Life is Sweet at Anna’s

Originally published in VLife, July 2011


After my fourth trip to Anna’s Polish Restaurant in Winter Park, I decided it was time to share news of this charming little eatery with friends, readers, and anyone else who has been looking for authentic Polish food. Anna’s is tucked away in the small Commerce Park strip center on the corner of Aloma Avenue and Forsyth Road on the eastern fringes of Winter Park. If you love authentic Polish food — or if you’ve never had true Polish cuisine — then Anna’s is worth the drive.

Chef Anna Eaves immigrated to America nearly 20 years ago from Krakow, Poland, and the menu reflects her authentic family recipes. Friends who have accompanied us for lunch or dinner have commented that the dishes are just like the ones that their grandmothers made — only better.

Normally, I review items in the order that I ate them: appetizers followed by entrees, etc. However, life is short so I’m going to start with dessert because I want you to save room for an exquisite creation. Anna’s specialty is Pychotka, a crunchy walnut cake layered with vanilla cream. The cake is rich yet it is not overly sweet. The first time we ordered this delicacy, four of us decided to share. On our second trip to Anna’s, however, we ordered individual pieces. On my last two trips, I ordered extra pieces to take home. You will not find a better dessert anywhere for a mere $4.29. I’ll repeat: save room for dessert!

Anna will tell you that her favorite dessert is the Kremowka Papieska or ‘Papal Cream Cake’, a favorite of the late Pope John Paul II, who grew up in Poland. Unfortunately, Anna only makes this cake as a specialty item, and I’ve yet to hit a night when she offered it. I’ll keep trying, though, because even the serving staff says it’s a treat worth waiting for.

Now that you know about Anna’s desserts, we can talk about appetizers and entrées. Appetizers, especially the Stuffed Cabbage ($4.99) and the Polish Trio Dish ($10.59), are large enough to share or to order as entrées. The cabbage is stuffed with rice, pork, beef, and spices and is topped with your choice of homemade tomato or mushroom sauce. I like the tomato but my husband prefers the mushroom. The stuffing is a heavier consistency than cabbage rolls found in most deli restaurants. I love that richness, but not everyone does. The Polish Trio Dish comes with two Pierogi (Polish dumplings), two potato pancakes, and Polish sausage. These three items are among my favorites at Anna’s.

My all-time favorite entrée at Anna’s Polish Restaurant has to be the Cracovia Chicken Cutlet ($15.99), another of the chef’s specialties. This dish was first ordered by a friend who shared a taste; otherwise, I may not have tried it since I love the Kielbasa “Polish Boy” Sandwich ($8.59) so much. Now, however, I simply must have my own Cracovia cutlet, which is a tenderized chicken breast lightly coated with parmesan dough and spices. The lightly pan-fried meat is fork-tender and probably the lowest-calorie option on the menu. I also recommend the Potato Pancakes ($9.59), which are served with Anna’s homemade applesauce and sour cream.

My husband and I have ordered only one thing from the extensive menu that was not to our tastes. The Hunter’s Stew (Bigos) is a traditional Polish dish with cabbage, mushrooms, beef, pork, and sausage served with mashed potatoes. We found more cabbage than meat, and the entrée seemed a tad heavy for summer dining.

Anna’s Polish Restaurant seats about 40 people, so reservations are necessary. The elegant interior doesn’t feel like a small restaurant but rather Anna’s dining room… and in a sense it is. She personally comes out of the kitchen and greets guests at the end of their meals. She’ll want to make sure you liked your food because, after all, she will tell you, “cooking and food should be passions.”

Dziekujemy, Anna, for sharing your passion for authentic Polish cuisine.

 

For more info:

3586 Aloma Ave., Suite 7, Winter Park, FL 32792 • 407.657.0020 • annaspolishrestaurant.com


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