Fine Dining in Krakow
Cyrano de Bergerac

Restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac presents an upscale dining place combining settings of Krakow’s 15th century cellars with finest French cuisine and wines.

Restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac:   Historical facts

Sławkowska being one of the oldest streets in Cracow still remembers medieval times of 13th century when the city was emerging as an important political, commercial and cultural center in this part of Europe.

At that time the area of today’s Sławkowska was a major trading outpost integrated into the city’s defensive system.

According to the archeological survey, spacious cellars today housing the restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac were built at the end of the 15th century.

For long they served as the storage for barrels of wine and honey.

Certainly at that time no one expected that more than five centuries later the wine will be still there although this time poured from pleasing to the eye bottles rather than oak’s barrels and served in equally elegant glasses. And even honey will keep an old tradition alive making it to some meals….


Cyrano de Bergerac  and its unforgettable Patron (right). Restaurant's address:
26, Sławkowska Street. Cracow (www.cyranodebergerac.pl)

Certainly the trade business was quite successful because during the first half of the 16th century a wooden construction topping the cellars was replaced by more robust two story brick structure. Then in the 17th century the third floor and roof were added shaping the building that in its basic form survived till our times despite numerous misfortunes and “improvements”….

Many of us probably still remember the story of Cyrano de Bergerac – an obscure 17th century Frenchman, made famous by the play-writer Edmond Rostand and then so well presented by Gerard Depardieu in the 1990’s movie.

Well, this noble and talented poet sharing his love for Roxanne and food gave his name to one of the best French-cuisine restaurants in Cracow. And frankly it will be hard to imagine better historical background and settings for such fine dining place than the building on 26 Sławkowska.

Restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac:
Left: Door's frame remembering Middle-Ages still serves its purpose....

Right: Entrance hall leads to the underground restaurant, ground-floor Piano-Bar "Le Fumoir" and to the upper level hotel.

Yes, it took almost four years of difficult renovation and adaptation works to fit into the old cellars the modern restaurant at the same time preserving historical values of the site. And it took a lot of ingenuity and cleverness to harmoniously expose five centuries’ old architecture yet still protecting it from destruction and decay due to the impact of a new and busy “environment”…..

Well, finally the big moment came on June 11, 1997, when the restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac was opened to the public.

Cyrano de Bergerac:   Venues and Vibes

Restaurant’s guests can admire the vaulted cellars finished with great care for the original medieval design, beautifully exposing preserved architectural details from those times. Carefully chosen antique furniture, tapestry, gentle spot-lighting enhanced by glimmering candles, white tablecloths contrasting with reddishness of brick walls so well reflect ancient times that you may feel here like taking part in the real medieval banquet. Filling the air soft music by such icons as Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel etc.… only adds to Cyrano’s romantic, “soul-touching” atmosphere….

Cyrano de Bergerac: Main part of the restaurant is located in the cellars 5m below the ground level.

And this is exactly the best scenario for The Fine Dining - a kind of a “multidimensional event” where not only what you are eating and drinking matters. Beyond the usual “taste and smell” experience, here it is also about what you do see, hear and feel, it is about where takes you your imagination, because it is the fiesta for all of your senses. Just make sure you have time for this medieval journey to the underground heaven of all kinds of art.

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Cyrano de Bergerac: Bar "Le Fumoir" - music, drinks, coffee..... and believe or not - selection of Cuban Cigars! (sounds like a poetry :-)

At the street level there is the Piano-Bar “Le Fumoir” bringing you to the less distant époque of the first half of the 20th century.

Elaborately decorated in an authentic Art-Deco style, with 1925 Bechstein piano, Le Fumoir may serve as an introduction to the “time travel” adventure before descending to the underground world of the Middle-Ages cellars. You can stop here for a drink, glass of wine or cocktail-snack….

