One of my friends recently inquired about the vegetarian options in Krakow. Being an obliging foodie, I decided to add a whole restaurants section to this, with “vegetarian” as a sub-category.
If you’ve ever seen or read Everything is Illuminated, you may be convinced that there are no vegetarian options in Slavic cuisine. While meat is definitely dominant on most menus, it is certainly not mandatory. Nalesniki (crepes) with cheese or spinach are a typical vegetarian option, as are pierogi ruskie (“Russian” pierogi with potatoes and cheese) and pierogi z kapusta i grzybami (pierogi with cabbage and mushrooms). In the case of the pierogi, you may want to confirm that there is no bacon tossed on top, as this is a traditional way for them to be served (you can ask for them “bez boczku”, without bacon). “Dodatki”, or sides, are typical safe to eat as well, and most places serve “surowki” (salads) as well. Luckily, the word for vegetarian is “wegetarianski”, which is similar to the English, so if you just say “vegetarian”, most people will understand.
Like in the U.S., purely vegan dishes and restaurants are less common. I think the word in Polish is “weganskie”, but I’m not sure if people (especially older ones) will understand the difference between “wegetarianskie” and “weganskie”.
As I eat my way around Krakow, I will mention which restaurants are vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly.