Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is scarred with horrendous history, which shouldn’t be forgotten. But the “new city” is filled with contemporary surprises. You could have knocked off my scarpekti (socks) when I visited some of the latest restaurants. Not only were they swanky, ranging from Art Deco to ultra modern, but the food was uncompromisingly great. Forget perogees; here we were treated to sophisticated fusion, international and an extraordinary array of recipes and tastes.

The passion that went into the menus and the decor of KOM is obvious. In an old telegraph building, the KOM’s Telegraph Bar is fashioned from pre-War Parisian style. (www.komunikat.net.pl).

Strangely, the Poles seem to adore Oriental food, and no place is better than Sense. Among the bamboo and modern setting, the menu has such variety that it should be a “tasting option.” Consider salmon ceviche, lemongrass and coconut soup, nasi goring, red onion curry, and monkfish wrapped in Parma ham—even fish and chips and hamburgers are featured. And nothing is better for the finale than strawberry lime lasagne. (www.sensecafe.com.pl).

Porto Praga is a new project and located in the heart of an old area of Warsaw. The decor has elements of the 200-year-old mill mixed with original Art Deco details and culinary experiences are much sought after. From Spanish melon wrapped in Serona ham with balsamic and fresh sage, to Malaysian prawns and squid delicately stewed in ginger and Soya sauce, to sunny Florida from whence the tuna fish steak hails. A South American dessert makes a grand finale. (www.portopraga.pl).

The café scene is just as hip, and for those with a sweet tooth, there’s Wedel, which has wooed customers since 1851. The café’s walls are filled with photos of old Warsaw. (www. wedelpijalnie.pl).

Blikle Café opened in 1869 and not even the Communist regime could close them down. It’s the oldest cake story with the best panczkis (donuts) this side of Tim Hortons. www.blikle.pl).