One upon a time in Kazimierz is a Jewish restaurant offering the sentimental journey to the old Jewish traditions in Krakow, eating out surrounded by settings from the turn of the 20th century, in an ambiance of old workshops and stores with the Klezmer music in the background. I noticed this restaurant when I was searching the internet for a special place to have dinner, so I decided going to Krakow with my partner Angelica.
Preserves, groceries, jugs, musical instruments and all kinds of sometimes difficult to identify “stuff” stored on the shelves, hanging on the walls and from the ceilings remind that the General Store well deserved its name “general”….. All these memorabilia otherwise useless on their own, here suddenly regained their significance providing a vital connection with the past. The restaurant offers Jewish cuisine with strong Polish influence. Some may say that actually it is other way around, but honestly claims on both sides are not conclusive. It seems that “cuisine” is rarely a battleground for “purism”. Taking advantage of this “lawlessness” various culinary “delicacies” can easily find their way to any kitchen and then in disguise claim to be “traditional”.
From the menu, overwhelmingly the best note gets roasted duck with cranberries. You may also try Czulent (Cholent) – a Jewish stew being a mix of beans, chickpea and barley with beef, veggies and everything else you can have in the kitchen!. This slow cooking dish (if prepared correctly it takes about 12 hours of stewing) is an answer to the Jewish religious laws (Halachah) requiring serving warm food on Sabbath when cooking (making fire) is strictly forbidden.
Cholent answers this challenge by being left overnight on hot ashes (fire is lit well before Sabbath). The extra bonus from this slow cooking process is that all individual flavors of spices and ingredients are thoroughly “mixed” generating one new “divine” cholent flavor!
The Polish part of the menu includes traditional pierogi (kind of dumplings stuffed and served in hundreds different ways), red borsch (may be served either clear or with beans, boiled egg or croquette stuffed with meat), liver with boletus (porcini mushrooms)…..
The bottom line is that the restaurant Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz it is a great place for lunch, coffee, tea and other more or less alcoholic drinks. Among them you will find kosher beer, wine and vodka imported from Israel (BTW – this is the only kosher stuff served in the restaurant “Dawno Temu na Kazimierzu”).
But let me be clear – the restaurant “Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz” may not be the best place for a romantic dining event. Certainly you will find bigger choice of more elaborate dishes and more romantic scenery in other restaurants in Cracow, but that is not the point.
Restauracja “Dawno Temu na Kazimierzu”
1, Szeroka Street (ul. Szeroka 1)
tel. 48 12 421 2117