giant jigsaw where none of the pieces fit. Those inconsistencies are compelling. It could have been so different. Now there is a temptation to attribute the city’s aesthetic directly to the war. There is obviously a truth in that, but that overlooks the fact that long before the sound of goosesteps were heard plans were afoot to reinvent the city. Before the outbreak of WWII, Warsaw had been earmarked to host the 1944 Polish National Exhibition: something described by Archimapa as “an immense showcase of the achievements of the independent Polish State and its plans for the future.” To coincide with it the eminent architects of the day laid plans to build scores of buildings: the crowning point was to be a vast development named in honor of Józef Piłsudski that envisioned a new city center stretching pretty much from what is now pl. na Rozdrożu to ul. Żwirki i Wigury. A considerable slice of Saska was to hold the exhibition grounds, while Gocław was to become something of an airport district. The dream turned to dust with the Nazi occupation. In fact, Warsaw was turned to dust – 84% of the city stood in ruin by the time the Germans exited taking stage left. Even without the deliberate destruction that followed the Warsaw Uprising, Warsaw as we know it didn’t stand a chance under the Nazis. As early as 1939, Hitler’s town planners had conceived something that would later be known as the Pabst Plan after its chief instigator – Friedrich Pabst. In it, he envisioned 130,000 ethnic Germans living on the left side, and a slave labor camp on the right of 80,000 Poles. Only the old town was to be spared, the rest of the city was to be razed and rebuilt in a Germanic style. With the war over, and Warsaw in ruins, it was a bold move to rebuild the city – for a time, calls were made to forget the whole thing; to leave Warsaw as a shattered monument to war and relocate the capital to Łódź. This, however, was viewed as an unlikely long-term solution – the propaganda benefits of rebuilding the capital were not lost on the new powers in charge. The trouble was, they didn’t have much of a policy. Sure, construction on the socialist paradise of Mariensztat began in 1948, but it was only in 1949 Poland was strong-armed into adopting the soc-realist style in its architecture. What followed was an outpouring of fantastical ideas that saw Warsaw reborn as a Utopian heaven. “You hear a lot of pre-war comparisons claiming Warsaw to have been the Paris of the East,” says Marcin Grabowski of Warsaw Behind the Scenes (warsawscenes. com), “but that’s not the whole story.” While salvaged newsreels tend to depict a dynamic city full of glamorous Gatsby receptions, the reality was
Top: Before and after plans for rebuilding Muranów. Opposite page top: pl. Unii Lubelskiej faced complete reinvention – the project was never realized; bottom: Marszałkowska as envisaged by post-war architects.
different. Much of Warsaw was a slum. Raw capitalism had left the city with a legacy of Dickensian, darkened tenements the likes of which would make you shudder. The situation was aggravated by the Tsarist fortifications ringing the city, stopping outward growth and crushing the proletariat into squalid apartments. It is a fallacy to think pre-war Warsaw was one big champagne party. Now though, Warsaw was a blank slate. “Architects genuinely wanted to help the people,” says Marcin, “to build them a better future. The trouble is, their ideas were then hijacked by the Party for propaganda purposes.” On this note, he thumps a book down on the table. It is the size of a laptop and considerably heavier. Sześcioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy parps the title – translated, The Six Year Plan for the Reconstruction of Warsaw. The author is Bolesław Bierut, Poland's post-war communist leader. It is mind-boggling in detail: both an intriguing insight into the past, and a fascinating glimpse into a future that never was. It begins predictably: there are pictures of Bierut mucking in with construction workers, a portrait of Comrade Stalin, and then pages and pages illustrating the pre-war rich/poor divide. It is cult-like in both repetition and message, and the message of Bierut’s ghost writer is clear: we are building paradise. It is easy to be cynical, but many of the right considerations were there. “What was being presented,” says Marcin, “was a dreamland facebook.com/warsawinsider
URBAN SPACE THE PAST
“One of the cornerstones
of this plan was to slip a green noose around the city”
for many when you think how they existed before – no electricity, no running water. And for the architects, well, you can compare it to building Sim City.” “The idea was to create space for people,” he continues, “and that wouldn’t have been possible before. Now it was.” On Bierut’s decree all property was appropriated by the government – all of a sudden, architects wielded greater powers than ever before; if they wanted to build a park here, or a wide avenue there, they could. One of the cornerstones of this plan for a humanist city based on light and space was to slip a green noose around the center. But rather than strangling the city, it would let it breathe – in total the projected greenbelt was to measure four times the length of New York’s Central Park. “We shouldn’t view these times through black and white colors,” says Marcin, “some of the ideas were positive.” In the end, however, only a fraction of this green corridor was realized: Powiśle. Of course, there were plenty more projects that were to fall by the wayside, as the book serves to reveal. The PASTa Tower, on Zielna 39, was geared up to become the new City Hall. The sketches of architect Jan Knothe present an unrecognizable PASTa, one that forms the
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
centerpiece of a large square penned in by buildings not dissimilar to those found on pl. Konstytucji. “The survival of pre-war Próżna street is often hailed as something of a miracle,” says Marcin, “but the truth is loads of the buildings in the vicinity survived.” They didn’t, however, survive the post-war architects who saw such buildings as too cosmopolitan and impractical – surplus to their view of the Brave New World that was being built. And so it was that a city already smashed to smithereens found many of its surviving buildings being torn down. But only a part of this project came to fruition – the flank of Marszałkowska that faces PASTa. The moment Stalin died, plans for a socialist realist city were erased as Poland embraced new architectural strategies and social ideologies. And what plans they were. Perhaps the most bizarre saw the area where the Sheraton now stands designated to become a granite amphitheater carved into the escarpment. Plac Unii Lubelskiej was to be transformed into another square, its crowning achievement being an epic tower that brings to mind a mini hybrid combo of the Empire State Building and the Palace of Culture. Not all surviving structures were threatened with outright demolition. While much of Marszałkowska was cleared when it could have easily been saved – the street was widened to three times its pre-war size – others parts of Warsaw were safe… in theory. “The Party didn’t have much time for the church,” says Marcin, “but even they realized that knocking places of worship down would be too much for the population.” Instead, they thought of ways to lessen the churches overt physical presence. In Knothe’s visualizations, Savior’s Church on pl. Zbawiciela was to have its spires chopped off, thereby making it far less prominent on the new-look skyline. “If Stalin had lived another five years,” smiles Marcin, “Warsaw would have been unrecognizable to what we see today.” While many of the realized plans revolutionized and improved standards of living, the future wasn’t bright, it was grey. Imagine a city looking exclusively like pl. Konstytucji or Muranów – all wide boulevards and uniform buildings. “Living conditions were much better,” says Marcin, “people had proper heating, electricity… but it became less attractive for, how can I say it, for actual life. For the soul. The wide, open spaces they were building killed the life of the city – walking past some of these huge structures that were finished, you feel like an ant on the moon.” Ironically though, even today the consequences of Bierut’s vision are being felt. The following decades presented different ideas, but by the 80s Warsaw had fallen into stagnation. “The Party had other things to worry about,” grins Marcin, “so the construction we saw was limited to stop-gap solutions.” Now, however, after the cowboy years of the 90s, Warsaw finds itself hamstrung by Bierut’s decision to seize private property. “The open bits around the Palace of Culture,” says Marcin, “have about seventy pending restitution cases alone. If you’re a developer, are you even going to consider buying a plot if you face seven court cases for a slice of land – sure, you might win one, but would you win them all? Would you even take the risk?” And so, the story of modern Warsaw comes full circle, its trajectory curving all the way back to Bierut’s big ideas.
Top: an amphitheater was planned for the very spot where the Sheraton now stands; bottom: the PASTa Tower in its vaunted guise as the new City Hall. Opposite page: part of the plans to â€˜humanizeâ€™ Warsaw included a green belt stretching right round the center.
URBAN SPACE THE FUTURE
WARSAW: The Next Dimension
Having emerged from the chaos of the 90s, a period defined by its lack of architectural coherency, we speak to three design studios at the cutting edge of Warsaw’s future.
hese are exciting times for Warsaw, with a general feeling that the city finds itself on the verge of, well, something – a dramatic, unpredictable and exciting future. Nowhere is this more evident than in her architecture and public spaces. On the one hand, there is a fear the capital will continue as a victim of the fractured, unstructured urban planning emblematic of recent times. On the other, there is a buzz, one stirred by a new generation of young architects. Reasons for this buzz are demonstrated on futuwawa.pl, a website dedicated to showcasing everything from witty visualizations created during architectural downtime, to more plausible fixes for Warsaw’s future. “Due to its nature, this city can no longer be easily harmonized,” say Magda Grabowska and Aleksandra Litorowicz from futuwawa, “so many interesting architectural phenomena are likely to occur here. We are curious how Warsaw will be able to handle the suburbanisation, gentrification and all the consequences of development – which, for the time being, are far from sustainable. We hope that, as a city, to head in the direction of the winning projects of the futuwawa competition, i.e. comprehensive solutions that treat the city as a landscape rather than a collection of individual buildings, and, above all, serve its residents.”
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
In a worst case scenario, in fifty years everything will be a protected area – gated, secured. People want to gate themselves away, they are looking for separation, not communication. That needs to be avoided in the future. And it’s not just physical barriers we are creating, we need to avoid creating districts that exclude others – for instance, districts where you feel excluded if you don’t have a gold card. Our hope is that in 50 years the city will have decentralized, that we will see small city centers in each neighborhood. - Przemek Kaczkowski & Magda Morelewska, Sto Procent
What I really appreciate about Warsaw is that it has no other choice but to become a city of the 21st century. Many other capitals were determined at some point in time when huge investments were made: New York will forever remain a 20th century city and Paris a city of the 19th century. Warsaw is in a really unique situation of being both a historical city yet still not an amply defined city. It will be a city of the future, one of the few in Europe, and I’m really anxious to get to know it. - Natalia Paszkowska, WWAA
“S o many interesting
architectural phenomena are likely to occur here...”
We are privileged to live in an ugly city, and this motivates us all to move the ugliness from this Frankenstein; from this organism that was sewn together after the 20th century. But it’s not just about putting make-up on Frankenstein, we need to make him more human. Warsaw should be polycentric, but we cannot develop this organically – it should be a steered process. The evolution of the city should be thought of as a strategic game. We need a vision and we need to follow it. - Jakub Szczęsny, Centrala
FOODIE NEWS A collaboration between two of Warsaw’s best known restaurant blogs (restaurantica.pl and froblog.pl), Warsaw Foodie has emerged as the No. 1 site for local food related stories. Featuring all the latest from the foodie frontline, the bilingual Warsaw Foodie promises the hottest news on what’s trending on the restaurant radar. For more info, check: www.warsawfoodie.pl/en
An elegant interior, central location and culinary craftsmanship all count as pluses at Strefa (ul. Próżna 9). Chef Jarosław Walczyk places an importance on fish and seafood, though his skills go way beyond that. When Restaurantica. pl and Froblog visited they were left overwhelmingly impressed. After strong starters of mushroom hotpot and red fish curry, mains of sea bass and grilled medallions of pork tenderloin went a step further. The fish is pronounced as ‘well-seasoned and juicy’, while the pear ratatouille served with the pork ‘will live long in the memory’.
New Arrival: Ryba i Wino The concept combines wine with fish, with flounder, halibut, redfish and cod featuring amongst others – and Brits may be appreciative of the fish and chips on offer. But on an early visit, sister blog Restaurantica.pl weren’t wholly convinced: “a cool idea, but the dishes served are not consistent with the imagined concept. The design and dishes lack coherence, though these are early days.” If you want to see for yourself, non-fish dishes are also served and readily available. Find it on: al. Wojska Polskiego 58.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Indian cuisine is in the ascendency if the number of openings is anything to go by. Out in Ursynów Rani (Al. KEN 48) opened their doors in December, while closer to the center Ranoi offer Indian classics in proximity to Złote Tarasy. Finally, Ganesh have upped sticks from Wilcza and can now be found on Marszałkowska 10/16.
New to Praga
Ryszard Majewski, formerly of the Blue Cactus, and Maria Romańska, author of the Figa S blog, join forces to bring you Akademia Smaków Ryszarda Majewskiego (Czapelska 23). Having run a culinary workshop of the same name but in a different location, their new venture offers an international menu as well as cooking classes and catering.
PHOTOGRAPHS FACEBOOK AND WARSAW FOODIE
New Arrival: Strefa
More familiar as the former home of Traffic, Targ Spożywczy na Brackiej (Bracka 25) occupies the -1 level of Dom Braci Jabłkowskich and offers a sprawling food market covering a space of 1,000 sq/m. Local produce is the star of the show, among which you’ll find freshlybaked pastries, jams, preserves and much more besides.
Reviews: Salto 31 / Da Antonio 46 Plus:
* 11 updates
for past picks visit: www.warsawinsider.pl
AFRICAN 32 / AMERICAN 32 / ASIAN 32 / BALKAN & RUSSIAN 35 / BRITISH 35 / BURGERS 36 / CHEAP EATS 37 / COOKING SCHOOLS 61 / CUBAN 38 / FOOD SHOPS 59 / FRENCH 38 / GERMAN 39 /GREEK & TURKISH 39 / HOME DELIVERY 34 / INDIAN 39 / INTERNATIONAL 41 / ITALIAN 48 /JAPANESE & SUSHI 50 / LATIN 51 / MIDDLE EASTERN 55 / POLISH 55 / SCANDINAVIAN 59 / WHOLE FOODS 61
e live in the age of the chef, a time when these generals of the kitchen have been elevated to the status of Mayan gods. But while the cult of the ‘celebrity chef’ is old hat in ‘the west’, in Poland it’s a relatively new concept – and for good reason. Decades of communism left the country with a legacy of shocking food cooked by charlatan chefs. No surprise, therefore, most opted to hide in the kitchen – less chance of getting their bottom pitchforked by a disgruntled punter. Frankly speaking, there were no celebrity chefs because there was nothing to celebrate. But all this has changed: a new wave of chefs have emerged, revolutionizing the way Poland eats. And not all of these culinary Guevara’s are local. Take Martin Gimenez Castro, an Argentinean who was thrust into the spotlight after scooping first prize on the Top Chef TV show last year. Victory brought with it benefits: a zł. 100,000 windfall, not to mention an
increased public profile. Headhunted by the Rialto, Castro has been charged with reinvigorating the new anchor restaurant of this prestigious hotel. The result is Salto. Entered via a side door, Salto doesn’t feel any different from the restaurant that previously lived here – granted, it’s been years since I’ve visited this address, but from what I remember the details are the same: an intimate space with an art deco motif. The biggest surprise, as it turns out, is the menu: during the week it’s a varied offer of South American-inspired dishes,
but the weekend sees meat assume priority. On being seated we are handed a menu that lists steaks and burgers alone. There are no starters, and we are not informed if the ordinary menu is available. Not that we care. The last time I sampled Martin’s cooking, I came away muttering things about ‘Poland’s best steak’. This is not a false memory. Our filet mignon (zł. 88) arrives and I am moved once again to declare Martin to be Poland’s greatest steak master. The meat – aged for 21 days – is of the highest quality, and it’s cooked bang to order. Such are the tastes, the accompanying chimichurri sauce is only needed for the chips. And how well it works. The sauce is perky, punchy even, and just what’s needed to go with the side. So far, so good. But the lack of starters mean we are still far from full. My dining partner orders a burger (zł. 45), while I ask for the dessert menu. The burger is announced as decent, though the price as obscene: “twice as much as Warburger,” says my sidekick, “but not twice as good.” As for dessert, I can’t actually comment: by now it’s 8 p.m. on Saturday, and service has degenerated into a shambles. Plates go uncleared for twenty minutes, and the table next door complain that their drinks have been forgotten. Another request for the dessert menu goes ignored. Yet this is not the fault of the staff – the waitress and sommelier on duty are doing their level best to please a full capacity room. At one point, I see the sommelier quite literally sprint across the room in an attempt to get things on track. And while these hiccups warrant a mention, they shouldn’t taint what is a very positive experience. Salto has the hallmarks of a success story, and under Castro’s captaincy that’s a certainty to happen. For me, there will be a next time – I hope this time with dessert.(AW) Salto ul. Wilcza 73, tel. 22 584 8771, www.saltorestauracja.pl
RESTAURANTS KEY $ zł. 30 (per main) $$ zł. 30-55 $$$ over zł. 55
Insider writers do not accept any form of payment in return for favorable reviews.
Best of Warsaw Award Winner 2013
AFRICAN Café Baobab (H4) ul. Francuska 31, tel. 22 617 4057, open 10:00-23:00, www.cafebaobab.pl Café
Baobab serves Senagelese classics like thiebu djen, mafe yap and yassa ginar. It’s adapted to Polish tastes, but say the word and authentic spiciness can appear. $ La MaMa Africa (C1) ul. Andersa 23, tel. 22 226 3505, open Mon 13:00-24:00; Tue-Thu 11:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-last guest; Sun 12:00-23:00, www.lamama.eu Sprayed with racist graffiti over summer, it was heartening to see the local community rally round in support of the owners. As for food, that’s an authentic rundown of dishes that include baked cow back and gizzard. Unfortunately, it’s just not to our taste: the goat stew felt like one big mistake. Judging by the repeat custom, not everyone shares our view. $$
AMERICAN Champions Sports Bar (D5) Marriott Hotel, al. Jerozolimskie 65/79, tel. 22 630 5119, open 12:00-24:00, www. champions.pl Long-known on the Warsaw scene as a sports bar – ideal for large groups of large guys drinking large amounts of beer and watching a large-screen TV. $$
Because Warsaw Just Got Hotter Classic Indian Cuisine With A Funky Twist ul. Zurawia 22, tel. 501 400 386, www.rain.pl
Hard Rock Café (C4) ul. Złota 59 (Złote Tarasy), tel. 22 222 0700, open daily 9:00-24:00, www.hardrockcafe. pl Instantly recognizable by the giant neon guitar outside, Hard Rock has a pierced staff of skater boys and rock girls and a menu that is, if nothing else, completely reliable. Peruse rock’n’roll swag that includes Joplin’s blouse, Prince’s guitar and Shakira’s pants. $$ Sioux (D4) ul. Chmielna 35, tel. 22 827 8255, open Mon-Thu 11:00-22:00; Fri & Sat 11:0023:00; Sun 11:00-22:00, www.sioux.com. pl You might want to point the shotgun hanging on the wall at the chef. Decorated with horseshoes and feather headdresses, the only reason to show up is to humor a nagging infant. Food-wise, it’s little more than a cowboy-themed version of Sphinx: mass market food for those who don’t know better. $$ Someplace Else (E5) Sheraton Hotel, ul. Prusa 2, tel. 22 450 6710, open Mon-Thu 12:00-01:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-02:00; Sun 12:00-24:00, www. someplace-else.pl Favoring a stark concrete look, SPE were once a legend of 90s/00s Warsaw. Things have tamed down since that
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ex-pat heyday, but this remains a noteworthy choice for live MOR rock and zippy Tex Mex food. $$ T.G.I. Friday’s (B3) al. Jana Pawła II 29, tel. 22 653 8360, open Mon & Tue 11:00-23:00; Wed-Sat 11:0024:00; Sun 12:00-23:00, www.tgifridays.pl/ warszawa The steaks are a miss-and-miss affair, and even the burgers can’t compare to Warsaw’s armada of burgeries. And the interiors are just as you’d remember: crass, vulgar and stuck in the 90s. Why do people bother? $$
ASIAN Asia Tasty (C3) pl. Żelaznej Bramy 1, tel. 22 654 6120, open 9:00-21:00 One of the great secrets of culinary Warsaw – for those In The Know this is the place for cheap, cheerful Asian food. Not that it looks like much, this is as basic as interiors get; leave the hot date outside while you pick-up a takeout. $ Bliss Restaurant (D2) Rynek Mariensztacki, tel. 22 826 3210, open daily 12:00-22:00, www.blissrestaurant.pl Longevity aside, Bliss (alive since ’95) boast classically cliche interiors that make dramatic use of dragons and buddhas. Inconsistent accuse some, though you’ll struggle to find better Chinese-style ribs. $$
Cesarski Pałac (D2) ul. Senatorska 27, tel. 22 827 9707, open Mon-Fri 12:00-23:00; Sat 12:3023:00; Sun 12:30-22:00, www.cesarskipalac.com A rouge tinted Chinese restaurant whose design even incorporates a footbridge. Widely acclaimed, this 18-year-old restaurant combines Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine to serve a variety of dishes to an elegant backdrop. The Dim Sum are something else. $$ China Garden ul. Kazachska 1, tel. 22 241 1010, open daily 12:00-22:00, www.chinagarden.pl Bull’s testicles boiled with soy sprouts. Goose jaws. Stewed bull’s penis with radish. Ah, these are meals for the brave. Allegedly the first Jiangsu restaurant in Warsaw, the tastes here are indeed unique. The China Garden isn’t the Imperial Palace, but the décor of straightbacked chairs and densely constructed wood
RESTAURANTS Home Delivery Delivero www.delivero.pl Here’s the score: enter your postcode, then wait for the computer to kick into action and spit out the restaurants covered in your delivery zone. In general, the restaurants now err to the side of pizza and sushi choices. Internet ordering only, with no English language option. Dominos Multiple locations, tel. 22 209 0000, www.dominospizza.pl. Open 10:00-23:00. They’re back! Years after shutting shop the Dominos crew return to Warsaw, and this time they’re better than ever. It’s strictly takeaway/delivery only (unless you count the stand-up table outside), but these guys get listed for what amounts to the best delivered pizza in the history of Poland. Pizza Portal www.pizzaportal.pl Nationwide service and similar to Delivero: tap in your postcode then wait for a list of choices to crunk out of the machine. As the name suggests, pizza is the forte, though there are also a heavy selection of randoms – kebabs, sushi, pierogi. 24hr pizza delivery options also available. Room Service tel. 22 651 9003, www.roomservice.pl. Deliver to over fifty restaurants under their umbrella, and can also turn their hand to delivering wine, beverages and flowers. Web and phone orders taken in English and Polish, with delivery charges tagged between zł. 13 to zł. 25. Find venues like Blue Cactus, Le Cedre, Namaste, Sushi Zushi, Tomo and The Warsaw Tortilla Factory. Royal Menu tel. 22 244 2121, www.royalmenu.pl. Phone and internet delivery options, plus English language website and English speaking telpehone operators. Min. order of 50zł, with delivery charges ranging from 10zł to 24zł (Warsaw outskirts). Credit cards accepted for orders of 80zł plus. Restaurants covered by this mob Home of as theRain Thursday inc. players such by India Curry, Curry Club Osteria, Warsaw Papaya and Sakana.
