For many visitors to Krakow, a major part of their stay involves exploring the city's Jewish history, a history that has seen both prosperity and tragedy. Although the darker stories are more than catered for elsewhere, it is the lighter side that leads us to Ariel on Szeroka Street. Offering live traditional Jewish music every night and a traditional Polish/Jewish menu, Ariel is there to remind us of Krakow's rich Jewish cultural legacy.
Occupying an elegant old townhouse, Ariel's many dining rooms are complemented by a summer terrace and garden. The interior style evokes a bygone age - 19th century style furnishings and walls crammed with old paintings. Looking at the menu we find goose necks stuffed with chopped chicken liver, gefilte fish, berdytchov soup with beef, honey and cinnamon, and Jewish roast beef with Lutenica sauce, among many others. The wine list includes kosher wines.
Live Klezmer music is a big attraction at Ariel, with renowned bands such as Kroke, the Jascha Libermann Trio, Sholem and the intriguingly named Quartet Klezmer Trio - so-called because the three members employ four instruments - performing every night. Because of its popularity, booking is advisable for those wishing to attend the concerts.
As one of the 'older faces' in the revitalised Kazimierz district, and for its role in doing so much to spearhead the popular revival of Klezmer music, Ariel (named after one of the four Old Testament archangels) has already earned its place on the tourist map. The fine dining and comfortable surroundings combine to make the experience all the more worthwhile, and visitors should note that Ariel also offers comfortable accommodation in spacious guest apartments.