Had the good fortune of traveling in Eastern Europe this past April. The food scene in Prague, Czech Republic is certainly good, with ample choices of all types of cuisine. If one can avoid the touristy places you’ll be rewarded with lots of fresh ingredients and locally sourced products. It is not, however, a place for vegetarians. We dined in several restaurants where there was literally nothing green available to order on the menu. Coming from California this was unusual, to say the least. After eating so much protein (and drinking $1 beer) we craved vegetables, so we made a reservation at a restaurant that had good online reviews. It was as bit of a meandering Uber ride from our hotel to the restaurant. Upon entering we noticed just only one other party in this large space, but we rationalized to ourselves that it was early, and more people would no doubt arrive shortly. The other group looked to be having a wine dinner at first glance, but after more careful examination, they were actually wine reps sharing wines with one another. There was no food on the table, just copious amounts of wine. We were then seated at a large table (there were 8 of us) and I looked over the menu. Lots of soups (delicious strawberry soup w/avocado, shown), vegetable dishes, and salads. Yay! Very happy. I asked our friendly server for the wine list. She said that they in fact did not have a wine list, but that we could tell her what we liked, and she would recommend something for us. They would even open something up, and if we didn’t like it, we didn’t have to order it, and they’d open something else up. Are you kidding? No list? I asked how come, and she told me that this was the owner’s policy. How are we supposed to know what they have? How are we to know the prices of the bottles? “Just ask and we’ll tell you” was the lame response. I walked over to the front of the restaurant where the wine refrigerators were placed. Dozens and dozens of bottles, jammed in, absolutely no order whatsoever to the placement of the bottles. Is this for real? I asked if they had any bubbles, and they said yes, it’s in the case. OMG. I found one bottle of Portuguese Sparkling Wine: Messias, a brut style, método classico. She opened it. Not great. How much? She told me, and I said sure, it’s not that much, so why not? Everyone enjoyed it. We love trying wines from the region we’re visiting, and I asked if they had anything from Czech Republic. In fact they did: a 2015 Vina Herzanovi Frankovka. It’s a red wine, with balanced acid and a wonderful mouthfeel. Not tannic at all, this wine paired beautifully with fish and the vegetable dishes we ordered. The food was actually pretty good, but without a wine list there is a missed opportunity here.
There was no one else the entire evening who entered the restaurant but for one couple who came in, saw that the restaurant was empty and left.
All in all the restaurant was fine, and we had a great time. About that wine list, though…
Cheers & L’Chayim.