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tables casts an aura of formality. No lounging about here; serious eating is afoot! On the whole the dishes are delicate and delicious, and there are more cautious choices.
but incredibly tasty all the same. A simple meal, but satisfying nonetheless. $
Du-Za Mi-Ha (D4) ul. Widok 16, tel. 22 447 2424, open Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00; Sun 11:00-22:00 A compact Vietnamese joint noted for fresh, healthy nem filled with crunchy, perky fibers. The pho, on the other hand, is disappointing – according to one reader, “awful”. Prices begin at around zł. 10 and don’t go far north of zł. 20. You get what you pay for. $
Silk & Spicy (D5) ul. Żurawia 16/20, tel. 22 629 7012, open Mon-Fri 11:00-23:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-2:00, www.silkandspicy.pl If you don’t benchmark Silk & Spicy against what you’d eat in Asia (and you really shouldn’t), then you might enjoy it. “The curry was on taste-wise,” said our disappointed graphic, “but the cream cheese didn’t work in the sushi and the kmichi-style salad served at the beginning was very pedestrian for such a place.” $
InAzia (E5) ul. B. Prusa 2 (Sheraton Hotel), tel. 22 450 6705, open Mon-Sat 17:00-23:00; Sun 12:30-16:30, www.restauracja-inazia.pl The Sheraton has a rich history of serving some of Warsaw’s best Asian food, with chef Marcin Sasin creating a menu that draws on influences as diverse as Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese. Popular with Thai diplomats and hushed hotel guests, the experience is worth the quite considerable splurge. $$$
Spring Roll (D4) ul. Szpitalna 3, tel. 519 828 788, open MonFri 11:00-22:00; Sat 12:00-23:00 Baleful ballads and twangy cover versions of Bryan Bloody Adams set the mood in this eatery. The signature dish – spring rolls – doesn’t go beyond six out of ten, so what hope the rest of the menu? The teriyaki chicken should be renamed teriyaki chicken giblets, and comes with the addition of the worst ingredient ever devised: steamed cauliflower. Ergh. Suddenly, all those empty seats make sense. $
Natara Old Town (D1) ul. Szeroki Dunaj 13, tel. 22 635 2501, open 11:00-23:00, www.natara.pl Set inside the Old Town walls, the setting is magical – from the outside. Inside, it’s all dowdy brown and plastic plants. Service, if you can call it that, teases patience to the max, but the food is fantastic. Everything we’ve tried on the menu goes right, not least the fiery red curry duck. Highly recommended. $$
Suparom Thai (D6) ul. Marszałkowska 45/49, tel. 22 627 1888, open daily 11:00-23:00, www.suparomthaifood.pl Lovely interior with Siamese gold ornaments and gleaming dark wood. The shrimp cakes are always worth a try. $$
Papaya (E4) ul. Foksal 16, tel. 22 826 1199, open 12:00-24:00, www.papaya.waw.pl A place of precise lines and slick finishes, Papaya has a varied menu that uses influences from all over Asia, though particularly Thailand. But the star attraction is Preecha Wongsomboon, a Thai chef who fuses cookery with cabaret from behind a teppanyaki grill – his skills draw gasps. But between the honking horns and nifty knife work it becomes clear this is no novelty show: the food is top rate. $$ Shabu Shabu Hot Pot (D6) ul. Mokotowska 27, tel. 535 685 750, open 12:00-22:30. shabu-shabu.pl Each table has its own set of hot pots installed and once you choose your broth and extras, you are the master of your own culinary destiny. We chose some seafood and some greens and were served a dish that was not quite a pad thai,
Suparom Thaifood II al. Wilanowska 309, tel. 22 853 3087, open 10:00-21:00, www.suparomthaifood. pl Tiny, when compared to its parent on Marszałkowska, and distinctly unassuming. Suparom’s green curry is the ‘best in the world’ according to one reader, and while such a superlative begs for a challenge, none is forthcoming – not from us, anyhow. $$ Thai Thai (C2) Pl. Teatralny 3, tel. 601 818 283, open 12:00-23:00, www.thaithai.pl Sanad Changpuen, a man widely credited with popularizing Thai food in Poland, returns to Warsaw with predictable results: the food is a hit. And what a space this acclaimed chef has been blessed with: gold vaulted ceilings lend a muted glow to a largely black-on-black space; from the walls, serene looking Buddha’s peer on diners down below. At once, the soothing interiors ease guests into a state of inner peace while Sanad does the rest. $$ Toan Pho (D4)
ul. Chmielna 5/7, tel. 888 147 307, open Mon-Fri 9:30-21:30, Sat-Sun 10:00-21:30 Toan Pho’s bowls of soup with rice noodles come highly recommended; as does the chaos intrinsic to this type of casual Asian eatery. The short menu is in Vietnamese with Polish decoding – although you can ask for an English version. $ Why Thai (E5) ul. Wiejska 13, tel. 22 625 7698, open Sun-Thu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-24:00, www.whythai.pl A fresh attractive look, an authentic chef and a menu that doesn’t waffle on for pages and pages. But there’s something missing here, with the flavors not quite hitting the levels one expects. $$ Yummy (D5) ul. Krucza 16/22, tel. 797 830 639, open 10:00-21:00, www.restauracjayummy.pl The Insider’s favorite budget Asian eatery, even if the empty tables suggest dark forces at work in the kitchen. Modern and minimal, the lemon chicken is delicious and the pad thai is a sure bet. $
BALKAN & RUSSIAN Banja Luka (E8) ul. Szkolna 2/4, tel. 22 828 1060, open Mon-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.banjaluka.pl Numerous meaty dishes from Serbia and Croatia are served inside Banja Luka, a Warsaw stalwart who’ve moved with the times and... moved. The new, central location is as pleasing as the last, with lots of clunky timber and imported ceramics. $$ Gemo ul. Minska 25 (Soho Factory), tel. 22 468 1876, open 12:00-22:00. At last, a Georgian restaurant without gnarled furniture and peasant fabrics. Located inside Soho Factory, Gemo has a severe, industrial style accented further by steel lights and exposed pipework. The menu is modestly priced, yet includes several dishes to return for: the szaszlyk, for one. $ U Madziara (B3) ul. Chłodna 2/18, tel. 22 620 1423, open Mon 11:30-20:00; Tue & Wed 11:30-21:00; Thu & Fri 11:30-22:00; Sat 12:00-22:00;
Sun 12:00-21:00, www.umadziara.pl U Madziara looks like it took two days to decorate. No-one goes here to marvel at the interiors though, they go in the knowledge that they’ll find great food at prices that all bank accounts can support. On a grim sleety day, chef Gabor’s signature goulash makes winter not just manageable, but welcome! $
BRITISH The British Bulldog (D4) ul. Krucza 51, tel. 22 827 0020, open 11:00-1:00, www.bbpub.pl The pub design is wonderful, and straight out of Midsummer Murders with its Chesterfield sofas and Cutty Sark mirrors. But it’s been a downhill disaster since they lost the original management team. What could have become Poland’s original gastro pub now serves greasy burgers and, judging by the stench at the bar, lots of food that’s way over-fried. $$ Legends (C5) ul. Emilii Plater 25, tel. 22 622 4640, open
RESTAURANTS Mon-Fri 11:00-last guest; Sat-Sun 10:00-last guest, www.legendsbar.pl It’s a British pub first and foremost, but don’t forego the kitchen either. The all-day breakfast is a great way to stoke up your drinking powers, while other dishes of note inc. pies, sausages and mash and, of course, fish and chips. $$
BURGERS Barn Burger (D4) ul. Złota 9. tel. 512 157 567, open Mon-Fri 12:00-22:00; Sat 13:00-22:00; 13:00-21:00, www.barnburger.pl What finished summer 2012 as Warsaw’s most talked about burger has seen its stock nosedive somewhat. Even so, you’ll still find several people out there who remain fiercely loyal to their quite considerable offer. On our part, the Insider remains partial to the occasional Muppet Burger: a messy affair loaded with salsa, jalapenos and BBQ sauce. By the time you’ve finished with it, the wooden board it’s served on will look like Jack the Ripper has just passed through town. $
Bistro & Burger Bar (H4) ul. Francuska 45, tel. 666 396 967, open Mon-Sat 8:00-22:00; Sun 11:00-22:00 What should you expect from a place that can’t even be bothered thinking about a name? Not much, is the answer. Warsaw has great burger bars, but also a few chancers that have been foisted upon us on the back of the craze. At best, you’d call it average. When paired with disinterested service you have the makings of pretty glum time. Don’t let them get away with it. $ Bobby Burger (C4) ul. E. Plater 47, tel. 785 833 603, pen 12:00-22:00, bobbyburger.pl Perplexingly popular with hipsters who wouldn’t know a good burger if their skinny jeans depended on it. Now sporting a new location (the old one on Żurawia also continues, alas), this bottom feeder continues to prove popularity isn’t always a measure of quality. $ Brooklyn Burgers & Wings (D4) ul. Nowy Świat 36, tel. 22 270 2144, open Sun-Thu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-4:00;
Sun 12:00-23:00 There are those out there who claim Brooklyn to be the best burger in Warsaw – and we’re not talking about hipsters on longboards, but American ex-pats who really know the score. And yes, what you get with Brooklyn is something very good indeed – maybe not the best, but in a city with quite probably 70-odd burger bars, it’s certainly Top 3. That’s largely thanks to Alan, a young American chef wholly dedicated to his job. Homemade sauces, wings, ribs, strips and beer (inc. Sam Adams!). $
Burger Kitchen (D4) ul. Widok 8, tel. 22 464 8284, open Mon-Wed 7:30-23:00; Thu-Fri 7:30-1:00; Sat 9:00-1:00; Sun 9:00-20:00, www.burgerkitchen.pl Opened at a time when most burgeristas had already sworn allegiance to their favorite, the opening of Burger Kitchen surprised everyone. Celebrity chef Tomek Woźniak clocked 64,000 kilometers checking out global street food trends, and his painstaking research is evidenced
CARPACCIO ul. Nowy Świat 36, 22 692 47 26
Classic Italian cuisine: the delicious, honest tastes of a true trattoria
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in Warsaw’s best burgers. Indestructible in architecture, these blighters come in briochestyle buns and with own-brand ketchup that utilizes 24 different Italian tomatoes. It’s the undisputed No. 1 in town, and also notable for steaks, shakes and brilliant breakfasts. $ Bydło i Powidło (A5) ul. Kolejowa 47, tel. 22 400 48 44, open Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00; Sun 12:00-21:00 Set in a modern glass prism, here’s a place that’s realized you can’t get away with just serving burgers anymore (though here, they’re very good indeed). Unfortunately, the steak part of the menu just isn’t there yet. Ćwierćfunciak (C1) ul. Andersa 30, tel. 799 328 822, open Mon-Thu 12:00-21:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-22:00; Sun 13:00-21:00 Hidden in the gastronomic wasteland of Muranów, the impossibly named Ćwierćfunciak impresses with slathers of gloriously fresh ingredients, not to mention complimentary sides of hand-cut chips. Ranked in the Insider’s Top 5 best burger joints, that the resident beers are sourced
from Pinta earns this friendly local a few extra points. $ Hmm Burger (D5) ul. Nowogrodzka 10, tel. 22 629 0565, open Mon-Thu 10:00-22:00; Fri 10:00-2:00; Sat 12:00-2:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www. hmmburger.pl With a name like Hmm Burger you expect something a little humdrum. It’s actually far from it, but in a city saturated with meat and bun options it takes something special to standout. “I’d go all the time if I lived above,” said our Insider, “but I don’t.” If you do, then the Cowboy is above-average. $ Między Bułkami (D4) Al. Jerozolimskie 23, tel. 22 126 0159, open 11:00-23:00 You want to yell, “stop opening burger joints!” But ‘Between the Buns’ is one of those additions we really don’t mind: there’s nothing original about the menu, nor the presentation, but the quality is a solid 8/10. $ Warburger (E9) ul. Dąbrowskiego 1. Open Mon-Sat 12:00-
20:00; Sun 12:00-19:00, www.warburger.pl Forget Year of the Dragon, 2012 was Year of the Burger – or more specifically, Year of the WarBurger. Edging the competition (at least till Burger Kitchen came along), this diminutive little cabin wins eulogies across the board for base-level prices, super friendly service and pimped up burgers that use gourmet ingredients. $
CHEAP EATS Diner 55 (D5) ul. Żurawia 32/34 Set in a dark, industrial basement, they’ve clearly got the younger 20s crowd in mind – from the speakers hip hop thugs brag about putting caps in your “mother f@ck!ng n!gga’ ass.” But the menu, an alliance between Pan Burger, Rico’s Tacos and Mr. Pancake is fabulous, with the tacos our major highlight. $ Fabryka Frytek (D4) ul. Złota 3, tel. 505 671 334, open Mon-Thu 11:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-23:00; Sun
RESTAURANTS 12:00-20:00. ul. Waryńskiego 9, tel. 505 671 334, open Mon-Thu 11:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-01:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www. fabrykafrytek.pl Giant portions of Belgian fries (up to 600g!), waffles, wedges and whatever else you can make out of a potato come served with an equally comprehensive range of dips and sauces. $ Groole (D6) ul. Śniadeckich 8, tel. 795 633 626, open Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00; Sun 12:00-20:00, www.groole.pl You’ll find potatoes served everywhere in Poland, just not in the way we like them: i.e., with a crunchy, crispy skin and lots of hot, melted goo. Groole fill that gap with jacket spuds loaded with toppings such as spicy cherry tomatoes or chicken curry. A revelation! $ Justyna’s Secret Recipes (C4) ul. Marszałkowska 138, open Mon-Fri 7:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-21:00. www. jsecretrecipes.com We’re told Justyna was inspired by the Pret-a-Manger chain. Whatever the case, you just can’t fault her sandwiches which are fixed using proper imported bacon, organic sundries, and the freshest of bread. The delivery service is highly recommended for desk-bound officebots. $ Manekin (C3) ul. Marszalkowska 140, tel. 22 826 0753, open Sun-Thu 10:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 10:0023:00, www.manekin.pl Originally founded in Toruń, this pancake house chain is a national phenomenon – at times, queues for a table
snake outside. The menu touts dozens of pancake options served in sweet and savory form (there’s even a spaghetti version…), and most agree they’re worth the ridiculous waiting times - waits in excess of 20 minutes (and considerably more) are the norm. $
Meat Love (D5) ul. Hoża 62, tel. 500 149 210, open Mon-Thu 10:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-last guest; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.meatlove.pl An artisan sandwich stop that’s entered via a clattering door and a plunging set of steps. In the past you could have described Meat Love as almost Middle Earth in spirit – all wooden crates and tight little spaces. Now though, they’ve knocked a wall through, opening the space up considerably. No changes on the menu though, just premium, long-cooked meat stuck between fresh, fragrant baguettes. The blush colored roast beef will make your knees tremble. $ Mr Pancake (E3) ul. Solec 50, tel. 501 237 461, open MonSat 11:00-10:00; Sun 12:00-8:00, www.mrpancake.pl You’re just going to love their pancakes, with their fun, wacky look and creative toppings (M&Ms, funny faces traced with icing sugar, and lots of chocolatey stuff). They’re the sort of pancakes you’d get if Bart Simpson got stoned and decided to make some food – brilliant. $ To Tu Dumpling Bar ul. Niekłańska 33, open 11:00-20:00, www.chinskapierogarnia.pl A shabby looking
From 12:00-23:00 (kitchen), and on Fri and Sat till 1 a.m.! Bar open till the last man drops! Traditional Indian cuisine, contemporary cocktails and a range of sheesha pipes! Nightclub downstairs!
NOW OPEN ON NOWY ŚWIAT 58!!!
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
shack cabin, To Tu offer what are seriously considered some of the best – if not the best – dim sum in town. Magic-ked up by a Manchurian exile, the experience isn’t unlike being in a sweaty back street haunt in Asia. And that’s a good thing! $ Wurst Kiosk (H4) ul. Zwycięzców 17, tel. 606 133 134, open Mon-Fri 11:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 11:00-22:00; Sun 12:00-19:00 Imported German sausages served through a hole-in-a-wall with big dabs of mustard and fresh buns to go with them. The currywurst is just like the one you had at Berlin Hauptbahnhof. $
CUBAN El Caribe ul. Mickiewicza 9, tel. 22 400 0994. Open Mon-Thu 12:30-24:00; Fri-Sat 12:301:00; Sun 12:30-22:30 Start with a round of daiquiris before ordering frijoles negroes (black beans). But everyone agrees, it’s the flan that gets you doing the cha cha. With the cooking left to a Cuban exile, this perky spot is worth the trip north to Żoliborz. $$
Bistro Pigalle (D5) ul. Hoża 41 (enter from Poznańska), tel. 881 000 182. There’s a lot to like: the warm beckoning light that glows from the windows. But there’s even more to dislike:
scratched, smudged fittings, the one song on continuous loop, and a zł. 76 steak that’s way undercooked. Listen carefully and you might hear it moo. Early days yet for this newbie, but not the most encouraging of starts. $$ L’Arc (E8) ul. Puławska 16, tel. 519 000 050, open 10:00-last guest, www.larc.pl French food just hasn’t broken through in Warsaw in the way other European cuisines have. So Francophiles are indebted, somewhat, to the existence of L’Arc, a place of considered elegance, subtle decorations and monochrome colors. They’re especially noted for their obsessive attitude to seafood (pick from five types of oysters, or delve into the fish tank for the lobster of your choosing), inventive mains and desserts that are heaven. $$ Le Bistro Rozbrat ul. Rozbrat 44, tel. 22 881 7808, open 12:0024:00. The signs suggest that Powiśle is set to mature in 2014, making the transition from hipster haunt to restaurant breeding ground – and here is Exhibit A. Owned by Frenchman Alain Budzyk, the interiors are contemporary casual, with talking points saved for the food. The concise menu has token nods to Spanish cuisine, as well as a steak bavette that’s being raved about on the blogs. $$
GERMAN Adler (E5) ul. Mokotowska 69, tel. 22 628 73 84, open
Mon-Fri 12:00-23:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-24:00, www.adlerrestauracja.pl Set in a rustic rotunda, this veteran favorite packs in reassuringly caloric portions of pork knuckles, schnitzel and dumplings – all of a sudden, you understand why Helmut Kohl looks so large. Foaming beers served by Bavarian country maids complete the authenticity. $
straight plagiary of Charlotte: white brickwork, blackboard, communal table. So the surprise here is the food – Turkish. And not just any Turkish, but brilliant Turkish! It’s nothing fancy, but there’s a real honest quality to the moussaka and lamb and beef in tomato sauce. And the desserts are a real spoiler as well. $
GREEK & TURKISH
Paros (D4) ul. Jasna 14/16, tel. 22 828 1067, open 12:00-last guest, www.paros-restauracja.pl Out of all of the Warsaw’s Greek contributions Paros dazzles most, with a glitzy look that’s a complete u-turn from the typical tawerna look. Owned by the same team behind El Greco, the menu is identical, as is the quality – good to excellent. $$
Bombaj Masala (B3) Al. Jana Pawła II 23, tel. 606 688 777, open 11:00-23:00, www.bombajmasala.pl Ringed by offices and five star hotels, Bombaj Masala thrives in its role as an upmarket Indian restaurant – and yes, it’s nice to see Indian restaurants moving away from the Santa’s Grotto look. For all that, most agree Bombaj is over-priced and over-rated. $$
Santorini ul. Egipska 7, tel. 22 672 0525, open daily 12:00-23:00, www.kregliccy.pl/santorini.php Santorini looks scuffed and tired but there’s a bonhomie present that instantly engages. The kitchen attaches no value to things like presentation, preferring instead to simply treat diners to piles of grilled and skewered food that consistently tastes right – and the milefi dessert is magic. $$
Curry House ul. Żeromskiego 81, tel. 508 870 774 & al. Ken 47, tel. 22 213 0689, open daily 11:00-22:00, curryhouse.com.pl A primitive design (port-a-loo toilet, barred windows) and far-flung location have not hindered Curry House one bit. It’s a legend, not least for their vindaloo – a macho dish that provokes spontaneous combustion. Be warned: no beer. $
Sofra (C6) ul. Wilcza 71, tel. 731 847 731, open MonThu 10:00-23:00; Fri & Sat 10:00-24:00; Sun 10:00-22:00 On the design front it’s almost a
Himalaya Momo ul. Ząbkowska 36, tel. 22 297 2100, open Mon-Fri 11:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 11:00-21:30, www.himalayamomo.com There’s only four
Le Cedre 84
Le Cedre 61
opposite the court Al. Solidarności 84 Tel 22 618 89 99 firstname.lastname@example.org
opposite the zoo Al. Solidarności 61, Praga Tel 22 670 11 66 email@example.com
Taste the Exotic
RESTAURANTS tables here, so don’t linger. The size means several staples have been cut from the menu, among them naan bread – there’s no space for a tandoor oven, you see. What kind of Indian restaurant forgets a tandoor oven? In this case, a very good one. What does appear on the Tibetan / Indian menu is usually delicious. $
com or www.indiaexpress.pl Keen, supersize portions and an efficient home delivery service (indiaexpress.pl) have made this lot something of a bookmark. Not dissimilar from the curries you may have survived on as a student, Mandala are cheap and decent, though several rungs below the top curries in town – it’s an ok means to an end. $
Madras Al. Solidarnosci 129/131, tel. 536 335 333, open 11:00-22:00. While it looks cheap, cramped and rather claustrophobic Madras has been installed as our No. 1 source of curry since opening late last year. There are softer options available, but for a proper winter tickler then look no further than the vindaloo: even your hair will feel like it’s on fire. As the burning euphoria subsides, you’re left basking in that blissful, euphoric glow all hotheads will know. $
Mr India Al. KEN 47, tel. 22 213 0689, open Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www. mrindia.pl Opened by the creators of Curry House, Mr India touts the same menu but an interior that’s a substantial upgrade to its older sibling. As with the original, the spicy dishes could floor an elephant. It’s become a lifeline for Brits shipwrecked in Ursynów. $$
Mandala (C4) ul. Emilii Plater 9/11, tel. 22 428 44 54, open Mon-Thu 12:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 12:0023:00; Sun 13:00-21:00, www.mandalaklub.
WE HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Namaste India (D1 & D5) ul. Piwna 12/14, tel. 22 635 7766, open 10:30-23:00, ul. Nowogrodzka 27, tel. 22 357 0939, open Mon-Thu 11:00-22:30; Fri-Sat 11:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.namasteindia.pl A ferociously loyal customer base proclaim this as their favorite
curry in town. Highly recommended, find the original, more modest version on Nowogrodzka, and a (very) slightly more upmarket offering in Old Town. $ Rain by India Curry (D5) ul. Żurawia 22, tel. 22 438 9350, open Mon-Sun 12:00-23:00, www.rain.pl Ray Bridgeford, the former owner of the legendary Sense, is the man behind the miraculous resuscitation of India Curry. Fresh contemporary interiors impart a chic, classy aesthetic, but it’s the menu that’s become the talk of the expats. Our curry expert rates the starters as the best he’s had in ANY Indian restaurant, but that’s not all… lending this place serious credentials as Warsaw’s best Indian are a feisty vindaloo and initiatives such as the Thursday night Rain Curry Club (zł. 69 for curry, breads and starters), and their zł. 25 Tiffins lunch deals. $$ Tandoor (D7) ul. Marszałkowska 21/25, tel. 22 825 2375, open 12:00-22:30, www.tandoor.com.pl The legendary Tandoor Palace is dead! From
the ashes, rises Tandoor. It’s not just the interiors that have been modernized, but the menu – start with the pea and basil soup, a thick warming broth, before moving to the chicken sholay kebab… coated in absinth, it’s set aflame at the table. For mains, the murgh duo is equally artistic and even better in taste. Traditionalists will approve as well: the ‘classic’ menu features a formidable chicken tikka butter masala. $$
INTERNATIONAL & FUSION 12 Stolików ul. Krucza 16/22, tel. 795 373 815, open 9:00-23:00 Affecting a boutique style, the look here is clean, crisp and scattered with lifestyle titles. And forming the central element is the kitchen – yes, here’s a place that promotes cooking as a form of theater. The menu is chalked on a board, and while the aglio e olio was overcooked, the big guns came out for the steak: a very decent piece of meat. Enjoyable enough, though nothing particularly memorable. $$
Akademia (E9) ul. Różana 2, tel. 22 828 99 11, open Mon-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-18:00, www. restauracjaakademia.pl The most high profile launch of 2013, with whole sections of the street blocked off to keep the beautiful people from being molested by the public. But while the prevailing attitude is snooty, chef Grzegorz Nowakowski has done an excellent job on an artfully simple menu that fits seamlessly with the white-on-white interiors. $$ Bel 8 ul. Sułkowicka 2/4, tel. 883 648 888, open Mon-Thu 11:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00. A sizeable restaurant that shows Warsaw’s appetite for the finer things is growing at a pace. The design was inspired by modern Milan, and it shows in fancy interiors that make use of hardwood floors, transparent backed chairs and beautiful lighting. The menu is ‘global’ with Italian accents, and numbers dishes like filet mignon marinated in 12 year old Balsamic. Expect to be hearing a lot about them in the coming year. $$$
Bistecca Bistro ul. Branickiego 11, tel. 22 258 1243, open Sun-Thu 12:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-23:00, www.bistecca.pl It happened so suddenly. Warsaw went from meat loser to meat lover in the space of a year. Bistecca, opened over 2 years ago, was one of the early pioneers, and to date remains one of the best. That people travel from well outside Wilanów to sample its delights speaks volumes. Pride of place goes to their signature Bistecca steak: a one kilo T-Bone shaped joint with strip steak on one side and tenderloin on the other. For the thrill of DIY tableside cooking, order one of their ‘various kinds of meat grilled over volcanic stone’. Boathouse ul. Wał Miedzeszyński 389a, tel. 22 616 3223, open Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00; Sun 12:00- 18:00, www.boathouse.pl For the supersize treatment head to Boathouse, a leviathan restaurant set in three acres of parkland. The menu is Mediterranean in style with strong hints of Italian, though how they fare having lost their French chef Luc remains to be seen. $$
RESTAURANTS Brasserie Warszawska (E5) ul. Górnośląska 24, tel. 22 628 9423, open Mon 12:00-22:00; Sat 12:00-22:00; Sun 12:00-20:00, www.brasseriewarszawska. pl A posh looking bistro whose credentials are supported by crisp shirted staff, gleaming surfaces and zinc mirrors. The Fine de Claire oysters on a bed of fennel are outstanding, but what catches the attention of the ex-pats is the English influence of an owner who once managed The Grill at London’s Dorchester Hotel. The Friday fish & chips win emphatic approval. The Sunday roast lacks gravy and consistency, and you may find yourself asking for extra red wine sauce to moisten the Yorkshire Pudding – but it’s worth the chance; when everything goes right it’s utterly victorious. $$$ Bufet Centralny (D5) ul. Żurawia 32/34, tel 532 749 160, open Mon-Thu 11:30-2:00; Sat 15:00-5:00, www. bufetcentralny.pl With white tiles, an artsy carpentered bar and draftsman desk lamps hanging from the walls, Bufet certainly gets points for design. The Hungarian fish soup is delicious, while the chocolate soufflé is airy, gooey and all things nice. But choice diminishes quickly – get there early to order the ribs. $$ Butchery & Wine (D5) ul. Żurawia 22, tel. 22 502 3118, open Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00, www. butcheryandwine.pl Has it really been that long? Opened to wide acclaim in 2011, Butchery & Wine stirred Warsaw’s appetite for
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
quality red meat. Served on wooden boards by staff in butchers aprons, the steaks are beyond reproach and the wine list suited to the meat fest in front. Many hail this as Poland’s best steak, and you can definitely see where they’re coming from. $$
By The Way Bottega Kulinarna (E3) ul. Lipowa 7a, tel. 22 692 7239, open 12:00-22:00, www.bytheway.com.pl Everything here looks fantastic – the pared down interiors with their concrete greys and houndstooth touches, and the food. Oh yes, the food. There’s about five mains to hover on, the highlight being the duck breast. The meringue dessert is heaven, as well. $$ Bydło i Poidło (D5) ul. Krucza 16/22, tel. 22 434 2216, open Mon-Thu 12:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 13:00-21:00 Filled with rawhide and industrial undertones, this grown-up version of Bydło i Powidło (see Burgers), has its accent on more high-end meats: and by that we mean steaks. Hopefully, they’re an improvement on the ones served by their sister – we’ll be visiting soon to see. $$
Central Park ul. Belwederska 13, tel. 22 400 8048, open Mon-Fri 8:00-22:00, Sat-Sun 9:00-22:00, www.centralparkwarsaw.pl This is what
happens when you faff about for months – much hyped, Central Park just hasn’t met expectations. Fine as a neighborhood hangout, this is an eatery that buys into the trend of natural, quality produce. But we’ve seen it all before, and it does little to stand apart from the crowd. $$ Concept 13 (D4) ul. Bracka 9, tel. 22 310 7373, open Mon-Sat 11:00-23:00; Sun 11:00-16:00 Perched on the fifth floor of the Vitkac luxury department store, Concept 13 has a look that’d be approved of by any lifestyle mag: hardwood floors, glass and plenty of open spaces. The menu is contemporary and cleverly direct: five course set lunch menus from zł. 50, served between 11:00 and 16:00. Modern designer dining rarely gets better. $$$ Der Elefant (C3) Pl. Bankowy 1, tel. 22 890 0010, open 12:0024:00, www.derelefant.com A Titanic-sized restaurant with a disorganized menu that appears to have been devised by throwing darts at a cookbook: Mediterranean mezze, Tom Yum soup, burgers, pierogi, etc. But if the menu is blurry, the cooking isn’t: it’s average/ acceptable to very good. The interiors are a maze of wrought iron and monochrome tiles, and frequently pack out to the rafters with families and other unwieldy groups. $$ Downtown Restaurant (C4) ul. Emilii Plater 49 (InterContinental Hotel, level 2), tel. 22 328 8745, open Mon-Fri for Breakfast 6:30-10:00; Sat 6:30-11:00,
BROUGHT TO YOU BY HOŻA BT MONDOVINO
pleasure of introducing fine wines such Rothschild, Torres, Laroche and others to the Polish market. What were those early days like for a wine lover in Poland? Poles are not wine people – this is a vodka country. In the ’90s people were only interested in strong alcohols, but bit by bit wine grew in importance. In those times households would have maybe a Bulgarian or a Hungarian wine, people couldn’t understand why wine could be more expensive. Then, on the other hand, you also had business people with foreign contacts who’d spend lots of money on expensive wines in restaurants. It was a crazy situation with restaurants charging twice what you’d have paid in London. So what happened next… The situation changed this century. Prices became more realistic, and restaurant owners started to display a greater understanding of wine. People began seeing that wine could be used as part of general life, not just for moments of celebration. You mention Poland is a vodka country. Can this change? Vodka will always be a part of Polish culture, but it’s interesting to see so many young people getting interested in wine. People are looking to discover the colors of life, and the best way to feel the color of life is through wine.
