Prague Trip Highlights

We went from Berlin to Prague to spend the next five days of our trip. We wound up doing Prague a little bit differently than Berlin and London; we didn’t love the food there (and, I promise, we went with an open mind), so we really put in effort to seek out the nice restaurants and make sure we had good food experiences.

– Despite not loving Czech food as a whole, I did love the fact that they put cabbage in almost everything. If you’ve read my brussels sprout post, you know how I feel about cabbage. Not every execution of cabbage was great in Prague, but I particularly liked this creamy cabbage soup I had at a restaurant called Olympia. The creaminess made it comforting, but it had a wonderful tang from the cabbage and the dollop sour cream on top. As with most things in Prague, it was served in an enormous portion, but it took a lot of will power to not eat the entire bowl! I was saving room for my roasted pork, which was, of course, stuffed with cabbage.

– Since we didn’t love the restaurants around where we were staying and love to explore grocery stores in foreign cities, we chose to spend a couple of afternoons picnicking in a beautiful park overlooking the city called Letná. For our first picnic, we got some assorted meats and cheeses along with some fresh baked bread, fruit, and vegetables. We got some smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, lemon, and bread for our second picnic. It was all absolutely delicious, and the best thing about it all was that we could legally enjoy our wine outside in the park!

– We were really craving something different after a couple of days of heavy Czech fare, so we found a great French restaurant called Brasserie M. We had read that they received a Michelin “Bib Gourmand”, which is not a star but rather recognition that they have “good food at moderate prices.” I got the salmon filet with dill butter over sautéed zucchini and risotto (left). Dill is the one thing that I have never really liked, but I actually loved it in this dish. Katie got the duck breast roasted and stuffed with figs with spinach and potatoes. Duck is definitely typical Czech food, but it was nice to finally see some properly cooked (i.e. not overcooked) duck!

– We tried a great restaurant called Mozaiki that was described as Czech but with French and Asian influences. I don’t know how I’d describe it exactly, but it was definitely memorable. I’m a sucker for any restaurant that serves an amuse bouche. They served a small piece of polenta with a perfectly rich Bolognese sauce. They knew how to make a good impression. Next, Katie and I split the homemade spinach raviolis topped with butter, toasted pine nuts, parmesan, and arugula.

– My entrée was the highlight for me; I had the duck breast with black pepper mashed potatoes and a red wine and cherry sauce. The skin was crispy, the meat was tender, and the sauce had a perfect balance of sweet and savory. I would have even asked how they made those potatoes if there hadn’t been a language barrier. I always thought I could make a good mashed potato, but these were like nothing I have ever had. Katie chose the lamb chop baked with rosemary and served with tomato sauce and spinach raviolis (the same that were in the appetizer, but they were so good that she was happy to have more of them). Her meal was also wonderful. If you are ever in Prague, you have got to try this restaurant.

– I had to save the best for last. We had our most memorable meal of our entire Europe trip at an Italian restaurant called Aromi. Aromi is the kind of place that thrives on simple preparations of top-notch ingredients. The server brought around a platter of the fresh fish of the day and “introduced” us to each one. Then, he must have realized how to really seduce us. He brought a basket of fresh black truffles over to our table that he had us smell while he told us about the dishes they offered with them. At the time, I was too worried about how much a dish with shaved truffles on top might cost so I chose something else. I was kicking myself afterwards for not going for it. After all, how often are you presented with a basket of fresh truffles??

We couldn’t decide between an order of the mussels or gratinéed razor clams to begin with, so the server suggested we get a half order of each. The razor clams were simply baked with breadcrumbs and the mussels were steamed in white wine and lemon. Again, it was all very simple but the quality of the shellfish was extraordinary.

For a palate cleanser, we were given what I think was a mixture of prosecco, limoncello, and a little bit of vanilla ice cream. I need to experiment with this because it was such an impressive and tasty twist on the standard sorbet.

I got the seafood “soup” and Katie got the seared tuna over a panzanella salad for entrees. My dish wasn’t really a soup, but more of an assortment of steamed seafood with an intense seafood tomato sauce. It was all very clean, fresh, and beautifully presented.

We opted for a cheese course in lieu of dessert. It was a tasting of five Italian cheeses with homemade flakey flatbread and fruit jam.

The only thing I wasn’t pleased about was that Aromi was in Prague and not Chicago!

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