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Famous Czech Dishes Shine in Mala Strana



Prague has no shortage of restaurants. They are tucked away in winding streets that make up the maze of Stare Mesto, the Old Town. You can find them along Wenceslas Square in Nove Mesto, the New Town. Few tourists hop on a tram or walk or all the way to Mala Strana or lesser quarter, across the Vltava River. It is in the Mala Strana quarter that you will find exquisite, simple and authentic restaurants. 

Czech cuisine is famous for large portions of meat. Duck is also considered a true delicacy. One of the best eateries to sample Duck a la Czech is Restaurant U Modre Kacknicky. Be seduced by their duck in slivovice, a potent eau de vie from Moravia. The poledni menu, or lunch menu at a fixed price, is the best kept secret in town. Tourists are not automatically given this list. Simply ask for it and you will be surprised at the prices. Ferdinanda is one of these typical lunch time restaurants that has always interesting dishes featuring on the lunch menu. If it is just coffee and pastry you are craving, Curakavalimonada is the best place to sample fluffy merengue, crispy outside and gooey inside.

Here are ten eateries in the Mala Strana district that will tickle your taste buds and make your trip to Prague one to remember.

 


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Cukrakavalimonada
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone


Tucked away in a small side street in the Mala Strana district, Cukrakavalimonada is a combination of restaurant, wine bar and patisserie. The painted wooden ceiling blends well with contemporary furniture. This is the ideal place to refuel before you climb up to Prague Castle. Sit outside and discover that a cafe latte goes fabulously with fluffy meringue kisses. The hot chocolate with cherry cake tastes heavenly and is almost a meal in itself. The mint-lemon-elderberry drink is deliciously refreshing. If you drop in at lunchtime, homemade pasta, salads and pancakes will seduce you.




Tucked away in a Gothic cellar close to Petrin Hill, Pivnice Pod Petrinem is a typical lunch time restaurant that transforms itself into a beer hall in the evening. With only nine tables seating six persons each, Pod Petrinem is quite small. This means that you usually share your table with the locals. The lunch menu features five dishes of which one is vegetarian. The only snag is that it is in Czech only. Be sure to arrive before 2 pm, because after this time it is a la carte, also very tasty but more expensive.


U Tri Zlatych Hvezd
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

U Tri Zlatych Hvezd, The Three Golden Stars, is situated in a three-hundred year old building under the arches of St Nicolas Church in the Mala Strana district. It's No 8, but you will find the restaurant quicker if you look out for a house sign showing three stars. Be sure to try roast duck with red cabbage and knedliky, Czech type dumplings and ideal to mop up the rich sauce. The menu is available in six languages, meaning that you won't be the only tourist. On the other hand it makes ordering a meal quite easy.


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Ferdinanda
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone


Locals are common and tourists are rare at Ferdinanda, thanks to its location just far enough from action, but still close enough to one of Prague's secret tourist's sights; Infant Jesus of Prague in the Church of Our Lady of Victory. As you enter the basement of Ferdinanda a mannequin wearing a Ferdinanda T-shirts greets you. Next to her you will see a black chest with Frozen Cats. Seating is around bare wooden tables and benches. Choose from Ferdinanda's lunch menu. If you can't read Czech, the staff will explain in almost perfect English. Whatever you order; Schnitzel, Prague sausages or goulash, the portions are huge.




Located in a little back street in the Mala Strana quarter, U Modre Kachnicky is a gourmet paradise for meat eaters and in particular for lovers of duck. Classic furniture, damask upholstered chairs and graceful drapes make you feel as if you step back into the 1920s or 1930s. Oriental rugs are scattered on the tile floors, framed prints and mirrors make U Modre Kachnicky into one of the most intimate and stylish restaurants in Prague. Most of the main courses feature duck; roasted with walnut stuffing, glazed with honey or flambéed with slivovice, which is no surprise as U Modre Kachnicky is Czech for In the Blue Duck.


U Maltezskych Ryteru is located in a medieval building that once served as a hospice for the Knights of Malta. Candlelit tables are tucked away in stone and brick Gothic vaults. This is a place only possible in Prague. The short menu lists cold and hot starters and about five or six main courses which always include fresh fish, salads and two vegetarian dishes. U Maltezskych Ryteru is famous for its mouthwatering local cuisine and excels in venison chateaubriand served with a prune, cranberry, walnut sauce. Finish your meal with home-made apple strudel with generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream and doused in eggnog.


Strahov Monastic Brewery
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone


The Strahov Monastic Brewery, Klastarni Pivovar, occupies a platinum location right next to Strahov Monastry and close to Prague Castle. Sample unfiltered amber or dark St. Norbert beer in the brewery pub. In summer join the locals and tourists and sit in the courtyard at long wooden tables with a liter mug of home-brewed beer or pivo in Czech. Come back in the evening for a traditional Czech meal and indulge in brewery goulash with onion and dumplings or pork hock marinated in beer and served with mustard and horseradish sauce. Finish your meal with Sumavska kava, coffee with an alcolhol surprise.


Sit in the Baroque dining room or on the summer terrace with a corner view of Prague Castle. The candle lit dining room is the perfect setting for a romantic meal. Crystal chandeliers, bowls of shining fruit and colorful flowers in elegant vases set the tone. Classical elegance combines with tantalizing dishes prepared by Martin Blazek, Chef de cuisine. The two- or three-course lunch menu is different for each day of the week and might include creamy carrot soup followed by beef medallions in peppercorn sauce or vegetable risotto for vegetarians. Sunday brunch features English style breakfast but also tapas, Caesar salad and vegetable skewers. Be sure to taste the apple strudel, one of the best in Prague. Palffy Palace is always full of happy eaters who know good value.




Dine in style in the dining room, the winter garden or sit on the riverside terrace with views of Charles Bridge. No matter where you sit, Kampa Park Restaurant is one of the best places to spot celebrities. The menu features fresh fish and seafood and also traditional Czech meat dishes. Be sure to leave room for one of the tantalizing dessert. Who can resists dulce chocolate timbale with raspberries or chocolate fondant with ice cream and orange sauce? Even better still sample the Degustation 7-course Meal, or 5-course if you a small eater. Wash it down with a Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Côtes-du-Rhône, and you will find yourself in gourmet paradise.


Nebozizek Restaurant surrounded by woodland is half-way up Petrin Hill. Sit for the best panoramic views in the glass conservatory, heated in winter, or retreat to the main building where the pianist plays most nights. Some of the Czech specialties are worth the climb up. Start with Becherovka, a traditional herbal bitters made in Karlovy Vary. The venison goulash served with crusty homemade bread is feast for the eyes and palate. Duck breast with sage is an all-time favorite. Czech cuisine is heavy on meat but Nebozizek surprises vegetarians with a choice of three delightful dishes. The restaurant is popular with tourists and locals who come here for wedding receptions.


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Meet Marianne Crone

Marianne Crone divides her time between her home in the Netherlands and an apartment in Prague, the city where her son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.

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