Sunday 29 January 2023

Your Guide to Vegan Warsaw: Where to Eat, What to Eat

vegan warsaw

Word on the vegan street is that Warsaw is quickly becoming the vegan capital of Europe (watch out Berlin). With over 51 vegan restaurants alone, and more and more popping up every day, ostensibly it seemed like the rumours were true. But I had to find out for myself. So which are the best vegan restaurants Warsaw? And what are the must-try Polish vegan food? I stayed for eight nights and this is what I found!

1. Vegan Polish Dishes

One of the first things I noticed was that whilst there is an abundance of vegan restaurants Warsaw (yey), a lot of them serve foreign food - Italian, Mexican, Israeli, Japanese etc. As much as I love all of these cuisines, and whilst I'm sure it's great for locals, I really came to Poland to try out Polish vegan food. So what are some typically Polish foods?

  • Vegan Pierogi: Pierogi are one of the most quintessential Polish foods, if not the most quintessential Polish food. Pierogi literally translates as dumpling, they are made from dough and are boiled or fried. The filling can be anything from potato to onion to quark, but meat, mushrooms and cabbage are very popular. So whilst pierogi can be found all over Warsaw, your best bet for vegan pierogi Warsaw is to go to one of the vegan restaurants Warsaw. My favourite vegan pierogi Warsaw was from Vege Miasto, scroll down for a full review.

Vegan Pierogi Warsaw

  • Vegan Schabowy: Another typical Polish food is schabowy or meat cutlets. But is this a Polish vegan food? Luckily, lots of vegan restaurants Warsaw offer vegan versions of schabowy made with faux meats. One of these restaurants is Lokal Vegan Bistro which I went to but didn't try the schabowy (see below).
  • Vegan Golabki: Golabki are another super traditional Polish food. Golabki are cabbage rolls. They come with different fillings and are wrapped in cabbage leaves. Head to vegan restaurants Warsaw to make sure yours isn't filled with meat.

2. Vegan Restaurants, Warsaw

Vegan restaurants Warsaw all seem to have a few things in common - firstly, there's a lot of self-serving going on, which I love, in many places its: order at the counter, pay there, wait for your food, go and collect it, take your plate back. No waiters. Why do I love it? Because it speeds shit up and you don't have to wait around for the cheque. Secondly, none of them seem to do air-con very well, making most of them pretty uncomfortable to eat inside during the summer. Luckily, they do seem to have got the memo about outside seating - but make sure you get there early to nab a spot. Thirdly, as I said earlier there is a surprising lack of Polish vegan foods. The vegan Warsaw food scene really is amazing but it's a lot of Italian, Japanese, Mexican and Israeli. For you (just for you, not for me at all haha), I tried out a mix. In my opinion, these are the best vegan restaurants Warsaw:

Youmiko Vegan Sushi

Vegan sushi is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Polish vegan food and, at first, I was sceptical. But man was I in for a gastronomic treat:

vegan restaurants warsaw

Youmiko vegan sushi is authentic, aesthetically pleasing and above all, delicious. I loved this restaurant! We opted for the Okimari IV - large diverse set for two, which included 2 nigiri / temari, 2 gunkan maki, 2 cake, 6 hosomaki, 8 uramaki wrapped and 10 futomaki. The futomaki were filled with fresh and fried vegetables:

vegan poland

The uramaki were filled with asparagus and sweet potato:

vegan warsaw

The tomato-y onion-y salsa added to the top was weird but this is one of the beauties of vegan food - fusion food. World, meet European vegan sushi. By far my favourite course though was the first course:

vegan restaurants warsaw

These sushis were all amazing, top left was filled with green beans, bottom left with radishes and beans, bottom right looks like fish, tasted and was sweet tomato flesh. Top right though, omg. Top right gets its own paragraph seeing as it was the best sushi I've ever had - including incredible sushi I had in Australia before I was vegan anddd even including incredible sushi I had in Japan as a vegan. It was avocado topped rice wrapped in aubergine. It was heaven. This large Okimari IV set that we had cost 99 zl (about $25). It was perfect. Okay on the menu it said that there would be 2 cake, and it turned out that was another sushi, not an actual cake. But I'm not a sweet tooth so I don't care. All in all, this was my favourite out of the vegan restaurants Warsaw.

Lokal Vegan Bistro

Lokal Vegan Bistro came highly recommended as a place to try out Polish vegan food and is one of the only vegan restaurants Warsaw that serves schabowy. We made the mistake of going there when we were super hungry, and because they told us that the schabowy would take 30 minutes we decided to go for something not so Polish - a burger and tagliatelle:

Vegan Restaurants Warsaw

Luckily they were both dope. The tagliatelle was so creamy and meaty - in fact, it was the most creamy, meaty thing I've tasted since I had cream and meat. The bits of 'meat' (it was made of tempeh) were so meat-like that they were too much by themselves for me, but worked so well with the mix of creamy pasta and rocket. I loved it.

The burger was also really good, kind of spicy with a good texture. The taste was unlike anything we'd ever had (in a good way) and it came with a great tahini mint sauce. Whilst it wasn't as good as the Krowarzywa burger (how could it be, they won an award), it was still a really decent burger and I recommend it. The tagliatelle and the burger came really quickly (less than 10 minutes) and it was a self-service place. The tagliatelle was 24 PLN, the burger was 18 PLN and I had a great watermelon-lemonade (5 PLN). They also have free water.

