My favorites:

  • Best chain diner: Zapiecek
  • Best “milk bar”: Bar Mleczny pod Barbakanem
  • Best food hall: Hala Gwardii
  • Best hipster restaurant: Pyzy flaki gorace!
  • Best park: Lazienki Krolewskie
  • Best hotel in Old Town: Hotel Bristol

Warsaw is an uncrowded, clean, gentle Eastern European capital city.

It made an excellent first stop on my family’s Eastern European trip in August 2018.

These are my tips and favorites from a short visit.

To find these places, I used local tour guides, Foursquare city reviews, and guidebooks.

About Warsaw’s Old Town

Downtown Warsaw was obliterated more than any other city during World War II. Old town has been rebuilt into a Disneyland-esque facade.


Zapiecek is the Best Chain Restaurant in Warsaw

Menu cover of a restaurant in Warsaw Poland

This is the menu cover at Zapiecek. Maybe it is like a Chili’s or Olive Garden in America? But the food was delicious. I liked it.

Polish food in downtown Warsaw old town

The meat and cabbage dumplings. I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed to say that I ate here three times in three days.

Delicious dumplings. Reliable service. Somewhat expensive. Great locations. I liked everything that I ordered there, except for the Bigos.

Bar Mleczny Pod Barbakanem is the Best Milk Bar in Warsaw

Milk bars are traditional diners. During Communist times, they were affordable home-cooked food. They continue to serve the same menu at state-subsidized prices.

Simple food with text overlay that says “Milk bar” in Warsaw Poland

Basic home-cooked Polish food. The prices can’t be beat. It felt like an authentic experience.

Bar Mleczny is the best because: (1) It’s the only one I went to and it was good, (2) Great location.

Hala Gwardii is the Best Food Hall in Warsaw

Sign for Hala Gwardii in Warsaw, Poland

This is the logo for the large food hall near the marketplace. My mom found this and took us here on our first day.

Free ping pong tables. Many independent, diverse food options ring the space. Plus huge ceilings. What’s not to love?

I had a kielbasa sandwich burger thing here. There were many other food stalls that I wanted to try. When I come back, I’d like to check out the nearby park for a walk afterwards.

Pyzy Flaki Gorące is the Best Hipster Restaurant

OK don’t hate me for calling it hipster. I’m a hipster. You’re a hipster.

Traditional Polish food in glass jars with a red and white napkin around it

Pyzy, a traditional Polish food, served in warm glass jars. Delicious.

Located in the cool neighborhood of Praga. They’ve borrowed an old grandma’s traditional recipe from the nearly shuttered nearby market, and they’ve nicely productized it into their most popular restaurant offering.

It was one of my favorite meals in Warsaw. Simple and delicious.

Łazienki Park is the Best Park in Warsaw

Green park with trees and green grass in Warsaw, Poland

Beautiful weather in early August 2018. We had a nice walk through the park on one of the many paved paths.

This is Warsaw’s version of Central Park. Nicely landscaped by a groundscrew that isn’t afraid of some overgrowth.

It is the biggest park in Warsaw. We enjoyed a Chopin concert here on a Sunday afternoon after walking from the nearby Restauracja Belvedere.

Hotel: Hotel Bristol

Hotel in Warsaw, Poland

Hotel Bristol at night, lit up very nicely.

Why we liked it:

  • It’s in the Marriott / SPG network, but was much cheaper to pay instead of points redemption.
  • The locale can’t be beat: right near Old Town along the main avenue. The street was closed to automobiles during our weekend visit, which created an excellent pedestrian scene.
  • The breakfast spread was very good.
  • Gym was good. Plus steam room, sauna, and pool in basement.

Warsaw Photos That I Took

More pictures that I took which didn’t fit anywhere else:

Interior of a restaurant in Warsaw Poland

Traditional interior of a restaurant in Praga, Warsaw’s cool gentrifying neighborhood. Note the awesome local’s furniture

Buildings and a wall with grass underneath

Sitting on a wall during sunset near the Old Town in Warsaw, Poland


Most of the reason that I enjoyed my visit was being with my family. This country holds a special significance as my mother’s father was born here.

It was a great place to start our trip. Uncrowded, easy, friendly.

On a return trip, I’d like to spend more time around Praga and visit the Neon Museum.

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