Café Polonia

Café Polonia

Michael Hogan

South Boston. What nationality comes to mind when you think of South Boston? Irish, of course. But, did you know that the best Polish cuisine in the city is served right here in South Boston.

For the next stop on our local culinary tour we come to Café Polonia. Opened in December 2002 and located at 611 Dorchester Ave, just a few steps from Andrew T station, Café Polonia is an exotic experience for the taste buds. Café Polonia is welcoming from the moment you walk up to the front door, it’s wooden not the fingerprint smudged glass we’re used to seeing. Once inside you’ll find hand crafted furniture, wooden tables and chairs. The décor is done up to look like the interior to some cozy mountain cottage, the walls made to look like stone.

The menu includes all the Polish favorites from recipes that have been passed down for generations and are cooked the old fashioned way, with love and care. There is kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, and pierogis (the polish version of ravioli). For soups there is borsch (beet soup), beet soup with tripe, and a soup of the day. House, grilled chicken caesar, tomato mozzarella, and goat cheese are the salads one can choose from. Entrees include pork dishes (baked pork lion in mushroom sauce, and the knight’s cutlet [a pork lion stuffed with mushrooms, pepper, cheese, ham, bacon and spices]), poultry dishes (chicken cutlets, duck breast, and a half duck), beef dishes (Hungarian goulash, potato dumplings with goulash), and fish dishes (halibut or trout). Most of it is Polish in nature, understandable as it is a Polish restaurant, but there are more mainstream meals here too. For those who don’t want to venture too far from home, at least in a culinary nature, there are pork chops, chicken tenders, steak tips, veal cutlet, and rainbow trout. Otherwise you choose from the menu of traditional dishes, all of which are delicious. Kielbasa is served in more ways than you thought possible, in a sandwich, with cabbage stew, as part of a shish kabob, or fresh grilled. There are potato pancakes and gypsy pancakes (a giant potato pancake stuffed with Hungarian goulash), and crepes. Deserts you can choose from are blintzes (crepes filled with combinations of cheese and fruit), apple crisp, Vienna cheesecake, and babka (a cake filled with warm chocolate). There is also a desert of the day that you can ask the server about. Café Polonia serves wines from all over the world by the glass and by the bottle. Vintages from Latin America, South Africa, across Europe, Australia, and, of course, California can be found here. Also there is a good selection of polish beers for sale, 12 in all.

Café Polonia is open on Monday through Friday from 10am-9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am-10pm. On weekends a polka brunch is offered. Call ahead to make sure that there is available seating as Café Polonia is a popular destination for anyone in the Boston area in search of Polish cuisine.