Dining Out in Poland – Food and Drink Vocabulary List

Poland offers real diversity to diners, from haute cuisine served in a highly formal atmosphere, to spectacularly cheap street food. In fact, all types of Polish eating establishments are an exceptionally good value for the money, and you can eat out for as little as 50 złotys ($15) for two people, while a beer will generally cost only 5 złotys ($1.50). Due to its communist history, Poland doesn’t have a strong restaurant cultural tradition, but this is rapidly changing as tourism is becoming a bigger business and the Poles are becoming more interested in gastronomy.

At the top end of the Polish restaurant scene you’ll find Polish classics and Italian and French fine dining. Even at this end of the market, the prices won’t break the bank. The phrases below will be particularly useful in the kind of restaurant where tips of around 10-15% are usual. If you are looking for a real bargain, head to one of Poland’s famous milk bars (bar mleczny), which offer very cheap, basic food. These self-service cafęs, leftover from the state-owned canteens of the communist era serve a vegetarian-only menu at cheap prices (three courses for around $2!) and offer a truly authentic dining experience.

Although Polish tastes are becoming ever more diverse (for example, Asian-inspired food, including sushi, are becoming very popular in Poland) the classics are a must for any visitor. Find a smaller, traditional restaurant and try pierogi, ravioli-like filled dumplings, or bigos, a stew made from a variety of meats — they’ll be tastier than the western-European dishes on the menu. On the other hand, street food, although often inspired by foreign cuisines, is particularly good in Poland. Foot-long pizza breads called zapiekanki are sold on almost every street corner, while Turkish-inspired tortilla-wrapped kebabs with cabbage salad and fiery chilli sauce are also surprisingly good.

Phrase in Polish Phrase in English Pronunciation
Stolik dla jednej osoby proszę. A table for one, please. Stoleek dla yednay osobi prosheh
Stolik dla dwóch osób proszę. A table for two, please. Stoleek dla dvooh osoob prosheh
Proszę o menu Can I see the menu please? Prosheh o men-yoo
Co podać? What would you like? Tso podach
Co podać do picia? What would you like to drink? Tso podach do pitch-a
Jaki deser lubisz? What dessert would you like? Yaki deser lu-bish
A co może nam pan/pani polecić? What do you recommend? (Pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) A tso mojeh pan/panee polecheech
Proszę… I would like… Prosheh…
To wszystko? Is that everything? To fshistko
Kelner/Kelnerka Waiter/waitress Kelner/kelnerka
Kieliszek Glass K-yeleeshek
Talerz Plate Talesh
Widelec Fork Veedelets
Nóż Knife Noosh
Łyżka Spoon Wishka
Zakąska Starter Zakonska
Drugie danie Main course Droog-yeh dan-yeh
Deser Dessert Deser
Rosół Chicken noodle soup Rosoo-w
Żurek Sour, ryemeal soup Zoorek
Barszcz Beetroot soup (borscht) Barsh-ch
Bigos Hunter’s stew Beegos
Pierogi Filled dumplings P-yerogee
Gołąbki Meat and rice-stuffed cabbage leaves Gowompki
Ziemniaki Potatoes Zyem-nyakee
Ryż Rice Rish
Surówka Salad Sooroofka
Frytki Fries Fritkee
Lody Ice cream Lodi
Szarlotka Apple cake Sharlotka
Pączki Doughnuts Ponchkee
Racuszki Sweet pancakes Ratsooshkee
Sok Juice Sok
Woda mineralna Mineral water Voda meeneralna
Wódka Vodka Vootka
Wino Wine Veeno
Piwo Beer Peevo
Herbata Tea Herbata
Kawa Coffee Kava
Proszę rachunek The check please Prosheh ra h-oonek
Napiwek Tip Napeevek

Slang/Commonly Used Expressions:

Expression in Polish Expression in English Pronunciation
Smacznego! Enjoy your meal. (Bon appętit) Smachnego!
Na zdrowie! Cheers! Na zdrov-yeh
Najadłem/najadłam się. I’m full (masculine/feminine) Niadwem/niadwam sheh
Proszę podziękować kucharzowi. My compliments to the chef. Prosheh pojyentovach kookhazovee