History of milk bars
They are considered to be the remnants of the Communist era. In the past, they were rather unpleasant places to spend one’s free time in, as there was not much in terms of design, cutlery was aluminum, and staff there was truly unpleasant. Today, those are the establishments where customers can eat homely food for a reasonable price…in a nice atmosphere. The selection of dishes is quite wide. You may choose from typical Polish meals, such as sauerkraut-and-meat stew or dumplings. Both vegetarians and people loving satiating meat-based meals will surely find something delicious for them in milk bars. That is why they are so willingly chosen by students, professors, businessmen, as well as by less wealthy individuals.
Where do you find milk bars?
In Cracow alone, there are several milk bars. They can be found within the borders of the Old Town, Stare Podgórze, and Kazimierz areas.
If you are willing to check out how old milk bars looked like (while at the same time remembering that they are depicted in a satirical manner), you should watch the old Polish comedy entitled „Teddy Bear”. And no, it’s not restaurant, it’s only a bar 😉
When it comes to design, in many milk bars it is rather simplistic and cheap in nature – plastic tables and chairs are commonplace. They have a certain kind of charm, but some may consider them to be repelling. If you look properly, you can, however, find numerous more pleasant establishments with professional, nice staff.
What else is typical for milk bars is that they employ no waiters and dishes are ordered at the buffet. If you visit a „better” milk bar, there is a chance that the staff will be able to communicate with you in English. In ordinary milk bars it is rather uncommon, so you will be forced to ask other guests for help or point at the dishes you would like to order.
After making an order, you will receive meals that will be served on plates arranged on a tray. You have to move with your tray towards the cashier. After making a payment, you can go to your table and enjoy your meal.
In the case of more popular bars (such as Temida, at Grodzka Street), there may be some difficulties with finding a free table during rush hours (1 P.M. – 4 P.M.). If you entire a bar an there are no tables left for you, the best choice is to try elsewhere.
There may be occasions when you feel only a bit hungry and all you dream about is a warm soup. Then, it is highly advised to visit a milk bar. You will not have to wait to be served and a big bowl of soup will cost you approximately 1-1,5E.
Cost of dinner in a milk bar
A full dinner consisting of the main course and a soup costs around 4 E.
The best milk bars in Cracow
Pod Temidą, Grodzka 43 (Old Town)
MIlkbar Tomasza, Św. tomasza 24 (Old Town)
Krakus, Limanowskiego 16 (Podgorze)
Some milk bars do not have a toilet, so if you plan to have a meal there, take the said fact into account.