AFFORDABLE LUXURY: WHERE TO EAT IN PRAGUE
In the capital city of the Czech Republic, there are gourmet experiences to be enjoyed by all. Find out how to make the most of a limited budget.
The Prague food scene is evolving all the time: since 1990, it has gone from just three restaurants offering foreign cuisine to the current one hundred. Much of this is due to Pavel Maurer, gourmet and founder of the Prague Food Festival and a fine dining guide which, down through the years, has fostered contaminations and dedicated space to all expressions of local cuisine. His motto “Think global and eat local” is an invitation to all foodies.
Let’s see where to find luxury locations or fine dining versions of goulash, Prague ham and beef fillet with red berry fruits. The Czech Koruna assists tourists with a curious palate: here are some recommendations on where to eat in Prague, with some experiences you can enjoy while spending up to 25, 50 or 100 euros.
FROM 0 TO 25 EUROS
The Myšák family opened its cake shop in 1904 and all the celebrities of the time soon began to show appreciation for the specialities of the house, such as their orange pancake and crème caramel, which became authentic legends. Even today, after several makeovers, the Cukrárna Myšák continues to be a successful café, even though it is not yet invaded by tourists. This is the ideal place for enjoying cakes, savoury snacks and one of the best breakfasts in the city. The pistachio cheesecake makes the entire trip worthwhile and even a modest budget is sufficient to satisfy the sweetest tooth.
FROM 25 TO 50 EUROS
For a dinner in Art Déco style, the place to go in the historical town centre is the Hotel de Paris,housed in a building dating back to 1904, not far from the Old Town Square. It is here that Karel Hynek, chef of the tiny architectural gem of a restaurant, named after Sarah Bernhardt, the celebrated Parisian actress and singer, mingles traditional Czech cuisine with a French touch. Period lighting fixtures, blue mosaics, wood and gilded stucco make the venue one of the most fascinating in Prague. To stay within the limit of your budget, choose the Fillet of rainbow trout with vanilla butter, chive potatoes and mint pea purée. Crown it with the Valrhona cake, with three types of Grand Cru chocolate.
Chef Leonardo Di Clemente is the man to turn to if you wish to combine a desire for luxury with an Italian-style menu. At the Four Seasons Hotel, on this budget, we advise you to go for the CottoCrudo Bar. This is a “raw” bar offering mozzarella, cold cuts, home-made bread and breadsticks accompanied with creative cocktails. Obviously “raw” also means tuna, scallops and oysters. CottoCrudo Bar is a sort of Italian interpretation of sashimi. Two courses will cost around 15 euros, which fits your chosen budget nicely.
FROM 50 TO 100 EUROS
The Bellevue, set in the heart of Prague, is a joy for the eyes and the palate. The Dutch Renaissance style building looks out onto the river Vltava and the castle. Chef Marek Šáda, after running his own restaurant in New York, has returned home where he has acquired a Michelin star. Here are some recommendations are taken from the gourmet menu: Lightly smoked sturgeon, keta caviar, mustard, purple potatoes, horseradish; Roasted Foie Gras, red cabbage risotto, apple and coriander; Lemon pannacotta, honey cake and caramelized apples. A culinary experience like that of the gourmet menu is priced at 70 Euros, which also allows you to order a glass of Bohemian wine.
With its recently acquired star, Field Restaurant is the Prague experience you don’t want to miss. It is located in the Old Town. Chef Radek Kašpárek detests frills and exalts his ingredients to the point of exasperation. His are contemporary and pared-down dishes, assertive flavours and an impeccable presentation in its elegance and minimalism which dialogues between form and content. Ingredients are supplied by local producers and are purchased on a rational basis. No words are wasted in the description of his dishes but they abound with evocative references such as Lamb, fennel, dates, nuts or Sweetbread, celeriac, chanterelles and, for dessert, Jerusalem artichoke, truffle, almond and rosehip. Don’t get carried away though: each course is priced at about 20 Euros.