Europe 2006

Prague

8/16/2006 08:14:00 PM

Prague is a beautiful, beautiful city. Amadeus, Mission Impossible and XXX were all filmed there, it is the home of Kafka, (the Kafka museum is fantastic), and the buildings are lovely. It is, however, extremely touristy. Expect to be approached by touts on the street offering you tickets to a marionette Don Giovanni, guided tours of the town and so on. My favourite tourist-touts, however, were the many dudes and dudettes in sailor suits standing around the river, saying "Are you ready for the boat ride?!" Most of these guys are neither Czech nor sailors, but we did try their boat tour. And it was pretty good - you get free ice-cream and beer.


The main square


View of Prague from Prague Castle

I must admit that I did not immediately warm to the city. Our very first taxi driver (from the station to our hostel) totally ripped us off - and not just by a little bit. He charged us 980 Crowns... and it was only later that we learnt that the going rate was 200 Crowns. TWAT!!!!! Furthermore, we found that in general, service in shops and restaurants was quite brusque - but perhaps this was a result of this being the first country in which neither of us could speak the language.

Thankfully, however, it didn't take long for the city's charm to shine through.

On our first night, we visited a restaurant right on the main square named Staroměstská Restaurace (recommended by Lonely Planet), which had fabulous food at more-reasonable-than-most prices.

Staroměstská Restaurace's Website

Now, remember what I was telling you about service in Prague? Here's an excerpt of a conversation we overheard at the next table. It was about 8:30pm, and a group of 4 people (2 middle-aged couples) had just sat down.

Waiter: What would you like?
Lady: Could we get some coffee?
Waiter: What?
Lady: Could we get some coffee?
Waiter: Are you JOKING?! No drinks! Only dinner! Only dinner!
Lady: So you don't have coffee?
Waiter: It's 8:30pm. Only dinner! Only dinner!

Scary!! Throughout the evening, our waiters barely looked at our table, and it was an absolute mission just trying to get them to come over and serve us. Furthermore, during our meal, we accidentally knocked our beer over, and instead of one of them coming over to help us and ask us if we wanted more, the waiters just stood on the side, laughing! Goodness me.


"Attentive" Service

Quite amusingly, at the end of the meal (750 Crowns - we paid with exact change) - our waiter came back to our table with a calculator, to explain that we needed to pay an extra 80 Crown tip. His reasoning was that "our wages are only €400 a month, so you have to give us a tip". I always thought that tipping was based on the quality of service, but I see that that's not always the case.

Ok, with that moaning over, here's the good part - the food! It was amazing.

A warning: at most restaurants around town, goulash is only served during lunchtime - too many hours simmering and it starts to taste crap, apparently. So if you want to have a goulash (and believe me, you will), make sure you get in early.

In the absence of goulash, I had a delicious goulash soup.


Goulash Soup


Delicious Bohemian Roast Duck with Cabbage and light, fluffy dumplings. (Eating this really made me want to try making Nigella's Bohemian Roast Goose, from Feast.)


Cucumber Salad - refreshing!


Other food from Prague:


A Bagel from American Tourist hangout/internet cafe Bohemia Bagel. It was delicious, fresh, and CHOCK-FULL of cream cheese. Drool!


Overly garlicky goulash with dense dumplings at another restaurant.


Smoked Tongue - fabulous.

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3 comments

  1. Your timing is perfect - I'm spending a week in Prague in October, and have been wondering where I should eat. I'll be on my own; can you see any issues for me going out for dinner as a solo girl??

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Niki!

    Nah, I think you'll be fine in Prague - despite my initial hesitations (due to the skanky taxi driver), I found it to be a very safe and pleasant town. But yeah, even if the waiters at certain restaurants seem rude sometimes, don't be intimidated - just go in and get that goulash! Hehe.

    I hope you enjoy the town!

    xox Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  3. we experienced some great service in Prague! some of the best in Europe actually as everyone was so friendly and willing to help out. We found that food at the Christmas stalls were pretty great but in restaurants very ordinary.

    Luckily you didn't get sucked into the Black Light Theatre tho!!! Imagine bad dancers and singers wearing suits that light up under black light on a very small stage with a very small audience. So small that it is very obvious as you quietly slide your butt off the seat and creep towards the door to sneak out...

    niki, you've been forwarned! :-)

    ReplyDelete

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