Though the concept apparently dates back to the turn of the century, the Polish milk bar became a societal institution after WWII when PL’s communist authorities began nationalising the country’s restaurants and sought to popularise milk-drinking (as opposed to vodka), inspired by Poland’s large surplus of dairy products. As such, originally no hot dishes were served; the milk bar was a place where you went simply to enjoy milk, served in a glass with a straw (so classy). But the proletariat can’t run on milk alone and soon the Party concept had shifted to providing cheap, dairy-based meals to the masses; in fact, a worker’s salary often included meals at the local milk bar. In addition to milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese and other dairy concoctions, milk bars offered omelettes and egg cutlets, as well as flour-based foods like pierogi.
With the collapse of communism most bar mleczny went bankrupt, however, some of these feed museums were saved and continue to be kept open through state subsidies. Indecisiveness is unacceptable, so if you’re not sure what to order, pierogi are always a safe bet, or be bold and go for bigos (a hearty cabbage stew). The range of available dishes begins to fall off as closing time approaches, so go early, go often. Below are our favourites in the city centre:
Humble dining next door to the amazingly named 'McFalafel' kebab shop. Serio.
Slightly less desperate than the average milk bar.