Cracow Salad Bar Chimera invites to vegetarian garden buffet for healthy hot meals, tons of vegetarian dishes and nourishing juices or for traditional Polish cuisine in 16th century cellars.
Cracow Salad Bars: Introduction to Chimera..
Chimera – that’s the name of a restaurant and salad bar nestled in one of Cracow’s most famous buildings - “Palace pod Baranami” (Palace under the Rams).
In the past, this 16th century structure facing the Main Market Square at the corner of St. Anne Street belonged to richest and most influential families of Polish magnates like Lubomirscy, Wielopolscy, Potoccy...).
Captivating façade with well-recognizable rams, spacious arcade courtyard, impressive halls, rooms and ballrooms as well as an labyrinth of cellars create extraordinary settings and atmosphere for cultural (and culinary) arts to flourish….
Indeed in the same building operate café-bar TriBeCa, cafe-pub Bambus, restaurant Main Square, the legendary literary Cabaret-Café-Drink-Bar “Piwnica pod Baranami” (Cellar under the Rams) and the movie theater.
ul. Św. Anny 3 (3, St. Anne Str)
Today it may be difficult to track-down roots of the name “Chimera”. Certainly despite the symbols of this mythical female creature with multiple heads displayed on the walls, the Chimera’s restaurant-&-bar complex is a pleasant, inviting and romantic place. It is very popular amongst Krakow’s students, friendly for parents with children and quite often visited by tourists.
Chimera: This Chimera looks quite attractive :-)
In the metaphoric sense of this world we can then assume that Chimera represents an embodiment of fantasy and otherwise unrealizable wild dreams that actually can come true! (at least on the plates!)
Chimera in its Cracow’s incarnation has two totally different faces (heads): ground level roofed garden housing “Chimera Salad Bar” and an underground world of cellars where the “Chimera Restaurant” found its place. This way Chimera offers the best of both worlds – inexpensive fresh vegetarian meals, salads and juices as a healthy alternative to the fast food stuff as well as high-end Polish cuisine for carnivorous foodies and gourmets.
Chimera: Underground world of cellars offers the traditional Polish food....
For the completeness of this introduction let me mention that cellars are also home for a Sunday Theater for children called “Guardian Angel Stage”. And at the ground level there is the “Chimera” shop selling freshly-pressed juices, cakes and some “tourist-oriented” stuff (postcards, souvenirs, dolls, etc….).
May be these “multiple forms of activities” were at the origin of the name “Chimera”? Well, whatever was the story behind the name, since the opening in 1995 Chimera was an instant success.
Krakow Best Restaurants: Chimera Salad Bar
Chimera Salad Bar Garden is located in a courtyard surrounded by 16th century Cracow’s Old Town buildings. This efficiently seals it off from the noisy street of St. Anne and nearby Main Market Square (Rynek Główny).
Since few years the garden is covered by a transparent roof. Heated during the winter time and fresh in the summer – during a day the garden is flooded by the sunlight. Even the blue sky finds its way under the roof’s canopy.
Chimera: Courtyard surrounded by 16th century buildings houses the Chimera's Garden Buffet.
Potted plants, climbing wines and surrealistic murals create a lovely ambiance and friendly dining environment. Late evening the garden’s fireplace spreads warmness, usual charm and as a bonus - savor of baked potatoes (you can pick some for free). Glimmering candles on the tables add a touch of romanticism to the overall picture of the pleasant budget dining environment.
However, there is always a little “but” – in this case the tables. Do not expect here the luxurious seating. Tables, chairs and benches are quite modest and rustic-like rather, not encouraging for hours lasting fiestas and chatting…
Chimera: Looks delicious, tastes even better!
Definitely, when you go to the Chimera Salad Bar it’s because of the food. Indeed it is probably the best salad bar in Krakow, offering a large choice of healthy salads and vegetarian meals. Even vegans can find here some culinary gems. Frankly calling it “Salad Bar” is misleading because it is not exactly what you may think (expecting a bunch of green salads…). Chimera Salad Bar is rather a buffet, similar to what you may know from Whole Food or Wegmans stores in the United States.
Huge selection of hot meals includes soups (although here taking into account huge Polish traditions the choice is not very impressive), then vegetable lasagna, grilled potatoes, broccoli tart, stuffed pepper and zucchini, spinach quiche etc…. Well, fourty or more kinds of salads are difficult to list – from greens, through beans, lentils, carrots, beets, sauerkraut, cucumbers, delicious celery roots… then various “mixed compositions” …. and list can go on and on - to fruit salads.
Chimera: Collection of juices......
The selection of freshly made juices is impressive and includes some unusual choices. On top of the familiar orange, apple, grapefruit, carrot and may be a bit less known blackcurrant juices you will find some herbal ones like nettle, mint leaves, basil leaves, birch, lemon balm and parsley juices (some of them may be seasonal).
The buffet-style service allows you to make your choice based on what you see, however honestly - what you will get in most cases will be better than you would expect. The system is simple – you chose either a “small plate” or a “large one”. The smaller give you rights to choose any four items from the buffet, while the large one gives you six (you can also opt for just one item, but that will be a very “minimalistic” approach).
Regardless of your choice, the plate will be piled high with “stuff” possibly exceeding your appetite (and capabilities). In such cases a bottle of beer (please try Polish brand - Zywiec) or a glass of house wine may greatly help your digestive process making an opening for a cake….
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Chimera: Garden Salad Bar in the middle of the bustling Old Town Krakow seems to be an oasis of peace....
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Chimera: Inviting ambiance of the garden....
Summarizing – the Chimera Salad Bar is an amazing Green Island of a healthy and delicious vegetarian food in a sea of meat-appreciating Eastern Europe.
It is the ideal place for lunch or fast dinner with friends.
Please note that the Chimera Salad Bar also offers some “a la carte” meals.
However to fully appreciate the choice I will rather suggest visiting the underground world of Chimera’s cellars.
Simply speaking, do not take a “half-measures”, if you are one of these “carnivorous” foodies preferring the juice from “meat” instead of this crazy “herbal” stuff.
So if you have time then go for a full treat downstairs following the link:
Cracow Fine Restaurants - Chimera
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
If you enjoyed this visit, then please share your experience with friends :-)
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