Written by Ciaran Kelly
Walking along Železná Street (off Old Town Square) one afternoon, I spotted a new café/bar that I had never seen before. I walked in and found white, white, and more white. White walls, painted with a white ceiling, with very modern-looking styled white tables. I honestly thought of the John and Yoko Halcyon days of 1969. The building itself has great big large street level windows and is a Romanesque design of cellars and vaults. I later found out it is part of the UNESCO Heritage list.
The building is part of Old Town Square Hotel (5 star locale). One can access the cafe either from hotel itself or from the Železná street entrance. The café offers a wide selection of drinks, sandwiches, salads and a soup of the day. All food is prepared on site, fresh and homemade.
20 wines are available from France, Italy, CR and Chile ranging from 300 to 1200kc per bottle. Sparkling wines (Prosecco) and true champagnes (Laurent Perrier) available up to 1800kc per bottle or at 230kc per glass.
With a fresh flower on each table, it is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. Walking street, no cars, very quiet, no street noise is discernable. One gets the sites, but not the sounds of Old Town Square.
I had a vegetable salad with roasted nuts and baked tomatoes (190kc). I was delighted when they made a couple of changes for me at my request. 4 different types of lettuce were served; I honestly don’t even know the names of the four types, but I knew they were very tasty and full of fresh flavor and definitely not the iceberg lettuce that you seem to get everywhere else. I then had a Bruschette (95 CZK) with tomatoes, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Again, they quickly agreed to my little requests and again, the meal was simply oozing with natural flavors.
Just because I was enjoying myself, I decided to splurge on two desserts. I had a banana cake (90 CZK) and a chocolate cake with walnuts and chilli peppers (90 CZK). The banana cake was good, but the chocolate cake was an absolute knock out! I bit right into one of those peppers and got an unexpected jolt. Very clever idea, and highly recommended that anyone and everyone try it.
The place is not so large. It seats 25 people and can hold 60 for a party. With prior reservations, the café can tailor make a menu, which I found quite unique in Praha.
The staff all speak excellent English. They smiled and were very pleasant about little changes and requests that I asked of them.
The restaurant has good ventilation so that the non-smokers are not bothered by the smokers; I also saw air conditioning units in the restaurant.
Music was low key, played from a CD collection, mostly general pop or blues, jazz flavored and not loud nor overbearing at all.
Hours are from 8:00 – 21:30 each day. Breakfasts are served by the hotel for both hotel and walk-in customers. They do cater and serve private parties. Reservations are taken.
The place is child friendly, with high chair and stuffed animals available for the tiniest toddlers. Kids will most likely get a bang out of grilled cheeses sandwiches, tunafish sandwiches, and even ham and cheese sandwiches.
I spoke to owner who was very glad to talk about the place. They will take special orders from their guests, and can accommodate any type of party or prepare any meal if given a couple of days´ notice.
The café is wheelchair accessible and has free wi-fi.
Overall, I simply state, that The Café Bily Koniček is high quality service and food with a people friendly atmosphere.