When you think of the most vegan-friendly countries to visit in your travels, Poland most likely doesn’t come to mind. The country is well-renowned for its love of all things meat – all you have to do is take a look at the Polish sections in UK supermarkets to get an idea of the types of food the Poles traditionally eat. The vegan progress made in Poland has been quite recent, with many people still not fully understanding the principle behind veganism and many restaurants failing to provide vegan-friendly dishes. Don’t be put off, though. After spending three months living in Kraków, I came to discover some of the amazing vegan options the place has to offer. The city is a hidden vegan heaven, you just need to know the right places to look!
Starowiślna 6, 31-038 Kraków | Vegab Facebook
Photo by: Vegab
A lot of European cities seem to love their kebab, and Kraków is no exception to this. This all-vegan eatery provides a delicious and cruelty-free version of the delicacy that vegans and non-vegans alike will love. The ‘meat’ is made from strips of seitan cut off a traditional kebab stand, before being packed into a huge wrap or pitta with a selection of vegetables and incredible sauces. As someone who stopped eating meat at the age of 10, my experience of kebab is limited (perhaps even non-existent) but I first visited here with my boyfriend who loved kebab in his pre-vegan days, and we were both so impressed. Vegab also offer hotdogs, lasagne, and brownies, but the kebab is the star of the show. I recommend the Olymp tortilla – kebab strips with sunflower seeds, tzatziki, sundried tomatoes, black olives and a hot salsa of your choice. It’s a small place so you might be fighting for a seat, but the food is definitely a must-try.
Plac Wolnica 12, 33-332 Kraków | Nova Krova Facebook
Photo by: Nova Krova
This place is often hailed as the best vegan restaurant in Kraków. I can see why – the burgers are some of the best you’ll eat in your life and the staff are super friendly and passionate about what they do. Apparently one of the chefs even have a 269 tattoo dedicated to ‘Calf 269’ who was saved by activists in Israel just days before his planned slaughter and who is still alive today. Nova Krova have an extensive list of burgers, from tofu to seitan to falafel, and most interesting of all: the cheese burger. This is literally a burger made from breaded, deep-fried cheese. I’ve never seen a burger like that in any vegan restaurant I’ve visited and it wasn’t let down. Decadent, realistic, stringy cheese with fried mushrooms on top and some garlic mayonnaise. Definitely not healthy, but well worth the weight gain. The seitan burger was also one of the best meat replacements I’ve tried, and their selection of sides (pasta salads, rice, vegetables etc) were all delicious too. Not to forget some of the incredible cakes they have on offer!
Krupnicza 6, 31-000 Kraków | Pod Norenami Facebook
Photo by: Elisha Martin
Asian food isn’t so easy to come by in Kraków; there are a few sushi places but Wagamama-style food isn’t so common. I definitely conform to the vegan stereotype as a dedicated tofu-lover, so I had to scope out the best Asian cuisine Kraków had to offer. Pod Norenami was one of the first experiences I had eating out in Kraków and I quickly became a regular customer. This vegetarian restaurant has a huge menu with a tonne of clearly marked vegan options and many dishes which can be made vegan on request. The satay tofu and the vegan sushi set were my staples, but they have a large selection of mock duck, beef and chicken dishes which are delicious too. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and interesting décor, but don’t forget you can also take your food to go and enjoy it with the views of the beautiful Kraków main square just a few minutes’ walk away.
Warszawska 7, 30-001 Kraków. | Sweet Life Facebook
Photo by: Elisha Martin
Not many people seem to know about the range of vegan options this American-style café offers, despite being conveniently located minutes from Galleria Krakowska – the city’s busiest super-sized shopping centre. The café has an impressive range of non-dairy milks: almond, coconut, soya, vanilla soya and chocolate soya which you can pair with your hot chocolate, tea or coffee alongside a selection of flavoured syrups. Most of all, I was so impressed by the vegan cakes here – pumpkin spiced muffins, oreo cupcakes, blueberry cupcakes, chocolate chip banana bread… the list goes on! The atmosphere is very laid back and the staff are really friendly. Hopefully the increasing demand for vegan options will encourage this café to continue in the right direction.
Sławkowska 8, 31-014 Krakow | Krowarzywa Facebook
Photo by: Krowarzywa
Located just off the Kraków main square, this all-vegan burger place is a popular attraction. My first experience of Krowarzywa was with my non-vegan father, who tried the breaded seitan burger with me and loved it. They offer additional toppings including vegan cheese, bacon, coleslaw and sauces, and their dessert speciality: the fudgiest chocolate hazelnut brownie you’ll ever eat. The eatery also ensured that they had vegans covered for the Polish version of Pancake Tuesday, known as Tłusty Czwartek (translated as ‘Fat Thursday’), where they traditionally eat doughnuts the week before Lent begins. Their glazed doughnuts with a sweet jam filling quickly sold out!
Poselska 20, 31-002 Kraków | Taco Mexicano Facebook
Photo by: Elisha Martin
This place doesn’t have an extensive range of vegan options, but the options available are clearly marked on the menu and they taste great. I tried the vegetable fajitas – a generous portion of vegetables, spicy rice and freshly made soft corn tacos with a range of sauces on the side. The food is simple and satisfying, and a good option if you’re with omnivores who you can’t convince to try all-vegan food. They also have a great range of cocktails here, so if you’re looking for a meal before you head out to enjoy the vibrant Kraków nightlife then this is the place to be!
Rynek 27 a 50-107 Wroclaw, Poland. | Vega Facebook
Photo by: Vega
Finally, if you have the opportunity to visit the nearby city of Wrocław for the day then take it! The journey lasts about three hours but it’s a lovely city which is well worth the trip. Wrocław is home to the first vegetarian (and now vegan) restaurant in Poland, Vega, conveniently located on the city’s main square serving a diverse range of meals, snacks, desserts and ice creams. My biggest draw to the city, however, was the small memorial which was erected in 1990s and dedicated to slaughtered animals. The memorial is located down a medieval lane which was once filled with butchers, acting as a reminder of the progress which has been made in terms of animal rights, and the work which still needs to be done. Exciting things are happening with the vegan movement in Poland right now – make sure you get the chance to experience it first-hand!
Travelling to Krakow?
Tag @veganconnections on Instagram with all your vegan finds. We hope this guide helps you navigate the city. Finding the vegan options just got a whole lot easier.
Want to write for Vegan Connections?
Send your work to: firstname.lastname@example.org and get involved.