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It’s not all gołąbki and golonka. A city of 2.5 million, Warsaw’s intersection of east and west has drawn migrants from around the world—and they’ve brought inspirational international restaurants to spice up the city’s dining scene.
Mexico-Polish fusion at Dos Tacos in Warsaw
The aim of many is simply to bring a taste of home cooking away from home. After several inspiring trips to Mexico, Polish native Michał Kałamaga opened Dos Tacos in 2011 with Mexican chef Isabel Balderas.
“Our goal was to present the best and most authentic Mexican cuisine based on my own family recipes,” says Balderas, who moved to Poland from Pueblo nine years ago after falling in love with a local. Balderas is proud to have established Warsaw’s first traditional homemade Mexican restaurant, introducing dishes and ingredients never before served in Poland, including the aromatic herb epazote, grown by the restaurant team themselves.
Warsaw’s Bejrut Falafel: 200 years of authentic Lebanese cuisine
Mahmoud “Mike” Rai‘s family has been serving falafel in Lebanon for the last two centuries. He brought the tradition to Warsaw in 2014, opening Bejrut Falafel with a vegetarian food cart on Hala Mirowska. It’s now so popular (best known for its hummus) it has two locations, including one near Hotel Indigo Warsaw – Nowy Swiat on Moliera 8.
Warsaw locals’ favourite Vietnamese is Toan Pho
Warsaw’s Vietnamese population is estimated to be around 40,000, with roots dating all the way back to popular student exchanges in the 1950s, when both nations were communist states. Today, authentic pho is never far away.
A four-minute walk from Hotel Indigo Warsaw – Nowy Swiat is Toan Pho on Chmielna Street, established in 2009 by Nguyen Van Toan. Despite the bare-bones decor, it’s a local favourite, loved by locals and visitors alike.
Nearby is Indian restaurant Namaste. After opening in 2006 as a small spice shop, they began to make single dishes and eventually became popular enough to open a restaurant with a full menu and catering services.
Warsaw best ramen place: Uki Uki by Matsuki-san
Perhaps one of the most inspiring examples of Warsaw’s international culinary strength is Uki Uki. Taira Matsuki was a sushi chef in Tokyo when he moved to Poland 10 years ago. After several years, he transitioned to cooking traditional udon noodles, now served at his restaurant. He says Poles are open-minded when it comes to experiencing new food, which makes his Warsaw spot a local favourite.
“I think we brought a new value into Polish culture and the food scene,” Matsuki says. “Whatever I do I feel that I’m a representative of Japanese cuisine and culture and through our food, Polish people are able to experience this genuine Japanese food, which is one of the biggest contributions. You don’t need to fly to Tokyo anymore.”