Hala Koszyki in Warsaw
Hala Koszyki is located in the center of Warsaw, a few hundred meters from Plac Konstytucji. It’s owned by Griffin Real Estate, which bought the ruins of the old market in order to reconstruct it. The result of the reconstruction is great and everything has been brought back to life in an extremely pleasant way.
I had to visit Hala Koszyki several times to get an opinion about this place. It’s great for some reasons but “not so much” for others.
My first impression was “WOW”; the second one was “MEH”. By the third time, I didn’t know what to think anymore.
It’s cool, but it’s not. It’s needed, but it’s not. It’s a fresh idea, but it’s not.
Hala Koszyki is a food court, something in between a conglomerate of restaurants and a street food market. These kind of places are super hip in other European capitals such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam.
Hala Koszyki (Warsaw) is not “Polish” enough. Does it lack authenticity?
In Amsterdam – where I lived for 3 years before moving to Warsaw – there is an almost identical place called “Foodhallen”.
The similarities between Foodhallen and Hala Koszyki are outstanding. I am pretty sure that Hala Koszyki was inspired by it. It’s basically the same thing: on the one hand, internationally diverse cuisine, a big island bar in the middle, nice atmosphere and well-sourced ingredients; but on the other hand, high prices and tiny portions.
So, to be honest, stepping inside Hala Koszyki feels like stepping outside of Poland and inside hipster Europe.
For some, this might be a good thing. For me, it’s not.
But maybe my love for all that is Polish is still too fresh; maybe a westernized place like Hala Koszyki is just not what I’m looking for in Poland.
These kind of “copy-paste” places are trends. Not so different from malls, fast food chains, and Starbucks.
What’s the point of having identical experiences in completely different countries? None.
What am I afraid of? That this kind of “pan-European-mega-trends”, will destroy what is most authentic in every country: the family-run restaurants, the cozy cafes, the quaint bookstores, the authentic bazaars or the vibrant street food markets.
Warsaw, however, was missing a place in which people could find a wide variety of dining options under one roof.
It’s a great place for groups of friends, who can’t decide where to go for dinner. Some people like vegan, some prefer meat, others just want to have a drink. Here at Hala Koszyki, you can have it all.
What is good and what is bad about Hala Koszyki in Warsaw?
There are different opinions among Varsovians, some think that it is the best place ever, some think that is a posh place for hipsters and tourists, others (like me) have very mixed feelings about it. As I said earlier, I can’t quite figure out what I think about it. So I listed some pros and cons to make up my mind.
Hala Koszyki Pros:
- Many different places to eat under one roof. This is a new concept to Warsaw and long awaited by many. The cuisine is very internationally diverse (with 18 different places to eat from).
- Spacious retro/industrial architecture. It was rebuilt as it was many years ago. The interior evokes nostalgic feelings.
- Brought back to life a historical building. Nice.
- Relaxed atmosphere and music.
- Cool for lunch. Not so crowded and a lot of different food options: if you come often you won’t get bored.
- Nice variety of beer and quite cheap.
- Tasty food.
- The Griffin Art Space, which supports and promotes art.
Hala Koszyki Cons:
- Standardized package. Similar places can be found in other European cities. Is this concept going to take over the street food? I hope not. It could have been more “Polish” and “authentic”.
- Sometimes is too busy (especially Friday and Saturday evening) and the seats are not enough. Prepare for quite a line. Worth to say that they recently added some chairs upstairs.
- Lacks a “soul-to-food-connection”. If I eat at a restaurant the “soul” of the place enhances the eating experience. The pride of the owner, the kindness of the waiters and the design of the place all contribute to what I call the “soul” of a place. Hala Koszyki has a soul but is not directly related to the food. You know what I mean?
- The price range is above average for Polish standards.
Conclusion about Hala Koszyki (Warsaw)
Hala Koszyki is an upmarket food hall, in a style which is trending all over Europe. It lacks a bit of authenticity and “Polishness”. It is, however, a great place for a lot of other reasons.
But if you live in Warsaw, or you are staying for a long period of time, I definitely suggest you stop by.
It is a place that brings people together. It’s perfect for groups of friends, colleagues looking for something special for lunch or anybody looking for a quick tasty snack.
What do you think about Hala Koszyki in Warsaw? Let us know in the comments!