THE GRAPE ESCAPE
PHOTOGRAPH BY KEVIN DEMARIA
A familiar face on stage and screen, actor Tomasz Budyta is also one of the nation’s foremost authorities on wine. And as owner of the awardwinning Hoża by Mondovino, he’s made his knowledge public…
When did your relationship with wine begin? It started in 1991 when Poland was in the middle of so many changes. Acting has always been my main job, but in ’91 I started working with a wine producer and distributor called Cin & Cin, developing their brand. In those days it was very simple wines. But five years later I was invited to create a new project, the Cellar of Fine Wines by Mr. Fritz Connings, a Dutch investor. Then I had the
How do you view Polish tastes? Polish people rely on experience – if they tried a good wine in Tuscany, then they will drink it here. They are afraid to experiment, but experimenting is a major part of being a wine lover – we are always looking to discover new moods. Polish tastes are traditional though: if, for instance, you gave a Pole a choice between a Malbec or a good Dolcetto most would go for Malbec because they’ve heard of it. What’s the philosophy of Mondovino? The name is from the Jonathon Nossiter film Mondovino (ed note: a documentary about the impact of globalization on the world’s wine regions), and I share it’s viewpoint. Of course, people need to create a profit, but wine is also part of culture. I stand against big companies, and am closer to family producers – for instance, the Chilean producers Montes and the Bisquertt family. I’m good friends with Aurelio Montes, and admire how he refuses to introduce his wine to supermarkets. With Hoża we aim for quality – we use the best, natural ingredients available – while also presenting customers with personality. We want a relationship with our customers. And any favorite wines? After thirty years of tasting wine I honestly think the French wines are the best. But in every wine region you can find something good – personally I prefer light wines, an Austrian or German Riesling for instance. I’m tired though of American chardonnay, it’s just too woody, too loud. Hoża by Mondovino ul. Hoża 25A, tel. 515 037 001, www.hoza.warszawa.pl
RESTAURANTS 12:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00; Sat 12:0016:00, Sunday Brunch 12:30-16:00, dinner 18:00-23:00 There’s now a few candidates for Warsaw’s best steak, and Downtown have certainly upped the erm, stakes, with their new menu. Yes, the doors of Downtown are a gateway to heaven – particularly true if, like us, your vision of heaven is a rich green field filled with fat, juicy cows. But don't for one moment assume the offer ends with cows. Now added to their menu are other animalitos like kangaroo. $$$ Duchnicka Wine & Food ul. Duchnicka 3, tel. 22 320 2989, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00, duchnickawinebar. com Michał Budnik, a rising star with a bright future ahead, excels in this loft-style warehouse. His menu includes cappuccino soup, and a totally triumphant rack of lamb. $$ Grill & Co (B9) ul. Żaryna 2B (Milllennium Park, Building C), tel. 22 646 0045, open Mon-Fri 7:30-23:00; Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www. grill-co.com Featuring plexiglass seats and clean, dark woods this place could easily be mistaken as one of the trend dens on Mazowiecka. A top (m)eatery, the filet mignon is perfect, and served with generous sides. Prices, too, are pleasingly moderate. $$
Haka (D4) ul. Bracka 20, open 12:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-last guest. Yes it’s a bar, but there is a talent in the kitchen that elevates it beyond just normal bar standard. That’s Shane, a
New Zealander whose put a London past to good use by coming up with an evolving menu that’s seen such items as kangaroo steak, five spiced pork belly and modern interpretations of British classics: shepherd’s pie, for instance. $$
The Harvest (L12) Domaniewska 34A (Ambassador Office Building), tel. 660 750 600, open Mon-Thu 12:00-24:00, Fri Sat 12:00-last guest, www. theharvest.pl A muted, classy design of charcoal colors and concrete surfaces sets the scene for an upmarket experience enjoyed predominantly by the suit and tie brigade. But beyond the corporate circle jerk, the food is bewilderingly good – the filet Rossini is pure luxury, while for dessert the tarte fine is becoming something of a house signature. True, you get the idea that chef Robert Trzópek (formerly El Bulli, Noma), has been told, “look bud, no crazy stuff out there,” but that doesn’t mean his menu lacks innovation – it’s just more subtle than the other top restaurants. And make no mistake, The Harvest is certainly one of the top. $$$ Hoża by Mondovino (D5) ul. Hoża 25A, tel. 603 778 275, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-21:00 Wine and steak: it sounds so simple, but Hoża have taken two simple pleasures to another level. It’s a vibrant space with service right out of charm school, and a kitchen team
with a real knowledge of cows. A red blooded affair, the menu is a steak sensation and well paired with a handpicked wine list. $$ Jasna 24 (D4) ul. Jasna 24, tel. 22 447 24 41, open Mon-Fri 11:00-23:00; Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:0020:00, www.jasna24.pl Slick, modern and loungey in look, Jasna 24 has a creative menu that include the use of deliciously unexpected combinations. Roll up on Wednesday’s if you prefer your dinner served with a slice of live music. $$ Kaskrut (D6) ul. Poznańska 5, tel. 22 622 5438, open Mon-Sun 12:00-15:00, 17:00-23:00, www. facebook.com/dwichlab Referred to by some as the “poor man’s Atelier Amaro”, this haunt has a high communal seating plan and a hip, buzzy foodie crowd: fit in by taking pics of the food. The exciting menu is a temporary work that changes every two weeks – sometimes faster. The chef is known for his trial-and-error attitude: combinations that don’t work get binned before making a public debut. Those that make it through the qualifiers end up on the board. Servings are artistic, excellent and heavily influenced by French and North African cuisine. Go there. $$ BEST WAWA 2013 "Casual Design" La Rotisserie (C1) ul. Kościelna 12 (Le Régina Hotel), tel. 22 531 6070, open Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30, 12:0023:00; Sat-Sun 7:00-11:00,12:00-23:00, www.leregina.com Truly, one of the standout
A fresh taste of Italy in the heart of Poland
1 | MARCH 2014 44Insider_VP.indd WARSAW INSIDER
UL. Taśmowa 7 TeL: +48 22 356 10 50 firstname.lastname@example.org
aL. jerozoLimskie 63 (róg z e.PLaTer) TeL: +48 22 852 49 65 email@example.com
gaLeria mokoTów UL. wołoska 12 TeL: +48 600 325 883 firstname.lastname@example.org
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dining rooms of Poland. Many have commented on the Michelin quality of chef Paweł Oszczyk’s restaurant, and you may consider the lack of a star one of the puzzles of the modern world. The cooking is ‘classic with a twist’, and is built for superlatives: the slow-roasted rack of Welsh lamb was one of our highlights of 2013. Find Oszczyk ably supported by Andrzej Strzelczyk, Poland’s top ranked sommelier, and wonderBEST WAWA fully charismatic staff. $$$ 2013 "Chef" Muu Muu (D2) ul. Moliera 8, tel. 22 465 1553, open daily 12:00-last guest, www.muumuu.pl The place is sparky, fun and engaging: small in size, décor comprises of soft colors and light woods, not to mention a bar adorned with blackboard slogans such as ‘Eat Meat’ and ‘Love Bacon’. The heart of their act is meat, and steak appears in a variety of its forms: there’s T-Bone, bison, wagyu, etc. If you’re a vegetarian (or for that matter, a cow), run. New it might be, but there’s a quiet assurance about Muu Muu: the proprietor knows he’s on a good thing, and he very well is. $$ Momu.Gastrobar (D2) ul. Wierzbowa 11, tel. 506 100 001, open Sun-Thu 11:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-1:00, www.momu.pl Tapas-style portions of experimental-looking food arrives in little glass jars (meat and fish skewers, Eton mess), or else on paper plates a la the jalapeno hot dog. Pay zł. 40 for a choice of six itsy pots served in a wire-framed basket. A new
concept for Warsaw, it’s been a case of so far so good for Momu. $ Nolita (D5) ul. Wilcza 46, tel. 22 292 0424, open Mon-Fri 12:00-15:30, 18:00-22:30; Sat 13:00-23:00, www.nolita.pl A swank center restaurant anchored on the skills of Jacek Grochowina – a young talent who honed his skills at the London Ritz. Looking chic and high end, advance bookings are recommended if you wish to enjoy this top-class experience. Some of the tastes and sensations are utterly unexpected, with the Insider left speechless after enjoying the tuna tartar (zł.49) and aged beef fillet (zł. 97). The nine-course tasting menu is said to be out-of-this-world, and one of the reasons why some are rating this as Poland’s next Michelin hope. $$$ BEST WAWA 2013 "Fine Dining" Norma ul. Wierzbowa 9/11, tel. 22 828 0130, open 12:00-23:00, www.restauracjanorma.pl Diners step in to find neutral, natural colors offset by Walton Ford paintings depicting wild, tethered animals, and warm lighting provided by way of bare bulbs wrapped around the rafters. But what of the menu. That’s been conceived by chef Kuba Korczak, a familiar name to slow food enthusiasts. His food is an inventive presentation of natural, local produce, and includes subtle influences from both Italy and Asia. The kaszanka is deep and rich but the biggest success is the cod with apple puree: rolling in strong, unique flavors it’s completely astonishing. $$
Nowa Kuźnia ul. Kostki Potockiego 24, tel. 794 126 019, open 12:00-last guest, www.nowakuznia.pl A mere step from Wilanów’s 18th century church, this onetime blacksmith passes muster for excellent steaks and fresh salads practically plucked from a garden. In season, the summer terrace is magical, and the place even touts a faux beach complete with diggers and slides for the kids. $$ Piękna 56 (D6) ul. Piękna 56, tel. 22 412 0656, open MonThu 10:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-24:00; Sun 11:00-23:00, www.piekna56 The line between restaurants and wine bars is increasingly blurred, and here’s another opening that greys those boundaries further. Well considered interiors feature a tree (!), nude art and stacks of wine bottles strategically planted around this warm womb-like space. The menu is light and creative, with the biggest spend being a five star roast beef. $$ Platter by Karol Okrasa (C4) InterContinental Hotel, ul. Emilii Plater 49, tel. 22 328 8734 or 22 328 8730, open Mon-Fri 12:00-16:00, Sat-Sun 17:30-23:00, www.platter.pl The hotel has roped in celebrity chef Karol Okrasa to head their revamped dining room. As a temple of nouveau Polish, the new layout isn’t a dramatic change from the previous occupant, but the food is faultless. In particular, the herb garden salad with prawns comes immaculately groomed. An already excellent experience has been raised to talking point level. $$$
Po Prostu Zachęta (D3) pl. Małachowskiego 3, tel. 22 556 96 77, open Mon-Fri 10:00-20:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-20:00, www.poprostuzacheta. pl Sophisticated yet cozy, Darek Ryniec’s restaurant is set on the lower level of the Zachęta, and despite the grand vaulted ceiling offers substantial privacy with tables nestled beside major columns. The set lunch menu emphasizes Polish, while offering a main menu that’s definitely trendy European: the dishes will be licked clean. Qchnia Artystyczna (E6) Zamek Ujazdowski, Al. Jazdów 2, tel. 22 625 7627, open daily 12:00-22:00, www. qchnia.pl Even on a cold, ashen day, can you question a view that spills down onto a canal and park way down below? And how about when that view comes from a candle-lit reconstructed castle… Endlessly romantic, this artistic eatery comes with a light look and
a creative menu honed by Marta Gessler. $$
the crowd who appreciate it. $$
Restauracja 99 (B4) Al. Jana Pawła II 23, tel. 22 620 1999, open Mon-Fri 8:00-23:00; Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.restaurant99.com Sporting a futuristic look, 99 is an enduring veteran of the CBD circuit. No longer the top dog for business wining / dining, it nonetheless remains a very safe choice for perfect steaks and loaded margaritas. $$
SAM (E3) ul. Lipowa 7a, tel. 600 806 084, open Mon-Fri 8:00-22:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-22:00 Bistro, bakery, hangout. The cooling concrete interiors buzz throughout the day, with touches like communal tables well suited to the ascetic style. Owned by the same lot in charge of 6/12, there’s a similar commitment to good, healthy eating employed here. $$
Rozbrat 20 (F5) ul. Rozbrat 20, tel. 22 628 0295, open Mon-Fri 7:30-last guest; Sat-Sun 9:00-last guest, www.rozbrat20.pl Everything a restaurant should be – modern, but not too excessive, as well as traditional at the same time. Elegance emanates from everything and class glints off the silver champagne bowl and tasteful crockery. The menu is a contemporary, international affair, much like
Signature (D5) ul. Poznańska 15, tel. 22 55 38755, open 12:00-23:00, www.signaturerestaurant.pl ‘Kilian who?’ people asked when Wojciech Kilian was installed as head chef. But this young talent has had the last laugh: set to be Poland’s next big chef, his cooking is extraordinary and presents true fine dining at bargain prices. Kilian’s cause is complimented by a beautiful design described by
Insider's Pick Trattoria da Antonio ul. Żurawia 16/20, tel. 22 625 5417, open 11:00-1:00, www.trattoriadaantonio.pl
hen it comes to food, never before has Warsaw felt so openminded, so aware of global food trends. In this respect, Da Antonio offers nothing new, nor nothing that reflects Warsaw’s growing stock as a foodie town in the making. Then again, you get the idea that was never their intention. The social and cultural changes of the 90s produced one runaway winner in the restaurant sector, and that was Italian. And to this day, it remains one of the dominant cuisines on the local scene – in fact, it’s easier to think of a street that has an Italian restaurant, than one that doesn’t. Clearly, this is not a fad that will pass. But this is not the good news that you may think it is – Italian restaurants may be hefty
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in number, but on the whole they’re ruled by atrocious chefs who have Polonized the cuisine: kitchen criminals who deserve ritual humiliation. So yes, Warsaw needs as many good Italian restaurants as it can get, which is why da Antonio is a welcome addition. New it might be, but you get very much the impression of a restaurant from the 90s: not here pared down interiors and industrial finishes. On the contrary, the style is rustic with tacky embellishments that appear at each turn – a Vespa, some stone lions, a water well. But this is no bad thing: at a time when restaurants are doing their best to look stripped down and functional, cheerful Antonio feels jaunty and fun – let the laughter and buzz that reverberate be evidence. This is not a place that pays slavish attention to design magazines, and it’s all the better for that. The attention, instead, is on the customer. Our server is excellent: knowledgeable, non-intrusive and ready with suggestions. The menu, by modern standards, is an unwieldy affair, so all recommendations are readily accepted. We choose just the one starter, a tomato soup, and while it lacks the depth I’d usually prefer it’s not a bad choice. But the real redemption comes with mains that earn a straight set of A’s. The penne arrabiata is delicious in its simplicity: fresh pasta and a lively sauce with a nice hint of spice. Also successful is my gnocchi tartufati: gnocchi stuffed with parmesan, ham and turmeric, and served in a thick cream sauce. This is melt-in-your-mouth good. Dessert, meanwhile, is a shared affair of meringue layered with ice cream and complimented by a drizzle of hot cherry sauce. We tear through it in seconds – it’s a dead heat who finishes first. And yes, it does feel like a competition, neither of us wanting the other to have the last bite. The final bill of zł. 127 feels very fair in hindsight, and we leave happy with the meal, the experience, the staff and the price. Certainly, it’s not fine dining standard, but then it doesn’t purport to be. Sicilian-born Antonio Centurrino’s restaurant is exactly what it says on the tin: a warm trattoria whose specialty is good, simple food. (AW)
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX WEBBER
one reader as a ‘Monegasque state of mind’. Think: friezes and reliefs dated from the time this was the Soviet Embassy, lavish 1950s Oswald chairs, lighting by Serge Mouille and original Marilyn photos shot by the acclaimed Milton Greene. You feel a millionaire just being here. $$ BEST WAWA 2013 "Restaurant Design"
Skandal Bistrobar (D4) ul. Sienkiewicza 4, tel. 22 350 0444, skandalbistrobar.pl No judgment forthcoming on this one, simply because they were opening the day after we went to press. Owned by the same lot behind Leniviec, the previews suggest they’re taking the food angle seriously enough by hiring Jacek Wolfram, a one time protégé of Kurt Scheller. Preview pics suggest a highly trendy venue that could breathe life into a street that’s lost its way for quite some time.