Actually the famous French cocktail “Femme Fatale” (a glass of champagne with wild-strawberry’s liquor and red rose petal) may be an excellent starter for the exceptional evening. And just to let you know – an extensive list of great cognacs may make you think twice before deciding to leave…..

Similarly, emerging from the cellars on the way back to the 21st century you may stop here for the cup of coffee or fine cigar (the air-conditioned bar has specially designed ventilation system so the latter pleasure is still possible despite the new anti-smoking policy).

Cyrano de Bergerac: Romantic atmosphere is greatly enhanced by glimmering candles, antique furniture, tapestry and soft music filling the air.....

Although Cyrano de Bergerac offers a fine French-cuisine, understandably meals have some Polish twist (expected given the Polish-roots and French experience of the owner - Mme Anna Nowak-Rivière).

For sure you will find here the very French Onion Soup, however there is also a typical Polish accent in the menu - Boletus Soup (soup from wild mushrooms hand-picked in the forest).

It is worth to mention that although traditional polish cuisine is known for amazingly large selection of different soups (as probably nowhere in the world), the onion soup did not quite make it to the Polish culinary tradition, and most likely you will not find it in menus of typical Polish restaurants.

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In contrast - the very unique in taste and truly mouth-watering wild mushrooms soup is something you probably cannot find anywhere outside of Poland.

Restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac keeps Reputation of its Patron

Culinary Fiesta - Cyrano with Roxanne and "friends" at his best (Painting at the entry to the restaurant)

You can follow then with such French delicacies like Duck’s Foie Gras, Snails in Garlic sauce, Frog’s legs, Quails Eggs (with Boletus & Foie Gras) to name only few - just for starters.

Food lovers will certainly enjoy the main course choices like Chateaubriand with Three Pepper Sauce, Deer Medallions (with why not - boletus! to not forget that you are in Poland), Guinea-Fowl with Chestnuts and the list can go on and on….

After the main course you may opt for the very French plate with variety of cheeses….

At the entresol you can find more privacy for your romantic Tête a tête ....

While you may realize that Cyrano offers fine French Cuisine mixed with Polish “nuances”, a quick look at the wine list reveals almost exclusively French “content” with the large selection of choices from reasonably priced to those most respectable ones (but $$$)....

Like most Cracow’s restaurants, Cyrano de Bergerac also offers the garden corner where you can enjoy delicious meals in more open space and closer to the nature environment. It may be suitable for those “on tight schedule” having no time to indulge in a full time dining pleasure or those claustrophobic afraid of caves….

Restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac: Summer Garden

Summarizing - Cyrano de Bergerac takes you for a unique culinary journey combining one of the most sophisticated cuisines in the world with Polish touches. And as if all that is already not enough – this Great Savoring Experience takes place in Cracow’s 15th century Underground World. It is the place where the gentle glow of candles in the surroundings of ancient red-brick vaulted cellars and antique furniture create the totally different dimensions.

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This is the place where the gentle glow of candles in the surroundings of ancient red-brick vaulted cellars and antique furniture create the totally different dimensions.

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Here you may feel here like taking part in the real medieval banquet.

As the restaurant owners pointed out - “Nobody was better keeping secrets than Cyrano de Bergerac, nobody was better known for savoring wine, food and life, nobody was better at turning the art of eating into poetry, nobody was better at partying…..

Certainly, the restaurant Cyrano de Bergerac keeps the high reputation of its Patron!

But there is more than that – while Cyrano kept his secrets deeply hidden in his heart, his namesake restaurant reveals all culinary secrets in front of you on the plates. And if Cyrano apparently lacked the physical beauty, Cyrano de Bergerac restaurant’s settings more than compensate this inequity of nature.

Not surprisingly for few consecutive years in its short history the restaurant was (and still is) listed in the prestigious Michelin Guide.

Bon Appétit!
Tom



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If you want to "explore" another restaurant in Cracow, then please go back to:  Old Town Cracow's Restaurants


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Medieval history
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Fine French cuisine
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Traditional Polish cuisine
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