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Milk Bars: A cultural experience in Poland

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.

Do you find this article useful? It will be great if you can share it 🙂

You can also discuss with me in the comment 🙂

44 replies
  1. Ticking the Bucketlist
    Ticking the Bucketlist says:

    This is interesting … we have something similar in North India where you get flavoured milk and ice cream and yoghurt. It’s nice to know how it all started … sure was a caring government. Chocolate milk in a milk bar is on my list when I get to Poland !

  2. Global Girl Travels
    Global Girl Travels says:

    I didn’t know milk bars were a big deal in Poland. It definitely is a must try if I visit – especially since I enjoy exploring local cuisines. I think the ones you listed here are interesting and I would love to try them someday.

  3. explorelovetravel
    explorelovetravel says:

    Milkbars are awesome. I always visit one at least once everytime I go to Poland. My mother is Polish so I go there at least once a year 🙂

  4. TravelingMel
    TravelingMel says:

    I’ve never heard of Milk Bars, so this is really interesting. When I get to Poland, I want to try one of these out! Prasowy is so cute– that would probably be my first choice. There is a Milk Bar in Edinburgh (where we are now) and I wondered what it was. I might need to go look inside and see if they sell homemade Polish food.

  5. joanna
    joanna says:

    I didn’t know about the existence of milk bars before I read your article. Coming from a communist country and knowing how restaurants used to be back then, same as the service, the milk bars are a very interesting find. I would prefer to go to the first one due to the more authentic experience and traditional simple food.

  6. Julianne
    Julianne says:

    So glad I read your post! I had never heard of milk bars before. One of my best friends is Polish, though, so I’ll have to ask her if she has a favorite (she returns to Warsaw from the States every now and then).That soup looks delicious!

  7. Gareth
    Gareth says:

    Now this really was a nostalgia-inducing post! Certainly, having been to Poland many times, I have visited more than a few milk bars and always immensely enjoyed the experienced. Although it might be a flashback to the country’s darker times, it certainly is a fabulous insight into how people liked decades ago although admittedly, the milk bars have been rather upgraded!

  8. Only By Land
    Only By Land says:

    Prasowy looks like a perfect restaurant to enjoy some local food in Warsaw, Poland. I like it how there is someone who can help translate and explain how it works, it would be so difficult otherwise! The milk bar Tomasza in Krakow looks like another good local restaurant, it’s good that it is good value too, I know some of the restaurants on the market square can be overpriced.

    • Expatolife
      Expatolife says:

      I think The milk bar Tomasza is a bit more expensive than Prasowy, but still cheap compared to other restaurants in Poland. Love both of them, different style but all amazing!

  9. Anita
    Anita says:

    I’ve never heard of milk bars and I kept expecting to see photos of people eating bars/candy made out of milk 🙂 Thank you for the history on Milk Bars and if I ever find myself there I would look out for them and try their delicious food.

  10. gobeyondbounds
    gobeyondbounds says:

    We did not really knew about “Milk Bars” in Poland or elsewhere. Experiencing the local food is always the best way to explore the authentic culture. We loved the colourful desert at Prasowy in Warsaw. Will definitely try “Milk Bars” when in Poland 🙂

  11. Aarti Kamath
    Aarti Kamath says:

    Thanks for letting me know of Milkbars!… You must have had a great time there :)…..Very well written and good pics, btw :)..

  12. Sara MacIntosh
    Sara MacIntosh says:

    I have heard of Milk bars before from a friend who recently visited Poland but I was unaware of the background of them! When you were at these restaurants, did you happen to notice if they were vegetarian friendly? I’d love to visit one day!

  13. hopelessromanchick
    hopelessromanchick says:

    Wow, I would love to experience this! Have never heard of milk bars – it seems a genuine travel gem. Also really good to know the waiters can understand English. No doubt I will be going there when my turn to visit Poland comes!

  14. Rimsha
    Rimsha says:

    Great reviews! Had never heard of milk bars before – they seem like a really warm and homely way to get a taste (pun intended 😉 of the Polish culture. Would love to visit one of these!

  15. Livi Bee
    Livi Bee says:

    This is my first time learning about milk bars. They seem to provide you with a cultural, yet informative, experience. I like the fact that each bar serves different food so you’ll have more of a variety!!

  16. Bidisha
    Bidisha says:

    Milkbars do seem an interesting concept. The food looks delicious too and what can be a better find than good food at reasonable price.Thanks for sharing!

  17. Natasha Haley
    Natasha Haley says:

    Wow I had no idea about these places. I honestly thought the post was going to be about a place to drink milk. This is really cool and I love the history behind it too


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