St. Mary’s Basilica | Kraków, Poland by Nico Trinkhaus via Flickr Creative Commons

Polish food is not internationally sought after, but it holds its own when it comes to heartiness and taste. Most of the meals in traditional Polish restaurants include several courses, with soups, meat, and vegetables regular staples. Several important dishes include pierogi (unleavened dumplings), golabki (cabbage roll), bigos (meat stew), and kapusniak (cabbage and sauerkraut soup). Vegetarians will be able to find some veggie-friendly dishes in the major cities, but vegans will struggle to find much to eat in Poland. The nightlife is quite interesting with beer gardens and outdoor areas in the summer and cellars and indoor-areas in the winter. Poland boasts both a beer and vodka culture, which is a result of being wedged between Europe and Russia.

Bars and Pubbing in Poland

Warsaw, Krakow, and Gdansk are three of the more famous spots for a night out in Poland. Warsaw, the capital, is home to hundreds of night establishments. Kamieniolomy (ul. Ossolinskich 3, Srodmiescie, Warsaw) is a great venue that produces fantastic music using a range of DJs. Visitors can find great mixed drinks at the Living Room (ul. Foksal 18, Warsaw). One of the finest nightclubs in the city is Klub Opium (ul. Wierbowa 9/11, Warsaw) which stays open until the early hours of the morning and is famous for its interior design more than anything else.

Krakow is the cultural center of Poland, and boasts plenty of awesome night clubs in the Old Town district. A very loud and energetic establishment is JazzRock Café (ul. Slawkowska 12, Krakow). There is no jazz, but plenty of hard rock in this cellar spot. If you like vodka, be sure to try the amply named Wodka Café Bar (ul. Mikolajska 5, Krakow). If beer is your beverage of choice, House of Beer (ul. Tomasza 35, Krakow) has more than 150 different kinds on tap.

Gdansk is less lively than Warsaw and Krakow, but still offers a tremendous range of bars and clubs. Loft (ul. Mlynska 15, Gdansk) is a great night spot which offers complimentary snacks on the weekends after 11:00 p.m. and excellent music. Brovarnia Gdanska (Szafarnia 9, Gdansk) is a micro-brewery with great beer choices. For a drink anytime of the day or night, Café Absinthe (ul. Ducha 2, Gdansk) is trendy and always crowded, especially on weekends.

Dining and Cuisine in Poland

Warsaw is an international city, and as such, has plenty of options when it comes to restaurants. Mexican is well-represented in the city, with Blue Cactus (Zajaczkowski 11, Mokotow, Poland) a favorite and reasonably priced. Portucale (ul. Merliniego 5, Mokotow, Poland) is a traditional Portuguese restaurant that is a little on the expensive side, but exceptionally delicious. An Indian restaurant well-worth visiting is Tandoor Palace (ul. Marszalkowska 21/25, Centrum, Poland).

Both international and Polish cuisines are available in Krakow, primarily in the Old Town district. Miod i Wino (ul. Slawkowska 32, Krakow, Poland) is a popular restaurant for its medieval theme, good food and reasonable prices. Polish cuisine with a blend of European flair can be enjoyed at Wentzl (Rynek Glowny 19, Krakow, Poland). Wierzynek (Rynek Glowny 15, Krakow, Poland) is the oldest restaurant in the country so for traditional fare, it's the place to go.

Gdansk is home to a variety of sensational restaurants. Mouthwatering Italian can be found at Fellini (Targ Rybny 6, Gdansk, Poland). Overlooking the waterfront is Goldwasser (Dlugie Pobrzeze 22, Gdansk, Poland), a restaurant boasting traditional Polish meals. For a taste of true local delicacies, no restaurant can beat Pierogarnia U Dzika (ul. Piwna 59/60, Gdansk, Poland) where wild boar dumplings are a speciality.

Click here for Shopping and Leisure in Poland