unfinished looking, with odd-shaped tables and stark colors. But keep an open mind because the food scores big points. The pizza, pasta and seafood dishes incorporate imported Italian ingredients, and come close to blowing your mind. $$
Strefa (C3) ul. Próżna 9, tel. 22 255 0850, open Mon-Fri 8:00-24:00; Sat-Sun 11:00-24:00, www. restauracjastrefa.pl Just what were they thinking ignoring the form book like that? No communal tables, no pipes and no rough-hewn bricks. Instead, there’s a swan white elegance here, with lots of pristine
colors and smart, smooth-talking service. What a refreshing change. The chef favors sous-vide techniques, and his is a magic, masterful hand – his duck is flawless, and the homemade ice cream with seasonal fruits is quite a follow-up. Even the cocktails are a thing of brilliance. $$ Tamka 43 (E3) ul. Tamka 43, tel. 22 441 6234, open Mon-Sun 10:00-23:00, www.tamka.43.pl There is an inspiration here which causes guests to linger over their meal, explore it and wonder at it. Food isn’t the background; it is the centerpiece. While Robert Trzópek has
Solec 44 (F4) ul. Solec 44, tel. 798 363 996, open Tue-Sun 12:00-last guest; Mon 16:00-last guest. www.solec.waw.pl With all the hipsters mincing about it sure doesn’t look like a restaurant: diners line-up at the counter to order, before sitting down in a spontaneous looking interior that clacks and clatters to the sound of grown-ups playing board games. Chef Aleksander Baron is an absolute star, and his daily changing menu (hourly changing, even), presents soul foods made from fresh, seasonally appropriate ingredients. His eye for good meat is undisputed, making it the best alternate dining experience you’ll see for a while. $$ Sowa & Przyjaciele (G8) ul. Gagarina 2, tel. 795 505 152, open MonSat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-20:00, www. sowaiprzyjaciele.pl It really looks the part, with warm lighting, soft colors and bare bulbs hanging from overhead cables. The positive impressions are further underlined by a sommelier with a sixth sense and a barnstorming menu that catches the attention. Sowa is one of the biggest names in Polish cooking, and you may fear he spends more time on TV than in his kitchen: with that in mind, we’re happy to report the main man emerging from the kitchen to share backslaps and bear hugs with the regulars who return. $$$ Stółdzielnia (D9) ul. Kazimierzowska 22, tel. 22 845 00 67, open daily 13:00-22:00 www.stoldzielnia.pl A complete anomaly Stółdzielnia looks more like one of those one-day pop-up restaurants:
RESTAURANTS left the kitchen, he’s been ably replaced by Rafał Hreczaniuk – his menu pitches modern techniques against traditional, primarily root ingredients. It’s pretty wonderful, though the prices are ambitious. $$$ Taste Wilanów ul. Kazachska 1, tel. 22 400 1122, open daily 11:30-22:30, www.taste.pl To leave a restaurant fortified is to be expected; to leave delighted is the mark of quality. With a clever L-shaped interior, a natural terrace and a gleaming white ceramic kitchen it looks good, but it’s the food that earns the plaudits. Dominik Moskalenko, the executive chef who cut his teeth on Amber Room has been a central part of this creation from the beginning and the fruits of his labor are mouth-watering. Fish sit prominently on his menu and account for an astonishing 60% of sales. And rightly so: they’re phenomenal. $$ U Chłopaków (B3) ul. Chłodna 2/18, tel. 22 115 9710, open 8:00-22:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-22:00 Chłodna’s renaissance continues. Formerly a decrepit grocery store of the same name, Chłopaków is all exposed brick, sprigs of greenery and overhanging lamps. It’s a casual stop, but the cooking is not a throwaway – the menu is heavily slanted towards Eastern European, and has winning pierogi and wonderfully thick goulash. Villa Foksal (E4) ul. Foksal 3/5, tel. 22 827 8716, open Mon-Fri 12:00 -22:00; Sat-Sun 13:00-23:00,
www.restauracjavillafoksal.pl There’s a real elegance to Villa Foksal, an upscale restaurant whose floor plan and garden have made them a favorite for corporate bashes and brand launches. The Vichyssoise with truffles is a prelude to mains like filet mignon in red wine sauce. $$$
Wilczy Glód ul. Wilcza 29A, tel. 502 771 447, open 9:00-22:00. A blackboard menu, light bulbs hanging from strings and cartoonish wolves painted on the walls – as fun and trendy as it looks, the talking point is cooking that pairs international ideas with organic local produce from little family farmsteads. The menu changes frequently, so recommendations are impotent – what you should know is this is a place created out of a love and respect for food. $$ Winosfera (B3) ul. Chłodna 31, tel. 22 526 2500, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00, www.winosfera.pl You may think wine is the main talking point here, but actually, it’s the chef: Jakub Adamczyk, an upcoming star who studied his trade in Michelin mainstay The Square. His menu is scintillating: ordering the beef tenderloin is a must, as is the rhubarb parfait. You’ll be happy to pay the heavy handed prices. $$$
Wootwórnia ul. Królowej Aldony 5, tel. 603 696 259, open 10:00-22:00, www.wootwornia.pl. Accessed round a back garden, Wootwórnia feels like
a private little secret – you get the sensation not of visiting a restaurant, but of visiting a friend. The dominant element is the counter, from which co-owner Agnes Woo showcases her homemade preserves and own-baked cakes. Sourcing ingredients from small-scale local farms, here is a menu designed to nourish the soul. And it does just that. The tomato soup, enriched with hint of orange, aniseed and cinnamon isn’t soup of the day, it’s our soup of the year. Genuine ‘food from the heart’. $$
ITALIAN Ave Pizza (E3) ul. Topiel 12, tel. 22 828 8507, open 12:00-22:00 A dark and dimmed space – fashionably sparse – with white wall tiles and eclectic wallpaper climbing to the exposed pipes above. The menu is a simple laminated affair with eleven ‘pizza rosse’ and eight ‘pizza biance’, as well as a scattering of other Italian dishes. Cooked up by Lino and Fabio, the result is Warsaw’s most extraordinary pizzas: yep, the place is even endorsed by the city’s notoriously picky Italian community. $ Bacio (D5) ul. Wilcza 43, tel. 22 626 83 03, open Mon-Fri 12:00-23:00; Sat 13:00-23:00; Sun 13:00-22:00, www.bacio.pl New look Bacio has been de-cluttered and simplified and now features a stripped down look and a menu that peaks with the duck in red wine
ul. Żurawia 6/12 tel. 22 420 3373 Open Mon-Thu 12:00-23:00 Fri-Sat 12:00-03:00 Sun 13:00-22:00 www.sushizushi.pl
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risotto. Portions are huge, and are matched by a quality that’s seen this once ailing giant reinstalled as one of the top Italian eats in town. $$
range from “what a deal!” to “worth it for a celebrity splurge.” The minimalsitic rustic interior is just the right spot after a stroll in the neighboring Old Town. $$
Carpaccio (D4) ul. Nowy Świat 36, tel. 22 692 4726, open daily 12:00-last guest The Italian influence looms heavy here: the Italian owner patrols the restaurant floor, while Carmelo, a Sicilian, ensures nothing but excellence exits the wood-fired pizza oven. The quality of the hams is undisputed, as a try of the Parma ham bruschetta immediately proves. $$
Kotłownia ul. Suzina 8, tel. 22 833 23 27, open daily 13:00-last guest (kitchen to 23:00), www. winiarnia-kotlownia.pl You’d never guess from the grey surrounds but Kotłownia is one of the emerging stars of Warsaw dining. Set in a historic disused boiler house (the Warsaw Uprising started right outside!) a generous helping of wooden touches warm the split level industrial interiors, but it’s the food that steals the show. The modern Italian menu reflects the owner’s passion for Italy, as does the handpicked wine list. The convivial atmosphere makes it perfect for a long, lazy lunch. $$
Delizia (D5) ul. Hoża 58/60, tel. 22 622 6665, open Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00, www.delizia.com.pl The reasons for Delizia’s success are twofold: Luca and Lorenzo. Luca’s the front man, a charismatic chap and natural showman. In his hands, you’ll feel like a star. Then there’s Lorenzo, the chef out the back. Between the pair of them they’ve turned this tiny little venue into Warsaw’s most convincing Italian enterprise. Top quality imported products, a dimly-lit romantic atmosphere, tasteful interiors and brilliant food: what more do you need? $$ Enoteka ul. Długa 23/25, tel. 22 635 5510, open Mon-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 13:00-21:00, www.enotekapolska.pl The menu is updated quarterly and beefed up with the harvests of the season. The house specialises chiefly in Italian labels whose price tags
La Tomatina (D5) ul. Krucza 47A, tel. 22 625 1047, open SunThu 10:30-23:00; Fri-Sat 10:30-24:00; Sun 11:00-23:00, www.latomatina.pl Calamitous, slapstick service and accusations pointing to the overuse of readymade ingredients shouldn’t detract from good pizzas served in modern interiors of stark white walls and concrete floors. Our spicy tiger prawn spaghetti was also okay, even if the presentation looked like a student had cooked it. $ Mąka i Woda (D4) ul. Chmielna 13A, tel. 22 505 91 87, open Mon-Thu 12:00-22:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-23:00, Sun 12:00-20:00 When Michelin starred
chef Wojciech Amaro pops in with his family you know something is going right. Here the statement piece is a Stefano Ferrara Napoli oven, used to maximum effect to create pizzas which have come to be considered amongst Warsaw’s best. Import ingredients like Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Caputo flour add to the authenticity, and there’s a medley of other ‘staples from Naples’. $ Mamma Marietta (C9) ul. Wołoska 74A, tel. 22 880 0071, open 12:00-22:00, www.mammamarietta.com A scattering of tables make reservations recommended in Mamma Marietta, an informal looking restaurant with lugubrious interiors and solemn service. But the food, created by head chef Andrea, has an authenticity that’s rare in a city whose enthusiasm for Italian food isn’t always reflected by quality. The tomato soup starter, is deliciously thick and almost worth the trip itself. $$ Mezzo Italian Steakhouse ul. Sienkiewicza 5 (Konstancin-Jeziorna), tel. 22 756 3343, open daily 12:00-22:00 Tucked at the tip of Konstancin’s park, Mezzo’s wood-burning brick pizza oven constructed in the garden gets all the thumbs up. Also novel to the community is a chance to enjoy top-notch beef – using filet from Poland and T-bones from Irish Hereford cattle, Mezzo’s newly designed kitchen uses a lava grill to ensure excellence each time. $$ Nonsolo Pizza ul. Grójecka 28/30, tel. 22 824 1273, open
Domaniewska 34A, Warszawa, +48 22 223 64 34 www.theharvest.pl
RESTAURANTS Mon-Sun 12:00-23:00, www.nonsolo.pl Basic but modern looking: can be described as ‘cutprice cosmopolitan’. The kitchen takes Stage Center, and a stage it is – amateur theatrics are sometimes part of the bill. A staggering choice of pizzas await (we counted 48, but might have got it wrong), and while they’re pretty decent it’s a while since Nonsolo was talked about as being Warsaw’s best pie. $ Parmizzano’s (C5) Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 (Marriott Hotel, Floor 1), tel. 22 630 6306, open 12:00-23:00 The prices are highly intimidating, but are offset by cooking that never falls below brilliant. Hotel restaurants get a bad rep, but in the formal surrounds of Parmiazzano’s diners can expect Italian food at its very best. $$$ Ristorante San Lorenzo (B3) Al. Jana Pawła II 36, tel. 22 652 1616, open 12:00-last guest, www.sanlorenzo.pl Adorned with crisp, starched linen and Roman frescos this space is almost magisterial in design. The Tuscan menu is flawless and well worth the rather hefty bill. The wine bar on the ground floor features the same standards at a snip of the price. It’s in here you’ll find Italian natives cheering the Serie A football. $$$ Superiore (D6) ul. Piękna 28/34, tel. 506 404 059, open Mon-Fri 8:00-22:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-24:00, www.superiorewinebar.pl A hybrid wine shop, deli and restaurant, with an owner who prefers to think about the enjoyment of your dining experience rather than his cash till. The
veal pasta is the bestselling dish here for very good reason. $$ Trattoria Rucola na Miodowej ul. Miodowa 1, tel. 888 575 457 & ul. Francuska 6, tel. 22 616 1259, open daily 12:00-22:00 & ul. Krucza 6/14, tel. 22 465 1836, open Mon-Thu 12:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-23:00, www.trattoriarucola.pl Firmly established in Saska, Ruccola have expanded to cover the West side to cover Old Town and the center. The M.O is replicated in all venues, with huge wall prints of verdant forest scenes, and a menu that impresses across the board – the pizza in particular gets our seal of approval. $ Vapiano Al. Jerozolimskie 63 (Lipinski Passage), tel. 22 356 10 50, open Mon-Thu 9:00-23:00, Fri 9:00-1:00; Sat 11:00-1:00, Sun 11:00-22:00 & ul. Taśmowa 7 (Marynarska Business Park) & ul. Wołoska 12 (Galeria Mokotów) www. vapiano.de/pl Here’s one chain brand that is worth the hype. Featuring a chic look rounded out with Ferrari red colors, the thin crust pizza earns its spurs, and the pasta combinations are great. $$ Venti-tre (E8) ul. Belwederska 23 (Hyatt Hotel), tel. 22 558 1094, open 6:30-23:00 The high class confines of the Hyatt are the home of Venti Tre, a contemporary restaurant with an open kitchen, and a Mediterranean inspired menu constructed using carefully sourced ingredients from local suppliers. The results are befitting of one of Warsaw’s top hotels. $$$
JAPANESE & SUSHI Hana Sushi al. Jana Pawła II 82 (Arkadia), tel. 22 331 7518, open Mon-Sat 11:00-22:00; Sun 12:00-21:00, www.hanasushi.pl Dated decor of bamboo shoots and bonsai trees is made to look good by dreadful service and irritating elevator music. But it’s hard to dislike Hana – the ‘gunkan special’ is out of this world. $$ Izumi Sushi ul. Mokotowska 17 (pl. Zbawiciela), tel. 22 825 7950, open Mon-Thu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-22:00 & ul. Biały Kamień 4, tel. 22 424 0055, open MonThu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.izumisushi.eu The original location never ceases to amaze with its sushi, though it’s the addition on Biały Kamień that really gets people talking. Here it’s not just the food that wows, but the interiors: a huge venue whose open plan doubles as an indoor forest – you need to see it to believe it. $$ Ryż i Ryba (D6) ul. Piękna 20, tel. 22 627 4150, open Mon-Fri 11:00-22:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-22:00, www. ryziryba.pl The art of sushi is given a new lease of life in this Piękna newbie. The flavors are a revelation, making it more than just a stop-off for passing office workers. $$ Sakana Sushi Bar ul. Burakowska 5/7 tel. 22 636 0505, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00, Sun 13:00-22:00 & ul. Moliera 4/6, tel. 22 826 5958, open Mon-Thu
ul. Senatorska 27, tel. 22 827 97 07 www.cesarski-palac.com.pl Cesarski Palace has thrived in Warsaw for 18 years – from the outset we were the first to offer authentic Chinese dishes, including our signature Peking Duck which comes baked in a custom-made oven and served with pancakes, cucumbers, por and a special sauce. Expect personalized service and special attention from the chef inside a restaurant sensitive to Feng Shui requirements. There’s nothing comparable to our perfect tastes!
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12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-1:00; Sun 13:00-22:00 & ul. Wąwozowa 6, lok.10B, tel. 22 498 8899, Mon-Sat 12:00-22:30, Sun 13:00-22:00, www.sakana.pl If there was one winner in the sushi wars of the noughties, it was Sakana. Many claim it’s the best in the city, a stand that’s hard to dispute. Practice nimble chopstick moves among other aficionados while sushi rolls sail by on tiny, little boats. $$
While Warsaw’s other sushi stops gather cobwebs Tomo packs out each night – that should say enough. With the maki, sushi and sashimi bobbing past on wooden platters, this place aims for fast, maximum turnover without ever making the diner feel second best. $$
Sushi Club (B1) ul. Stawki 3, tel. 22 114 1414, open Mon-Thu 11:00-22:00; Fri 11:00-23:00; Sat 12:00-23:00, Sun 12:00-22:00, www.sushiclub.pl A couple of dining rooms to choose from, including one found in a restorative salt cave. The lack of English on the menu may leave you bamboo-zled, but the overall quality is rewarding. We return for the salmon nigri and tuna hosomaki. $$
Pod Samsonem (C1) ul. Freta 3/5, tel 22 832 1788, open 10:0023:00, www.podsamsonem.pl Operating since the 1950s – crazy when you think about it. This is the place for an ordinary meal in an ordinary space. The menu mixes aspects of Polish and Jewish cooking, and fails to do a good job of either. Entertainment is provided by the staff: find them engaged in something akin to war with the people they serve. $
Sushi Marina-Mokotów ul. Warowna 1, tel. 22 493 0302, open daily 12:00-22:00, www.sushimarina.pl Since its heyday in the 00s sushi has been in decline in Warsaw – well, no-one told Marina-Mokotów, and it’s a good job as well. Completely creative in its offer, this isn’t just another Wa-wa sushi joint. Elaborate rolls are built with forensic precision using the freshest of ingredients. In a place like this, it’s easy to fall in love with sushi all over again. $$ Sushi Zushi (D5) ul. Żurawia 6/12, tel. 22 420 3373, open Mon-Thu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-03:00; Sun 13:00-22:00, www.sushizushi.pl The mania for sushi is in recess, and that’s a good thing – the rogue operators are dead or dying off, and are survived by the best. And make no mistake, Sushi Zushi continue to be the No. 1 ex-pat choice. Appreciated by a stunning crowd, the rolls are often bold and creative and always astonishingly fresh. $$ Tekeda Sushi & Wok (D1) ul. Freta 18, tel. 600 351 818 & ul. Meissnera 1/3, tel. 606 236 050, open daily 12:00-22:00, www.sushitekeda.pl In an area plagued by tourist rip-offs, Tekeda get it right with a good balance of sushi and wok dishes. The grilled maki is particularly pleasing. $$ Tomo (D5) ul. Krucza 16/22, tel. 22 434 2344, open Mon-Thu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.tomo.pl Excellent.
LATIN & MEXICAN Aioli (D3) ul. Świętokrzyska 18, tel. 22 290 102, open Sun-Thu 9:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 9:00-24:00, www.aioli-cantine.com A jaunty Mediterranean space with hanging hocks of ham and long communal tables. Aioli’s breakfast, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas all seem decent enough, but you can’t help wonder why it’s struck a chord with the public – it’s fine as an evening out, but nothing hugely memorable. $$
‘Simplicity, elegance and atmosphere’
Cafe • Wine Bar • Restaurant • Whisky Bar • Wine Cellar ul. Hoża 25A, tel. 515 037 001 email@example.com Open 12:00-23:00, Sun 12:00-21:00
Blue Cactus (E8) ul. Zajączkowska 11, tel. 22 851 2323, open Mon-Fri 8:00-23:00; Sat 9:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-21:00, www.bluecactus.pl The Cactus has been around for years, but such was its fall from grace people had started referring to it in the past tense. Enter new executive chef, Californian Patrick Hanna. Combining the barbecuing techniques of the southern states with the humble but potent tastes of Northern Mexico, Hanna has Blue Cactus on the up. $$
Casa Pablo (C3) ul. Grzybowska 5A, tel. 22 324 5781, open Mon-Sat 12:00-last guest, www.casapablo. pl While increasingly well represented in the capital, Spanish food has been pointed in a new direction by Casa Pablo. Breaking away
RESTAURANTS from hackneyed clichés, the eclectic interior (tartan colors, crates, a century old mirror) is reflective of a menu that places equal importance on flair, quality and elements of fine dining. Based on the ‘creative Spanish’ movement, find the likes of pork ribs in hoi sin and honey sauce introduced, not to mention cod cooked at 45 C and served with pigs trotters. You’ll be amazed. $$ Dos Tacos (B5) Al. Jerozolimskie 123A, tel. 22 243 4618, open 11:00-22:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-24:00, www. dostacos.pl Found high up in the increasingly naff-looking Millennium Plaza, Dos Tacos is adorned with Aztec murals and cartoonish finishes. A growing number of Americans can be found making their way to Floor 5 of the Millennium, and that’s to sample an exciting range of salsas and a solid menu of Mexican staples. $ La Fiesta Tequila Bar (E4) ul. Foksal 21, tel. 22 829 8560, open 12:00-3:00, www.lafiesta.pl What was once a pretty diabolical Mexican joint has, appar-
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ently, experienced a dramatic volte face. The sombreros and crap have been replaced by a psychedelic, Day of the Dead-style featuring skeletal Mariachi men, not to mention no shortage of tequila bottles. But the real gossip is reserved for the kitchen: gone are the fraudsters who used to work here, and in their place is Jorge Martinez – no guessing where he’s from. Is his menu up to scratch? Absolutely no idea. We left after having a run-in with the worst service experienced since the Cold War ended. $
Sun 12:00-23:00 Dogged by failed ventures, this prime location has been gagging for a success story – and it’s got one. The food is good, which has to count for something: from light bites like tortillas, to pots of fresh mussels, everything we’ve tried in this Hispanicthemed spot has been culinary gold. Hanging hocks of ham come scattered around casual, intimate interiors, and further brownie points are gained for a smoking room that doesn’t choke you as well as hilarious toilets (lads, see if you measure up…). $$
Ole Tapas (E5) ul. Bracka 2, tel. 519 875 767, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www. ole-restaurant.pl A dual level wine bar and restaurant with a modern spirit and a Flamenco vibe. Don’t let the name fool you: while the tapas are good, it’s the steak most people come for. Choice here includes aged Spanish beef and Kobe cow. $$
Spoco Loco ul. Sarmacka 10, tel. 887 447 447, open 11:00-21:00, www.spocoloco.pl It begins with a bead of sweat. Then a couple of tears. Then the real pain begins and doesn’t retreat until you’ve rolled on the floor and died for twenty minutes. Spoco Loco’s No. 7 sauce is no laughing matter, and should be treated with respect. But this causal eatery is not founded on gimmicks. The burritos and quesadillas are the real deal, and ably supported by a choice of milder sauces that don’t require Red Cross treatment.
Secado (D5) ul. Marszałkowska 66, tel. 608 707 799, open Mon-Fri 10:00-23:00; Sat 11:00-24:00;
The Mexican ul. Podwale 29, tel. 22 635 3232, open Sun-Thu 11:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-1:00 & Zgoda 6, tel. 22 826 0009, open Sun-Thu 11:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-2:00, www. mexican.pl Everything Mexican food shouldn’t be. There’s zero zing, and no matter what you order anticipate mysterious gloop with lots of mashed cabbage. It’s all such a shame, because with its burbling fountain and courtyard location The Mexican looks like it could be the real deal. Find their latest imposter hawking for custom on Zgoda 6 $$
Warsaw Tortilla Factory (D5) ul. Wilcza 46 (entrance from ul. Poznańska), tel. 22 621 8622, open 12:00-last guest, www. warsawtortillafactory.pl Howling hot salsas and freshly made tortillas give WTF a head start on other restaurants, but there are other strings to their poncho: the menu has been slimmed and continues to be tinkered with, while the introduction of zł. 19 lunches – served on Alcatraz trays – present one of the best deals in town. We’ve enjoyed the burritos here for years, and score them as the best in town. $$
MIDDLE EASTERN Le Cedre (E1) Al. Solidarności 61, tel. 22 670 1166, open daily 11:00-23:00, www.lecedre.pl With the decadent dazzle of a bedouin tent, nights in Le Cedre are best celebrated with blasts on a sheesha and their Friday night belly dancer. Otherwise, just settle for the best Lebanese food in CEE; of particular note, the charcoal-grilled lamb chops. $$ Le Cedre 84 (B3) Al. Solidarności 84, tel. 22 618 8999, open 11:00-23:00, www.lecedre.pl Le Cedre just keep on getting it right. Authenticity is key in this chainlette (well, there’s another across the river), as you’ll discover when talking to Tony, the Lebanese owner. To see the diversity of this cuisine, order the balbaak (six cold starters) or the byblos (six hot). And food aside, it’s the atmosphere that carries them that extra yard: the whole philosophy of this
cuisine is to share and share alike, making it a uniquely engaging experience when dining with friends. $$ Sokotra (D5) ul. Wilcza 27, tel. 22 270 2766, open Mon-Thu 12:00-22:00; Fri Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.sokotra.pl A Yemeni restaurant with a brief menu full of recognizable Eastern dishes like hummus and grilled halloumi. And one of the big boons is the discovery that Indian influences also fall under the compass of Yemeni cuisine – the madras leaves you puffing smoke rings. Find all that in a casual interior composed of chattery locals and mysterious concrete additions – e.g. a telegraph pole squeezed amid the tables. $$
POLISH Akademia Smaku ul. Oboźna 9, tel. 22 828 9901, open 12:00-24:00, www.akademia-smaku.com.pl Something of a side street surprise, Akademia
RESTAURANTS connect contemporary, neutral interiors with a menu that’s best described as modern/ international. That might sound vague and anonymous, but the results are anything but. Beautiful presentation and simple, seasonal ingredients combine to make Akademia a high-scoring venue. $$ Ale Gloria (E5) Pl. Trzech Krzyży 3, tel. 22 584 7080, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-22:00, www.alegloria.pl Who said romance was dead? Here wedding white colors are fused with a strawberry motif inside this gourmet fave. Keeping patrons returning are aromatic dishes with a contemporary twist – try the duck in rose sauce. $$$ Amber Room at the Sobański Palace (E6) Al. Ujazdowskie 13, tel. 22 523 6664, open Mon-Fri 12:00-22:00; Sat 12:00-22:30; Sun 12:00-20:00, www.amberroom.pl The Amber Room is, indeed, a bit of a treasure. Chef Robert Skubisz has excelled himself in creating a menu that injects upmarket Polish dishes with contemporary flair. Set inside
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a majestic mansion, the recommendation they’ve received from Michelin is justly deserved. $$$ Atelier Amaro (E6) ul. Agrykola 1, tel. 22 628 5747, open Mon-Sat 12:00-14:30; 18:00-22:30, www. aterlieramaro.pl The recipient of Poland’s first Michelin star, Atelier has no rival – this is the best restaurant in the country, bar none. Find a tasting menu of slow food enhanced by modern techniques, with courses interspersed by occasionally bizarre interludes (leaves, flowers, twigs, etc.). Don’t miss the bespoke vodka menu, either. It’s an extraordinary dining experience, and one which confirms the growing cult of chef Wojciech Amaro. In the hours you’re here, the world stops and you leave feeling like James Bond. Reservations are mandatory, with a waiting list that is approximately two to three months long. $$$ BEST WAWA 2013 "Outstanding Achievement" Bazyliszek (D1) Rynek Starego Miasto 1/3, tel. 22 831 1841,
open daily 12:00-24:00, www.bazyliszek. waw.pl Some parts of Bazyliszek hark to its years as a stately, stuffy restaurant. Now though it’s more earthy, with Jurassic portions of meaty, lardy food best consumed with one liter beers. The Rynek location and festive atmosphere account for its popularity more than anything that comes from the kitchen. $ Belvedere Restaurant (F8) ul. Agrykola 1, (entrance from ul. Parkowa), tel. 22 558 6700, open daily 12:00-last guest, www.belvedere.com.pl Set in an atmospheric greenhouse, known as the ‘New Orangery’ in the Royal Łazienki Park, this landmark fine dining establishment features renditions of Polish, European and Nouvelle Cuisine, within elegant red, gold and black interiors. $$$ Biała Gęś (F8) ul. Belwederska 18A, tel. 22 840 5060, open 12:00-last guest (kitchen to 23:00); Sun 12:00-22:00, www.bialages.pl For that elegant touch of Zhivago-era class, it’s got to be Biała Gęś. Interiors conjure images of
