Poking around Prague

Poking around Prague

Everyone told us: there’s no good food in Prague, and they were mostly right. But we sure did our damnedest to try and find some!

We landed in the morning, checked in and went right to Cafe Louvre at Národní 22. We ordered the hot chocolate as recommended and it was luxurious. I ordered a plum strudel which was awful and had a piece of glass in it. Mari ordered a crepe and it was okay. Maybe we should have ordered

In an attempt to avoid the legions of beer and sausage restaurants, I booked us at this Per Se wannabe called Le Degustation. We had a nice time. The service was mixed. Though adorable, the sommelier was one of the most uncommunicative recommenders of wine I have encountered. We would ask him questions, but before we’d actually decided on anything, he would run away. Later, he would bring us a bottle of wine. (No prices were available on the menu, nor were they ever discussed.) The young man who seemed to be our server (but may have been the head waiter?) had recently been to New York, and was passionate both about what they were doing at the restaurant and about what he had seen and eaten on his recent travels.

Though interesting, the food at La Degustation was all undersalted and lacked flavor. One example of this was the globulin of gelatin, floating in a spoon and encasing a teaspoon of fresh tomato juice. It was crazy – this explosion in the mouth that felt like you might expect jellyfish to feel, but tasted like tomato. The problem was that it tasted like undersalted, not quite ripe tomatoes. The dessert was the best part – involving a culinary trick I have never seen before and which was impressive. As the Prague Spoon blogger says, “It is easy to forgive the occasional misstep of a team so dedicated to their craft.”

We also checked out the pork knee at Bredovsky Dvur. I found this experience to be quite fun and Prague-like. The staff could hardly speak English but was uber-friendly, the beers were huge and the food was decent – but you have to order the knee or the sausages or the pig stuff anyway, since that is what they do there.

 
The best food is almost always street food.

We turned the corner and there it was – a folk festival with dancing and craft stalls and people selling beer and typical Prague fare. We bought fried potato cakes that we paid for by the ounce. They were like hash browns flavored with pepper and caraway – greasy but delicious. We also ate some funny doughy things called trdlo, which were baked on a rotating pin then rolled in cinnamon-sugar. Later, we saw them being sold near the castle. It was fun to walk around and try stuff and it didn’t cost much.

Everyone recommended the Cafe Savoy. It is a beautiful place. Make sure to use the restroom when you go. It’s not the commode which is interesting, it’s what you see when you walk downstairs. They have a nice breakfast with good coffee and a decent omelet with Gruyère (ask for onions in it, too).

As far as to-dos, we just walked around and walked around and walked around. We loved the climb up Petrin Hill, and up into their little tower. In fact, some of my favorite Prague moments involved getting a bird’s-eye view. It’s a city that looks amazing from above. In addition to the view from Petrin Hill, it’s fun to climb the tower in the museum above the cuckoo clock, and there’s a bar you can see from up there that we sought out afterwards which has great views over the river and the city. We also went to this swank bar at the top of the Hilton hotel which was kinda cool.

On our last day, as we were leaving, I stopped in at a little gelateria called “Angelato” and ordered the chocolate. It was divine – the perfect end note to a less than satisfying culinary tour. But as everyone says, there are hundreds of reasons to go to Prague; food is not one of them.

In preparing for the trip, I found this blog to be helpful. It’s where I found out about Le Degustation.