The other day, a local Warsaw resident (one who’s born and raised in the capital city – which is by no means the common case since a sizable* population of Warsaw is not originally from here but moved here for work opportunities. These homeland “immigrants” tend to profess to disliking their new turf, saying that Warsaw is too big, noisy, dirty and unfriendly.)….where was I? Let’s rewind.
The other day, a local Warsaw resident noted that he hasn’t got a cafe which he goes to regularly. He finds that strange since whenever he goes abroad, he immediately latches on to a caffeine joint which becomes his preferred hangout for the duration of the jaunt. Back home, however, he pledges loyalty to no coffee houses. That’s not due to a shortage of cafes in Warsaw. It will probably take a while for the Viennese-style kaffeehaus culture to take root here.
After 10 years here, I, too, do not give preferential treatment to any cafes. I tend to meet friends at wherever it’s most convenient. But I do have my regular noodle joint. Life has got a lot better since pho houses started popping up on the left bank of Warsaw.
Toan Pho still has cult status, and it’s still the top soup bowl. Pho 14 near the Warsaw Technical University is quite nicely done up. And they do not use disposable tableware. But somehow, something is missing there. The latest entrant is on Bracka St, behind the Smyk department store for kids. My regular noodle bar is Duza Miha. There are two of them and I prefer the one in Widok St. Service at Widok is faster than the sister-outlet in Złota Street. And the staff at Widok knows my order. “Czwórka,” the waitress says, greeting me with a smile. On their menu, No.4 (czwórka) is the classic beef noodle. They also know I want it bez cebuli (without spring onion) and z kolendrą (with coriander). Though Toan still has the best broth, they have gone a bit slipshod. They no longer give coriander by default. And even when you ask for it, they don’t always oblige. But at Duza Miha, the cooks throw in some bean sprouts, too.
Please come back later for photos update. Thanks!