Hidden bars and restaurants in Krakow
If you enjoy discovering offbeat attractions and culturally exciting venues, you’ll love our pick of hidden gems in Krakow.
If you enjoy losing yourself in forgotten corners of a city, you’ll be in your element discovering hidden gems in Krakow where you can eat like a local or enjoy experiences the guidebooks missed.
Poland’s second city might be firmly on the city break circuit these days, but there are still plenty of hidden places in Krakow that just about fly under the radar.
In this two-parter, we’re stepping off well-worn paths to uncover authentic culinary marvels to tease your curiosity and sense of adventure. Hidden gems in Krakow that locals love and visitors wish they had known about, including several highlights from our S01Jolly European podcast.
Hidden restaurants and bars in Krakow
If you equate good food to good times, you probably relish finding neighborhood haunts that know a thing or two about local cuisine.
Venturing into less-touristy neighborhoods is one way to swerve overpriced tourist hotspots with identikit menus and uncover hidden gems. To give you a headstart, we’ve picked the brains of the gourmands on our team (AKA everyone) and pulled out some of our favorite eateries that deserve the spotlight.
GMT Georgian Wine & Art Gallery
Hidden gems in Krakow don’t come more underground than the GMT Georgian Wine & Art Gallery. The welcoming wine bar occupies a verdant patch of greenery camouflaged by towering apartment complexes.
It’s a picturesque summertime setting with an unlikely backdrop. When clouds gather, there is a restaurant and covered terrace filled with homely seating, eye-catching art, and oodles of eccentric character.
On the menu is (you guessed it) Georgian fare with intriguing wines from the Caucasus. In short, it checks every box for a well-hidden foodie gem. Try the cheese and egg-filled leavened bread, AKA Khachapuri, a highlight on a menu stacked with inexpensive delights.
Or skip dinner, turn off the meter, and unwind with a glass or two of the distinctly Georgian Saperavi reds. Kids aren’t invited, and you probably won’t see many tourists. Unless they’re lost.
Karczma Smiley turns the concept of BYO (Bring Your Own) dining inside out. Instead of bringing your drinks to a restaurant, you bring food to a pub.
The star draw is an open fire pit that guests can use. Kielbasa sausages are the correct answer when deciding what to grill (they are rarely the wrong answer, especially if authentic Polish food is on your travel scorecard).
Despite resembling a highland hunting lodge, the Smiley Tavern is easily missed. Which is an oversight.
The bar drips with old-timey character. And wood, lots of wood. It’s an arresting setting to flex your barbecue skills, sample Polish beers and vodka, and soak up the neighborhood vibe.
You can buy sausages at the bar. And there’s a short menu (pizzas, pierogi, and the like) to keep you from drooling over your neighbor’s plate if you’re not in a grilling mood.
Venue by Chez Nicholas
We move from cook your own to upscale dining in the hands of a culinary maestro. Venue by Chez Nicholas is fast losing the tag of a hidden gem in Krakow to become one of the city’s gastronomic jewels.
The voluble chef Nicholas leads the kitchen and the welcome. His French bistro wins accolades for its culinary inventiveness, intimate and stylish backdrop, and a chef who gets out of the kitchen to engage with guests.
The multi-course degustation (tasting) menus are catnip for gourmands, and there’s every chance the dishes will be served by Chef Nicholas himself.
One of those hidden places in Krakow that many want to keep hidden. There’s little chance of that happening; review after review raves about Venue by Chez Nicholas. And we couldn’t keep quiet either, as it’s one of our picks of the best restaurants in Krakow.
Metrum Restobistro’s hidden place is up above the skyline of Krakow. In the foreground is the historic old town and iconic cathedral. In the background is a busy canteen-style cafe, where you can serve yourself good-value breakfasts (we’ve got a few more suggestions for the best breakfasts in Krakow) or choose from a daily roster of unflashy but satisfying lunches.
Unless you knew where to look, you could miss the entrance. Follow your ears (and nose) to find it. The cafe nestles above Akademia Muzyczna, a heady blend of freshly ground coffee and musical notes occasionally emanating from the studios below.
If we have one complaint (aside from a lack of cover when it rains), Metrum closes far too early. No sunset dinners here. Although you can enjoy the next best thing, sunrise and a morning pick-me-up.
Skyline terraces are, by definition, hidden places in Krakow. However, Cafe Szal above the emblematic Sukiennice Cloth Hall is more on the tourist radar than our previous entries.
A big reason is the singular location. Beneath is the 19th-century Polish art museum, while Krakow’s central square unfolds below the neatly organized terrace. You won’t get many better views of the city’s landmark cathedral.
Unlike other hidden gems in Krakow, the views are noticeably priced into the menu. But it’s worth a few extra Zloty for coffee and cheesecake at some of the best seats in Krakow.
William Rabbit & Co
Buzzing Kazimierz is chock-full of fantastic bars (we’ve covered a few in our guide to our favorite bars in Krakow). But one that is worth hunting down is William Rabbit & Co, an old-school speakeasy oozing personality.
Like all proper speakeasies, it would be impossible to find if you didn’t know where to look. Or the internet hadn’t been invented. Spoiler: You buzz the staff to guide you to the bar, hidden behind two doors.
The enigma continues once you enter. The Alice in Wonderland themed interior is peppered with oddities that Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton would appreciate.
Aside from the offbeat ambiance, pricey but inventive cocktails steal the show. Although there are bar snacks with an international profile and an excellent whisky selection.
Despite the glowing reviews, a trip down the rabbit hole is still a secret to many locals. A truly hidden gem in Krakow.
Tip: as one of our partners, Goodtime Monty customers get an even better deal on drinks. One more reason to add it to your itinerary.
When looking for hidden gems in Krakow, you probably wouldn’t think about plunging into Las Wolski Forest. But then you’d miss the charming U Ziyada hotel and restaurant.
The chic venue occupies an old hilltop castle and boasts an arched terrace overlooking treetops and the Vistula. It’s an enchanting setting, far removed from city life. Buses stop nearby, and guests might arrive via the forest hiking trails or from the nearby Krakow Zoo. Others pull up in taxis.
A refined menu fit for a high-class hotel refuels guests, however they arrive. Breakfasts are particularly popular as a curtain-raiser to getting lost on the trails.
Pricier than other restaurants with a view, you can expect well-sourced ingredients and several dishes with a Kurdish twist. The fresh air and sublime views are free (ish).