For Ross’s 30th birthday this October I wanted to whisk him away for surprise city break (covered up by a very elaborate plan that made me feel like an anxious criminal for the two months leading up to it). After a lot of research I ended up between Krakow, Poland and Lisbon, Portugal. With food being a key part of any holiday, or any life event, or any normal day, I wanted to be sure of the gluten free and low FODMAP vibes to reduce the risk of any hanger-induced melt-downs. I knew Lisbon would be the safest choice for gluten free after lots of rave reviews from fellow free-frommers, however after a quick pros and cons list I decided we could save that one for a summer getaway when we also had a bit more time to travel around. So I went with Krakow, for a few reasons; some fantastic reviews by friends, the local culture and cuisine, amazingly priced food and alcohol, and of course the history.
After a gruelling evening of research whilst Ross was on a stag do, I came to the conclusion that the whole “no gluten, garlic or onion” thing may be a little bit tricky, but with my heart set on the city I trawled through every menu going and found enough restaurants online to cover the three nights, so booked the flights and an amazing Airbnb and started working on the hour-by-hour itinerary (we’ve been on way too many trips that ended up in a hangry and unsuccessful hunt for food and this was not going to be one of them). So me being the fabulously extra present-giver and control freak that I am, made a PDF itinerary for each day which is available here for your viewing pleasure.
Overall the food was amazing and I’m not sure whether it was just because we were so prepared, but I found it a lot easier than expected, and you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t have a single food-induced melt-down. However, I would say, if you’re low FODMAP, be prepared to eat a LOT of red meat and minimal traditional dishes as the garlic and onion sitch was a bit trickier than finding gluten free. Below is a guide to where we ate…
This was the first meal we ate in Krakow, and was the only meal I didn’t pre-plan as wasn’t sure how much time we’d have between landing and dinner. Once we checked into our Airbnb we walked into the main square and this was one of the first places we found. It had a lovely outside area with heat-lamps and blankets, with a perfect view of the gorgeous square. Although it didn’t offer any specifically gluten-free dishes (which we found was the norm for main-square restaurants), I was able to have a delicious goats cheese and pickled beetroot salad which I added parma ham to and a side of boiled potatoes (surprisingly good!) which were completely gluten, garlic and onion free. Ross had a divine looking pizza (unfortunately no gluten free available) but be warned – he chipped his tooth on one of the unnecessarily large peppercorns!! Overall, great service and fab cocktails and I would definitely recommend for a light lunch – just don’t expect too many options.
This was our first dinner-spot in Krakow, and by far our favourite. Ed Red is a meat-lovers paradise and we both agreed it was probably the best steak we’ve ever eaten! We chose 400g of the Flat Iron and 300g New York Strip and blaaady hell it was meat-sweat galore but I was in heaven! I originally ordered herby new potatoes and a side salad but after a bit more probing the waiter assured me the chips were gluten free and cooked in a separate fryer so I ended up stealing most of Ross’s as they were amazing. We paid just under £70 for what was probably enough steak for four people, sides and two bottles of red (YOLO). I really cannot recommend this place enough for food, ambience and service, it’s fairly small and gets quite busy so I would suggest booking!
In between the Main Square and Jewish quarter, Pod Baranem is an absolute gluten-free must if in Krakow. We came here for lunch on Ross’s actual birthday but it is definitely dinner worthy, especially with their super cheap but yummy wine, and gluten free beer! Pod’s super traditional menu is 90% gluten free, and they cook everything fresh so are able to adapt lots of the dishes to suit other dietary requirements, so I had no trouble finding something garlic and onion free too. Ross went for a traditional Polish meat-loaf type dish with dumplings which he said was amazing (dumplings also gluten free!) and I went for salmon in a cream and caper sauce with chips and a traditional beetroot side. Service was fab however as they cook everything fresh it does take a little longer, but it’s such a lovely traditional experience that it’s worth the wait!
I really wanted to treat Ross on his actual birthday and this was the “fanciest” restaurant I found in my research, and the most expensive one of the trip. The reviews were great and the vibes looked very swanky and sexy. It was another meat-focused menu but we got the taste after the previous night! The restaurant was beautiful but one thing I couldn’t get over was how brightly lit it was – it really disturbed me. There are however, three Pimiento’s in Krakow and this one was on the main square, so it may be worth checking out the lighting of the other two to see the vibe 😉
Apart from the lighting, everything else was perfect. We went for a surf and turf (the prawn was basically a lobster!!) with a super-tasty orange and avocado salad and plenty of veg and potatoes which the kitchen were more than happy to make it all low FODMAP. The service was the best we have had in a long while, and with only a few other tables we basically had our own waiter! I did email ahead for this one to check re dietaries and this also led to them bringing out the most amazing gluten free chocolate cake with a candle in for Ross’s birthday! Overall, it was a lovely meal and great experience, however it was very pricey vs Ed Red, at around £160, and although the experience was better and I’m so glad we went, the steak just about came in second to the previous night.
We popped in here before our trip to Auschwitz to grab a gluten free panini for me to take for lunch. It is a completely veggie bakery and they have the most amazing gluten free bread. Unfortunately a lot of the options contained garlic or onion however I managed to bag a cheese, tomato and salad roll which was very well received by my hungry and hungover self during the day.
When I asked Ross what he wanted for his last dinner in Krakow he replied “steak”. So steak is what he got! By this time I was a bit steaked out so we chose somewhere that also had a good range of seafood. This was probably the most relaxed feeling restaurant we ate at and it was lovely to just chill out and reflect the weekend. We started with wine (obviously), which was about £13 a bottle and amazing, and I then went for a baked sweet potato and seafood salad. Ross had a T-bone steak (which I can confirm was amazing) and chips, and we shared a side of prawns which they made in a garlic and onion free sauce for me. The meal came to around £60 which was amazing considering the steak itself would have probably cost £40+ in London!
This place is well known for their gluten-free brunch and is an absolute hipster magnet. I was a little bit worried after reading a few of the reviews regarding cross-contamination however before we ordered I explained how important it was to have no gluten traces and they seemed very clued up. I ordered the waffles, which they assured me only had GF waffles cooked on, with fried eggs, bacon and maple syrup. Although it was tasty, I would say it was more of one of those things that was more of a novelty as it was gluten free, rather than being genuinely delicious – just a little bit dry. Ross however had scrambled eggs with chorizo and some other goodies and he said it was amazing. Upon reflection, I think I just ordered wrong and if I went again I’d switch to the pancakes. There was also a MASSIVE range of gluten free and dairy free cakes
A few other things I would recommend if you’re visiting Krakow:
Overall we had the most amazing weekend and it was one of my favourite city breaks to date. As long as you do your research you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding somewhere to suit your dietary requirements and I cannot recommend enough!