Written by Ciaran Kelly
I´ve been living in Prague since 1992, and since then I have never ceased to be amazed and delighted at finding little “hidden treasures.” This restaurant and café is certainly one. The address is Vršovická 1525a, Praha 10, but you simply can not find the place from the street!
On one side is a Lidl and BBC Oasis fitness gym. Up front, facing the street is a kitchen studio and hair salon. Out back is the lovely Havlíčkovy Sady Park, and surrounding the entire complex are the Havlíčkovy Sady apartment buildings.
One enters via the patio which faces west (and by passes a small playground for the youngest diners), and is struck by a sense of “post-functionalism” in the square tables, square chairs and solid black, red and white painting on the walls and floor. The tables are set with trapezoid plates, heavy forks and knives, dice-styled salt and pepper shakers, paper napkins and paper placemats with bright colors. Each table was touched off by a single chrysanthemum.
There was a piano in the back. A live entertainer played blues over a 30 minute set. There were three big screen TVs, two playing Eurosport in the bar area and one playing Nora Jones at the New Orleans House of Blues, which was silent during the Piano Man performance.
My guest and I started with soup. We both agreed the minestrone was better than the zucchini ratatouille. It was more filling, had more oil (for those of you who prefer oil in soups) and the pasta in it was homemade and thick.
The salmon was grilled and buried alive in rosemary. It was actually “caked” in the herb, almost like a blanket wrap. My guest insisted it was the “most delicious salmon she ever had in Praha.” It was served on a spread of diagonally sliced and broiled cabbage, making the dish esthetically pleasing as well as tasty.
I had the Spaghetti Aglio Olio. It was well prepared but too subtle for me. White wine was in the sauce, but I didn´t taste it. All I was able to taste was the sliced onions and garlic chips. I really appreciated the home made spaghetti.
The portions are not large, so you if you´re hungry, you´re going to have to order an appetizer or a side dish to satisfy. We asked for the roasted vegetables, and they were truly marvelous. They were, for me, the highlight of the evening meal. Fresh veggies were roasted in herbs and wine vinegar; I repeat, they tasted marvelous, better than I ever expected veggies could be.
I was driving so for drinks I ordered a strawberry milkshake which was mostly ice and foam, but did have real strawberries in it. My guest had a Sauvignon Blanc which was very good. The wine list has more than 70 choices from CR, France, Chile, Italy and Spain (prices from 200 to 800 CZK per bottle). Also available are champagne at 2300kc per bottle and cigars. A bar is located on the south side of the establishment under the TV screens.
The desserts were outstanding. Not a fault could be found. My pineapple carpacio had the thinnest sliced pineapple I ever saw. It was accompanied by fresh strawberries, raspberry sauce and white Belgian chocolate. It was delightful. My guest had a chocolate mouse which was larger and rich with white and dark Belgian chocolates. One minor complaint I will make is that we ordered espresso with the dessert, and the espresso was served immediately, but we waited a solid 15 minutes for the dessert.
We sat by the windows which faced west and saw a lovely sunset. The restaurant was not noisy. The music was pleasant and we never had to strain to hear our conversation either during the piano music nor music videos. We never heard any street noise nor noise from the train station, even when trains pulled in.
Service was attentive. I only spoke English to staff, and all were fluent and friendly (yes, they smiled) in their English answers to my requests and questions. They helped make the entire evening cheerful, which was easy to do on a bright sunny evening with the entire west side of the restaurant comprising of large sliding glass doors.
Mon thru Fri offer special menu 149kc.
Breakfast is served until 11am each day.
They also offer a “picnic to go”.
There is no cover charge.
Some toys are available for little ones, and a small pizza selection will keep them happy. There is no children´s menu, and no place for the little ones on a rainy day as the play area is outside next to the park entrance. Sharp corners on all tables do not look to inviting for parents of the 2-4 year old crowd.
Restaurant is handicapped accessible.
Two true negatives:
–Parking is a pain! No parking allowed on the street, only parking lot is reserved for Lidl customers. The nearest tram station is 200 meters up the street.
–Vegetarians beware! You only have three choices for meals, the Roasted veggies and two spaghetti dishes. They are very tasty, but that is your entire choice.
Overall, my guest and I were very satisfied. We will be going back again.