A visit to “Milk bars” is a compulsory activity if you have a chance to set your foot in Poland. Milk bars, or bar mleczny, were opened during Communist era to provide cheap but nourishing food. Milk bars were initially created to provide all people with cheap meals which were subsidized by the state. Now, milk bars have become one of the cultural experiences to any visitors in Poland. Eating at milk bars, you can enjoy a taste of Communist-era Polish cookery, and experience the warm feeling with the cafeteria style. In this article, I will introduce 2 famous milk bars in Warsaw and Kraków that I visited during my trip.
Note: I have no affiliation to these place, just my reviews after eating here 🙂
1.Prasowy in Warsaw
Arrived at Warsaw Chopin Airport in the early morning of February, I was welcomed with a heavy rain. I decided to start my journey in the capital of Poland by stopping at a milk bar because it was so rainy outside. After checking carefully on the Internet, I decided to pay a visit to Prasowy.
Prasowy was one of the top milk bars appeared in my search, along with lots of good reviews. It was also near my hostel, and easy to reach by bus from the airport, along with a short walk. The location was really good in my perspective. Also, there is a park next to it, you can just come by after eating.
Before entering the milk bar, I tried to learn some basic Polish words such as saying “Yes” and how to point at the food. However, the waitress could understand English so it was easy to order food.
Design and atmosphere
I found the restaurant very cute and friendly itself. It has some cool words and decoration on the wall. Entering the door, I found some pink tables on the right, and blue chairs with white table on the left. The place was clean with cafeteria style, and of course with the irresistible food aroma.
The menu is in Polish, but you can ask the waitress to help you to translate. There is an A4 paper menu, also wall-menu as well. Prasowy serves a breakfast menu with scramble eggs and bun. However, I chose to try a meat dish with rice and vegetable instead.
After paying at the cashier, I received a receipt and waited at the middle of the restaurant to receive my food. The portion came bigger than I expected for the cheap price (17 zolty for all). It also tasted delicious and gave me “home-made” feeling.
Although feeling full already after the main dish, I wanted to try the dessert and drink there because they were incredibly cheap! I just simply came to the cashier, pointed at the dessert because I did not know the name. And yes, here they are!
With good location and cheap but delicious food, Prasowy should be in your check list during your visit in Warsaw.
Address: Marszałkowska 10/16, 00-590 Warszawa, Poland
Open time: 9am – 8pm
2. Milkbar Tomasza in Kraków
As a budget traveler, I think it’s the best way to experience the culture and enjoy good but cheap food is to eat at milk bars. Milkbar Tomasza was on my list after reading good review and also the location. It is located inside Old Town, so you can just stop by if you are around there.
Design and atmosphere
Milkbar Tomasza has a modern design, with a compact size of a small restaurant. I feel that it’s newer and more modern compared to Prasowy Milk bar in Warsaw.
Milkbar Tomasza has English menu, and the staffs can speak English fluently, so there will be no problem in choosing and ordering the food. I chose the dish of the day in the menu because it seems more economic than choosing separately.
Different from Prasowy, in Milkbar Tomasza you will be served at the table after ordering food. The food came with good portion, and delicious as well. I received my soup first and then the main dish. I was really full after having those dishes.
Modern style restaurant, good location, affordable and delicious food, Milkbar Tomasza is a perfect choice to get a good meal in Kraków. I visited there in the evening, but I heard that it served excellent breakfast menu as well. So let’s give it a try!
Address: Świętego Tomasza 24, 33-332 Kraków, Poland.
Open time: 8am – 8pm daily except Monday
Eating at milk bars, I could enjoy the cultural experience by eating like locals and exploring dishes from Communist era time. Although the dishes are mainly simple, they are delicious and worth trying. Prasowy has different style compared to Milkbar Tomasza. In Prasowy, I could feel the “old-time” and cafeteria way by self-service, while Milkbar Tomasza brings me more modern style and well-advanced. Each place has different atmospheres as well as different dishes, so pay a visit to each will fulfill your trip to Poland.
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