Looking for a little holiday goodness? The newly-opened Perníčkův sen (Gingerbread Dream), located at Haštalská 21 in Prague 1, is serving up a wide variety of gingerbread sweets just in time for Christmas, along with kits for baking and decorating gingerbread cookies (and houses!) at home.
If you don’t have a shoebox full of Xmas treats already prepared and waiting on the balcony, Perníčkův sen is also offering some more traditional Czech Christmas cookies for the holidays. Alternatively, you can pick up a box of traditional “Cukroví od Zemanky” from Fresh Bedynky.
Anyone who ever spent any amount of time at Bohemia Bagel on Masna will feel a bit nostalgic for its passing—until you are seated at Agave, the chic new restaurant that took its place last month. Restaurateur Glenn Spicker’s upscale cantina, helmed by SoCal chef Christian Dolias, serves Mexican nouveau; we tried guacamole flecked with bacon and corn (155 CZK), chicken tacos (165 CZK) with creamy queso blanco and pumpkin seeds, and a hefty pork carnitas burrito (245 CZK).
A chicken and cheese quesadilla and glass of sweet rice horchata almost made my dining companion forgive Mr. Spicker for turning her beloved play corner into a swanky dining nook. For me the only misstep was the torta (159 CZK), a ciabatta—weird bread choice—sandwich filled with spicy chorizo hash and topped with a fried egg. Yet it was so nicely tempered by the excellent homemade mango margarita that all was forgotten by dessert, chili chocolate cake layered with mango slices (125 CZK). A nice spot for a drink—try the tequila mint julep—and light bite at the stylish bar.
Newly opened Lavande Restaurant in Smíchov is an airy brasserie with a short but sweet seasonal menu which includes a wide selection of gluten-free and vegetarian dishes and has an upmarket feel without the spendy price tag. On a recent visit sweet potato pancakes with tofu (189 CZK), farmer’s chicken with herb stuffing and delicate gnocchi (235 CZK), and braised beef neck with rosemary sauce (255 CZK) were the stand-outs, warm and satisfying and, with a glass of the house cabernet Morava (50 CZK), just right for this time of year.
The beef burger (209 CZK) was a bit of a disappointment with its stale bun and drizzle of barbecue sauce, and the gluten-free chocolate cake (99 CZK) didn’t surprise—though the waiter who reminded me to leave a tip sure did! A display of cookbooks by patron saint of farm-to-fork Hana Michopulu, jars of Czech-made pâtes and jams for sale in the deli case, and vintage cookbooks papering the walls, are sure to court plenty of return neighborhood business.
NEW MARKETS & DELI COUNTERS
A new fine foods market that also encompasses the Blue Fjord fish shop, produce from Kunratice Stodola, baked goods from Moje Kredenz, deli fare from The Food Story, and meats by Francouz. At this friendly establishment you won’t feel guilty for gawking and not buying although the prices aren’t that outlandish; unlike the ill-fated Julius Meinl, you might actually shop here. Highlights: the huge variety of Stonewall Farm products and the thick slices of rectangular-cut pizza.
Nearby Bottega Bistroteka, the fourth in a line of delicatessens by Riccardo Lucque, has opened in the Gurmet Pasaz Dlouhá that includes Sisters and Naše Maso. Their regional Italian specialities shop, authentic meals and Italian wine all mean that you no longer need to summer in Puglia because all of its food is now in Prague.
This Karlin butcher shop quietly opened its own bistro last month. A tiny annex to its butcher counter with just a handful of tables and no table service, it has quickly become the neighborhood’s best-kept lunchtime secret. Clear favorites: lamb kebabs and the burger of the week. Meals range from a wallet-pleasing 100-150 CZK.
The wildly popular butcher counter has extended its shop to include a section devoted to pre-packaged meats of the same quality of cuts as from the butcher block. Packages are prepared fresh daily and sold at a disounted price after 7pm.
A range of domestic (Czech Magnetic Apple Cider, Moravian Magic Apple Cider, Cidre Premier) and imported (Val de Rance, Aspall Suffolk) ciders are avaiable for purchase and for sipping at this newly opened Krymská Street cider bar, the first of its kind in Prague. We suggest the hot apple cider as a nice alternative to ye olde svařené víno this holiday season!
There is no better time than New Year’s Eve to sample the sophisticated fare at this newly opened Prague 6 bistro. Story is currently taking reservations for it’s New Year’s Eve tasting menu which includes a number of inventive and festive dishes, among them St. Jakub’s mussels with quinoa, fennel, and dill, a Jerusalem artichoke pâte, and foie gras with gingerbread and pear.
Happy holidays and season’s eatings!