a countryside manor; you imagine rolling up here after a day shooting foxes. Yet it’s not those blighters on the menu, but geese. That’s the house specialty, and you’d do well to find better. A whole bird for four is yours for zł. 490. $$$
Bistro Warszawa (D1) ul. Jezuicka 1/3, tel. 22 635 3769, open daily 12:0024:00, www.bistrowarszawa.pl The menu cites pre-war recipe books as its influence, and on it you’ll find such dishes as goose in thyme sauce with pear and zucchini. The interiors are strictly contemporary though, with vanilla colored furnishings, wine racks and walls papered with hundreds of theater scripts and book pages. Regular jazz performances draw people city-wide. $$ Chłopskie Jadło (D6) pl. Konstytucji 1, tel. 22 339 1717, open Mon-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-22:00 A nationwide chain enterprise designed to mimic a peasant inn, what with all the clunky pots and rustic supplements. And if it’s farmers fare you’re after then the food isn’t bad either, with thick, lumpy servings of countryside classics and soup presented in bread. Twenty-something Poles cringe at such a representation of their country, but there’s no denying it: it’s an accurate caricature of a mountain-slope karczma. $ Dawne Smaki (D4) ul. Nowy Świat 49, tel. 22 465 83 20, open Sun-Thu 12:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 12:00-1:00, www.dawnesmaki.pl At last, a proper restaurant on Nowy Świat! The interiors hark to the past, while the back garden promises an oasis-like experience: if you’re new to Warsaw, it’s actually worth hanging around till summer just to see it. Chef Michał Bajerski, formerly of Regina Hotel, wraps it up nicely with a fantastic menu that modernizes traditional Polish recipes. Recommended: deer steak. $$ Delicja Polska (D6) ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 45, tel. 22 826 4770, open daily 12:00-last guest, www. delicjapolska.pl It’s one of those few places where the food is fabulous, service efficient and discreet and the interior reminiscent of a fairytale dining room. $$ Dom Polski (H4) ul. Francuska 11, tel. 22 616 2432, open daily 12:00-last guest, www.restauracjadom-
polski.pl Built for moments when nothing but the best will do. Prices are premium, but this piece of high society features an aristocratic temperament and fine Polish cuisine served with an elegant flourish. $$$ Folk Gospoda (B3) ul. Waliców 13, tel. 22 890 1605, open daily 12:00-midnight, www.folkgospoda.pl To quote an unknown source, traditional Polish food is a celebration of ‘heritage, culture, singing and vodka.’ But snooty Warsaw doesn’t do traditional, at least not in the same way tourist havens like Kraków do. So it’s a joy to find Folk Gospoda. Good humored and filled with gnarled furniture and mountain songs, it’s a place where warm memories are made. Mains are a manly affair (solid, meaty and generous in size) and arrive courtesy of waiters dressed as Zakopane tinkers. $$ Inn Under the Red Hog (B3) ul. Żelazna 68, tel. 22 850 3144, open daily 12:00-24:00 (kitchen to 23:00), www.czerwonywieprz.pl Now everyone is rich and happy, it’s easy to forget communism was a pretty dire experiment. Which explains the playful nature of this commie themed restaurant. Dining is done under red banners and paintings of nasty political troublemakers, while the menu is a humorous affair divided between dishes for the dignitary and proletariat. Another vodka, comrade, and the First Secretary’s pork loins while you’re there! $$
Bistro Piękna ul. Piękna 20 00-549 Warszawa Tel. +48 22 627 41 51 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jazzone.pl
Kafe Zielony Niedwiedz (E4) ul. Smolna 4, tel. 731 996 006, open 8:00-23:00. The Smolna address is a bit misleading – in reality, you’ll be traipsing down into the park under the ‘hammer head’ tower before reaching Zbyszek Kmieć’s restaurant. But you’ll be glad you did. The menu has hints of Atelier Amaro in its fiendish attention to natural Polish produce: the cream of beetroot soup is peerless, and the boar ragout gains similar approval. This is a happy marriage where traditions are turned on their head using creative techniques and precise presentation. At the same time, be warned the scene here might not appeal: it’s very stars in your eyes as Polish celebs – both major and minor – swan about while their acolytes simper. $$ Kluska Polska (D4) ul. Szpitalna 4, tel. 602 550 786, open MonThu 12:00-21:00; Fri-Sun 12:00-22:00, www. kluskapolska.pl The crazy black and white design has you thinking you’ve stepped into
NU NU NU ul. Żurawia 6/12 00-503 Warszawa Tel. +48 22 621 89 89 email@example.com, www.jazzone.pl facebook.com/warsawinsider
RESTAURANTS a cartoon cutout, so for the love of God, don’t take any funny little pills before you enter. The menu is simple and traditional, with hefty dumplings the dominant entity. Cheap and cheerful, all the signs suggest a success story in the making. $ Kuchnia Funkcjonalna (G3) ul. Jakubowska 16 (enter from ul. Estońska), tel. 512 893 898, open Mon-Thu 11:0023:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-23:00 Snuck inside one of Saska’s definitive modernist buildings, the opening of Kuchnia has made slow food accessible to all wallets. Venison from the Bieszczady Mountains, dairy products from Jersey cattle milk, and the use of goose fat instead of butter are just a few noteworthy characteristics; the frequently changing menu reflects the commitment to nature. The ascetic design is softened by a cast-iron stove and moody lighting, giving the restaurant a warm, seasonal glow. $$ Pierrogeria (D6) Pl. Konstytucji 2, tel. 22 743 7644, open 11:00-23:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-23:00,
www.pierrogeria.eu Pierogi: the pride of the Polish pantry… Pervasive in their presence, no other dish features so heavily on local menus. Even so, the search for perfect pierogi can lead only to one door: and you’ll find that particular portal on pl. Konstytucji. Through their use of unconventional fillings and natural ingredients, Pierrogeria elevate a standard, staple food into a class of its own. $ Podwale Piwna Kompania (D2) ul. Podwale 25, tel. 22 635 6314, open MonSat 11:00-01:00; Sun 12:00-24:00, www. podwale25.pl Set through a courtyard that replicates a Mitteleuropa square, Podwale has a beer hall atmosphere that’s further exaggerated when mountain bands circulate. Food is of average standard and served in portions that are obscene – finishing the wooden platters can be seriously traumatic. Go there for the experience, if nothing else. $ Prasowy (E7) ul. Marszałkowska 10/16, open Mon-Fri 9:00-20:00; Sat-Sun 11:00-19:00 Delicate
diners turn their back on milk bars, yet this canteen-style phenomenon, with its history rooted in communism, has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance and a freshly found popularity with a new generation. Sure, the food is an acquired taste and best described using words like ‘basic’ and ‘honest’, but Prasowy gets our vote for a cool design that’s seen the 1954 interiors sensitively updated. $ Restauracja Pod Gigantami (E5) Al. Ujadowskie 24, tel. 22 629 2312, open daily 12:00-23:00, www.podgigantami.pl Despite being judged worthy of a recommendation by the scouts at Michelin, Pod Gigantami divides local opinion; it’s not just the Insider that’s found the food only satisfactory. But the wine list impresses, as do the painfully ornate turn-of-the-century interiors. $$$ Restauracja Polska “Różana” (E8) ul. Chocimska 7, tel. 22 848 1225, open 12:00-last guest, www.restauracjarozana. com.pl Touting a refined, baronial setting, Rożana has starchy white linen, floral pieces
ul. Nowy Świat 49, tel. 22 465 83 20 www.dawnesmaki.pl
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and flickering candles, giving off plenty of classic charm in the best possible taste. With indulgent mains such as farmhouse duck with apple and cranberry, or saddle of venison with homemade pickle, this is a Polish dining extravaganza served from the top table. U Fukiera (D1) Rynek Starego Miasta 27 (Old Town Market Square), tel. 22 831 1013, open 12:00-last guest, www.ufukiera.pl New arrivals looking to get a grasp of local cuisine have many options in varying price brackets. U Fukiera is definitely in the big spend category, but visitors come away with a common sense of wonderment. That’s largely due to enchanting interiors that have guests exploring twinkling chambers that unravel like a fairytale. Set in a 500 year old townhouse, the beautiful backdrop is paired by a grand menu of duck, venison, veal and lamb. $$$ U Szwejka (D6) pl. Konstytucji 1, tel. 22 339 1710, open Mon-Fri 8:00-24:00; Sat 10:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-24:00, www.uszwejka.pl Named after
fictional Czech soldier Szwejk, the food here would certainly appeal to the tubby man himself. Bestowed with Prague street signs, the food is a hardy, meaty affair, and arrives in XXXL portions. The price to quantity (Note: not quality) ratio guarantees queues (yes, queues) that stretch out on the street every weekend. $$
Zapiecek Locations inc. ul. Nowy Świat 64, Al. Jerozolimskie 28, Freta 18, Freta 1 & Świętojańska 13, tel. 22 635 61 09, open 11:00-23:00 & ul. Wańkowicza 1, open 11:00-22:00, CH Arkadia, open 10:00-22:00, www.zapiecek.eu Seven Warsaw locales, with our favorite found in the vaulted passages of Świętojańska. The menu is highly traditional, with courses ‘cooked to grandma’s recipes’. It’s for the pierogi though for which they’re famous; find approx. fifty types delivered by servers dressed like saucy country maids. $
SCANDINAVIAN Nabo ul. Zakręt 8, tel. 22 842 0256, open Mon-Fri 8:00-21:30; Sat-Sun 9:00-21:30, www. nabocafe.pl The décor is, we’re told, typical Danish cafe – bold open windows, simple lines, high shelves filled with books and games on the table. But what is Danish food? There’s Old Danish on the menu: meatballs and open face sandwiches with meat and fish in various textural configurations and then there’s New Danish: an emerging trend towards fresh, seasonal food (no microwave oven at Nabo), with locally sourced and innovatively concocted ingredients. $$
SPECIALTY FOOD SHOPS African Shop ul. Andersa 27, tel. 507 247 292, open Mon-Sat 10:00-20:00, www.afroeuro.eu Beans, beverages, flour and soup thickeners. Hair products and cosmetics also available, and they promise to be bringing in Abyssinian
RESTAURANTS coffee in the near future as well. ‘’Excellent,’’ gushes one Zimbabwean connection. Befsztyk ul. Puławska 176/178, tel. 22 843 6110, www. befsztyk.pl The Prokopowicz family has come a long way since launching Befsztyk in 1994. Top restaurants, celebs and ex-pats are listed as clients, and all agree that this operation is indisputably ‘top of the chops’. Find steaks seasoned for three weeks, gluten-free smoked meats, Merino lamb, BBQ kits and so much more. Home delivery, internet ordering and English-speaking staff round out this legend.
Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00 British food and beverages inc. cider, bacon, sausages, gluten free ready meals, confectionary etc. Run by the same team who once operated Fish & Chips on Koszykowa, the offer has now expanded to cover non-food items like Royal Wedding souvenirs, England football paraphernalia etc. Food & Joy ul. Nowy Świat 7, open Mon-Sat 9:00-21:00; Sun 10:00-17:00, www.foodandjoy.eu An upmarket deli chain from the same team behind Krakowski Kredens and Alma.
Bio Bazar ul. Żelazna 51/53, tel. 22 318 8855, open Sat 8:00-16:00, www.biobazar.org.pl Fruit and veg in the first warehouse, some of it imported from as far as Argentina. In the second warehouse, find organic cheese varieties from sheep and goats, as well as import brands from Italy, France and the Netherlands.
Hala Koszyki ul. Koszykowa 63, tel. 533 331 588, open Tue-Thu 11:00-24:00; Fri 12:00-1:00; Sat 12:00-1:00 This charming neo-Gothic pile of bricks hosts one of the quaintest little bazaars Warsaw’s ever seen. There’s a fantastic butcher’s, the freshest import fruit out back, cold cuts, Greek seafood, cheese, a juice bar and Warsaw’s best cakes. Repeat after me: Warsaw’s best cakes.
British Shop ul. Emilii Plater 8, tel. 692 240 804, open
Heritage ul. Mokotowska 17, tel. 22 857 0912, open
Mon-Sat 8:00-22:00; Sun 10:00-20:00 Some people use Heritage as a wine bar, while others see it as more than that. And so it is. Peruse the Italian hams and cheeses in their fridge, olive oils, sauces and of course wine. Lots and lots of wine. Krakowski Kredens Various locations across town, check their website for details: www.krakowskikredens. pl Jams, syrups, honey and preserves, as well as hams and kiełbasa from the Galicia region. Kuchnie Świata Various locations, www.kuchnieswiata. com.pl The first stop for most ex-pats, with an offer that includes food and drinks from across the globe. The choice is vast. Internet ordering now also available. La Fromagerie ul. Burakowska 5/7, tel. 22 465 2324, open Mon-Wed 9:00-20:00; Thu-Fri 9:00-21:00; Sat 10:00-21:00; Sun 11:30-17:00, www. lafromagerie.pl Top quality cheeses produced by small, artisan producers from
TRADITIONAL POLISH CUISINE AND FOOD Souvenirs from Poland: Delicious cold meats, cheeses and preserves and the best Polish mead, traditional Polish aged fruit liquor and vodkas well as jewelry made of striped flint and amber joined with bog oak.
44 Nowy Swiat Street, Warsaw +48 662 254 215 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.specjalyregionalne.pl
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
England, the major regions of France as well as several other countries. Also, gourmet specialities like Italian parma ham, Spanish chorizo, French sausages, and hard-to-find luxury brands from France, Italy, Greece and more. Le Targ ul. Mińska 25 (SOHO Factory), tel. 603 051 116, open Sat 10:00-15:00 Find here a rather random array of products: stands display traditional meats, goat’s cheeses, unconventional preserves, Greek products, vegan ingredients… it all still seems a bit like a work in progress. The initiative is noble, however. Little India ul. Domaniewska 22/5, tel. 22 843 6738, open Mon-Sat 10:00-20:00, www.littleindia. pl The definitive Indian store though it doesn’t look anything more than a pokey neighborhood store. They’ve got it all mind, from oils, beans, lentils and flour, not to mention ready meals, canned goods and cosmetics. Internet ordering available. Maho al. Krakowska 240/242, tel. 22 609 1548, open daily 11:00-23:00, www.maho.com.pl An excellent German-run Turkish restaurant that also doubles as a butcher: halal certified beef, veal, lamb and poultry.
Indian toiletries. Ostra Kuchnia www.ostrakuchnia.pl A superb internet shop retailing quite literally the hottest sauces known to man: brands include Blair’s, Dave’s, El Yucateco, Mad Dog, Melinda’s and many more besides. Also sell jalapenos, chili peppers, salsas and pastes. Polish-only website, but easy to navigate and superb customer service. Specjaly Regionalne ul. Nowy Świat 44, tel. 662 254 215, www. specjalyregionalne.pl A cafe and deli rolling out artisan Polish produce from across its many regions. And that includes hams, sausages, jams and beers. Targ Śniadaniowy al. Wojska Polskiego, tel. 508 121 891, open Sat 8:00-16:00, www.targsniadaniowy.pl The idea is a bit different as it is out in the open air, on the grass, so good weather is a must. Part healthy food market, part breakfast picnic, part educational space, part chance to get your two wheeler fixed but above all, an idyllic way to spend a Saturday morning in a beautiful part of town.
by his beret and whiskers, Swiss-born Kurt Scheller invites guests to his Saska Kępa kitchen for lessons aimed at all skill levels.
WHOLE FOODS Krowarzywa (D5) ul. Hoża 42, tel. 516 894 767, open Mon-Thu 11:00-23:00; Fri 11:00-24:00; Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-23:00 Even committed meat eaters concede there’s something special here. This is a burger bar with a difference: the stuff between the bun is vegan – and way superior to the majority of ‘proper’ burger bars. Very popular with the local hipsters, so anticipate bewildering fashion statements and eccentric hair. $ Loving Hut (B2) Al. Jana Pawła II 41A, tel. 888 555 568, open Mon-Sat 11:00-21:00; Sun 12:00-20:00, www.lovinghut.waw.pl What looks like just another Vietnamese greasy spoon is, in fact, part of a global chain backed by a spiritual master. The reading material is creepy and cultish, but the vegan food is good if you’re that way inclined. Now also found downtown on Waryńskiego 3 $
Marks & Spencer Various locations inc. DT Wars & Sawa, ul. Marszałkowska 104/122, tel. 22 551 7553, open Mon-Sat 9:00-21:00; Sun 10:00-20:00, www.marks-and-spencer.com. pl Visit the Marszałkowska location to take advantage of the on-site bakery, but visit early as choice diminishes the later it gets. Aside from baked goods, find an excellent frozen food section, as well as an off-license, tinned goods, ready meals, confectionary and preserves. Martin’s Good Meat ul. Przejazd 4/7, tel. 797 866 131, open Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00 Angus, Hereford and Limousine beef, not to mention lamb, veal and seasoned steaks. A candidate for Warsaw’s best butchery, no less! Namaste India ul. Nowogrodzka 15, tel. 22 357 0939, open Mon-Sat 11:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-23:00, www.namasteindia.pl Not just an excellent take-away, but also a small deli selling herbs and spices, ready meals, drinks and even
Cook Up Studio ul. Racławicka 99 (Fort Mokotów), tel. 22 212 89 76, www.cookup.pl Workshops in a gorgeous cooking studio located in a redbrick fortress. Past themes have included Swedish cooking (led by the Swedish Embassy chef), knife skills and soup, with lessons culminating in eating all that hard work. Joseph’s Culinary Studio ul. Duchnicka 3, tel. 663 040 800, www. jospehseeletso.pl A familiar face from the TV, Botswanan born chef Joseph Seeletso marks a new chapter of his career with the launch of his own culinary academy. Tailormade courses for individuals and groups are held in a custom-designed kitchen, and include cookery classes, wine tasting, dinner and the chance to learn a stack of secrets from the man himself. Scheller Academy ul. Międzynarodowa 68, tel. 22 626 80 92, open Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00 (Office) www. schelleracademy.pl Instantly recognizable
Pestka (D4) ul. Bracka 6/8, tel. 691 706 900, open Mon-Fri 8:00-20:00; Sat 10:00-19:00; Sun 12:00-19:00, www.organicbistropestka.pl A simple, soothing space of sparing decorations, light modern finishes and plenty of natural light that gushes through the windows. Eschewing the fat and lard that used to feature so prominently in local living, Pestka is all about organic: consider it a gateway to sensible living and a balanced diet. Even the fish is tested for high metal content. Recommended are the bio-baguettes, corn tortilla wraps and wholemeal pancakes. $ W Gruncie Rzeczy (D5) ul. Hoża 62, tel. 692 464 489, open 10:00-23:00 A vegan haven whose menu is heavily slanted towards local produce. The offer includes a number of vegan pastes, sandwiches, beetroot burgers and soups (e.g. cream of pumpkin with coconut milk). The presence of equally hip Meat Love next door is something of a foil, with the two neighbors naturally complimenting each other. $
BROUGHT TO YOU BY CENTRUM WINA
Joseph Drouhin Chablis Vaudon A.O.C. Chablis France, zł. 84.90 This elegant wine is a recipe for a perfect day without nagging worries. It’s a typical Chablis, so has very fresh, fruity aromas with mineral notes. It’s a wine that will delight everyone and is best enjoyed without any food. But, if you wish, fish does go well with it.
GRAPE EXPECTATIONS Specializing in the selection and distribution of the world’s finest wines, Centrum Wina brings to Poland the best wines from the most exciting international vineyards. Each wine is personally handpicked and approved by a team passionate about their profession, with the very highest quality assured.
Wines of the Month
Kendermanns Organically Grown Germany, zł. 34.90 Kendermanns Organic is a real wine to enjoy: it tastes fantastic and has the added advantage that it is produced using organically grown grapes. It is a mouthwateringly fresh wine with crisp apple and pear flavours. Filled with fruity, sweet harmonies, this wine is a great to enjoy chilled and also makes an ideal partner for exotic stir-fries and risottos.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Casa Lapostolle Merlot D.O.Valle De Rapel Chile, zł. 64.90 This Merlot comes from Casa Lapostolle’s winery, a dynamic Chilean company. Ruby in colour, its aromas of red fruit, rosemary, white pepper and sweet spices taste perfect. Full of freshness, we find it especially appeals to women. The wine is a natural companion for red meat, pasta and flavoursome vegetable stews.
Reviews: Chłodna 25 63 / Plus:
* 1 update
CAFÉS & WINE BARS CAFES 64 / WINE BARS 64
for past picks visit: www.warsawinsider.pl
Y PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX WEBBER
ou know what, it’s going to be best if I pretend I’ve never heard of Chłodna 25: none of its history, none of its trials, none of its tribulations and absolutely nothing about its place in Warsaw folklore. So there you go, assume if you will, that I’m visiting this address for the first time.
I certainly like what I see. Outside, big supporting pillars carry and hold a curvy looking building that survived the war. Inside, it’s all creaking floorboards, retro armchairs and bookshelves that are in the process of slowly being filled. A furry creature – a hybrid between a corgi and an Ewok – snuffles under the table, posing for pictures and stopping to be petted. At the top, a sturdy wooden counter displays the offers of the day: ‘natural’ Polish cola (it’s delicious), baguettes, cakes and pastries. Close by, there’s a box of Lego and a pile of board games in battered-looking boxes. And, from above, dozens of overhead lamps cast a warm light on all that’s below.
It feels welcome and familiar. And it is familiar. There’s no use pretending it’s not: I can’t keep up that lie. For years, this was one of my cornerstone hangouts, and like many, I cried salt tears when it closed late last year. If you’re newly arrived to Warsaw, or have just completed a lengthy prison sentence, you might not appreciate just what Chłodna 25 is – if that’s the case, then a little background is required. Prior to its launch in 2004 there was no café culture in Warsaw – it was a flip-up between twee tearooms or spirit numbing coffee chains. There was no middle ground. Chłodna filled that void, and in doing so jumpstarted the
capital’s love affair with cool, independent hangouts. Some, even, would go as far as to say this was the original cradle of local hipsterdom. Of course, their story is more turbulent than that – as their popularity swelled, so did their problems. The neighbors declared war on C25, and after years of battling finally succeeded in getting it closed down. Briefly, it did return, with a stark white look and an ill-advised incarnation as a comedy club. It didn’t work. It felt alien and unnatural. When it closed in July we assumed it was for good. Fortunately, nobody told the new management team. In such cases, there’s always a risk the new lot won’t ‘get’ it, but here that’s not the case. Between the pair of them Katarzyna Munio and Jan Fusiecki have breathed life into this fallen hero. True, there are aspects I don’t like: for instance, the communal table: Chłodna used to set trends, not follow them, and I think it’s a cop-out that they’ve followed this path. Anything else I dislike? Actually, no, I think that’s about it. Sure, at press time there was no alcohol license, but apparently this boo boo stands to be corrected. And, in the meantime, you can bring your own bottle in exchange for a corkage charge. I like, also, how it feels more mature. The crowd is a bit older than before; not pipe and slippers old, but maybe more middle aged. It feels like it’s been reclaimed from hipsters with oversized skateboards and flamboyant piercings, and been returned to the emerging creative class: to the genuine intelligentsia. Most of all, the tweaks and subtle changes have been achieved at no cost to the venue’s soul. Enter, and you know you’re somewhere special. (AW) Chłodna 25 ul. Chłodna 25, tel. 604 614 287, open Mon-Fri 9:00-22:00; Sat 11:0022:00; Sun 12:00-22:00.
CAFÉS & WINE BARS CAFÉS Café 6/12 (D5) ul. Żurawia 6/12, tel. 22 622 5333, open Mon-Fri 8:00-23:00; Sat 10:00-24:00; Sun 10:00-23:00 www.612.pl Famous for dispensing complex fruit and vegetable super smoothies, 6/12 have even introduced a full diet plan: pop-by for breakfast, then grab a goodie bag packed with balanced meals and snacks for the day ahead. Being healthy has never tasted better. Or looked better for that matter; the cavernous interiors are still very much the choice haunt for on trend 30 something’s. Café Vincent (D3) ul. Nowy Świat 64, tel. 22 828 0115, open Sun-Thu 6:30-24:00; Fri-Sat 6:30-1:00 Expats from France, a nation of master bakers if ever there were, profess Vincent to be their favorite Warsaw bakery. And they’re not alone. Queues build quickly as locals line up to buy baguettes, cinnamon rolls, lemon croissants and beautiful pains au chocolat. But people don’t just head in then out, a small wine list and brilliant people spying opportunities cause most to linger. Chłodna 25 ul. Chłodna 25. Warsaw’s original hipster bar was gearing up to re-open at press time, hopefully for good – ongoing battles with nosey neighbors have seen this place close more times than we can count. From what we can tell the new look will feature a neo-retro style, and no doubt plenty of skinny-trousered media types splashed on the seats with Mac books at hand. No word yet if there’ll be alcohol. Cześć (C3) ul. Grzybowska 2 (though the side passage), tel. 505 695 512, open Mon-Sat 11:00-last guest; Sun 10:00-22:00, www. czesc.waw.pl Located down a gusty tunnel underneath a modern residential/office compound, you might not expect much. But this small room is a treasure: one with Artezan Pacific and British cider on tap, Rwandan drip coffee, mountain vodka and boutique cakes made with love. Changing art adorns the walls, and there’s no shortage of eccentricities – upcycled crates as shelving, and a toilet with a Space Invaders theme. A versatile place, it’s the café everyone needs next door. Dr. Kava (D5) ul. Hoża 58/60, tel. 601 615 327, open
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Mon-Fri 7:30-20:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-20:00, www.drkava.pl Looking dynamite red, Dr. Kava was one of the success stories of 2013 – some go as far as to say it’s their favorite coffee in the city. Coffee from Chicco d’Oro and chocolates and confectionary from pedigree producer Leone signal this doctor’s dedication to his clientele.
22:00, www.ministerstwokawy.pl Just the chicest little café you’ll see for a while: pristine white wall tiles and Edwardianstyle furnishings combined with a funky contemporary lamp, and simple tables, chairs and comfy chaises. Neither too commercial nor too hipster, the place is known for weekly drip coffee specials, and also freshly squeezed juices.
Kava i Vino (D4) Al. Jerozolimskie 42, tel. 22 692 7314, www.kavaivino.pl The standout feature is an unconventional interior designed by renowned architects Dobek, Wojcickiego, Białobrzeska, Boczko. Over 1,200 pieces of wood hang from the ceiling, creating a beautiful visual effect. The short menu features wine, cold meat platters, cheese bruschetta, wraps, salads and sandwiches, as well as a few daily specials – the results are fair to good.
Niezłe Ziółko Café & Deli (D5) ul. Krucza 17, tel. 664 844 439, open MonFri 8:00-20:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-19:00 A shrine to pure and healthy eating, this friendly café doesn’t just brew a great coffee, but bakes its own bread and produces its own yogurt. Sit in the loft to look down on shoppers scurrying to Mokotowska, and on the way out, check out ‘Grandma’s Cupboard’ in the corner: jams, spread and olive oils are there to buy for home.
