“ Address: Kompania Piwna / ul. Podwale 25 / 00-261 Warsaw „
Podwale 25 is a restaurant very near to the Old Town of Warsaw. I came across it last summer when I was looking for new monuments to photograph. Not far away, on the other side of the road is the famous monument of the Little Insurgent and from the entrance on Podwale Street you are able to see the Barbican Walls. The feature that drew me to this old building was a lovely old truck that was parked inside the entrance yet its rounded bonnet was sticking out on to the pavement. I fell in love with the green truck, its big headlights, old fashioned windows and the beer barrels stacked on the back.
Entering into the courtyard of the restaurant was like visiting a secret garden with lots of flowers and shrubs, long tables and benches surrounded by black metal lanterns which probably let out rays of mellow light in the evenings. It was a pleasant day when I visited and although I was tempted to sit outside I thought I would get more of a feel for the place if I sat inside.
Interior Décor and Beer
Inside, the décor is very much like the beer halls in Munich I have visited yet there is also a Viennese quality about the lay out of the restaurant with its white wood furniture, decorated arches and bright wall lights not forgetting the huge chandeliers hanging down. There is a festive feel about the place with loud, jolly sing - along music and waitresses walking around dressed very smartly, in their green and white outfits. I could see that the beer was being served in heavy, litre glasses and couldn't wait to order the first drink of the day. As I was on my own, I thought I would stick to only one glass of beer and a bite to eat. Tyskie and Pilsner Urquell were on offer. I chose the Czech beer as Tyskie isn't one of my favourite Polish beers. The price for a litre glass was 15 zloty (approx £3.00). You can order a larger glass but I don't like holding those great big chunky beer glasses as I only have small wrists and I find them too heavy to lift.
The restaurant has its own smokehouse where home-made meats are prepared and I had heard good reports of these as well as the sausages served. I could see from the menu that both of these were down as snacks as well as salmon and a full cheeseboard. As much as I love cheese I decided to pass on the cheese board and ordered a pork loin dish from the main meat menu. This came with fried potatoes and a mushroom sauce which cost 36 .90 zloty. For three zlotys more I could have ordered a sirloin steak with fries but I am always a bit dubious about ordering steak in a restaurant that I don't know too well. Also on the main meat menu there was a selection of steaks cooked different ways, roasted chicken, duck and pork knuckle. The sirloin and Argentinian beef steak were the most expensive at 39, 90 zloty and the cheapest dish was schnitzel served the Viennese way. There are separate fish and salad menus and a daily special served every day including weekends.
I was surprised at the number of people sitting inside the restaurant; it was very busy even though the traditional time for lunch (1pm) had passed. I liked the jolly atmosphere and the way the waitresses presented themselves, they were pleasant and polite. My beer was brought to the table within a few minutes of ordering, it was creamy, cold and delicious. I had to wait a little longer for my meal to be delivered but the timing was fine as far as I was concerned.
I was quite hungry when my meal arrived and didn't hesitate to get stuck in. I was pleased to try out the different types of bread in a basket that was left on the table. I liked the plainness of the table decorated only with a small chequered tablecloth and a couple of slender candlesticks. The plates were simply white and highlighted the golden colour of the fried potatoes and creamy brown of the mushroom sauce. The sauce was very tasty and I was able to taste the earthiness of the mushrooms. I liked the way the potatoes had been fried, crispy on the outside and tender inside, not too oily. As for the slices of pork loin, they were delicious, just the right thickness. The meat was very tender and came away smoothly when cut.
I didn't order a dessert because I didn't want to feel full and generally my main meal of the day is in the evening so I wanted to leave room for that. From what I could see the desserts were simple, apple strudel and cream, ice cream and fruit, different compotes. Prices varied from 6 zloty to 16 zloty. There was also a selection of cakes and pastries displayed in a glass cabinet. They looked heavy but at 8 zloty a go, I didn't think it was a bad price but I definitely was satisfied with my bill of fare and I didn't want to eat another morsel.
More info about specials
Eating out at lunch time is very popular in Warsaw and generally prices aren't too bad especially if the restaurant is down to earth and not one of these pretentious places where the décor is minimal, food is awful and the atmosphere is dead. Podwale 25 isn't like the example I have just given, the walls breathe life. If you visit on a Monday, beer is served at half price and there is a slight reduction in meal prices if you order the special of the day. Specials consist of dishes like chicken and chips with a side salad, grilled white sausage with sauerkraut, knuckle of pork and if you spend 16 zloty you can treat yourself to a giant schnitzel. Friday is fish day and on Saturday, steak from Argentina is cooked simply on the grill with a few select herbs and a knob of butter. Sunday, is a great day for families to go walk about in the Old Town and then all sit down in a restaurant for lunch. I think this is a perfect place to take Mum, Gran and the kids. There is lots of room and they can sit outside on the long benches to play with their colouring books and crayons that come free with a bowl of chicken soup and noodles, a Polish kid's favourite. Roast duckling with apples is the Sunday special for adults so make sure you arrive early.
My experience of Podwale 25 was a good one. I will definitely return for lunch one day this summer and take my grandchildren with me. If you like beer festivals and beer halls then you will definitely find a kindred spirit here. The food is reasonably priced for the location of the restaurant as is the beer. Highly Recommended.
Address: Ulica Podwale 25
Tel.: +48 22 635 63 14
Monday - Saturday 11:00 - 1:00
Sunday 12:00 - 1:00
Please note that if you visit by car, parking is limited. I suggest you drive to Ulica Dluga and find a spot there. From here you can walk to the Old Town and Barbican. Ulica Podwale and the restaurant/pub can be seen from the Barbican walls and is a short walk away.
You can also take a tram in the direction of Praga from Ratusz Arsenal, 20, 23. Get off at the stop for the Old Town (Stare Miasto).
Currency today / 13/03/13 - 1 PLN = 0.209748 GBP 1 GBP = 4.76763 PLN