Cracow's Cherubino invites you for coffee, drink or dining out in one of top restaurants offering Tuscany-inspired Italian dishes in eclectic surroundings and bohemian ambiance.
Cherubino: Fairy-Tale Location!
Restaurant Cherubino is located just one block from the Main Market Square – a focal point of the Old Cracow.
Nestled in a recessed section of the St. Tomas Street it offers an unusual for this part of the town oasis of tranquility.
The street of St. Thomas dates from the mid 13th century – time when Cracow after receiving in 1257 the City Charters started to quickly grow into an important urban center in this part of the Europe.
The unusual shape of the street in this place was determined by the church of St. John the Baptist located at the intersection of today’s streets St. Thomas and St. John.
This pre-1257 structure erected at an angle and out of line of both mentioned streets certainly was a big headache for early Middle-Ages city planers. But these days the opportunity created by meandering street was skillfully sized by two “step-sisters” Café-Restaurants: Cherubino and Camelot finding peaceful site in this charming corner.
Cherubino: location! location! location.....
Both café-restaurants represent an eclectic “environment” of mixed styles and vibes slightly dominated by a bohemian ambiance. Being the favorite place of local artists, poets and all kind of free-thinkers soon this curved section of the street was nicknamed “Alley of the Unfaithful Thomas”. Indeed, not only the nickname but also unconventional surroundings are in a sharp contrast with the “seriousness” of St. Thomas - the long-time Patron of the street.
Magic “Alley of the Unfaithful Thomas” where Cherubino and Camelot found their home.
From the early spring the frontal sidewalk is annexed by both restaurants for a Garden Corner – a preferred place for passersby stopping here for a cup of coffee, sweets (Tiramisu, Tiramisu!), a beer or just to idle…..
Although from time to time some cars will pass along the garden, the place still enjoys relative quietness.
Main "culprit" - the Church of St. John The Baptist
Well, do not expect to find in Cherubino the smooth and spotless elegance of an upscale restaurant with a red carpet in front and bus-boys trying to guess your wishes…. If indeed this is your expectation, then you are in a wrong place!
Stepping into Cherubino you will first notice two 19th century stagecoaches. One would think that they are here to set an atmosphere back to the “old good times” of the past époque, when certainly horse-driven carriages were not foreign to the narrow streets of Cracow’s Old Town.
Indeed, in their stillness they make an impression that time slows down here…. This in turn may prompt some guests to the conclusion that the departure of the next stagecoach is scheduled for “some-time-the-next-day”, offering this way all the time to enjoy the visit.
The stagecoach offers romantic place for a tête-à-tête” party for two.....
Closer look at the coaches shows that actually you can have inside a “tête-à-tête” party for two (you may make an earlier reservation to be sure). Due to the fact that these are not Royal Coaches, you may have to accept the simplicity and let’s face it – sloppiness of such “dining room”. But hey, this is a real story, just imagine yourself as a pioneer conquering the Wild West in the center of the Eastern Europe.
Fresh flowers add to the overall charm.....
An old beer-barrel squeezed between coach’s benches and serving as a little table may inspire you to take some decisive actions. Keep in mind that Cherubino on top of being the Café-Restaurant, also provides an excellent choice of wines. If this is not convincing enough, let me mention that Cherubino specializes in Italian cuisine so most likely after just the first glass of wine you may feel like being in Tuscany…..
Antique iron-cast stove still does its job....
In many aspects the restaurant Cherubino preserved fragments of centuries old environment. The wooden-cubes floor for example is a reconstruction of an old surface from the 19th century when the building housed a brewery. The old iron-cast stove still serves as a source of heat during cold winters….
The second, more spacious room is finished as a log-house. Inside, like in every real old-fashioned wooden-house there is a fireplace providing a “warm atmosphere” with the heating as a bonus.
There is also a wood-burning stove, but this one is mainly used for grills. Decoration includes suspended at the ceiling an old highlanders’ sleight and a fishing boat – frankly quite strange combination of objects from distant parts of Poland - southern mountains and faraway northern Baltic Sea.
Second room finished as a log-house for unknown reasons is called "Olimp" (Olympus)
Location in Cracow’s Old Town obliges – so no wonder that restaurant opened a cellar-bar for customers. This underground area is perfect for organizing parties. Thanks to its “isolation” it offers privacy and feeling of timelessness…. Not sure if the statue of Saint Paul overlooking the cellar is there to prevent excessive drinking …?
Fresh flowers generously scattered throughout the restaurant and lamps in forms of torches attached to the walls nicely contribute to the overall ambiance and charm….
Like in most bohemian style café-bars-restaurants the line between each of offered services is blurred. Cherubino may be a perfect place for just a sip of coffee or drink.
However thanks to the long list of gourmet Italian dishes with strong flavor of Tuscany as well as traditional meals from Polish cuisine, Cherubino may be also a great place for a dining fiesta.
Cellars decorated for Christmas
Menu offers wide selection of soups (with strong presence of rich Polish traditions), varieties of pastas (clearly dominated by Italian recipes), dishes with grilled meat and fish (taste enhanced by birch-wood stove) and wines. The latter represent the best of Italy with only little help from France and Spain!
For Westerners, there is no need for presentation of the Italian dishes, they are well known and recognized worldwide. For doubtful I may quote a Florentine guest saying ”it feels (and tastes) better than home” …..
When you think about Polish cuisine – certainly “Pierogi” is one of the first meals coming to mind. And there is a reason for that, but before going farther I have to express my sorry for all those knowing pierogi only from Western Hemisphere’s grocery shops. Overwhelmingly they have very little to do with Polish Pierogi, besides (ab)using the name.
Traditionally the most popular Polish Pierogi are filled with potatoes & onion (called “Russian Pierogi), meat and cabbage & wild (forest) mushrooms. But this is just touching the tip of “pierogi’s” iceberg. In Poland you will find pierogi with such fillings like fruits (blueberries, cherries,…), white cheese (either sweet or natural with fried onion), cheese & spinach, liver etc… Frankly, possibilities are limitless! They can be served as boiled, steamed or fried, with sauce, cream, sugar, fried onion & oil, fried lard chunks, butter … you name it.
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Weekends you may need here reservation...
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Left - bar seems to be winged like Cherubim, but do not worry, it will not fly-out, it will be there :-)
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Torch-shaped lamps provide some light, but still, the log house is rather a "dark place"...
Few other suggested examples of Polish culinary art served in Cherubino are: „Łoscypek” (traditional Polish smoked cheese from sheep’s milk) grilled and served with a cranberry sauce;
Żurek „Niewiernego Tomasza” (sour rye-flour soup with pork’s knuckle and roasted onions). Lamb cutlets in forest-mushroom sauce (some say one of the best dishes on this side of the hemisphere, but I wouldn’t hold my breath over it).
It is not because it may be not true, but because there are so many other delicious Eastern-European dishes that it is impossible to point to the best one. In such case the simplest thing to do is to try :-)...
Heart-fainted can always stay on the “solid ground” ordering something from the impressive list of Italian meals.
If tomorrow you would like to take your girl-friend or friends for dining-out in another restaurant, then before making a reservation please check the following link: Old Town Cracow Restaurants
If you enjoyed this visit, then please share your experience with friends :-)
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