Restaurants in Zakopane

The Complete Guide to the Best Restaurants in Zakopane (Updated 2022)

This ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Zakopane is a 101 for eating out in the mountain town. It's regularly updated with new spots.

We’re continually updating our complete guide to the best restaurants in Zakopane, with info on the newest places in town and the tastiest eats around.

Zakopane isn’t just a steppingstone into the Tatra Mountains south of Krakow. It’s also an enthralling town to visit in its own right. Come here to find smoky highland taverns sloshing with frothy beers, great shopping, lovely cafes, and lux hotels. There are also oodles to cracking restaurants in Zakopane, catering to a whole host of tastes and fancies.

That’s what we’ll look at here. Our guide homes on the very best places to eat in Poland’s winter capital. It’s a list that runs the gamut from hearty Gorale (highland) pubs serving sheep’s cheese to upscale Italian trattoria that offer something a bit different. We’ll even take a look at some of the local and regional delicacies of the mountains and tell you where’s best to eat them.

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What’s in this complete guide to restaurants in Zakopane?

Best restaurants in Zakopane for Polish food

Polish tavern

No trip to Zakopane could possibly be complete without a sampling of the local kitchen. This is the stuff that hails from the mountain region of Poland and it’s downright tasty. It’s served up in taverns known here as Karczma, which we’d say are among the cosiest and most characterful venues we’ve been to in the whole country. You’ll often find them rocking to the tunes of local folk music on the weekends and warmed by blazing fires in the middle of winter. They’re a joy to eat at. Here are our favs…

Restauracja Gazdowo Kuźnia

Sums up Zakopane

If you’re after a bona fide Polish tavern (known as a Karczma in these parts), the Restauracja Gazdowo Kuźnia has you covered. It’s got a prime location right at the northern end of Krupowki Street, the main thoroughfare in Zakopane. It also really looks the part – think dark timber walls and long wooden benches, along with interiors that are dotted with vintage skis and copper pans. It’s got to be one of the most atmospheric eateries in the whole of Poland, let alone just Zako! You can get classics like beef tartare and pickled herring (which goes great with a shot of vodka, don’t you know), along with highlander borscht and regional cheese platters.

Karczma Bacówka

One of our personal favs

We simply LOVE our return trips to the cozy Karczma Bacówka each year. Set at the quieter northern end of Krupowki Street, it’s in the thick of the town but not quite in the heady mix of beer halls and whatnot right in the center. It’s a true Polish mountain tavern that has timber walls and carved porches. Duck inside in the winter and you’ll feel the warmth of the fireplace blaring back at you. There’s usually a local Gorale band playing folk tunes on the fiddle in the downstairs space. Upstairs is more chilled, more romantic. The menu covers the basics of Polish food, with cheese pierogi and potato pancakes. It’s also got some extras for those who don’t want to eat local, in the form of pastas and pizzas (which are actually pretty darn decent).

Karczma Góraleczka

A family owned vibe

A smaller, family-owned local restaurant that covers all the mainstays of the Polish kitchen, Karczma Góraleczka is smack dab in the middle of Krupowki Street. That means it’s a cinch to reach from pretty much anywhere in the town but also close to all the best vodka bars and beer halls. The style is just what you’d expect of a local tavern – think wood everywhere and a large hearth dominating one of the inside walls. The specialties here are the garlic soup with bacon and croutons and the hearty bigos, a type of traditional Polish hunter’s stew with cabbage.

Drukarnia Smaku Cristina

Fine-dining Polish cooking

Drukarnia Smaku Cristina is a bit more elegant than the other traditional Polish eateries listed here. The focus shifts from hearty and cozy to more refined and edgy. The cooking is still indelibly local. The menu brims with regional cheese platters and pierogi. However, there’s a twist of creativity that makes it one of the best options for a romantic meal out. Take the veal tongues and the saddle of deer, along with the veggie options of truffle pasta. Inside is sleek, too, fusing a whiff of the old mountain architecture with a bit of Scandi-cool design.