KluboKawiarnia Towarzyska ul. Zwycięzców 49, tel. 22 270 2179, open 11:00-22:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-22:00, www. klubokawiarnia.net Urban cool penetrates Saska. With an interior modeled by John Strumiłło, this 50s pavilion has an ascetic design defined by polar white interiors. Contrast is provided downstairs, with deep magenta walls and retro armchairs. Concerts, screenings and art happenings have made it into something of local cultural mainstay.
Państwo Miasto (B1) ul. Andersa 29, tel. 22 400 9446, open 9:00-24:00, panstwomiasto.pl Is there anything better than sitting in a café, book in hand, while winter sunshine pours through the windows? We go to Państwo to do just that, an echoy, cavernous café with a young, lively crowd that’s keen on scholastic events and political causes. Never does it feel too trendy, or too hipster – it’s a place that’s all about atmosphere and friendship.
La Vanille (D5) ul. Krucza 16/22, tel. 22 578 2233, open 10:00-20:00, www.lavanille.pl Thick with the scent of icing sugar, it looks sharp and sleek with glossy lifestyle mags tossed on battleship grey sofas. But it’s the counter that is the magnetic force: here you’ll find fantastic cupcakes of all color and flavor spread out in precise military formation – try the Red Velvet.
Relaks (E9) ul. Puławska 48, open Mon-Fri 8:00-21:00; Sat 9:00-19:00; Sun 9:00-18:00 Generally travelling by tram for a cup of Joe sounds excessive, but that’s exactly what you’ll be doing on discovering Relaks. Expertly prepared, right down to the foam art, the baristas here use the finest imported machines and work only with fair trade, ‘specialty’ coffee. If you have time, the drip coffees are more than worth the wait. The interiors supply a retro accent, and are lapped up by a very fashion aware crowd.
Między Nami (D4) ul. Bracka 20, tel. 22 828 5417, open Mon-Wed 10:00-23:00; Thu 10:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-24:00; Sun14:00-23:00, www.miedzynamicafe.com With 18 years of service under their belt you may think of Między Nami as being an antiquated has-been. Not so. Haunted by a mix of media types and local characters, this hip white piece of post-commie Warsaw has an enduring, almost timeless appeal. Ministerstwo Kawy (D6) ul. Marszałkowska 27/35, tel. 503 080 906, open Mon-Fri 9:00-22:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-
WINE BARS Bristol Wine Bar (D2) ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 42/44. open 12:00-23:00 Effortlessly evoking a real sense of history, the design is a triumph with lots of polished brass and nickel, rich wood finishes and marble floors. You feel like you’ve stepped into a film. But talking points aren’t limited to the interiors alone. The wine selection was personally overseen
by Robert Mielżyński, possibly the most esteemed wine importer in the country. And the choice is prodigious. Offering a complete cruise through the wines of the Old Continent and the New World, the collection is precisely presented from behind glass cases that line the walls. BEST WAWA 2013 “Wine Bar” Charlotte (D6) ul. Aleja Wyzwolenia 18 (enter from pl. Zbawiciela), tel. 22 628 4459, open Mon-Thur 7:00-24:00; Fri 7:00-1:00; Sat 9:00-1:00; Sun 9:00-22:00, www.bistrocharlotte.com It matters not if you’re easily traumatized by the catwalk parade that is Charlotte. open from seven on weekdays, it’s the place for a morning croissant. And if you’re armed with the latest Mac technology, all the better – join the other posers at the communal table. Located on Warsaw’s most happening roundabout, there’s no better place to indulge a hangover with a spot of eavesdropping than inside this boulangerie/wine bar.
Hoża by Mondovino (D5) ul. Hoża 25a, tel. 515 037 001, open MonSat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-21:00, www. hoza.warszawa.pl Successfully establishing themselves over summer, you’ll probably know Hoża as the home of steak. But what is meat without wine? Complimenting the Argentineinspired cooking is a wine list particularly dense with reds. They’re the personal selection of actor / owner Tomasz Budyta, a successful wine importer for the last 23 years. Mielżyński Wine Bar (A1) ul. Burakowska 5/7, tel. 22 636 8709, open Mon-Fri 9:00-23:00); Sat 11:00-23:00; Sun 11:30-17:00, www.mielzynski.pl Robert Mielżyński, a Canadian-born oenologist, awakened Warsaw’s love affair with the grape when he launched Mielżyński in 2004, and it continues to serve as the accepted benchmark to which all wine bars aspire. Their cause is amply boosted by a fine selection of bites to accompany the superlative wine offer. Find it in a pared down warehouse
that emanates with city casual cool. Winosfera (B3) ul. Chłodna 31, tel. 22 526 25 00, open Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00, www.winosfera. pl Lending a lift to a sad stretch of Chłodna is Winosfera, a huge wine bar with all the requisite crates and industrial fittings – there’s even a cinema. The upside is true fine dining, and a flawless wine selection. Żurawina (D5) ul. Żurawia 32/34, tel. 22 521 06 66, open Mon-Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-18:00 Lacking in intimacy, this large white room gets criticized for its jarring artwork and staffing blips – in the world of wine it’s important the customer can connect to the staff: here, we felt like we were joining the SS. But both food and wine score highly, and they’ve already won a staunchly loyal following. Get your week off to a galloping start and visit on ‘Jazz Monday’s’. You’ll be joining the most beautiful people in the city.
Reviews: Bollywood Lounge 67 / Plus:
* 4 updates
for past picks visit: www.warsawinsider.pl
BARS & PUBS 67 / CLUBS 71 / GENTLEMAN’S CLUBS 72 / JAZZ CLUBS 72 / SHOT BARS 72
BARS & PUBS Beirut (D5) ul. Poznańska 12, open daily 12:00-4:00, www.beirut.com.pl As hip as ever, Beirut has walls dusted with cult album covers, documentary posters and witty graffiti inspired by Banksy. Busy in the day, and absolutely packed at night, order unconventional beers (Noteckie, English ale, Erdinger) from androgynous staff standing behind a sandbag bar decorated with silver hand grenades and a model tank. The British Bulldog (D4) ul. Aleje Jerozolimskie 42, tel. 22 827 0020, open 11:00-1:00, www.bbpub.pl The big fail of 2012. Forget that it’s the most accurate replica of a traditional British pub around, and consider instead the heinous service, fried aromas and a deserved ex-pat boycott traced to the dismissal of the original British manager.
Bollywood Lounge ul. Nowy Świat 58, tel. 22 827 0283, open Sun-Thu 12:00-3:00; Fri 12:00-6:00; Sat 14:00-6:00, www.bollywoodlounge.pl
PHOTOGRAPH BY ED WIGHT
ou might remember Bollywood in their previous incarnation: as a sweaty resto-club that frequently descended into bedlam. With a decent menu, cult club nights and a superb location in the heart of the city, it was busy round the clock – so what went wrong for the original, you might ask. Basically, the building got bulldozed. But rather than acting as a fatal kick to the nuts, the wrecking ball actually signaled a new lease of life. Given two days to vacate the premises, the management saved what they could and started afresh. As fresh starts go this is fresher than most. Moving to Nowy Świat, the team have used the opportunity to upgrade their offer: gone is that low-rent feel, replaced in favor of a more classy look and a slicker crowd. What has remained constant is the energy. Arriving on a Saturday night I find Bollywood in full swing, not just with regulars but accidental visitors who are present by chance. Crowds draw crowds and the change of location has clearly had benefits. The place is thronged, with the whole restobar concept operating seamlessly: some tables are peppered with steaming pots of Indian food, others with elaborate cocktails and scented sheesha pipes – and some with a combination of all of the above. There are no seats, forcing the Insider to take position at the bar. There’s no problem with that, it’s a vantage point I prefer – it guarantees views of the tottering talent, and an immediate response from the lads behind the bar. And what a bar – Sebastien, the manager, cut his teeth at Sense and Essence, and this shows through in the quality of the cocktails. The Jim Ban Chili is pure dynamite, a drink that slips down with velvety ease. Bollywood though is more than a restaurant, and more than a bar. Its third role, that of a club, is taken seriously, as proved by the status enjoyed by their former venue. Expect Bollywood 2.0 to pick up the baton – still being fitted and finessed at press time, the basement is set to hold a club area promoting the bright, banging beats of the Bollywood sound. (AW)
Chwila (B3) ul. Ogrodowa 31/35, tel. 22 401 1754, open 12:00-last guest; Sun 15:00-last guest Entered under a red, cabaret-style awning, Chwila is a reject factory space turned good. Furry cushions, patchwork quilts and student art vie for attention alongside iron girders and industrial leftovers inside what is becoming known as one of the top alternative music venues this side of the river. The toilet alone, papered with trillions of cool posters and magazine covers, is a reason to linger. Chmielarnia (B5) ul. Twarda 42 (basement level), tel. 22 890 77 05, open Mon-Thu 11:00-24:00; Fri 11:00-2:00; Sat 12:00-2:00; Sun 12:0024:00, www.chmielarnia.waw.pl A subterranean space that can get loud and rackety, sweaty and sticky. Featuring a ‘tomb’ of mainstream beers, Chmielarnia may look a little basic, but it’s definitely the real deal. A peerless selection of craft beer sees 40 lagers rotated on 15 taps, and even more rare finds in the fridge: among them BrewDog, Lindemanns, and of course a comprehensive choice of experimental Polish brews. Look out for stocks of Thistly Cross.
NIGHTLIFE Coctail Bar Max (D5) ul. Krucza 16/22, tel. 691 710 000, open daily 11:00-15:00, www.barmax.pl Can you trust a cocktail bar that can’t even spell the word? In this case, it’s a resounding yes. With its light wood touches and fruity montages Max looks bright, cheerful and fully loaded for the sun, and also comes with an alcove in the back stuffed with whisky and cigars. The cocktails are the main affair though, and here they’re extravagant efforts that resemble a tropical jungle in a miniature form. The only problem? By their very nature, cocktails aren’t concocted in two minutes flat – if it’s busy, waiting around is like Death by a Thousand Cuts. Cuda Na Kiju (E4) ul. Nowy Świat 6/12, tel. 662 006 106, open 10:00-2:00, www.cudanakiju.pl Warsaw’s multi-tap revolution started here! Marketed at normal people – not just hipsters, for a change – this sleek space comes drenched in sunlight that comes slanting through the four glass walls. Could it be too basic? No – anything else would detract from the main attraction: the beer. About 15 taps dispense regional brews, cult indy productions as well as quirky imports from Czech, Belgium and beyond.
Cześć (C3) ul. Grzybowska 2 (though the side passage), tel. 505 695 512, open Mon-Sat 11:00-last guest; Sun 10:00-22:00, www.czesc.waw.pl Some say it’s more of a café – we say, check the fridge. Despite its diminutive size Cześć have one of the most adventurous alcohol offers in the city, with a steady stream of British cider (Sheppy’s, Weston’s, Old Rosie), Polish lagers (Artezan, Pinta) and other international names (Grimbergen, Crabbies). If there was an award for best neighborhood hangout, they’d breeze it. Czeska Baszta (E4) Tower 22A, Most Poniatowskiego, open Tue-Thu, Sun 16:00-23:00; Sat-Sun 16:00-24:00; Sun 16:00-23:00, www. czeskabaszta.pl Set in one of those towers that props up Most Poniatowskiego, its surroundings look grim – at night even scary. Bathed in a yellowish murk, it’s actually warm and welcoming, and the reason for that soon becomes apparent: everyone is drunk! There’s 80 Czech beers to pick from, and they do more than enough to distract from the rattle and rumble of overhead trams and a swamp monster toilet.
Delirium ul. Freta 19, tel. 532 742 400, deliriumwarszawa.pl Originally scheduled to open in Feb, we’ve now been told March. Hurry up, lads, we’re desperate. We’re told to expect about 20 tap Belgian beers, along with a choice of 50 bottles (rising to 200 in the future). Named after the infamous and highly toxic ‘pink elephant beer’, this could yet be the best launch of the year – aspirin at the ready! Gorączka Złota (D5) ul. Wilcza 29, tel. 22 625 6855, open MonFri 13:00-24:00; Sat 17:00-24:00, www.goraczka-zlota.com.pl Founded in 1996, Złota’s longevity is to be admired, even if the interiors aren’t. Small, dark and a little pungent, the interiors are rendered out of little more than varnished wood and hundreds of beer coasters. But that’s the clue! The secret of their success is down to the beer. Stocking a range of regional and craft beer (Ale Browar, Pinta, Kormoran, AltenMunster, Olbracht, etc.), this unfashionable bar has an underlying honesty that makes it a success. Haka (D4) ul. Bracka 20, tel. 515 967 123, open Mon-Wed 10:00-24:00; Thu-Sat 10:00-2:00; Sun 12:00-24:00 Big things are happening in this small little room. Under the stewardship of Kevin Bradley this ex-pat hit has now added Guinness and live sports (it’s the rugger bugger favorite) to their offer to go alongside a fab menu by Kiwi chef Shane. An intimate space clad in brickwork and metal, Haka gets further applause for adding Arnie – Warsaw’s favorite cocktail king – to their staff lineup. Kraken Rum Bar (D5) ul. Poznańska 12, tel. 791 334 606, open daily 12:00-4:00 Named after one of the ocean’s most feared mythical creatures (the scary squid from Pirates of the Caribbean), the woodsy Kraken features a wall of cymbals, heavy furniture and some interesting photography. While there’s some decent bottles of rum, there’s perhaps not enough to justify calling it a rum bar. The house beer rocks though. Kufle i Kapsle (D5) ul. Nowogrodzka 25, tel. 22 127 7218, open Mon-Thu 14:00-2:00; Fri 14:00-4:00; Sat 12:00-4:00; Sun 12:00-2:00. www.kufleikapsle.pl Ten tap and two pump beers offer a magnificent spread of daily changing beers, and the good news continues with the choice in the fridge: there’s 120 beers down there,
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
so gamble on a rather jolly night. Interiors are balanced with the pre-war heritage of the building, and are already thick with noise, clamor and the welcome scent of beer and spillage. BEST WAWA 2013 “Beer Bar” Kwadrat (D5) ul. Poznańska 7, tel. 790 010 088, open Mon-Fri 16:00-last guest; Sat 18:00-last guest, www.kwadrat.waw.pl Chilled out and downtempo, owners Zosia and Michał have created a legend out of this dinky two room affair. There’s too many beers to recommend, though the Rowing Jack diminishes quickly for a reason. Legends (C5) ul. Emilii Plater 25, tel. 22 622 4640, open Mon-Thu 11:00-23:00; Fri 11:0002:00; Sat 12:00-02:00, Sun 12:00-23:00, www.legendsbar.pl A place that just keeps growing on us; there’s a segregated smoking chamber, traditional dartboard (no stupid electronics here), Sky Sports and a menu that’s as authentically English as the Downing Street cat. In charge of it all is Graham, a seasoned ex-pat with an embassy background. Małe Piwo (D7) ul. Oleandrów 4. tel. 510 905 592, open MonThu 16:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 16:00-24:00; Sun 16:00-23:00 Tight trousers and flamboyant scarves are recommended in this hipster mecca, as is a triumphant drinks choice that numbers short of sixty regional beers. Design doesn’t go beyond jam jars for lights and a messy blackboard, but that’s all this place needs to work. Similar to a backstreet New York dive it’s got an effortless cool and our beer of the year: the minty flavor/raspberry hint M3. Nowy Świat ‘Pavilions’ (D4) Enter from ul. Nowy Świat 26 Enjoy while you can – slated for demolition in the coming years, the pavilions represent underground Warsaw at its raffish best. A low rent maze of dark, budget bars await, including the celebrated Klaps with its vibrator beer taps. Panorama Bar and Lounge (C5) Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 (Marriott Hotel), tel. 22 630 6306, open Mon-Sun 18:00-2:00, www.panoramabar.pl An elegant bar that would easily pass for the VIP room of a wellto-do club. A floor 40 location makes it great for a date: the sunset views are dazzling. Paradox (B1) ul. Anielewicza 2, tel. 691 472 969, open
NIGHTLIFE Sun-Thu 10:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-2:00; Sun 10:00-23:00, www.paradox-cafe.pl Billing themselves as a ‘sci-fi / gamers / role play asylum’ this is a cradle of geeks, nerds and people who collect serial killer memorabilia. Decorated with plastic black crows, a map of Mordor and figurines of goblins, watch as oddly attired suspects engross themselves in ‘for hire’ games with names like Hobbit and Bewoulf. Paparazzi (D3) ul. Mazowiecka 12, tel. 22 828 4219, open daily 18:00-last guest, www.paparazzi.com. pl Engage in suicidal cocktail consumption
alongside high rollers and genetic miracles. Slick and smooth, Poland’s original cocktail chain continues to set the bar high with formidable cocktails (Pimm’s included!) and a smoking section that encompasses everything but the front door. Pardon To Tu (C4) Pl. Grzybowski 12/16, tel. 513 191 641, open 10:00-4:00, www.pardontotu.pl Decorated in voluptuous brothel colors, the design involves mismatched seats, tilted lampshades and a relaxed arthouse look popular with creatives and other fringe dwellers. The live talent ranges from moody quartets to jazzy chanteuses, while a perfect marriage of late hours and great bottled beers helps along the enthusiastic crowd of latter day beatniks. Pies Czy Suka (D4) ul. Szpitalna 8A, tel. 22 881 83 73, open Mon-Thu 11:00-23:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-1:00; Sun 16:00-23:00, www.piesczysuka.com Monochrome gun metal grey colors are offset by a fashionable crowd attired in red shoes, pink trousers and blue headphones. This clean, concrete space is speckled with plaster moldings of reindeer heads, and excels on the cocktail front. Order from an iPad menu, before settling back for cocktails made using mad scientist, molecular techniques that involve foam, vapor, beakers and other things you’d usually find in Professor Yaffle’s lab.
THERE’S ONLY ONE LEGENDARY BURGER IN WARSAW!
Plan B (D6) ul. Wyzwolenia 18 (Pl. Zbawiciela), tel. 508 316 976, open Mon-Sun 11:00-last guest. www.planb.pl Bottled then packaged in Plan B (pl. Zbawiciela) is the very essence of dive Warsaw. Weekends pass by in a raucous blur, with the party spilling out under the colonnades outside – it helps to look like a DJ, but in truth everyone is welcome. The hangover from this shabby, grubby bar is traumatic.
Piw Paw (D5) ul. Żurawia 32/34 (enter from ul. Parkingowa), tel. 534 734 500, open 11:00-1:00 Dubbing themselves to be Warsaw’s first ‘hyper tap bar’, Piw Paw have an armory of 57 tap beers, about ten tables and two toilets – do you see the problem? Designed more for carry-out custom, it’s an ambitious project though one that doesn’t feel entirely thought out. And in spite of the offer, it’s nothing more exciting than the other multi-tap choices. A good start point, nonetheless.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Polonez (D5) ul. Poznańska 24, tel. 604 942 169, open Sun-Wed 10:00-1:00; Thu 10:00-2:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-3:00. Sparse milk bar chic is set against plenty of oddities (black and white Cybulski films, a set of antlers, hordes of junk), but the cool aesthetics only tell a part of the story. This is a celebration of Poland, both old and new, with drinks that include obscure nalewki, craft local beers, bio drinks and regional tipples. The masterstroke comes in making this all feel international, contemporary and creative. Przychodnia (D3) ul. Jasna 22, tel. 22 827 8356, open 12:00-24:00 Erm, so, here’s a bar themed around communist hospitals. Are you sure that’s a good idea? Order test tube shots from staff dressed like docs, before settling into an interior equipped with operating room lights, surgical utensils and a smoking room designed like a toilet. What were they thinking with this one? No idea, but it’s certainly a novelty. Pure Sky Club (C4) ul. Złota 59 (Skylight Tower), tel. 22 250 1111, open Mon-Fri 7:00-23:00; Sun 12:00-17:00, www.pureskyclub.com Slotted on the top floor of the 22-storey Sky Tower, Pure Sky Club offers a slice of the high life (literally and otherwise) to high society looking to mix business with pleasure inside this ‘private club’ – this is where the Top Gear lads went for their after show party. Friday is the highlight though, with their weekly London Calling event drawing dressy ex-pats looking for live entertainment. For membership, check their web. Secado (D5) ul. Marszałkowska 66, tel. 608 707 799, open Mon-Fri 10:00-23:00; Sat 11:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-23:00 Most part restaurant, bit part bar, there’s a flexibility here that has turned it into one of those places where people meet, eat and generally hangout – not always in that order. And as for the drinks, they’re really very good. Using their own mixes, Secado present a succinct list of must-try cocktails. Try their best seller: the Bloody Hell. Using Chopin vodka infused with horse radish, pirri pirri and basil, this pimped out version of the Bloody Mary incorporates chili syrup and wasabi in a high octane drink BEST WAWA 2013 that kicks like a mule. “Cocktails” Spiskowcy Rozkoszy (D5) ul. Żurawia 47/49, tel. 796 671 950, open
Mon-Thu 16:00-24:00; Fri-Sat 16:00-1:00; Sun 16:00-23:00, www.spiskowcy.pl The ground floor is an intimate space with lots of yet-to-be-famous beers and junky, antique furniture that reminds of the Boho hangouts in Kraków. But what was a packed, little bar is now a packed, big bar with the opening of the basement: find a labyrinth of rooms and psychedelic toilets with pulsating lights – you soon wonder who spiked your drink. And oh, the drinks. Expect IPA and APA beers served from the six taps. Sztuka i Sztucki (D4) ul. Szpitalna 8A, tel. 22 468 00 00, open Sun-Thu 12:00-last guest; Fri-Sat 18:00-last guest, www.sztukisztuczki.pl Visitors negotiate a maze of narrow corridors, nooks and corners, with meanderings to the leviathan, boat-shaped bar taking in concrete floors, naked brickwork and vaulted ceilings. The beer list offers a jumble of exemplary brews, among them the outstanding Grimbergen, while cocktails are novel and largely ravishing. And of course, it helps that enjoyment of them is done on ultra-cool seats designed
by Pierre Favresse. Rather than attracting gurning wannabe’ Latino dudes and plastic models the music attracts a diverse range of peeps: that’s thanks to a schedule that encompasses everything from jazz tributes to club nights. BEST WAWA 2013 “Late Night” Warsaw Tortilla Factory (D5) ul. Wilcza 46, tel. 22 621 8622, open Mon-Sun 12:00-last guest, www.warsawtortillafactory.pl Warsaw’s premier sports pub: and it’s not just the extent of their sporting offer that elevates WTF, but the atmosphere. Whether it’s international rugby, or Bristol City on a Tuesday night, the tension, camaraderie and horseplay are unmatched. On the occasions where there is no sport, swing by for live bands and a lively atmosphere fueled by a heady mix of ex-pats, international students, and locals looking bewildered by it all. Warszawa Powiśle (E4) ul. Kruczkowskiego 3B, tel. 22 474 40 84, open Mon-Fri 11:00-last guest; Sat-Sun
9:00-last guest, www.warszawapowisle. pl The prime months for this former ticketbooth are in summer when the deck chairs outside provide ample opportunity for the city’s young to gather in an almost carnivallike atmosphere. Seen as the hipster Center of Power, a collective bout of outrage saved them from council threatened closure last year. Not just a bar, they’re now filling a dual role as Warsaw’s one billionth burger joint.
CLUBS De Lite (E5) ul. Marii Konopnickiej 6, tel. 792 014 166, www.deliteclub.pl This place definitely joins the ranks of Platinium and Foksal XVIII in the ‘bubbles and beauties’ stakes. Scantily clad dates bop along sipping on martinis, flirting and dancing, while exposed brick and pipes, raw concrete and an interesting mirror setup in the bathrooms add to the futuristic, spaceship interior. Of the top end uber clubs, this is becoming our favorite, with a wild night of excess virtually guaranteed.
NIGHTLIFE Enklawa (D3) ul. Mazowiecka 12, tel. 22 827 3151, open Wed-Sat 22:00-4:00, www.enklawa.com Forget internet dating, Enklawa is the best pick-up joint around – a classic kitschy, glitzy disco, it draws in huge crowds with a simple lineup of pop and dance hits. Still regarded as the best Wednesday night in Warsaw, it’s the place for singletons looking for a one night confidence boost.
22:00-10:00; Fri-Sat 24:00-14:00, www. luztro.pl Feeling naughty? Luztro enjoys a nefarious reputation as something of a dodgy den of illicit pharmaceuticals and libertine behavior. Looking grim and grotty, this after party legend gets going at about 4 a.m. when troglodyte club creatures emerge to put the final touches to their zonked out stare. For the full tilt, teeth rattling electro experience it’s pretty hard to beat.
Foksal XVIII (E4) ul. Foksal 18, open Fri-Sat 10:00-4:00 Composed using chandeliers, bricks and velvet this classy space has gone head to head with The Eve as Warsaw’s flashest venue: breathe deep and smell the money. Cardboard animal shapes hang from the bar, adding some surreal humor to the seriously competitive air.
