Cracow's Russian Restaurant "Wisniowy Sad" is a famous dining out place for Black Tea with Cheery and Cherry Orchard Cake as well as various delicacies of traditional Russian cuisine.
Restaurant Wisniowy Sad: Legacy of Anton Chekhov
Since the unpretentious opening in 1998, the restaurant Wiśniowy Sad (Cherry Orchard) brings to Cracow an idyllic atmosphere of a Russian village from the time of Anton Chekhov (one of the world’s greatest short-story writers).
In fact the restaurant’s name was inspired by Chekhov’s much loved cherry orchards (theme that later found its way to one of his best dramas “Cherry Orchard”).
But besides its noticeably nostalgic ambiance reminiscent of Russian’s countryside from the turn of the 20th century the analogy probably ends here.
Unless,….. unless you literally take the message from Chekhov’s drama about futility of life and its lack of purpose; then seemingly the best you can do is to have a drink!
Well, and here we are – Wiśniowy Sad is famous for its “Black-Tea with Cherry” (served in the stylish tea-pot) and delicious Cherry Orchard Cake (strangely the latter has cherry only in its name, but nevertheless it is still a mouth-watering experience).
Cracow Russian Restaurant Wisniowy Sad:
33, Grodzka Str.
Not mentioning quite good assortment of coffees and some other “not-so-soft” drinks like for example an icy Russian vodka (just in case you forgot - this is a Russian restaurant!).
For these hesitant I would quote Chekhov’s advice:
“….there is no happiness without the time for simple pleasures of life…”
So please do not feel guilty of taking part in this culinary enjoyment.
Despite the fact that restaurant Wiśniowy Sad is located along the Royal Tract in the heart of Cracow’s bustling Old Town, stepping inside you will find a totally different world.
Quiet, melancholic ambiance of a place we long forgot can exist. Dinner tables covered with lacy tablecloths, candles, an old samovar in the corner, folk-style paintings hanging on the walls…
It all evokes Slavic charm known these days mostly from old-fashioned sepia-tones pictures or eventually from masterpieces of 19th century Russian literature.
Entry hall with strong Russian accents along the walls
Inside, the life visibly slows down running at its own pace …. The bustling city just behind the walls, now seems to be miles away….
Russian music gently fills the air with romantic tunes…frankly even without looking into the menu, the restaurant seems to be a genuine Russian place.
The interior garden corner gives you some contact with the outside world. It is still well isolated from the full of life city, but it gives you a luxury of an open space – kind of combined effect of “walled green acres and blue sky”.
Quiet, melancholic ambiance of a place we long forgot can exist....
Rumor has it that Wiśniowy Sad is the best for a cup of tea or coffee accompanied with delicious sweets. Talking about pastry - you can also add to your preferred “sweet list” the “Paradise Apple” (apple baked with honey and nuts)…..
But for sure Wiśniowy Sad has much more to offer especially for enthusiasts of an authentic Russian cuisine.
For the start, the list of suggested delicacies may include - Siberian style Salmon or Red Caviar – both served with a shot of vodka (please note that for the desirable “flavor effect” the combination with vodka is the must).
You can then follow with Russian red borscht (deep-red beetroots soup). It is worth to mention that the red borscht is a staple part of the East-European culinary traditions. It comes in many variants, each prepared and served differently. As the matter of fact it can be even served as hot (warm) or cold. Probably the most known are Polish and Ukrainian versions of borscht (themselves also having numerous recipes).
You may be able to find some sort of red borscht in western cuisines thanks to Slavic and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, but in many cases after years of “separation” they may have only common roots and even these - not necessarily being the beet ones.
As we all well know, for the best pizza you go to Napoli (Naples) so do not waste an opportunity to have borscht in one of the countries of its origins.
View on the Garden......
Getting deeper into Russia’s cuisine – you may opt for Siberian “Pielmieni” (kind of ravioli with meat served in bouillon) or delicious "Chilimchicy" - ravioli with white fish served with lemon and butter sauce.
Also worth of trying may be something from the long list of “Pierogi”, in Russia known as “Warieniki”. They come with all kind of stuffing – be it classical potatoes and onion (as the matter of fact called Russian Pierogi), cabbage & wild mushrooms or certainly not surprising in Cherry Orchard – warieniki with cherries!
These less adventurous may select “well known and understood” Beef Stroganoff – a classic meal from 19th century Imperial Russia.
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An idyllic atmosphere of a Russian village from the time of Anton Chekhov
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Summer time weekends, Wisniowy Sad and its guests “usually” enjoy live piano music. But prior to making reservation for a late dinner you may want to check it with the restaurant. In the past the pianist (Russian lady) was coming from Moscow so the future of these evenings is uncertain.
Certainly this way the restaurant Wiśniowy Sad was offering not only an authentic Russian music but also a genuine Russian soul…..The bad part of the story – it is not sure how long it will last in the future.
But there is also good news for lovers of Russian music - each Saturday at 8pm (apparently year round), Yuri Beychuk, a guitarist and bard of Russian ballads gives live concerts in Wisniowy Sad….
Ladies and gentlemen - in front of you Youri Beychuk !...
To finish I would like to quote one more wise statement by The Master Anton Chekhow:
Good writing is not about ability to write, it is rather ability to identify and delete from the story all that has been written imperfectly!
Obviously I do not have slightest illusion of having such talent, so I can only hope for forgiveness of my readers.
And if you find it to be difficult – a shot of arctic-cold vodka in the ambiance of Wiśniowy Sad may greatly help. Russian food, Russian vodka and Russian music with Russian soul – can you ask for more?
If tomorrow you would like to dine in another Cracow's restaurant then before making the reservation please select the following link :
Old Town Cracow Restaurants
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