Best Eastern European Restaurant: You pay, they nurture
Chopin Cafe and Restaurant
1574 Palos Verdes Mall
There's a whiff of cabbage and quiet contentment in the air at Chopin Cafe, the East Bay's only Polish restaurant -- a genteel little family-run place where the windows have lace curtains, the walls are decorated with hand-painted ceramics, and the cooks look like your grandmother, or maybe they're just the grandmothers of your teenage busboy. Let them bring you plump potato pierogis, or scoops of potato salad garnished with a pickled cucumber heart. Let them pour crisp pilsner-style Polish beer into frosted mugs for you. Let them serve you stuffed cabbage rolls covered in tomato sauce, or the bigos -- to describe it as a hearty stew of pork and sauerkraut makes it sound so pedestrian -- followed by blintzes stuffed with sweet cheese and sour-cherry preserves. Please, take. You may be paying, but you're their guest all the same.