Restaurant Review: Delphi

Jessica Rose has some strange encounters at this Prague 4 Greek venue
When my dinner companion and I were served two complimentary shots a moment after we were seated, I was feeling more buoyant about my spontaneous choice to dine at Delphi in Prague 4. It was not my original destination; it was my sudden urge for a cuisine that would echo sun and warm weather before the last minuscule traces of it disappear here in Prague, and winter´s belly calls for heavier culinary delights. I was excited for Greek food.

Well, spontaneity is risky business, and it doesn´t always pay off.



Let´s get this out of the way first: some of the Greek staples were fine, meaning the kalamata olives, the feta cheese, and the tzatziki. Optimistically, I´d say these things were slightly better than “fine.” If I were a pessimist (synonymous with a “realist,” according to half the world), I´d say that Delphi is grossly overpriced, and I would have had a better taste of Mediterranean at the gyro stand blocks away from my flat. Then again, I wouldn´t have such a comical dining memory. Well, at least now it´s comical; hindsight is always funny-funny.

Expats.cz Rating
Atmosphere
Food
Service
Overall
From our plate
65 CZKOlives
95 CZKGalotyri
210 CZKGrilled Octopus
140 CZKMussels starter
165 CZKGreek Fried Cheese
195 CZKTyri Salad (3 cheeses, red pepper, cucumber, grapes, walnuts)
310 CZKCalamari
410 CZK  Fish Platter
350 CZKPeasant´s Platter
430 CZKSkewered Fillet of Lamb
120 CZKGreek Puff Pastry
The galotyri, house-made yogurt with feta cheese, was to die for, if you ask my dinner companion. I, too, enjoyed the fluffy, zingy flavor of this cold starter, but it would serve as the first sign of an unusual and awkward experience at our table. The yogurt is served, in all its creamy whiteness, in a shallow oval dish from which protrudes the long handles of a spoon and fork, size XL. In comparison to the dish´s size, the spoon was like a shovel. A fork? Something was missing. Or was I missing something? Suddenly, we were questioning ourselves, two people who have dined heaps of times in Greek restaurants. I took the fork out, didn´t like it glistening on the table, and stuck it back in. I reached for the basket of bread, and dipped a piece in the yogurt. Of course, that wasn´t right either. I blame the naked yogurt for my odd behavior; it confused me.

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The mussels were a lucky seven, the biggest I´ve had since I can remember, and perhaps the only item worth the cost, at 140CZK. I had eaten five of them, pleased; but I shifted my eyes and fork for a half-second, and POOF. The last two were gone, whisked away by our server, right from beneath my nose, literally. I called out to him, but he was busy on his path, and held up the “wait” finger.  

The grilled octopus starter was definitely sub-par. In fact, it wasn´t grilled. The bland flavor, overly fibrous and somehow dry texture didn´t compensate for the fact that it was chopped up into tiny pieces the size of M&Ms. It was obvious that it was of the smallest possible octopus runt of the sea. Sometimes known as squid.  

“Platters” felt like the optimal methodology for the evening, because I could sample various items (to choose the best things, as I really do want to inform on what is good versus what is bad), and narrow down other dishes to sample from there.  Please construct a mental picture and even loose definition of “platter” in the context of a menu item listed under main courses.
 
“Hey, there is only one shrimp,” I said to my companion after taking a sip of wine, hyper-vigilant at that point about disappearing food items and Server QuickSticky-Fingers.

“That´s yours. I ate the other one.”

Good thing there weren´t more in our party.

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Two shrimp with the fish platter could be overlooked with the abundance of other items the dish promises: cuttlefish, sole, and sardines. But there was no cuttlefish. There were two shriveled sardines, but I´m not going to pretend I care about sardines. The sole was fresh (from the Gorton´s Fisherman Freezer) and topped with a few colossal rings of—surprise!—calamari.  Another catch from the Delphi Sea, where mussels rule, squid is ten times the size of octopus, and whales are probably the size of starfish.

The “Peasant´s Platter,” perhaps called such because the 350CZK dish leaves you poorer and still hungry, was not our original choice. We actually wanted a different platter, but as the server insisted for the umpteenth time, they had “no more gyros,” a part of the platter we wanted, and he could not simply bring us a replacement or extra of one item. So we took his peasant saucer—I mean, platter—suggestion.

The way the raw onions were sloppily thrown on top of the meager dish was almost a mockery of it. This could not have been because the kitchen was too busy—the place was nearly empty except for two other parties, and it was a Saturday night.

With this platter you get a “half steak.” This little overdone piece was mostly bone and fat, and cutting the nibbles off to sample required tactical effort. I absorbed the scene of this manly-man-type across from me cutting this itty-bitty piece of meat, straining for precision with crossed eyebrows and the most solemn expression. I crossed my laughter threshold, now loosened by the wine (an alternative source of quieting my appetite). Everything became amusing.

As far as flavor is concerned, the best few bites were of the rissole, still mediocre and downplayed by the quality of everything else. The souvlaki and the lamb were a bore, and required forkfuls of tzatziki to redeem the blandness. The little teaspoon of rice was cold.

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Once again, the yogurt-based side dish was the most enjoyable part of the main courses, but not enough to save the scene. The tzatziki simply became the music that played while the ship was sinking.  

I wonder what the Macedonia Platter “for 4 persons” is like, aside from the fact that it´s 1520 CZK.

I protested on anything further at this Picasso-esque table, where I sat as a mere silhouette in my companion´s view, due to the distracting, ultra-bright light that came from a wall display behind me. I was afraid that in ordering more I´d dutifully add to the already negative reporting, but my companion insisted on at least getting dessert.

What suspicious thing was hiding under a heap of vanilla ice cream, tons of whip cream, and drizzled chocolate sauce? The Greek puff pastry, and the steam that came from just one side of it spelled ‘microwave.´ We also had to remove the pieces of the top layer, which we simultaneously referred to as “the brown paper bag”.

The service was also strange. In addition to the muscle-snatching, we asked for two extra plates for our shared platters, and when our server finally brought them, he put down a third dish—a mis-sequenced starter—and then just as quickly removed the two plates we requested and set them on an empty table nearby. Then when we´d actually have dishes that required clearing, they just sat there. The kicker was how at the end of the night, the servers excitedly asked me if I needed my receipt to be stamped, and my companion suspected they knew I was conducting a restaurant review, which made the stamp-enthusiasm peculiar.

Or maybe the real kicker was when I, desperately scraping for more positive things to write, asked if they import the cheese, and the server shook his head and grinned, saying, “Our cheese comes from Deutschland.”

Delphi Restaurant
Podolské nábřeží 1, Prague 4
+420 244 463 770


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