The finest Zakopane pierogi restaurants

Pierogi on a plate

If all you want to eat is pierogi – and we would never blame you for that! – then there’s a good subsection of places in Zakopane that focus almost solely on Poland’s famous dumplings. Now, you can get pierogi in most of the Polish taverns mentioned above, but you’ll often find that the selection is whittled down to make room for the pork knuckles and the bigos stews. The best places to eat pierogi and pierogi alone would be…

Karczma Zapiecek

A good all-round tavern with some of the best Pierogi

Right on Krupowki, Karczma Zapiecek is well-known for its offering of pierogi. Yes, the menu has all sorts of other things, including freshwater fish and grilled chicken. But it’s also got a full dedicated section to packed dumplings. What we like is that you can get the classic pierogi Ruskie (Russian pierogi) here with cream cheese and potato – a lot of places in the mountains serve only cheese versions. There’s also a highland version that comes with smoked cheese. We have to say, the setting is amazing, with all the knick-knacks of a proper highland tavern on offer. The downside? Karczma Zapiecek gets pretty busy so be sure to book ahead or come early.

Bar Mleczny

Cheap and hearty eats

A milk bar was the go-to place for cheap eats for most Poles throughout the Communist era. Zakopane’s simply named Bar Mleczny takes up that mantle by offering affordable plates of local dishes. They actually do loads of other Polish meals, from pancake in mushroom sauce to schnitzel with chips. However, the pierogi is very highly rated and it’s super-easy on the wallet – you’re looking at about 20 PLN ($4) for a whole plate.

Pierogi z Podhala

The best pierogi in Zako – but it’s a drive!

Look – if you want pierogi in Zakopane, come here. It’s as simple as that. This is the single finest Zakopane pierogi kitchen, offering up homemade renditions of everyone’s top Polish dish. The menu is very simple, just as it should be. You pick your dumplings in either the ruskie (with cream cheese and potato) or with meat, cabbage or spinach. There are a couple of sweet pierogi types on offer too, but we doubt you’ll have room left. The only downside here is that Pierogi z Podhala isn’t in Zakopane itself. It’s actually in the small village of Witow, about 20 minutes’ drive to the west. That’s why we didn’t list it right up top!

Look – if you want pierogi in Zakopane, come here. It’s as simple as that. This is the single finest Zakopane pierogi kitchen, offering up homemade renditions of everyone’s top Polish dish. The menu is very simple, just as it should be. You pick your dumplings in either the ruskie (with cream cheese and potato) or with meat, cabbage or spinach. There are a couple of sweet pierogi types on offer too, but we doubt you’ll have room left. The only downside here is that Pierogi z Podhala isn’t in Zakopane itself. It’s actually in the small village of Witow, about 20 minutes’ drive to the west. That’s why we didn’t list it right up top!

Best Italian restaurants in Zakopane

Pizza in an oven

The last 10 years or so have seen a HUGE uptick in the sort of international cuisine that’s on offer in Zakopane. That’s really all to do with the soaring popularity of the town among international visitors, who have been coming on the hunt for affordable skiing in the winter and top hiking in the summer. Perhaps the main cohort of non-Polish restaurants in Zakopane is the Italian one, of which there are some truly excellent options…

Cristina Ristorante & Pizzeria

The best pizza in Zakopane

There’s no pizza joint than can beat Cristina Ristorante in Zakopane, at least not in our humble opinion. We remember strolling in here on a cold winter’s night back in 2014 and finding a proper, chewy Neapolitan pie. It’s something that Zakopane simply didn’t have before and it was a cracking addition. We think it’s changed hands once or twice since then but it remains a great option, with buffalo mozzarella additions and a pizza oven that cooks you meal right before your eyes. The wine selection is also top.

Per Amore la Cucina Italiana

Italian fine-dining in Zakopane

Per Amore la Cucina Italiana is firmly on the high-end of the dining spectrum. It’s a great place to go for a romantic evening out in Zako, with a menu that’s all about refined Italian cooking. Dishes run the gamut from crispy bruschetta to panna cotta for desert. The pizzas are okay-ish but it’s really about sampling well-cooked Tuscan meats and rich pastas.

Bistro pizza&pasta

Casual Italian eats

We like Bistro pizza&pasta for a quick lunch stop and a casual dinner. It’s not as fancy as the other two Italian restaurants in Zakopane that are listed here but that’s the point. The vibe is chilled and the food is filling and affordable. They do large beers that don’t break the bank, too. All that, plus the location on Krupowki, leads us to rate it as one of the top spots for a post-hike meal with friends.

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