Platinium (D3) ul. Fredry 6, tel. 694 413 439, open ThuSat 21:00-6:00. www.platiniumclub.pl The place if you’re rich or beautiful – but preferably both. Large and spectacular you’ll need to be dressed to the nines to reap the rewards that lie inside: featuring the most eye candy per sq/m in Europe, you might not find Mr/Mrs Right, but you will find Mr/Mrs Right for Now. BEST WAWA 2012 “Rich & Pretty Club” Winner
The Eve (D3) Pl. Piłsudskiego 9, tel. 604 145 462 or 22 827 5242, open Thu-Fri 21:00-last guest, www.theeve.pl Beauty and booty come first in The Eve, a blinged up offshoot of Platinium nearby. A cutthroat door policy ensures plenty of egos crash and die at the door, and it’s got a Bacchanalian reputation for champagne popping high jinks. Observe them through the one way mirror in the VIP room. Luzztro (E4) Al. Jerozolimskie 6, open Wed-Thu
Sen Pszczoły ul. Ząbkowska 27/31, tel. 530 360 060, open Tue-Wed 18:00-2:00; Thu-Sat 18:005:00; Sun 18:00-2:00, www.senpszczoly.pl A dive club of legend. With the original turned to ashes (literally, it burnt down earlier in the year), the owners could have been forgiven for calling it a day. They haven’t. Instead they’ve reopened in Koneser, and unleashed Warsaw’s most surreal interior in the process: amid the heavy industrial background expect
Shot Bars Afera na Szpitalnej ul. Szpitalna 3, tel. 509 777 797, open 10:00-2:00; Fri-Sat 24hrs Looking light and bright this place appeals to more than just hardened alcoholics – a point proved by spot-on food home cooked by the owner’s mum. It’s young, fun and lively in swagger. Meta ul. Mazowiecka 11 & ul. Foksal 21, open 11:00-6:00 Affecting the style of a PRL era bar, these twin venues feature a raft of keepsakes leftover from the old days – right down to the chains of bog paper. Pijalnia ul. Nowy Świat 19, open 24hrs Bow-tied
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staff serve vodka and pickles from behind a tiled bar to a crowd that gets younger as the day gets older. In quieter times, check the newspaperd walls to read up on 1980s sports reports.
Przekąski u Romana ul. Ludna 2, tel. 660 525 777, open 24hrs. When Warsaw’s original shot bar, Przekąski Zakąski, closed last year the gasps were audible. But fear not, the cult hero you’d have found serving the shots, the bow-tied, debonair Roman Modzelewski, has gone and opened his own venue. Expect the same formula (cheap beer and vodka, traditional Polish boozy bites) inside a background dominated by a giant picture of the Palace of Culture.
bunk bed frames, a dentist’s chair and no shortage of neon painted weirdness. Concerts are a mixed bag, and range from didgeridoo performances to inter-war songs to full-on techno that rattles the ribcage.
GENTLEMAN’S CLUBS Coyote (D3) ul. Mazowiecka 6/8, tel. 505 469 056, open Mon-Sun 21:00-5:00, www.coyotebar.eu Coyote Bar marks the start of the Mazowiecka, err, strip, and features a small bar in front and then a larger room with more intimate acts of friendship taking place behind the curtain. New Orleans (D4) ul. Zgoda 11, tel. 22 826 4831 or 600 063 667, open Mon-Sun 16:00-4:00, www. neworleans.pl High rollers looking to clinch a deal in unusual surrounds should consider doing so in New Orleans: a gentleman’s club with a seriously VIP dining area. Cheaper snack and sandwich options available should you prefer to spend your money on the real reason you’re here… Playhouse (B3) Al. Solidarności 82A, tel. 794 007 000, open 21:00-4:00, www.playhouse.pl Housed in a former bomb shelter, would you believe it. Now though the talk is of bombshells, namely the 57 they’ve got on their books. Like most clubs, this place features a distinctly Slavic lineup of Poles, Russians and Ukrainians.
JAZZ Bistro na Pięknej (D6) ul. Piękna 20, tel. 22 627 4151, open Mon-Fri 11:00-24:00; Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-23:00, www.jazzone.pl A slick looking jazz spot that’s seen the benefit of a recent overhaul. Valued additions include a less austere style and what at times might feel like Warsaw’s only fireplace. Popular with a smart city crowd, keep an eye out for their live acts. Nu Nu Nu (D5) ul. Żurawia 6/12, tel. 22 621 8989, open Mon-Fri 11:00-24:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-24:00. For something a little educated take a date to Nu, a high-ceilinged effort with slick urban dashes and regular piano. The Żurawia location marks it out as a popular spot for a high-end crowd.
Reviews: Victoria Galeria 73 / Plus:
* 12 updates
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ACCESSORIES 74/ ANTIQUES 74 / BOOKS 74 /FASHION 74 / SHOPPING MALLS 76
“Every house has space for a beautiful picture with a history”
PHOTOGRAPH BY ED WIGHT
ere you to ask me about the antiques scene in Warsaw I would first start by describing the Sunday market in Kolo, its stalls groaning with treasure and trash. I would also give a nod to the antique stores found downtown: cobwebbed lairs staffed by hunched geezers as old as their relics – there’s an eccentric magic to perusing such places. But there is also an alternative to such junky looking haunts, and that comes in the form of Victoria Galeria.
It is, it must be said, the very polar opposite of the aforementioned venues. For starters, there’s the staff – not here grouchy old dudes who watch you with suspicion. The welcome is warm and genuine, and comes courtesy of Magda and Maria. As I enter, a regular English customer is sitting on the sofa talking shop over biscuits and tea. Immediately, you’re at ease. That’s all very conducive to the browsing experience – and browse you will, for Victoria is nothing if it is not Aladdin’s Cave. Generous as the floor plan is, you’re lucky
to see anything of it – every inch, every surface is utilized for stock. On the whole, that means items from the 19th century up to the inter-war years. Sourced from the auction houses of London, with deliveries arriving each month, the offer is overwhelmingly English, though not exclusively so – there are oriental pieces, French, and more. “Polish antiques tend to be heavy, dark and ornamental,” says Maria, “of course there are different styles, but in general British antiques are ‘lighter’. They have little secrets, and more of a character to them.”
It’s such little details that attract Victoria’s repeat clients – included in that number, production companies hiring pieces for TV and film sets. Inching my way through the maze of swag, paranoid I’ll send the loot crashing to the ground, I am impressed by the diversity of the offer: tables, desks, cupboards and chairs. But it is the little details that cast a spell – hair brushes, perfume bottles, magnifying glasses. I pause at a deep sea diver’s helmet, before mulling over a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica’s from 1910 (zł. 1,800). And here’s another thing I like about Victoria. Everything has a price tag, meaning no awkward negotiations with a profiteering owner. That the pieces are highly affordable is another welcome boon. Prices top-out at around zł. 4-5,000 for the more substantial pieces, though there’s no end of items that are open to all: there are picture frames and crockery that cost barely beyond zł. 100. “Every house has space for a beautiful picture with a history,” says Maria, and at these prices, every household can afford one. But not for me a painting of some flowers or a quaint village scene, instead I find myself coveting a hand-drawn map of the Norfolk broads. It’s fascinating, and one of those pieces that holds my curiosity – next month, it’ll be mine. Refreshing in its bright, clean style, Victoria is a magnificent environment to shop for that statement piece every living room requires. (AW) Victoria Galeria ul. Żytnia 15 lok. 4, open daily 10:0018:00, www.antykivictoria.pl
Agent Provocateur ul. Mokotowska 59, tel. 22 273 6162, www. agentprovocateur.com The boutique is stocked full of the latest collection – gorgeous lacy bras with scrumptious attention to detail, matching panties, teddies and a bunch of strappy get-ups you can only get away with if you’re very fit or very confident, but preferably both. And if that’s not enough, they’ve got sexy stockings, silk robes, perfume, satin gloves, a blindfold and nipple tassels…
Bath & Body Works ul. Złota 59 (Złote Tarasy), open Mon-Sat 9:00-22:00; Sun 9:00-21:00, ul. Wołoska 12 (Galeria Mokotów), Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00; Sun 10:00-21:00 The famed American brand signals its arrival to Europe with the launch of their Warsaw branch. Now fans of the brand can experience first-hand luxurious fragrant body care, hand and home collections. Customers can discover sophisticated fragrances, test shower gels and soaps at the sink area, and try everything from body lotions to home fragrances. Glamstore ul. Narbutta 83 (entry from ul. Łowicka), tel. 794 689 090, open Mon-Fri 11:00-20:00; Sat 11:00-15:00 Widely hailed by Poland’s fashion glossies, this store sells modern furnishings with all the trimmings and colours you could ask for. They also stock kitchen and bathroom accessories, as well as touting their own jewelery line. Lilou ul. Mokotowska 63, tel. 22 403 19 19, open Mon-Fri 11:19:00; Sat 11:00-18:00; Sun 11:00-16:00, www.lilou.pl Modular jewelry made simple, and a must for all Warsaw fashionista.
Victoria’s Secret Beauty & Accessories ul. Złota 59 (Złote Tarasy), tel. 665 625 618, open Mon-Sat 9:00-22:00; Sun 9:00-21:00, ul. Wołoska 12 (Galeria Mokotów), tel. 22 541 4141, Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00; Sun 10:00-21:00 An assortment of Victoria’s Secret Beauty products including fun and flirty fragrances, such as Bombshell, as well as the
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scented VS Fantasies body care range. For that glam girl-on-the go, expect to find a wide range of Victoria’s Secret branded bags, luggage, passport covers and small leather goods to cosmetic bags, bangles and key fobs.
Kolo ul. Obozowa 99, www.gieldastaroci.waw.pl What looks like a soggy tent city transforms each Sunday morning into a hopelessly addictive flea market offering wartime militaria, religious icons, chinaware, furniture from unverified periods of history, and even the occasional suit of armor. Half-junkyard, half treasure trove, it’s an experience in itself.
pl Now a nationwide chain with seven outlets alone in Warsaw. The offer is overwhelmingly commercial with a strong emphasis placed on international bestsellers. There is, however, a very decent section dedicated to Polish history and tourism.
Bookoff Ogrodowa 7, tel. 22 253 6286, www.bookoff. pl A cult bookstore filled with trendy fashion and design bibles, photography albums, on-trend cookbooks and grown-up comics. You could potentially end up spending really rather heavily.
Centrum Komiksu al. Niepodległości 148 Enter the realm of scifi, superheroes and Manga inside Centrum Komiksu, an unabashed geek-fest that draws not-at-all-creepy enthusiasts sifting through a classic collection of comics and collectibles.
Dom Spotkań z Historią ul. Karowa 20, www.dsh.waw.pl Look no further for books on modern Polish / Warsaw history. Of particular note are the picture heavy coffee table tomes that focus on Poland’s immediate pre-war, occupation and socialist years. Boffins are happy to spend hours browsing.
Kwadryga ul. Wilcza 29, www.kwadryga.com Entered through a courtyard, it’s a magnet for bibliophiles, and groans with antique books, faded photographs, yellowing maps and dog-eared magazines – the atmosphere is timeless. The PRL-era lifestyle magazines are an amazing insight. Lamus ul. Nowomiejska 7, tel. 22 831 63 21, www. lamus.pl Another antique bookstore that comes filled with leather-bound tomes, regal looking scrolls and elaborate maps. Also known for their pre-war prints and paintings of Warsaw before it was knocked down.
Lapidarium ul. Nowomiejska 15/17, tel. 509 601 894, www.lapidarium.pl Cavalry swords, pre-war Judaica, Orthodox icons, books, scrolls, helmets, cameras, chess sets, jewelry… Lapidarium is possibly one of the most famed antique stores in the capital, and presents the opportunity for endless rummaging. Prima Porta Antiquities ul. Moktowska 71, www.primaportaantiquities.com At the top end of the scale the German-run Prima Porta specialize in pieces from ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Asia. Formidable pieces from tiny little Egyptian clay hippos from the 12th Dynasty, all the way to one and half meter statues of Buddha from the Third Myanmar Kingdom.
American Bookstore Various locations, www.americanbookstore.
Fundacja Bęc Zmiana ul. Mokotowska 65/7, www.beczmiana.pl A tiny, curiosity shop retailing hipster t-shirts, trendy trinkets and a fair amount of arty books with a strong slant towards contemporary Warsaw.
FASHION Ania Kuczyńska ul. Mokotowska 61, tel. 22 622 02 76, open Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00; Sat 11:00-16:00 Ania Kuczyńska is becoming well known for her highly fashionable, minimalist clothing designs. The store also carries adorable baby clothes and various accessories. Bizuu ul. Koszykowa 1, tel. 727 425 352 or 609 888 363, open Mon-Sat 10:00-19:00; Sat 10:00-16:00, www.bizuu.pl A gorgeous, feminine collection from two talented Polish designers – including, the must need pastels of the coming season. Chiara ul. Mokotowska 49, tel. 22 376 5489, open Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00; Sat 11:00-16:00, tel.
SHOPPING 22 611 3814, pl. Uni Lubelskiej, tel. 22 647 0394, open Mon-Fri 10:00-21:00; Sat Sun 10:00-20:00, www.chiara-online.pl A solid assortment of Marc Jacobs and other top international designers such as Michael Kors and Jil Sander. The current collection is a true tribute to S/S 2012 – bright colours, florals, platform heels and wedges. Designer Secret ul. Mokotowska 39 (courtyard), tel. 506 051 048 or 511 649 493, open Mon-Fri 11:0019:00; Sat 11:00-17:00; Sun 11:00-15:00, www.designersecret.pl High end designer clothing brands at discount prices. The racks brim with women and men’s apparel from the previous years’ collections, with price tags that read from one third to 50% off the original price. Joanna Klimas ul. Nowolipki 2, tel. 22 831 0292, open Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00, ul. Puławska 2 (CH Plac Unii), open Mon-Sat 10:00-21:00; Sun 10:00-20:00, www.joannaklimas.com One of Poland’s top fashion designers runs this boutique/showroom. Choose from the latest collections or have a dress custom made for a particular occasion. L’Aura ul. Mokotowska 26, tel. 22 625 1680, open Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00; Sat 11:00-15:00 Warsaw has its modest share of designer boutiques, but L’Aura is the only place in the city where you can find unique pieces from the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Dries Van Noten and Veronique Branquinho.
Pl. Trzech Krzyży 3/4 Pl. Trzech Krzyży 3/4, tel. 22 622 14 16, open Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00; Sat 11:0017:00, www.plactrzechkrzyzy.com The first Ralph Lauren store in Poland, features not only the latest RL collections for men and women, but also labels like Tod’s, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Valentino, Tory Burch and Salvatore Ferragamo. Ready-towear clothes and accessories. QπШ - Robert Kupisz ul. Mokotowska 48/204 (courtyard), tel. 506 170 801, open Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00; Sat 11:00-14:00, www.robertkupisz.com One of Warsaw’s hottest fashion icons, and a trip here soon explains why. The exclusive, handmade garments are a guaranteed head turner, and Kupisz’s latest collection is a tribute to Americana: think disheveled cowgirls flouncing on the prairie. Reykjavik District ul. Solec 18/20, tel. 501 399 222, open Tue-Fri 13:00-19:00; Sat-Sun 13:00-17:00, www.reykjavikdistrict.com Chic, well-cut menswear for all occasions as designed by upcoming Icelandic native Olly Lindal.
Likus Concept Store ul. Bracka 9 (Vitkac), tel. 22 310 73 13, open Mon-Sat 11:00-21:00; Sun 11:00-18:00, www.likusconceptstore.pl The Likus Concept Store brings ultra-chic designer clothing to Warsaw. The latest collections from Diesel, D2, Ferre, Sophia Kokosalaki and J. Lindeberg are all available and presented in this stylish three-floor department store.
Teresa Rosati (Sadyba) Al. Witosa 31 (Panorama), tel. 609 433 343, open Mon-Fri 11:00-20:00; Sat 11:0018:00, www.teresarosati.com.pl Elegant cocktail dresses, gowns for special occasions and beautiful fabrics from one of Poland’s best-known designers. Ready-to-wear and custom-made services at discreet location in Sadyba by appointment.
Maciej Zień Boutique ul. Mokotowska 57, tel. 519 000 049, open Mon-Sat 11:00-19:00, www.zien.pl A flagship boutique from one of the stars of Polish fashion. Check Zień Home upstairs for the ultra-designer showroom.
Vintage Store ul. Dobra 56/66 (Level 1, University of Warsaw library), tel. 501 301 742, www.vintagestore.pl Since its inception the store has grown in many ways – now, used brands like Burberry, Barbour, dresses from the ’70s, Hermes scarves, snakeskin handbags, or original Adidas sweaters from the ’60s and ’70s (the owner is an avid collector) are not an uncommon find in the shop.
Moliera 2 Boutique ul. Moliera 2, tel, 22 827 7099, open Mon-Fri
11:00-19:00, Sat 11:00-16:00, www. moliera2.com Moliera 2 is the first place in Poland with collections of Valentino, Christian Louboutin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ralph Lauren Collection, Herve Leger, Moncler Gamme Rouge, Isabel Marant, Simonetta Ravizza, Tod’s, Tory Burch and Balmain.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
SHOPPING MALLS Arkadia Al. Jana Pawła II 82, tel. 22 323 6767, open Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00; Sun 10:0021:00, www.arkadia.com.pl Galeria KEN Center/E. Leclerc (Ursynów) ul. Ciszewskiego 15, tel. 22 389 8600, open Mon-Thur 10:00-21:00; Sun 10:00-20:00. www.kencenter.pl Galeria Mokotów ul. Wołoska 12, tel. 22 541 4141, open Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00; Sun 10:00-21:00, www.galeriamokotow.com.pl Klif ul. Okopowa 58/72, tel. 22 531 4500, open Mon-Sat 09:00-21:00; Sun 10:0020:00. www.klif.pl Warsaw’s original luxury shopping center has everything from the excellent Bomi supermarket to top boutiques that include Max Mara, Paul & Shark and Pinko. Plac Unii ul. Puławska 2, tel. 22 204 0499, open Mon-Sat 10:00-21:00; Sun 10:00-20:00, www.placunii.pl Warsaw’s latest mall counts Armani Jeans, Liu-Jo and Pandora amongst its upmarket tenants. Mysia 3 ul. Mysia 3, tel. 603 767 574, open MonSat 10:00-20:00; Sun 12:00-18:00, www.mysia3.pl Hip and high-end department store with units such as NYCity (DKNY, Donna Karan), Berries & Co. (Ice Watch, Triwa, Ike Milano), UEG, My Paris and Take a Nap selling great pieces from both established and upcoming designers. Vitkac Wolf Bracka Vitkac, ul. Bracka 9, tel. 22 310 7313, open Mon-Sat 11:00-21:00; Sun 11:0018:00, www.likusconceptstore.pl Poland’s premier address for designer tags – you won’t find more designer labels per sq/m anywhere else. Money spenders inc. Jimmy Choo, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Jil Sander, Gucci, Bottega, Yves Saint Laurent, etc… Złote Tarasy ul. Złota 59, tel. 22 222 2200, open MonSat 9:00-22:00; Sun 9:00-21:00, www.zlotetarasy.pl Over 200 stores, restaurants and cafes, plus the Multikino cinema and the Pure Health and Fitness Club.
Reviews: Labyrinth of Light 77
for past picks visit: www.warsawinsider.pl
ACTIVITIES 75 / CAFES 80 /EDUCATION 78
ACTIVITIES Barwy Muzyki ul. Niecała 14, tel. 22 188 18 27, www. barwymuzyki.pl This informal music school, with highly qualified teachers experienced in the Colour Strings program, acknowledges not every child will be a professional musician but that playing, listening and singing to music is an asset to their development. Group or individual lessons on piano, violin, guitar, cello and flute for 6-12yrs. Copernicus Science Centre ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 20, tel. 22 596 41 00, open Tue-Fri 9:00-6:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-7:00, www.kopernik.org.pl A brilliant array of science-inspired attractions that prove as stimulating for parents as they are for the kids. Check out Galeria BZZZ, an area designated for children up to six. In order to keep numbers manageable, expect entry times to be staggered.
Labyrinth of Light ul. Stanisława Kostki Potockiego 10/16 (Wilanów Palace), www.wilanow-palac.pl
PHOTOGRAPH BY GILL BOELMAN-BURROWS
arch can go either way. We’re either knee deep in endless winter or sniffing the first whiff of spring. Albeit days are getting longer, that need for light and vitamin D is becoming desperate. Luckily for the family Warsaw has an answer to boost the mood: the Labyrinth of Light at Wilanów Palace. In Wilanów 21st century architecture has been encroaching at speed on the palace’s doorstep. Nevertheless, the 17th century summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski is the perfect backdrop for an Alice in Wonderland-themed art installation which boasts a staggering 150,000 colorful light bulbs to dazzle us into Spring! Like Alice you might think yourself a little mad planning a trip to a light display three months after Christmas, but take my word for it, on this occasion you can never be too late. I found this out when the screams of delight from my daughter started at the gate to the palace. In a city with little to resemble British funfair attractions this is the next best thing. As the King said in the story, ‘begin at the beginning,’ which in this case means walking through a giant keyhole. ‘Go on till you come to the end,’ he urged in Lewis Carrol’s classic, which we did by weaving in and out of green tunnels and marveling at a ginormous teapot with its cup and saucer, the timeless white rabbit and an impressive stack of cards from the Queen of Hearts. ‘Then stop,’ says the King, and in this case that means finding yourself at the Orangerie. It’s here you can grab refreshments whilst children from three years upward can get involved in (weekend) workshops such as needlepoint, calligraphy, looking at traditional costumes and learning the history of the palace and the royal family Poland once had. All this plus entrance to the illuminations is free for children up to seven years, with normal tickets for the rest of us retailing at zł. 10 (free Thursday). On Saturday 15th the ‘mapping’ on the facade of Wilanów Palace will take place: this promises to be a visual extravaganza of lights accompanied by music and will bring this installation to a close until next winter. (GBB)
Cukier Lukier ul. Emilii Plater 10, tel. 605 660 005, open Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00; Sat-Sun 10:0018:00, www.cukierlukier.pl Confectionary making courses and displays that attract kids of ALL ages. Fryzjerkowo ul. Foksal 12/14, tel. 22 827 2744, open Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00; Sat 10:00-18:00, www.fryzjerkowo.pl This 100% child friendly hair salon with jungle theme interior will guarantee no tears! Whilst having their locks chopped children sit in a toy car and watch a favorite DVD. Mum can peruse the retro toys and classic books on sale. Owner speaks excellent English. Advance booking recommended. Fundacja Atelier ul. Foksal 11, 22 826 8813 or 22 826 9589, open Mon-Fri 10:00- 20:00, Sat 9:30-20:30, www.atelier.org.pl Situated in an atmospheric 19th century building this foundation organizes affordable/flexible workshops to develop and inspire art education and creative skills (painting/drawing/sculpture/ art history) for children, young people and adults.
CHILDREN HulaKula ul. Dobra 56/66, tel. 22 552 74 00, open Mon-Tue 12:00-24:00; Wed 12:00-1:00; Fri 12:00-3:00; Sat 10:00-4:00; Sun 10:0024:00, www.hulakula.com.pl Bowling alley and soft indoor playground: heaven for kids and hell for grown-ups! Children love to climb, explore and slide into large ball pools. Parents hate the lack of daylight and fast food menu. Little Chef ul. Bałuckiego 30/1, tel. 501 093 691, www. littlechef.pl (visit for more information) Cooking classes for children age 3-16. Groups for younger children age 4-10 and Junior Chef courses age 11-16. Kids cook-and-eat healthy meals. Great fun! Classes in English and Polish, Mon-Sat. Little Gym ul. Bruzdowa 56, tel. 22 842 0728, www. thelittlegym.pl Expect an age specific fitness curriculum, a high instructor-to-child ratio, original music and a weekly theme to engage the child’s imagination and sense of fun. Not only a great place for children, but tailored to a relaxing stay for parents as well. Manufatura Cukierów ul. Tamka 49 (enter from Ordynacka), open Mon-Fri 11:00-18:00; Sat 11:00-17:30; Sun 13:00-17:30, tel. 692 888 751, www.manufaktura-cukierkow.pl Sweet making courses in a confectionary factory! Lessons are conducted in Polish, though enthusiasm is more important than a mastery of the language.
