Wrocław has a long and storied history, with its location meaning that it has passed through various ‘ownership’ throughout the centuries, including German, Prussian, Austrian and Polish settlement. Thus it is no surprise to find a restaurant there which has seen many of the moments in history. Piwnica Swidnicka is located at the very heart of Wrocław, with its address being Rynek Ratusz 1. Thus it actually is part of the Ratusz (town hall) building in Wrocław, as it is found in the caverns underneath the Ratusz itself.
As you can tell from the Piwnica name, it also is a brewery as well as a restaurant, so you can get a flavour of Wrocław as well as a taste for the food. The underground caverns are divided into 4 main areas – two of them are designed in more ‘medieval Polish’ ways with long benches, old-fashioned swinging chandeliers, and candlelit tables. There is also a bar section for those who wish to only partake of a refreshing beverage or two. And as well as there being Polish cuisine, the fourth area of the restaurant is made up of a French restaurant, which looks to make a Franco-Polish merger in tastes.
Thus, overall the restaurant gives a feel of history, and you can easily image a group of medieval lords returning from a hunt and dropping by to have some food and a few mugs of beer. Based on it’s location, it is a popular location with any visiting tourists, and especially Germans. The menus are provided in Polish, English and German, covering most of the requirements for those that may visit. The food itself is aimed to be very traditional, wholesome and filling. A prime example can be seen below with an order of pork ribs (żeberka) being provided on a wooden platter with a big fork and knife sticking out. The combination of the meat, potatoes and vegetables may seem very traditional but they worked very well with the local brewed beer also provided. Incidentally, waiter said that the beer is available only in their piwnica, but it would be worth revisiting for that alone.Finally, the restaurant itself does claim to the oldest in Europe (on it’s restaurant menus and other locations), dating back to 1273, and has claimed visits from Frederyk Chopin, Julius Slovak and Johann Goethe. However, this claim may not be the most accurate as even Wikipedia is only claiming that it is the oldest in Wrocław. However, with the Stiftskeller restaurant in Salzburg alone claiming history back to the year 803, it is difficult to confirm for sure if the Piwnica Świdnica can lay claim to the title. Despite that it is still worth a visit for the 700 years of history and to sample the food and beer. While wandering around the Rynek and Ratusz, you might also spot some of Wrocławs gnome population as seen below. Whether they start singing, dancing and talking may depend on how many of the beers are consumed.