Milk Bars: A cultural experience in Poland

A visit to Milpolandawis a compulsory activity if you have a chance to visit Poland. Milk bars, or Bar Mleczny, were opened during the Communist era to provide cheap but nourishing food. Initially, Milk bars were opened to provide all people with affordable meals, which were subsidized by the state.

Now, milk bars have become one of the cultural experiences for any visitors to Poland. Having a meal 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 two famous milk bars in Warsaw and Kraków:  Prasowy and Milkbar Tomasza.


1.Prasowy in Warsaw

Arrived at Warsaw Chopin Airport in the early morning of February, I was welcomed by heavy rain.

I decided to start my journey in the capital of Poland by stopping at a milk bar because it rained heavily outside. After checking carefully on the Internet, I decided to pay a visit to Prasowy.

Prasowy was one of the top milk bars that 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. The location is good as it is near the center. Also, there is a park next to it, and you can just come by after eating.

Before entering the milk bar, I tried to learn some essential 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 design of Prasowy adorable and friendly. 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.

places to eat in warsaw Prasowy

where to eat in warsaw Prasowy

eating in warsaw Prasowy



The menu is in Polish, but you can ask the waitress to help you to translate. There is an A4 paper menu, and a menu on the wall as well.

Prasowy serves a breakfast menu with scrambled 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 in the middle of the restaurant to receive my food.

The portion came bigger than I expected for the low price (17 Zolty for all). It also tasted delicious and gave me a “home-made” feeling.

what to eat in poland

Although feeling full already after the main dish, I wanted to try the dessert and drink there because they were incredibly cheap!

I just came to the cashier, pointed at the dessert because I did not know the name. And yes, here they are!

what to eat in poland


With a good location and cheap but delicious food, Prasowy should be on your checklist 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 delicious but cheap food is to eat at milk bars.

Milkbar Tomasza was on my list after reading a useful review and also the location. It is located in Old Town, so you can stop by if you are around there.

where to eat in krakow

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 an English menu, and the staff can speak English fluently, so there will be no problem in choosing and ordering the food.

I chose the dish of the day on the menu because it seems more economical than choosing separately.



Different from Prasowy, in Milkbar Tomasza, you will be served at the table after ordering food.

The food came with a good portion, and it’s delicious as well.

I received my soup first and then the main dish.

places to eat in krakow restaurant

where to eat in krakow


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 an excellent breakfast menu as well. So let’s give it a try!



Address: Świętego Tomasza 24, 33-332 Kraków, Poland.

Open time: 8 am – 8 pm 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 a 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 various dishes, so pay a visit to each will fulfill your trip to Poland.

  1. 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 !

    1. It’s interesting to know that there are something similar in North India! I think Milk bars in Poland serve more variety of food.

  2. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    1. I also think the first has more authentic food, and also old-time atmosphere. The second one is more modern.

  6. 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!

    1. I would love to hear her favorite milk bar as well :)! I didn’t know about its existence before visiting Poland.

  7. 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!

    1. As you said, it might be a flashback to the country’s darker times, but it’s amazing to experience the culture by eating there.

  8. 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.

    1. 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. 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.

    1. I expected the same thing when I first heard about milk bars as well. The name of them are quite confusing, but have rich history behind.

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

  12. 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. I’ve never heard of milk bars before! I’ll definitely have to check one out if I ever find myself in Poland!

  14. I’d never heard of a milk bar before, but it sounds fantastic! The food looks incredible from your photos, and I love the decor. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

  18. 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

    1. Haha I thought the same at first too! I was like “why there’s a special place to drink milk?”!

  19. 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!

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