The Best Tomato Soup I Have EVER Experienced (and other good eats in Poland)

by Mike Kerr

When Steven and I went to Poland we knew we would most definitely end up discovering a lot more about my Jewish heritage. What we didn’t know was that with the Canadian Dollar being worth about 3 Zloty at the time, it would turn out to be REALLY easy on the wallet when it came to eating. Growing up my mother would prepare the occasional Polish dish so I knew we were in for some savory food over the course of our stay.

While we were in Krakow we found ourselves eating at the central square on most nights, there was a summer market that had been set up and it was great to wander through while deciding which patio we should choose for the night. In Poland the traditional dinner is two courses, the first being a soup, and the second course being protein and potatoes.

One of the most important things I think I need to mention is to try the tomato soup while you are in this city, I don’t know how every restaurant we visited manages to pull it off, but they all know how to make a kick ass soup. I can only imagine the lengthy process that must come with such an incredible bowl, making the broth, preparing the soup vegetables, slow-roasting the tomatoes, and putting it all together with the elegantly placed swirl of cream. Once it finally makes it the table and you find yourself getting to the bottom of the bowl, you’ll find the bay leaf that was hidden away, secretly building the body of the broth to new heights. Not every place makes exactly the same soup, but they are definitely of the same quality, and should not be missed.

One night when we were feeling like something different, I decided to check out the iPhone app Foursquare. We found a tip about a place called Bordo that was a little off the beaten path, but with a special for a 3 course meal  (Soup, Entree, and Dessert) for only 12 zloty per person (4 dollars Canadian). The reviews for the restaurant described a quaint location with fresh food in large portions all made from scratch. Needless to say, with a price like that we couldn’t resist. As soon as we walked in the door, we were promptly greeted by a server and seated. After having the special described we were so impressed we took it and the server disappeared to place the order.

Not even 10 minutes into the meal and the server was back with the first course, another indescribably good bowl of tomato soup. The second course was an entree made up of a nice chicken Kiev, that despite being fried and stuffed with butter wasn’t too greasy, and was hot enough to know it hadn’t been sitting waiting under a heat lamp. The entree came with three salads: a well seasoned coleslaw, a garden salad with a house dressing, and grated carrots with an oil dressing, all of which tasted very fresh. For dessert we were given the option to have pie and ice cream, but after the massive portions of the entree, we couldn’t possibly have had another bite.

In Warsaw, we were once again happy with the freshness of the food, and most of all the endless supply of incredible tomato soup. On our last day in town, Steven and I found our way to Warsaw’s Old Town. While there we found Arkadia, on the price scale this location was a little higher, but with the exchange rate, it could have been more expensive. Steven had a meat stuffed cabbage roll that could have fed two, and I  enjoyed a good sized piece of salmon that was served with a great dill sauce. The service on the patio was a little slow, but it was well worth the wait for the meal, and again after a day of being on our feet, a little down time is never a bad thing.

After finishing our days Steven and I would always head to our Polish staple: Coffee Heaven. All of the locations were extremely well laid out with the serving area out of the way with very large seating areas that could hold the large number of students and locals. Their hot chocolates, cappuccinos, and caramel macchiatos  were served quickly, and with the perfect coffee-milk-foam ratios every time. Far better than anything we could have experienced at Starbucks, where a cappuccino isn’t really one unless you order it bone dry, Coffee Heaven is one of those places you could go back to a city just to experience the perfect cup of coffee whenever you want it.

Poland Posts:
Exploring Warsaw and Auschwitz & Auschwitz II / Birkenau
Warsaw and Kraków, To Jest Piękne.
Food Posts:
Quick Eats in Amsterdam
Gnoshing in Brussels
Pasta in Paris, Brunch in Blue – My guide to finding good eats

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