Mums & Tots www.mumsandtots.pl A volunteer group for mums (and dads) of all nationalities – coffee mornings, play groups, art and music classes and nights out for parents; the list is endless. For more details, as well as their newsletter and schedule check their web. Teatr Guliwer ul. Różana 16, tel. 22 845 16 76/77, box office open 9:00-17:30, www. teatrguliwer.waw.pl Well worth a visit, even for non-Polish speakers. An exciting colorful premises with creative costumes make this the choice place to introduce the kids to theater. Teatr Lalka Pl. Defilad 1 (Palace of Culture), tel. 22 620 4960 or 22 620 49 50, open Mon-Sat 11:0017.30; Sun 11:00-15:00, www.teatrlalka. waw.pl This puppet theatre stages a variation of productions suitable for children aged 3 +. Scenery, props and costume design are impressive but Polish dialogue is challenging! Losing the plot to Hansel and Gretel can happen - prepare to improvise! Tip: organize a backstage birthday party. Warsaw Zoo ul. Ratuszowa 1/3, tel. 22 619 4041, open Mon-Sun 9:00-18:00, www.zoo.waw.pl The hippopotami now have an indoor and outdoor pool, the gorillas a new pavilion, and the arrival of a shark means it now has an ‘aquarium’. This year though, all eyes are on three tiger cubs born in Feb.
Zachęta Gallery Pl. Małachowskiego 3, tel. 22 556 9600, open Tue-Sun 12:00-20:00, www.zacheta. art.pl Recently undergone extensive modernization but still awaiting a café, this gallery and bookshop offer a perfect introduction to modern art. Also available are weekend workshops for children and original cultural birthday parties guided by experienced animators in a contemporary environment.
American School of Warsaw ul. Warszawska 202 (Konstancin-Jeziorna), tel. 22 702 85 00, www.aswarsaw.org ASW provides an American-styled educational program to students aged 4 and 5. The curriculum offers a rich, meaningful and balanced educational experience through age-appropriate activities. For further information and/or to visit our school, contact: email@example.com or 22 702 85 00.
The British School Early Years Centre ul. Dąbrowskiego 84 (Early Years Centre), tel. 22 646 7777, british@thebritishschool.
Open House March 5, 2014 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
The American School of Warsaw is hosting an Open House for prospective families. We invite parents and children to come and see what’s happening at ASW during the school day. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Open House starts at 9:00 a.m. RSVP: email@example.com ul. Warszawska 202, Konstancin-Jeziorna
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
pl, www.thebritishschool.pl The British School provides special classes from pre-nursery aged 30 months to 6 years old. Children at the Early Years Centre move on to our Primary and Secondary schools at Limanowskiego 15.
The Canadian School of Warsaw – Preschool School Unit ul. Ignacego Krasickiego 53, tel. 697 979 100, firstname.lastname@example.org The Canadian School of Warsaw is the only authorized school in Warsaw teaching IB PYP in English. The pre-school branch offers a bilingual environment for 3-6 year olds enriched with foreign languages and extra activities. Serving the Warsaw community since 2000, they’re now found on new premises 100m from Mokotów’s Dreszera Park and 300m away from Ogródek Jordanowski. All children are welcome, though available space is limited. For further info, tours and school visits call or email.
The English Playhouse ul. Pływiańska 14a & ul. Rzodkiewki 18, tel. 22 843 9370, office open 8:00-16.00, www.theenglishplayhouse.com The English Playhouse functions in the quiet, green residential district of Mokotów, next to Królikarnia Park. The pre-school follows the English National Curriculum and accepts children from 12 months till six years old. Now with an additional location in Wilanów which includes a new, purpose-built pre-school building with a huge garden for children up to six years of age. For info call Agnieszka Weston on 604 464 333 or email: office@ theenglishplayhouse.com.
Maple Tree Montessori ul. Piechoty Łanowej 46A (entrance from Rotmistrzowska/ Petyhorska), tel. 531 599 444, www.mapletreemontessori.pl Maple Tree Montessori is a family-run, international preschool that offers an authentic Montessori curriculum supported by a music and art program. Find them located in the Wilanów district of Warsaw, in a house safely nestled into the end of a quiet street. Their program, which is designed for those aged 1.5 to 6 years old, is devoted to the
Casa dei Bambini & Toddler School (multiple locations)
Warsaw Montessori School ul. Badowska 19 (Mokotów), tel. 22 851 6893; ul. Szkolna 16 (Izabelin), tel. 22 721 8736, mob. 692 099 134, email@example.com, www.warsawmontessori. edu.pl Warsaw Montessori and Casa dei Bambini have 3 green and harmonious locations in Mokotów and Izabelin. The school in Izabelin is set in the quiet of the Kampinos Forest just outside the city. Teachers are fully trained in early-childhood education in English according to the Montessori philosophy. Registration open to children 2 1/2 to 6 years of age. Call to make an appointment to tour any of the 3 schools.
Ecole Antoine de SaintExupéry ul. Nobla 16, tel./fax: 22 616 1499, www.saint-exupery.pl Montessori curriculum in French for children aged from 2½ years old.
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CHILDREN intellectual, emotional, social and physical development of children. Trilingual Pre-school and Nursery “Three Languages” Center ul. Karowa 14/16 lok 6 (3-6 year olds); ul. Cicha 5 lok 1 (1-2 year olds), tel. 517 872 682, www.3languages.pl The only trilingual pre-school and nursery teaching English, Spanish and Polish through total language immersion. All educators are native speaker pre-school teachers. The comprehensive curriculum follows American, Spanish and Polish curriculum standards. The pre-school was awarded European Language Label in 2012.
SCHOOLS American School of Warsaw ul. Warszawska 202 (Konstancin-Jeziorna), tel. 22 702 85 00, www.aswarsaw.org ASW is a premier college-preparatory international school that offers a PK-12 curriculum, including the IB Diploma Program in Grades 11 and 12. Students are inspired and challenged every day by experienced and dedicated teachers, who provide enriching learning opportunities in a world class facility. For further information and/or to visit our school contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 22 702 85 00.
The British School ul. Limanowskiego 15, tel. 22 842 3281, open 8:00-16:00, email@example.com, www.thebritishschool.pl Top-ranking private school in Warsaw providing outstanding education based on the British system. The Canadian School of Warsaw – Middle and High School Unit ul. Olimpijska 11, tel. 600 247 655, www. canadian-school.pl The Middle School conducts classes bilingually: in English and in Polish for 11-15 year olds. The teaching staff consists of highly qualified teachers focused on the students’ individual needs and development. Students take part in numerous workshops and lectures organized by a variety of educational institutions, including Warsaw University. Activities are designed to prepare children for life in a modern and changing world. For further info, tours and school visits call or email. The Canadian School of Warsaw – Primary School ul. Bełska 7, tel. 692 411 573, admission@ canadian-school.pl, www. canadian-school.pl The Canadian School of Warsaw is the only authorized school in Warsaw teaching IB PYP in English. The Primary School offers a bilingual education for 6-11 year olds. Highly qualified, international staff, challenging materials and a friendly
atmosphere provide an optimal setting for the highest standard of education. Extra- curricular activities include visual arts (Bob the Builder, ceramics/pottery, art studio), music lessons , sports, foreign languages (Spanish, Italian, German) and more. Ecole Antoine de SaintExupéry Established in 1994, the Antoine de Saint-Exupery preschool and school provides a French curriculum for children two to eight years old (3rd year of primary school) in a welcoming family atmosphere. Highly qualified native French-speaking teachers. Warsaw Montessori School ul. Szwoleżerów 4, tel. 22 841 3908, firstname.lastname@example.org, www. warsawmontessori.edu.pl Focuses on the Montessori curriculum with an education based on the integration of conceptual learning and real-life experiences.
CAFES Kosmos Kosmos ul. Koszykowa 55, tel. 535 558 552, open Sun-Tue 11:00-23:00; Wed-Thur 11:00-2:00; Fri-Sat 11:00-last guest. The design fuses retro with rock, while the children’s area comes with a handmade puppet theater, cardboard castle and enticing kids menu. ‘Fun workshops’ take place at noon each Saturday. Kredkafe al. Wyzwolenia 14, tel. 22 622 1561 or 502 683 246, open 10:00-20:00. www.kredkafe. pl The interiors look great, bright and cheerful with cute cartoon sketches and an entire playroom complete with toys, stuffed animals and a playhouse. There is even a mini-theater where the kids can put on puppet shows. The brainchild of two women with experience in hospitality and pedagogy, part of the idea of Kredkafe was to create a teaching space.
Nabo ul. Zakręt 8, tel. 22 842 0256, open Mon-Fri 8:00-21:30; Sat-Sun 9:00-21:30, www. nabocafe.pl The latest hot-spot on the family map, Nabo is run by a Danish couple, and its light and minimalist interior – designed by those who created R20 – lends itself to every occasion. But aside from its tasty and seasonal dishes, it’s the children’s corner that is causing the biggest commotion.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Reviews: Pilates 81 / Plus:
* 1 update
for past picks visit: www.warsawinsider.pl
ACCOMMODATION 82 / HEALTH & BEAUTY 83 / MEDICAL 84 / POLISH FOR FOREIGNERS 84 / TRANSPORTATION 82
What’s all this Pilates equipment for? It makes lessons more varied – you can do the same exercise but vary its purpose: work on strength one time, and on endurance the next. Reformers are by far the most popular piece of Pilates equipment, and with its systems of springs and ropes it provides both resistance and assistance to exercises. It also allows you to vary the difficulty level of the exercises, depending on your needs.
There’s a misconception that Pilates is, erm, ‘for women’... Possibly because it’s known as being so safe – you can’t get injured, Pilates can only make you better. But just because it’s suitable for seniors, children and pregnant women, that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for men. One of my clients is a former commando, now he works as a bodyguard. He compares Pilates to the stomach pills you take to go alongside antibiotics in that it’s a perfect complement to his other training.
The Right Balance
An established Pilates instructor, Laura Wichrowska runs a friendly private studio in Wilanów. She talks to the Insider about the power of Pilates… What are the principle points of Pilates? There’s six principles and these focus on control, concentration, centering, precision, breath and flowing movements. As Joseph Pilates said, “after ten sessions you feel the difference, after 20 you see the difference, and after 30 you’ve got a new figure.” He’s right, and no matter what your age or condition it will work for you. How would you ‘sell’ Pilates to a gym monkey? Conventional workouts tend to work the same muscles, leading weaker muscles to get weaker and strong muscles to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance, a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain. Pilates trains several muscle groups at once in smooth movements, and by de-
veloping proper techniques you can actually retrain your body to move in safer and more efficient patterns of motion. That’s great for rehab, sports performance, posture and good health. What sets your classes apart? If you’re doing Pilates in a gym class then you’ve got another 25 people in the room. It’s impossible for the instructor to be able to be correcting everyone, but this is such a precise discipline it needs that level of attention – after all, everyone has a different posture. My classes are for one to four people, which guarantees 100% attention. But it’s not just about that – some people are shy, they don’t want to be sweating in front of a room full of strangers, while others just appreciate the privacy and intimacy.
Is Pilates especially good in this respect? Pilates conditions the whole body, no muscle group is over or under-trained. The entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, which helps you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease, better performance and less chance of injury – that’s why so many professional athletes now use Pilates as a crucial part of their regimen. Pilates can be tailor-made to suit a variety of sports disciplines, whether it’s running, golf, tennis, skiing, dancing or whatever. Where did your journey with Pilates begin, and what has it given you? Ten years ago in Australia – when I got back to Poland Pilates was hardly visible. As for its effects, it increases awareness of what the body is doing as well as giving a very positive energy. Pilates is like investing in the future – you see 80 year old instructors and they look 20 years younger. Of course, diet and healthy living play there part in that, but don’t underestimate the role of Pilates. For private Pilates classes contact Laura at: tel. 608 499 666, email@example.com
LIFESTYLE ACCOMMODATION HOTELS IN WARSAW 5-Star Hotels
Bristol Hotel ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44, tel. 22 551 1000, www.hotelbristolwarsaw.pl H15 Boutique Apartments ul. Poznańska 15, tel. 22 553 8700, www.h15boutiqueapartments.com
The Rialto Boutique Hotel ul. Wilcza 73, tel. 22 584 8700, www.rialto.pl Sheraton ul. Prusa 2, tel. 22 450 6100, www.sheraton.pl Radisson Blu Centrum Hotel ul. Grzybowska 24, tel. 22 321 8888. www.radissonblu.com/hotel-warsaw
are known for their commitment to service and style. Having evolved into Switzerland’s market leader in furnished living, the company is now in the process of establishing footholds throughout Europe with a presence in Berlin, Geneva, Munich, Warsaw and Vienna. Find their Warsaw apartments in Platinum Towers on Grzybowska.
TRANSPORTATION CAR RENTAL
Sofitel Victoria ul. Królewska 11, tel. 22 657 8011, www.orbis.pl Hilton Warsaw ul. Grzybowska 63, tel. 22 356 5555 or 800 44 11 482, www.hilton.com
Westin Al. Jana Pawła II 21, tel. 22 450 8000, www.westin.pl
Hyatt Regency Warsaw ul. Belwederska 23, tel. 22 558 1234, firstname.lastname@example.org,
InterContinental ul. Emilii Plater 49, tel. 22 328 8888, www.warsaw.intercontinental.com Mamaison Le Régina Hotel Warsaw ul. Kościelna 12, tel. 22 531 6000, www.mamaison.com Marriott Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79, tel. 22 630 6306, www.warsawmarriott.com
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
InterContinental ul. Emili Plater 49, tel. 22 328 8888, www.warsaw.intercontinental.com Long and short stay apartments provided by the hotel of the same name. Perks included are the same as those received by hotel guests: i.e. access to the top floor pool, room service, maid service etc. Vision Apartments Al. Jerozolimskie 81/22, tel. 22 292 8888, www.visionapartments.eu Founded in Switzerland, Vision specialize in the rental of high-quality furnished apartments and
Avis tel. 22 572 6565, fax 22 572 6566, Fredrick Chopin Airport, tel. 22 650 4872, Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 (Marriott Hotel), tel. 22 575 6583, Reservations: tel. 801 120 010, www.avis.pl Hertz Rent a Car Okęcie Airport, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 1, tel. 22 650 2896; mob. 691 411 130. ul. Nowogrodzka 27 (D5), tel. 22 621 1360. Reservations: tel. 22 500 1620, 800 143 789. Sixt Rent a Car ul. Arabska 9, tel. 22 511 1550, 22 511 1555, fax 22 511 1556, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 1, tel. 22 650 2031, fax 022 650 2032, www.sixt.pl
RELOCATION COMPANIES AGS Warsaw ul. Julianowska 37, Piaseczno, tel. 22 702 1072, www.agsmovers.com
CorstJens Worldwide Movers Group ul. Nowa 23, Stara Iwiczna, tel. 22 737 7200, www.corstjens.com Interdean International Relocation ul. Geodetów 172, Piaseczno, tel. 22 701 7171, www.interdean.com With 120 relocation service centres and employs 3,150 international relocation services staff across Europe and EMEA, and over 600 alliances worldwide. Move One Relocations ul. Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79, tel. 22 630 8160, fax. 22 630 8166, www.moveonerelo.com Also immigration assistance, fine art shipping, pet transport and consulting services.
HEALTH & BEAUTY FITNESS
Holmes Place Premier ul. Belwederska 23 (Hyatt Hotel), tel. 22 851 0563, ul. Grzybowska 63 (Hilton), tel. 22 313 1222, al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 (Marriott), tel. 519 436 841, www.holmesplace.pl Those who use it claim the Hilton branch is the best gym in Poland. Set on two floors, highlights include a 25 meter pool, sauna and steam room and a spacious gym packed with the most modern equipment. Also on-site, a varied timetable of classes, excellent personal trainers and a Green Coffee relaxation area. Their latest outpost in the Marriott also has a pool and has been updated accordingly to fit the HP quality check. For prices enquire direct.
RiverView Wellness Centre ul. Emilii Plater 49 (InterContinental), tel. 22 328 86 40, www.riverview.com.pl Top-class facilities and equipment, private instructors and small classes. The view from the highest pool in Europe offers a glorious panorama of the city. Annual prices from zł. 4,200 (access from Mon-Fri 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.), zł. 5,760 (all times), and zł. 8,350 for Diamond Membership (includes two personal training sessions per month, a complimentary weekend at the InterContinental, restaurant discounts, etc.). Club Oasis Fitness Centre & Spa Hotel Hyatt, ul. Belwederska 23, Level -3, tel. 22 851 0563, www.cluboasis.pl Not just for hotel guests, Oasis is one of the top fitness clubs and spas in Warsaw, with state-of-the-art machines, great pool and Zen-like ambiance.
Fitness Centre at the Radisson SAS Centrum Hotel, ul. Grzybowska 24, tel. 22 321 8888 Fitness club, swimming pool, sauna, gym, group classes in one of Warsaw’s best five stars. zł.100 per day.
SPAS & SALONS
The Pedicure Place ul. Pokorna 2, lok. u11, tel. 22 241 3000 or 505 828 688, open Mon-Fri 9:00-21:00; Sat 9:00-18:00, www.pedicure-place.pl A luxury pedi/manicure clinic with room for 10. All the latest OPI varnishes and over 200 colors guarantee you’ll find the latest in styling and nail care. Haircology ul. Rozbrat 44A, tel. 669 780 669, open Mon-Fri 10:00-20:00; Sat 10:00-last guest, www.haircology.pl An upmarket ecologically minded hairdresser that eschews such things as synthetic fragrances, silicon and preservatives. Hair a Porter ul. Belwederska 23 (Hyatt Hotel, level -1), tel. 22 558 1555, open Mon-Fri 9:00-20:00; Sat 9:00-17:00, www.hair-a-porter.pl A staunch favorite of the ex-pat crowd, Hair a Porter offer the ultimate hair experience utilizing expert staff and top-quality products.
Sungate Beauty & Spa Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 2, tel. 517 012 880, open daily 10:00-24:00, www. spasungate.pl A feast for all five senses, Sungate offers a wide range of massages, face and body treatments, manicure and pedicure, as well as a VIP room for couples. Bio.Sis Nail Spa ul. Mokotowska 26, tel. 22 621 1404, open 10:00-22:00, Sat 9:00-18:00. A top spot for a classic manicure or pedicure – they also do lots of complicated things with gels and other hi-tech nail discoveries. BodyClinic ul. Oboźna 9 lok. 104, tel. 22 826 1160 or 784 677 618, open Mon-Fri 9:00-20:00; Sat 9:00-15:00, www.bodyclinic.pl Thorough body care for everyone. From the usual options to a huge variety of massages and some very exotic treatments, BodyClinic covers all the bases.
LIFESTYLE Dotyk SPA ul. Biały Kamień 3, tel. 22 898 7272, open Mon-Fri 9:00-22:00; Sat 9:00-18:00, www.dotykspa.pl Probably the only place in Warsaw where you’ll get a facial yoga session. Going futher East, treat yourself to Japanese, Polynesian or Indian massage. Izar Repechage ul. Moliera 1, tel. 604 209 900 or 22 827 7195, open Mon-Fri 8:00-20:00; Sat 8:0014:00, www.repechage.net.pl A gorgeous city spa which a range of treatment for the whole body.
Warsaw Nail Bar Essie ul. Bonifraterska 8, tel. 22 298 11 10, www. warsawnailbar.pl. Four stations for manicure, and four for pedicure, inside a gleaming white modern interior that’s staffed by a highly trained team. Manicures zł. 50-100, pedicures zł. 90-150.
MEDICAL MEDICAL PRIVATE CLINICS
Aster Med ul. Św. Bonifacego 92, tel. 22 858 0354,
www.astermed.pl Aster Med, while billing itself as a center of orthodontics and implantology, is really the full service with 14 dentists and 4 orthodontists and implant surgeons. Lux Med Medical Clinics Various locations, see website for details and locations: www.luxmed.pl Malo Clinic Domaniewska 37 (3rd floor), tel. 22 393 6333, www.maloclinics.com/polska This world class dental clinic incorporates five dental offices, an operating room, two recovery rooms and a state-of-the-art diagnostic center. Melitus ul. Słowackiego 12, tel. 22 833 7438, mob. 603 060 621, email@example.com, www.melitus.pl Specializing in dermatology, surgery, phlebology, endocrinology, gynecology and internal medicine. The clinic is equipped with the latest and most innovative medical equipment and employs several renowned clinicians.
POLISH FOR FOREIGNERS
Edu & More ul. Nowogrodzka 44 / 7, tel. 22 622 14 41, firstname.lastname@example.org, www. polishonlinenow.com Polish Language School incorporating modern teaching methods and reasonable prices. Intensive & regular Polish courses for beginners. Business & everyday Polish. Preparatory courses for the state exam as well as for the international ECL certificate in Polish. Morning, afternoon & evening classes. Frog ul. Mazowiecka 12/24, tel. 22 403 7872 or 517 459 418, www.frog.org.pl Acclaimed language school aimed at all levels of competency. Flexible schedules and a history of working with foreigners make it one of the ‘go to’ choices for new arrivals wanting to polish their Polish. Klub Dialogu Gałczyńskiego 4, lok 903, tel. 664 788 004, www.klubdialogu.pl Individual and group courses held either on-site or at the venue of your choice. Tailor-made packages inc. both intensive and weekend courses.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Koncert Savages Alterklub w Nowym Teatrze 1 marca 20.00 Bilety: alterart.pl
Armine, Sister Spetakl Teatru ZAR Reżyseria: Jarosław Fret 9 marca 19.00, 10-12 marca 20.00 Bilety: 30 zł
Chéreau nieznany Przegląd filmów i spektakli Patrice’a Chéreau Prelekcje: Bartosz Żurawiecki, Tomasz Cyz, Michał Borczuch, Piotr Gruszczyński 25-30 marca 18.00 / 19.00 Szczegółowy program projekcji na nowyteatr.org Wstęp wolny
Punkty styku. Performans i współczesność Wykłady i seminaria w Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej 27-28 marca 17.00 / 18.00 Zgłoszenia: email@example.com Nowy Teatr Madalińskiego 10/16 22 379 33 33
firstname.lastname@example.org ebilet.pl bilety24.pl
Tel: +48 22 702 10 72
ChoCdhkod łyiaKłyam kieicwzaic BiaB iew Kaiem za ńień
WHY WARSAW? They had an amazing time. In four and a half years I’ve encountered two situations based on my race, and that was at 3 a.m. with two drunk people – come on, that really doesn’t count. Your client list has huge names on it, etc. Does the buzz vary from project to project? I get excited when a client is excited about their brand. That’s the spark I need to create. I’ve always used a quote: “if it’s not fun, don’t do it.” I won’t work with a client just to pay the bills, or because I’m hungry. I know people are going to think ‘oh, come on,’ but that’s the truth. I’ve been there, there was a time when I couldn’t pay the bills. What was your first job? I was 14 and wanted to get some turntables. My parents said if I wanted that as a hobby then I had to pay for it myself, so I took a job at my uncle’s off-license. I learnt the value of money, and also got to taste wine and champagne during the day!
Londoner Trent Payne moved to Poland in 2009, founding the 77 Creative agency in the process. He talks to the Insider about his life and living in the Polish capital… You moved here with your Polish wife. What preconceptions did you have? It wasn’t a blind decision to move. I had visited six times or so before, and every two or three months I could see the changes – see the city growing, forming. But before that, I honestly thought I’d be arriving to some ghetto of concrete blocks. The major surprise though was the people. I found Polish people didn’t have that preconceived notion of what a black person is in the same way the British do. Ha, you could say people took me as a black, blank canvas. I was always made to feel very welcome, especially by my wife’s parents. What about the scare stories leading up to Euro 2012? I was writing to the BBC asking how they could portray the country like this. They polarized the whole threat of violence. Of course, racism does exist, but the fear-mongering was unfounded. When I got married, I had 40 members of my family over, all of them of Caribbean background.
WARSAW INSIDER | MARCH 2014
Polish clubbing is still playing catch-up though… There’s two problems. First, the music is too commercial. When I get requests, they’re for stuff that’s in the Top 10. I feel if people pay to go to a club they should get something more than what they can listen too on the radio for free. Second thing, is the existence of ‘the black room’. Not because I find it disrespectful to black people, but because it’s disrespectful to music. Music doesn’t have color. You can’t separate music in this way and Warsaw has to cross that bridge. What does Warsaw mean to you? I take London and Warsaw as one. In fact, I consider Warsaw almost a borough of London. Door-to-door from London to Warsaw is two or three hours – I mean, with signal failure, that’s a commute across London! What is Warsaw’s future? People have traveled and been inspired by cities like London and Paris, they’ve returned and opened exciting places up in a non-traditional manner. If people continue to do that there’s no limit to the future. But it’s important the city supports the young kids who are busting their arses by promoting Warsaw abroad. There was a huge promotion for Euro 2012, and then it all stopped. These young entrepreneurs are pushing the city forward but need the government to help them. Trent Payne is the creative director and founder of 77 Creative. For more on his work check: 77creative.com
PHOTOGRAPH KEVIN DEMARIA
LONDON TO WARSAW
You got the turntables, and you’ve continued to DJ to this day… My DJ’ing kicked off playing birthday parties, then I started a college radio station which got pumped into the local university. Eventually clubs started to book me. But when I was in London it was just a hobby. That changed when I came here and heard the quality of the DJs. My wife knew someone at Reserved so I played at the launch of their flagship store. Then along came opening parties for Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton. It’s snowballed.
The Insider teams puts together a special issue to get a crystal ball look of how the city will look like in the future and how it could hav...