Prague Stories and Tips

Unknown restaurant

Prague Castle Photo, Prague, Czech Republic

On our first night in Prague, we didn’t feel like either paying the high prices at the Hilton or going too far for diner, so we set out to find some place to eat in the neighborhood. I don’t know the name of the place we ate. I don’t even know if it had a name besides the grubby sign that said “Restaurant” over a door. I say “a door” rather than ‘the door’ because when we went through the door, no restaurant. Nothing, except a long dark hall with closed doors on both sides.

We walked to the end of the hall, turned the corner and there, at the top of flight of stairs disappearing into the gloom below, was another sign, “Restaurant”, so we descended, and found ourselves in small, one could even say, cramped, two-room eatery with tables for 12 in the large room, and stools at the serving counter for 6. We took a table for two.

Before going any farther, here’s the bottom line: we had a decent, filling, two-course meal for two, including three beers, for $12 (plus tip). Now, that’s hard to beat.

We ordered one garlic soup, a Czech specialty, one goulash soup, another Czech specialty, a chicken dish, and a beef dish. The big bowls of soup were hot, well flavored, and hearty. This was real home made soup, not Campbell’s. The chicken was good. The beef was as good as can be expected from European beef.

Nothing against European beef, but it comes from different breeds of cows who are raised differently and butchered into different cuts than American beef, making European beef generally tougher and more strongly flavored than American beef. If you go in expecting Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse New York strip, you are in for a big surprise.

The young staff, despite their grubby clothes, were efficient, helpful, and seemed genuinely glad—delighted, even—to see us. I don’t think they draw too many customers from the Hilton, the only hotel within blocks.

The decor was minimal, but clean. By watching local customers come and go, picking up pizza at the counter in the other room, we deduced the clientele and the house specialty, but only after ordering a satisfying Czech meal.

Would we go back? Not if we felt up to the trip to U Bile Kravy, but otherwise, in a flash. It’s close, it’s good, it’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s clean, it’s incredibly cheap, and nobody got sick. That’s almost all you can ask.

How to find it: It’s on Krizikova, one of the three streets with exits from the Florenc metro station. Exiting metro, cross Krizikova, turn right, and it should be the first restaurant you come to. To see if you are in the right place: go in the door. If you don’t see a restaurant, that’s it.

From the Hilton, left out the front door toward the metro. Don’t cross the street to the station. Turn left, then as above.

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