First of all, wishing everyone a cheerful 2016, with lots of love, success and surprises! I know this post is a bit late in the coming, I have just been putting it off for one reason or the other, mainly because I haven’t really felt inclined to write over the past few weeks. And it surprised me, this lack of inclination, since I have always been over enthusiastic about my blog. Without getting into the reasons, let me just say that I am now tying to get back on track :-), and I do hope to be more disciplined with my posts in 2016!
Moving on to the current topic, which as you all know is my absolute favorite; FOOD ;-). I had published a post on my top 5 things to do in Prague, in which I have also written about how blown away I was with my culinary experience there. I sampled some great street food such as Tredlnik, hot wine, pasta, meats and so much more. But Prague is as much about it’s café’s and restaurants as it is about it’s street food. I tried out quite a few places and had such fantastic experiences that I really do not want you to miss out on these gems on your next visit to Prague!
And one more thing. I am quite wary of posts on “the best things to do, see or eat in a city” unless it’s by a person who has stayed there for a significant period of time or by a local. There is just no possible way one can claim a certain experience is “the best”, unless you have tried all else there is. So I am definitely not stating that the places I mention are the absolute best, I am sure there are better, or worse. I generally narrow down on restaurants after significant online research and local recommendations. And what I put out on my blog are the ones where I personally have a great experience. Just saying :-D.
So here goes…
I would go as far to say that a trip to Prague is incomplete without a stop at Café Savoy. The name is misleading and this place hardly looks like a “café”. Think artistic ceilings, butler style waiters in black vests and a pretentious air. If you don’t like the sound of this, let me assure you that the food will more than make up for it. If you love a good egg breakfast and coffee (like us), you are bound to be drawn to café savoy for a second visit. And their freshly baked breads amazing. You can choose from different styles of breakfast (English, Savoy, Continental, and French) all of which come with eggs, breads, butters, spreads, coffee et al. What I will strongly recommend is that do not leave without trying the Scrambled egg with Chives (it was melt in the mouth with big chunky yolk) and the Baked ham brioche bread with Gruyère cheese and poached egg. Ideal for breakfast or brunch.
The Home Kitchen
We tried the newly opened Home Kitchen on Kozi Street (there are 2 other locations in the city). Kozi street is very close to the old town (which you will likely visit), so this location is ideal for a leisurely lunch after you are done walking around. The café is spacious, informal and the staff is very attentive and friendly. I ordered the Roasted salad with eggplant, tomatoes, goat cheese, croutons and pomegranate which was absolutely the type of dish I love – strong flavors, fresh and full of health. The mister ordered an egg (which unfortunately failed to live up to our expectations after the eggs at Savoy!). What I absolutely absolutely loved here was the dessert. We were told desserts are made fresh and change everyday so you may not find this particular sweet on the day of your visit. Our waiter told us that it was a “pie” – layers of soft spongy cake, filled with vanilla custard, nuts and a generous dose of dark chocolate. It was so simple but blew my mind away! Ideal for Brunch or Lunch.
This restaurant gave us the feeling of a cozy neighborhood bar, so much so, that we felt a bit misplaced in the setting. It seemed like everyone knew each other, like they met here for a beer after work , the same people in a comfortable setting. And we weren’t sure if we were going to get any attention, till a waiter came to our table to take our order. To be honest, he seemed like the owner of the place. He was so involved in what we should eat, and gave us suggestions very enthusiastically. I guess he really made it a worthwhile experience for us with his hospitality. We tried the locally brewed beer along with a platter of mature beer cheese, onion and spices (yes, cheese and beer go together in Prague!) and the spicy pickled sausage stuffed with peppers and onions. This was followed by the pork slice on honey and spicy apricot chutney along with iceberg lettuce with eggs and tuna salad. Dessert was apple pie with cream. Overall, a comforting atmosphere, great food, excellent service and a very local experience. Ideal for lunch or dinner.
After a walk at night on Charles Bridge, we decided to give Hemingway Bar a visit for a quick drink, since it is just walking minutes from the bridge. We were tired and cold and in two minds, but as soon as we entered the bar, we knew our experience would be terrific. And it was. Very classic, dimly lit and pop music in the background, Hemingway Bar makes you feel that you will find Don Vito Corleone in a corner, with a pipe and drink ;-). And what you should have no doubts about is that you need to try a cocktail here, none of the Prague beer and wine shall do. They have the most amazing combinations – gin and lavender bitters, Jack Daniels with Baileys and salted caramel, sherry with marzipan apple and egg white. We were spoilt for choice! And yes, they serve Absinthe based cocktails too! Unfortunately the bar is so dimly lit, it was not camera friendly (we were just carrying our phones) so I don’t have a good picture.
The last restaurant on my list is Lokal, which is quite a popular restaurant with a hip industrial style décor, serving classic Czech dishes and locally brewed beer. The interiors are quite fascinating, very rustic, the walls are bare, look almost cave-like, and shiny beer barrels are on display. For drinks we ordered a local dark beer and I tried the beer with lemon soda. Mains were Pork neck with onion gravy and bread dumpling and Chicken breast with buttered potatoes. For dessert we had the Poached pear with crumble which was amazing, as was the pork. The chicken wasn’t anything much to talk about. The menu changes daily. Ideal for lunch or dinner.
Tip: You should make a reservation before visiting any of the above places.