The Cool Cat
Proving something other than just a faddish flash in the fire, The Cool Cat has caught the zeitgeist by the horns and come to represent the hip Powiśle style; casual and convivial and absent of aloofness, it’s a place in which all life seems to gather for a taste of good times. Refusing to take themselves too seriously, the angle is fun and forward-thinking, something that’s evidenced by way of an occasionally wacky menu of Americanized Asian food.
ul. Solec 38, fb.com/thecoolcatbar
Fest Port Czerniakowski
Bring out the clichés: at Fest quality rules over quantity. Food-wise, there’s not much to choose from, but it’s doubtful you’ll find better ribs for a few hundred miles. Cooked outdoors on a beast of a smoker, these are glorious things of atavistic joy. Improving the mood yet further is the backdrop, a timber cabin in a wooded part of Warsaw. There’s nowhere else like it.
ul. Zaruskiego 8, fb.com/festportczerniakowski
Rusiko’s credentials couldn’t get any stronger. Having scooped Gazeta Wyborcza’s Knajpa Roku award in 2015, this Georgian venture has come to stand for everything good about the local restaurant scene. Informal and spontaneous, the ambiance is twinned with food that’s all life, spice and big-hearted tastes. You will find restaurants that offer better hospitality, you just won’t find them in Warsaw.
Al. Ujazdowskie 22, rusiko.pl
It sounds a little absurd, but Talerzyki manage the implausible by Polonizing the concept of tapas and coming up trumps. Fiercely Polish in spirit, the menu looks to revive the essence of inter-war Warsaw with its selection of classic recipes presented in scaled-down form: blood pudding with apple and cinnamon; beef tongue and horseradish; and white sausage with fermented flour sauce. It sounds glum and gory but its anything but – our jury agree and so, clearly, do the style mavens of Mokotowska.
ul. Mokotowska 33/35, talerzyki.eu
The emphatic winner of our ‘casual’ category feels divey but lively with first timers stepping tentatively into a cheapish subterranean chamber of mint green walls and wobbly wooden tables. Imbued with a gentle sense of chaos (drinks after mains, mains before starters), you get the idea that they’re winging it a bit. “The chef,” admits the waitress, “hasn’t really done this before.” But it’s good – ’nam good – so much so that it proved the runaway victor in this usually tight category. Then again, expectations naturally rise the moment you see TV chef Kurt Scheller wandering in for a take-out. As convincing and authentic as you’re likely to find in Poland, standouts in this Vietnamese joint include perfect spring rolls, steamed goat in lemongrass, and giant bowls of life-affirming pho (“Pho-midable,” says our photographer).
ul. Poznańska 7, fb.com/VietnamkaPoznanska