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Warsaw Restaurants

Bazyliszek
1/3 Rynek Starego Miasta
Warsaw
Poland 00-272
Tel: 48 22 831 1841
www.bazyliszek.com.pl

Outside this family-run restaurant is a wrought-iron dragon, which somehow seems fitting for an establishment that dates from 1894. Bazyliszek serves refined versions of Polish favorites in opulent surroundings. Carved wood embellishes the high ceilings, while crossed swords and suits of armor hang from the walls. Guests can peruse the wine and vodka selections and sample traditional fare, such as pickled salads, roast meat, or rabbit stew with noodles and beets. Reserve ahead for the restaurant, or head to the café downstairs, which serves a similar but less expensive menu.

Belvedere
1 Ul. Agrykoli
Lazienzki Park
Warsaw
Poland 00-460
Tel: 48 22 841 4806
www.belvedere.com.pl

As fancy as old-school Warsaw gets, Belvedere is set in a massive park in the city's embassy district. The restaurant sits in a graceful two-story hothouse, the former royal orangery, but the tropical plants and trees surrounding the tables create a feeling of intimacy in spite of the glass walls and ceiling. The international menu is largely Italian-influenced. The Polish menu, however, is an extravagant reincarnation of prewar national classics, done with a nod to the old Francophile aristocracy's taste for butter in all its forms. Beetroot soup, awash in dill and hard-boiled egg, is a smooth cold starter, while crayfish-filled "crêpes" are a delight—puff pastry filled with buttery seafood stuffing is enlivened by tart juniper berries. Surprisingly meaty beef tenderloin is given a light mushroom filling and accompanied by bacon-wrapped dates, an old royal recipe. Other Polish classics given the high-end treatment are roast duck on apples and a pork chop and white sausage combo on a bed of buckwheat. The wine list is cosmopolitan, with especially good Chilean selections. And don't miss the house aperitif, a smooth and sublime cocktail of Polish bison vodka and apple juice.

Open daily from 12 pm.

Café Bristol
44 Krakowskie Przedmiescie
Warsaw
Poland 00-325
Tel: 48 22 551 1828
www.royalmeridienbristolhotel.com

A bright corner of the otherwise forbidding Royal Meridien Bristol hotel, this bistro features lots of light, a tile floor, and checkered graphics on the walls. It also serves a pleasant alternative to the heavy fare and fusion cuisine that dominate the rest of the city. Try the fisherman's salad, poached salmon and whitefish topped by a light lobster mayonnaise on a bed of fresh greens, or the goose carpaccio, served with Parmesan cheese, capers, and lemon. Outside the high windows, the views are of a park on one side and a Soviet-looking travel agency on the other, giving the place a John Le Carré flavor in spite of the pleasantness inside.

Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.

Flik
43 Ul. Pulawska
Warsaw
Poland 02-508
Tel: 48 22 849 44 34
www.flik.com.pl

In the summer, sit among the potted geraniums on the outdoor patio, which overlooks Morskie Oko Park. If the weather's crummy, Flik's bright, plant-filled dining room is a fine second choice. Snack on fresh salmon and self-serve salad, and stock up on zrazy, a fillet of beef rolled around tender mushrooms. It's also a good place to try pierogi.

Fukier
27 Rynek Starego Miasta
Warsaw
Poland 00-272
Tel: 48 22 831 1013
www.ufukiera.pl

This lavishly decorated, candlelit restaurant in the Old Town Square is the city's most famous Polish eatery, and everyone from Margaret Thatcher and Jacques Chirac to Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer have dined here (although not together, as far as we know). Portions are on the small side and it's one of the most expensive restaurants in town, but it's a good-value spot for those accustomed to dining in pricier cities. Fukier is known for its wine cellar, and grilled steak is the specialty dish, but the traditional mushroom soup, whole duck, and leg of veal are all worth a taste. Reservations are essential.

Qchnia Artystyczna
6 Ave. Ujazdowskie
Warsaw
Poland 00-461
Tel: 48 22 625 7627
www.qchnia.pl

The unique chairs in this museum café, each designed by a different artist, befit the eclectic menu of inexpensive Polish and international food. Vegetarians will enjoy the selection of meatless options, such as nalisniki (crêpes stuffed with fruit or cheese). The service leaves something to be desired, but you go for the setting—an old castle on a hill that houses the Center for Contemporary Art. In the summertime, outdoor seating offers a spectacular park view.

Rózana Restauracja Polska
7 Ul. Chocimska
Warsaw
Poland 00-791
Tel: 48 22 848 1225
www.restauracjatradycja.pl

A prewar villa in a tree-lined neighborhood houses the homiest of Warsaw's upscale eateries. The interior is a series of rooms, somewhat overcrowded with small tables covered in lace tablecloths and topped with miniature antique Art Nouveau lamps. Lest the preciousness of the decor set in, service is quick and efficient. The menu is heavy on modernized versions of Polish classics, including pierogis, crêpes with caviar and smoked salmon, and royal carp in cream. The cold cucumber soup is heavily laced with garlic, olive oil, and goat cheese, giving a jolt of Westernization to an earthy, refreshing classic. Beef tartare with homemade pickles is a mix-it-yourself affair, fresh and tender. And chicken stuffed with sweetbreads is not for the faint of heart: It's a rich dish and overly sweet in its caramel sauce, but you're not likely to eat like this back home. As you head for the door, check out the photos of Roman Polanski, Angela Merkel, and Sting with the staff.

Open daily from 12 pm.

Sense
19 Ul. Nowy Swiat
Warsaw
Poland 00-029
Tel: 48 22 826 6570
www.sensecafe.com

This stark, stylish, fusion restaurant is perpetually packed with media types and attractive twentysomethings, meaning that it's the perfect place to get a sense of how this old-country city is welcoming the post-post-Communist world. The rather racy menu combines Asian and European flavors under the categories of "foreplay" (appetizers), "hard-core" (entrées), and "happy endings" (desserts). Book a table in advance, sip a martini, and savor wasabi-crusted steak or teriyaki chicken with baked potato and mango with an avocado salsa.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.