Vege Miasto

We headed to Vege Miasto as they came very highly recommended on TripAdvisor as a place to try Polish vegan food.

vegan pierogi warsaw

It was super hot in there and I wished we'd got there earlier - the outside seating looks great. Tanbay and I both ordered the pierogi, I ordered the spinach ones and he went for the mushroom. I found the spinach ones kind of bland and disappointing, but loved the mushroom ones - they were slightly vinegary and delicious. Luckily Tanbay preferred the spinach ones so we swapped (hot tip, date someone who has opposite food tastes to you).

vegan poland

The pierogi were surprisingly, insanely filling, when they arrived I was worried I would be hungry after eating them, but after eating two I was stuffed. Luckily, they provide you with pots to take your leftovers home so I could finish my pierogi later. Unluckily the pots are made of plastic which sucks, but then that's on me for not bringing my reusable lunchbox. (And like, what do I expect? Them to give out free bamboo or some other sustainable pots? I mean yeah, I expect that but I understand that that's an unrealistic expectation.) We also had a smoothie which was nice and made me feel like we were in Bali [Want more Europe? How about vegan Ireland?]

Krowarzywa: the best burgers in Warsaw

When you're in Warsaw, you've got to try the best burger right? We were so excited to find out that Krowarzywa has won the award twice for best burger in Warsaw - in a competition with meat burgers in too! #takethatcarnists #veganfuture We had to go and see what the fuss was about:

vegan restaurants warsaw

Krawarzywa is kind of like the Polish burger version of Subway - in that you can build your own burger. I love this! You pick between a wrap and a burger, decide if you want a brown or a white bun, pick you patty, choose your two sauces and decide if you want any extras. All burgers come with lettuce, spinach, pepper, red onions, bean sprouts and gherkins.

I really love the idea of this - too many times have I been stuck with a burger menu, wanting to order the patty from one burger and the extras or the sauces or whatever from the other. It was great to see that you could build your own burger here. I chose a Warzywex FIT - slices of seasonal Polish vegetables marinated and grilled (it was July so it was red pepper, aubergine and courgette). Tanbay chose the Tofex - tofu slices smoked, marinated in herbs and roasted. The burgers also came with two sauces, I went for vegan mayo and red chilli.

For extras, I went for vegan feta and it was incredible, just as good as the vegan feta I had in Madrid - aka tasted like 'normal' feta. Although I loved my meal, what surprised me about the burger was that it wasn't a burger at all. There was no patty. Looking back, this was obvious from the menu where it says 'vegetable slices' and 'tofu slices'. I was just so excited to try the best burger in Warsaw I didn't stop to make sure I picked the actual burger hahaha.

I'm a great believer in eating a burger al fresco, aka without the bun (I always thought this was called a French burger, but Google disagrees with me). I have (lame) friends who adamantly disagree with me and say that a burger is a bun and a patty. But can a burger ever be a bun without a patty? I don't think so. Fortunately, it tasted amazing, and I found myself thinking that it would taste great in a wrap - turns out that's an actual option.

I really loved the packaging, too often have I eaten a burger that's just gone everywhere. But with the clever design of the packaging (it's kind of like a glove) my food couldn't run off (and there I was thinking that my days of food running away from me was behind me).

polish vegan food

I ordered a grapefruit juice which was perfect and as expected (freshly squeezed, no sugar). All in all, we both loved our 'burgers', still, we weren't going to miss out on the best burger in Warsaw, so we went back another day to try out the actual patties:

vegan restaurants warsaw

The second time we went we tried the Jaglanex Millet - patty with pumpkin and sunflower seeds and coriander and the Cieciorex - Chickpea patty with pepper, parsley and herbs. This time they came as a patty (like the menu clearly states) and they were both great! I can see why they won the best burger award.

We also ordered chips this time around, which were great but I definitely did not need them and couldn't finish them (Tanbay did). The price was really good burgers cost between 13.5 and 17.5 PLN (around $4) which is so cheap! I'd have happily paid 24 PLN for that kind of quality and size. Two sauces of your choice are included in that price, and extras (like the vegan cheeses) cost just 2 PLN. The juices were 12 PLN.

3. Vegan Hotel Warsaw

Whilst there aren't any exclusively vegan hotel Warsaw, there are a few options:

  • Emma Hostel: Emma Hostel has an exclusively vegetarian kitchen and, even better, they have vegan breakfast! [Book Emma Hostel here]
  • Best Western Hotel Felix: Word on the street is that Best Western Hotel Felix serves a good vegan breakfast and at £26 it's insanely cheap. [Book Best Western Hotel Felix.]
  • Airbnb: I spent my eight days in Warsaw in an Airbnb because I wanted to have my own space (and my own kitchen). After house sitting, Airbnb is my second favourite way to travel - because of the kitchen haha. 

4. Wrap Up: Guide to Vegan Warsaw

All in all, I loved my stay in Warsaw. I think the food is really great and I would go back any time to try more of it. Gastronomically aside, it's a nice city. Really super European. With lots of nice (gigantic) parks. It feels really clean, modern, safe and well-off. But that's just my impression of it. Tell me yours.

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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