Canadian Instagrammer, Isabelle (@allons.y), scoped out Warsaw, Poland’s freshly dubbed foodie mecca and Capital of Cool, with an appetite for traditional eats as part of our new non-stop service from Toronto, launching June 14.
Isabelle describes the Polish capital as a city with Old European charm, and a global outlook. “The lifestyle is relaxed, and the people are some of the friendliest you’ll meet in Europe.” Warsaw’s rich history is amplified by a young, vibrant culture.
Among Isabelle’s musts is a visit to the once-gritty-now-groovy district of Praga, on the east bank of the river Vistula. Take the river cruise where you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the district, and Old Town. Prewar architecture—untouched by the ravages of WWII—blends with postwar conversion bars, restaurants, and theatres in the Soho Factory (inspired by the eponymous New York neighbourhood). History buffs and aesthetes alike will lose themselves in the Neon Museum, a space dedicated to the preservation of Cold War era neon signs, and self-proclaimed national treasure.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
To get your bearings, consider the free walking tour that meets daily in Old Town at Sigismund’s Column (originally erected in 1644!). Expect a lesson in Warsaw history, and mouth-watering detours to sample authentic Polish meals and snacks.
At the top of the menu for Isabelle was Polish milk bar, Prasowy. Milk bars were created by the government during the post-WWII period as an economical way to feed their people dairy-based dishes. Try the pierogis—handmade daily—in both savoury and sweet options, like cabbage and meat, or juicy strawberry.
For a dining-cum-shopping experience, try candy-coloured ŚRD/PŁD, a hybrid restaurant, cocktail bar and clothing outfitter. The industrial look is as hip as the clientele, with eclectic fare to match (think coca cola chicken lollipops and chia seed pudding). Isabelle’s pick: the daily burger topped with jalapeño, mayonnaise, cheddar, salmon and hollandaise, with a side of truffle mashed potatoes.
Eat like a local and try a “zapiekanka”—a traditional open-faced sandwich served on a baguette—at Serwus. The space’s eponymous flavor is their most famous (sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and tomato sauce). Isabelle’s tip: “opt for a second sandwich, caprese style, which is served with tomatoes, cheese, pesto, and fresh basil which I watched the owner pick right out of their in-house herb garden!”
Isabelle recommends a diverse wardrobe for Warsaw. “The weather can vary from hot sunshine, to rain, to cool winds all in the span of day. Try to layer up, and bring an umbrella to adjust to the temperamental weather.” And when the stars begin to shine in Warsaw, so do the outfits. Isabelle insists, “Be sure to pack dressier clothing, as Warsaw has a legendary nightlife, and you’ll want to fit in with the stylish locals.”
Travellers take note! We had eyes on the ground in 4 more international locations, all launching this summer. Check out Prague (May 29), Casablanca (June 3), Budapest (June 10) and Glasgow (June 13) for more.