Every now and then we all crave something. Something bold, distinct and flavorful; something simple and unique, yet too complex to create on your own in that small cramped space you and your roommates call a kitchen.
Get in the mood for something other than Ramen noodles and soggy pizza tonight and take a trip to Europe instead. The Warsaw Cafe is just that – without the added travel expense.
Nestled within the bustling streets of 15th and Spruce streets, among a few businesses and several residential buildings, lies a little place reminiscent of old Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Café specializes in Polish, Russian, Czech Republic, Transylvanian and German dishes.
On the façade of the building rests two large windows, separated by a main door and decorated with neon lights, magazine clippings and daily specials.
Upon entering the restaurant, the Warsaw Cafe exudes an aroma so delicious you can almost taste it. With the lights set low, voices are at a high and every table in the small square room is taken. This is no surprise. Deemed toward a budget-conscious, food-lovers appetite, this old-world business is a diner’s delight.
“Mom,” the chef and owner of this little bistro, immigrated to the United States more than 40 years ago and brought her love for her country, Poland, and her love of cooking authentic meals along with her.
Given just a dash of Americanization, “The food is the same here since it opened some 26 years ago. The menu has basically remained the same as well,” said Peter Spayde, a waiter at the Warsaw Café.
With most lunch items just under $10 and most dinner entrees under $20, you can eat a diverse meal here unlike anything else in Philadelphia and still have money left over to hit up the bar afterward.
Begin with a bowl of Borscht soup ($6) or the house specialty: handmade pierogies filled with potatoes and cheese ($6.50). In the mood for something carb-friendly? Try a salad instead. With a variety to choose from, you won’t leave hungry with these healthy mixed greens.
Mixed with love and creativity, the German Vegetable Salad is one of a kind. It’s made with broccoli, string beans, spinach, potatoes, red onions and bacon in a caraway seed vinaigrette dressing.
For an appetizer or as an entrée, try the Norwegian Strudel. For $15 you get a combination of chicken, vegetables, almonds, raisins and herbs in a pastry crust. Served with a cheese sauce – it’s simply scrumptious.
The hottest item on the menu is the stuffed cabbage ($11.50). It’s a mix of ground veal, sausage, onions, rice, mushrooms and herbs wrapped in cabbage leaves and baked in a light tomato sauce. It’s the perfect combination to curb your appetite and the presentation alone will make your mouth water.
If you’re thirsty, head to the Warsaw Cafe to indulge in some flavorful drinks. From sparkling cider and cappuccino to bold wines and beer found around the world, your taste buds will soar.
Dining out at the Warsaw Cafe is like traveling home to eat a home-cooked meal at grandma’s house – minus the trip and extra gas money. Open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to at least 10 p.m. most nights, the Warsaw Cafe is the perfect reason to dine out with your special someone or get together with your friends.
Tara Cesare can be reached at Tarizona22@hotmail.com.