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Prague recommendations February 16, 2010

Posted by CK in Travel.
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Ok, I’m not doing this usually — as a matter of fact, I can’t remember writing another post with recommendations for a place I’ve visited. Nevertheless, this last trip to Prague, Czech Republic, was full of pleasant surprises. In such cases, I consider it’s part of my dues to do the little I can and bring these people more customers, in return for the great service I received. So here it goes:

  • Hotel: I highly, highly recommend U Jezulatka. It’s not cheap, but it’s really worth it (BTW, you can get better rates from Booking.com and the likes). The rooms (at least the one I stayed) offer a privileged view to “Karlův most”, one of the two most important sights in Prague (the other being the castle). The hotel is actually right next to the bridge, so the location can’t be any better than that, being right in the middle between the old city and the (much nicer, IMHO) castle area. The staff of the hotel was the most polite and helpful I’ve ever seen. The rooms are beautiful and well equipped. Mini bar is free to use, breakfast is included, and there’s also free internet connectivity. The only thing to point out is that there’s no elevator (the building is a few centuries old!) so if you have trouble with stairs keep it in mind.
  • Food, part I: I had one of the best dinners ever, at restaurant Sovovy mlýny. It is inside Prague’s museum of modern art, right next to the river (close to Charle’s bridge). Only the lower part offers a view to the river, as far as I could tell, so keep that in mind. I was at the upper floor, which is ok to sit in, nicely decorated but nothing spectacular. The food was totally delicious. The goat cheese on red beet root is something not to miss, and the pike perch was equally awesome. On top of that, the service was top-class, without being pretentious. Friendly, smiling and polite, you’ll feel like you’re with friends.
  • Food, part II: So you’re in the middle of the old town and look for a bite. Tourist traps lay all around, with photos of dishes and people inviting you inside to offer you meals of doubtful taste and quality. Nothing to worry about; Pasta Fresca, at Celetná 11, is only steps away from the center of the old town and “Staroměstské náměstí” (the square with the old mayor’s house and well-known sight for its centuries-old clock). The setting was very pleasant indeed, in an underground location but very modern (i.e. not the typical cellar-like thing). It’s apparent by now that I’m a fool for good service, and in this restaurant it was excellent indeed. The food was so good that, although I walked in with a bad mood, I left happy and smiling. Really. Their pasta is home-made; I can easily recommend the ravioli al pomodoro, which was the best I ever had. Their potato gnocchi was just as good. And, although the place is not cheap, it’s definitely not expensive. For this kind of quality, the value for money is extraordinarily high.

Update: Two more recommendations I forgot to mention:

  • WinesHome: An amazing place where architecture, design and wines come together. I stumbled on it by accident, walked in and didn’t regret it for a split second. At the time I was there, around 4-5pm, the place was empty; not sure how it would be later in the evening.
  • Lui & Lei: The most relaxed and pleasant coffee I had in the city. Perfect setting with big comfortable armchairs, lots of space between the few tables, and beautiful decoration. My only complaint: they don’t really serve cakes etc — there was only some home-made cake which was ok but not spectacular. Still, I’d easily prefer this coffee shop to any other, for an afternoon coffee or even wine.

Finally, I walked into Cafe de Paris, which looked extremely promising. Unfortunately, they were fully booked and therefore I could not stay and try their cuisine.

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