Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easter in Prague

Prague is a European city that I have wanted to visit for quite some time. I can now say, with absolute certainty, I am so glad I have finally taken a trip to "The Golden City".

What would you tend to think of when you think of Prague? Beer, quite possibly. The Czechs are the second highest consumers of beer in the world! Pork knuckle, ham hock, Prague ham and various variations. The stunning beauty of the well preserved buildings, the 650 year old Charles Bridge, The Old Town Square with its majestic astronomical tower, the oldest medieval castle in the world?! Prague has so much to offer and as a foodie destination, it is a definite winner.

For me, on our Easter weekend trip, I want to mention five places in particular.

The first is our hotel, The Maximilian. This hotel has a lot to draw the attention of a first-time visitor to Prague. Its location is excellent, at under five minutes walk to the Old Town Sqaure which is the buzzing heart of the Stare Mesto (The Old Town). The rooms are simple, modern, clean and stocked with lovely products. That is always a bonus for me. As this trip was a birthday treat, they very kindly provided us with a lovely half bottle of local red wine and also local sparkling wine on two different days. They emailed in advance and they reserved restaurants for us and anything else we would like to do during out trip. Their breakfasts were also a high point. Their buffet consisted of everything and anything you could desire - fresh pastries and a selection of breads, fresh fruit, homemade muesli, various yogurts, cheese, cold meats and smoked salmon, juices, nuts and seeds...I could go on! They also had a great array of breakfast goodies that could be ordered, my favourite being their Eggs Benedict and their freshly made raspberry smoothie. Breakfast sets you up for the day and when you're on a city break, I think it's a real bonus to stay in a place where you are well fed (and happy!) before it's time to set out on your day's activities and exploring.

The second place I must mention is Bakeshop. Bakeshop is located just minutes by foot from the Old Town Square and it is a fabulous location for top quality salads, quiches, sandwiches, breads, pastries, buns, name it. We visited one lunchtime and sat up on their high chairs by the full windows munching on our salads while staring out at the passers-by. I wasn't as impressed with their skewered chicken, though it did look mouthwatering, but their Greek salad was spectacular. I only wish I had returned again to sample some of their magnificent looking baked goods. It's a buzzy and busy place and any city would be very fortunate to have it as a local lunch spot.

Sweet treats at Bakeshop
Left - my delicious lunch; Right - more glorious baked goods
Moving on to something very authentically Czech. Beer or pivo as it is locally known. I will be the first to admit I am no beer connoisseur, nor am I a beer fan really. However, the Prague Beer Museum was again, minutes from our hotel, and it simply had to feature on our weekend in Prague! The name is a little, if not a lot, misleading. This beer haven is a bar, plain and simple. You come, you choose a beer from the lengthy menu, you drink and enjoy and that is that! My husband likes his beer and was very impressed with the first beer he tried there - Konrad. He tried a few others too and enjoyed them also but the Konrad was definitely his preferred choice. The nice thing about this spot is how you can taste a few different beers in order to discover your favourite, by choosing a 0.15 litre glass. Many people choose a selection of 5 or even 10, which are produced in a kind of wooden platter. I chose a meagre two. A blueberry and a honey flavoured beer and although I was glad to have tasted them, I still can't say I have been swayed away from my favoured tipple, being wine of course! The prices of the beers here are very reasonable, but generally beer is far more cheaply priced in Prague, compared to anywhere in Ireland. The largest and most common sized glass is the half litre and this is priced at about €1.50. The Prague Beer Museum (aka pub) is very well worth a visit if you like your beers.

My girly tasting beers!

V Zatisi is my next Prague trip highlight. The memories! This restaurant was recommended to me by a good friend and she said she would return to Prague just to visit this restaurant. High praise. V Zatisi is a fine dining restaurant that serves European and Czech cuisine along with Indian influenced dishes as they have a chef from India. You can choose from a tasting menu or a three course menu, where you have the option of combining the varied cuisines from one course to the next. We went for the three course menu and here are some photographs of the beautifully presented and delicious food we were served...

Starter of Roasted Quail Breast
Main of Flap Steak with Chocolate-Cranberry Crumble...
Indian Starter of Mustard Tandoori Tiger Prawns
We chose a delicious bottle of Argentinian Malbec which complemented our meal to perfection. I also decided I simply had to try the local liqueur "slivovice", which was a bad move. It is a kind of plum brandy, which is clear in colour and is served neat and chilled. Wowsers! It is potent stuff and though I tried, it wasn't for me and I had to leave it unfinished. My husband did have a small issue with the fact that his main of pork belly was on the small side, though he did say the entire dish was very tasty and enjoyable. We really, thoroughly enjoyed this meal. It was a very special and romantic setting and, although it is expensive for Prague, it is quite reasonably priced in comparison to an Irish restaurant of this kind of calibre. Our three course meal, with a bottle of wine and one liqeuer worked out at just over €120. V Zatisi can definitely expect return custom if/when I return to Prague.

The Hemingway Bar is number five in my Prague list. This is, hands down, the most magnificent experience in cocktails I have ever had! I don't want to give away a huge amount and have no photos to share, as there are strict rules for deportment in this tiny and wonderful bar. The skill of the cocktail makers here is something to behold and the presentation of their scrumptious cocktails is just second to none. I chose a Crème Brulée cocktail firstly, which was served in a ramekin, with a  thin sliver of toffee to the side. Wow! My second cocktail was the Save This Moment, based on gin, with a beautiful freshness of peach liqueur and lime juice added, among other tasty delights. This is some experience and one which I would highly recommend. Oh and make sure to reserve your seats in advance. Standing is not allowed and the bar is teeny tiny. Cocktails are very affordable here at approximately €5 to €7.

I will finish with a few final mentions - Kolkovna is a great place to check out for authentic, reasonably priced Czech food. Be sure to go hungry and the pork knuckle is a must try, but it is truly massive. The Gastronomy Museum was also a unique kind of concept that appealed to me. It's pretty cheap to visit, very quiet if you go in the morning and definitely worth a look if you're hankering for something a bit different. It traces the history of cuisine, cooking and food preparation since Stone Age times. Anonymous Bar, though tricky to find, is a really cool cocktail bar as well with a very local feel, with high ceilings and plenty of seating, although the smell of cigarette smoke is still unavoidable! But this is the case in most public places in Prague.

Prague is a stunningly beautiful city from an aesthetic point of view, but it also has some fabulous food and drinks to be discovered and enjoyed, without completely breaking the bank. I hope that I will have the opportunity to return again before too long. If you too are a lover of Prague, please share your experiences, tips and recommendations. Let's all reminisce together!
The gi-normous pork knuckle from Kolkovna
The famous Astronomical Clock
An Easter Bunny in Old Town Square
An Easter Tree in Old Town Square


  1. Prague is one of the world heritage sites identified by UNESCO. Tourism industry is flourishing in Prague attracting several thousands of people every year.
    location appartement prague
    Thanks for sharing...!!

    1. Thank you John. It's a fantastic city to visit. I agree!