During our time in Gdańsk Poland, we discovered a type of restaurant we had never heard of throughout our travels in Europe. The Polish Milk Bar features all of the country’s delicious traditional food in a cafeteria-style setting. The food is insanely cheap even by Poland’s standards, and a great way to taste everything this extremely underrated country has to offer. Join us as we guide you through our three favorite Gdańsk milk bars!
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What is a Polish Milk Bar?
First established in the late 1800s, Polish milk bars took off and stayed popular through the last century. They are especially prevalent in Gdansk Poland as it’s a city where new and modern beautifully clash with the best of the old country.
When ordering you’ll notice you have more than a few options which can be overwhelming at first. However, once you realize how cheap everything is you’ll have a hard time holding back on the best food in Poland!
Most milk bars in Poland display specific plates you can order as you move up the line. These are usually the most traditional pairings, and will only cost you around five U.S. dollars. If you’re like us and can’t make up your mind, you can get creative with it and mix and match with sides. At the end of the line before you pay is where they showcase the desserts. These range from scrumptious cakes to colorful fruit yogurt cups.
3 Must Try Gdańsk Milk Bars
Set right on the main walking street of Gdańsk, Bar Neptun is the first Milk Bar we had the pleasure of experiencing. At this point, we were pretty unclear about how it all worked. For this reason, we opted to pick a set plate that was shown in the window.
What we ended up ordering was quite possibly the best thing I’ve eaten in Poland, if not in all of Europe! A crispy potato pancake was cooked and folded over marinated pork. Then the whole plate was absolutely smothered in delicious goulash sauce.
We recommend enjoying this or one of the many other traditional Polish dishes at Bar Neptun, and then grabbing a seat outside with your dessert. It’s typically very busy here. If there are no seats outside, head upstairs for a table overlooking Dluga Street!
Bar Mleczny Stagiewna
Our next must-try out of all the Gdańsk milk bars is Bar Mleczny. We actually found our way to this cute eatery by the canal more than once. Its picturesque setting right across from the AmberSky Ferris Wheel gives it more of a pub-type atmosphere. Yet, you still line up with your tray and get to pick your meal Polish Milk Bar style.
Here we went with one of Brigitte’s favorites golabki! This work of food art consists of pork and rice wrapped in cabbage topped with a thin red sauce. For sides, we chose sautéed cabbage and pork along with traditional mashed potatoes. Sounds good right?
We grabbed a seat in the bar window with a gorgeous view out to the street, but there is also plenty of seating at tables outside and upstairs. The beers here are only 8 Polish Zolty ($2 dollars U.S.). This drink special along with the delicious food made us regulars at Bar Mleczny during our time in Gdańsk!
The last Polish Milk Bar on our list is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the trip! Bar Turystycny just happened to be in between our Airbnb and the main strip in Gdańsk. Otherwise, we may have missed it completely! After several wafts of polish meat and goulash on our many walks by into the heart of the city, it became an obvious stop for us on our last day.
We found Bar Turystycny had more of a local crowd which is always a good sign. Mid-afternoon it is common to see a line bellowing out the door with everyone craving a lunchtime meal. Here we decided to mix and match a few things while trying to find the best food in Poland. It was time to get more creative than our first two Gdańsk Milk Bar experiences!
We went with pig knuckle, creamed spinach, and more delicious mash potatoes. (Potatoes go with everything in Poland if you haven’t noticed!) The pig knuckle was bursting with flavor and 1000 times tastier than any standard Virginia ham you’d get in the U.S.
For our soup, we asked for something local, and boy did we get it! If you do visit Bar Turystyczny we’d probably steer clear of the Tripe Soup… But to each their own.
The Milk Bar Gdańsk Experience
Honestly, this is the best way to taste traditional food in Poland. Some of the meals we had at the milk bars in Gdańsk were some of the best we had in this country.
Whatever Gdańsk Milk Bar you choose it’s sure to be tasty! These 3 are the most famous so there are plenty more local spots to find on your own.
Get out there, explore, and make sure not to forget the dessert! Also, check out our full Gdańsk city guide below before your trip.
Have your own favorite Polish milk bar in Gdańsk, or any questions about our post? Leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to help!
Brigitte & Jake
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Where to Stay in Gdańsk Poland
Ultra Luxury – Hilton Gdansk – The Hilton Gdańsk is perfect for anyone looking for an upscale stay during their visit to Poland. This hotel offers a prime location, modern comforts, and a beautiful pool to relax in after a day of exploring.
Fun Vacation – Hotel Hanza – Elegant rooms make this warm hotel right on the Motława
Hostel Life – Five Point Hostel – Within walking distance of all the old town attractions, five point hostel offers a bright and clean budget-friendly stay.
For more places to stay in Gdańsk you can explore the latest prices here!
Poland Travel Planning
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. Book a Chopin Concert in Old Town Warsaw, skip the line at the Wawel Castle in Krakow, or enjoy Zakopane with Hot Bath Pools.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Poland, there are many beautiful cities and mountain towns to experience.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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