Monday, September 22, 2014

This summer, I’ve tried dozens of new-to-me restaurants and returned to a few favorites in Warsaw.

The restaurant scene here in Poland’s capital city continues to impress me. New restaurants seem to sprout up faster than weeds. I cannot even keep up with all the new openings, but I do try my best with the help of websites like Warsaw Foodie. Restaurants also seem to close quicker than usual, sometimes after only two or three months, compared to other places we’ve lived.

In July, a new restaurant, La Maison Gourmand, opened just a few blocks away from my favorite market in Warsaw. Since its opening, I have visited this restaurant at least six times for coffee, lunch, afternoon wine with girlfriends and dinner and generally like what I see so far.
The menu is more international than French, which is confusing given the restaurant’s name. The lunch menu consists of mainly snacks and salads that are French, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Greek inspired. You’ll find hummus, tzatziki, a Turkish-like eggplant salad, labneh-stuffed peppers, ratatouille, a meat and cheese board, etc. Some of the mezes like peppers and eggplant salad were good while the hummus and tabbouleh could have used a bit more seasoning. The Mezze Discovery platter is the best way to sample a bit of everything.

My two favorite dishes have been salads. The La Maison Salad contains mixed greens, fried pancetta and a poached egg. Not exactly a classic French frisée salad with lardons, but close enough. Delicious! The Italian Burrata-Tomato Salad also was a hit, though the tomato sorbet was a bit icy.
The dinner menu listed a hamburger, several steaks and pasta. I was hoping for mussels cooked in white wine - another classic French dish. My friend ordered the burger, which he said was good (Warsaw is obsessed with burgers), while I had the tomato salad, which contained a very generous serving of colorful tomatoes.

To me, La Maison’s menu is too chaotic. If you have a French name, wouldn’t it be better to serve French food? Le sigh!

But the Frenchness does stand out in the dessert case and on the breakfast menu, where you will find pain au chocolat, plain croissants, brioche, madeleines, macaroons and more. For dessert, I can recommend the traditional Opera cake as well as the framboise tart.
And there’s a wonderful selection of homemade ice creams and ice cream sundaes on the menu!
On a recent visit with girlfriends, we were all very pleased with our coffee drinks, including a real iced coffee actually served with ice cubes (ice is still rare in Poland…where you usually only get like two or three ice cubes), and the yummy croissants. The manager was playful and chatty with us, and his English also was excellent.
The ice cream counter and where you can buy colorful French macaroons at La Maison.
So rather than dinner, La Maison has become a happy place for me to hang out with girlfriends over a caffé latte in the morning or a glass of wine and some fromage in the afternoon. Maybe someday, I’ll even invite my husband.
La Maison Gourmand
ul. Chłodna 15
phone: 22 652 36 60

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