The place for Italian food — in Prague

Last week, we ventured far beyond the Greater Daglan Area, and flew (via Toulouse to Paris, and then Paris to Prague) into the Czech Republic. I had visited Prague many years before, but it was a brand new treat for my wife. Because we were meeting up with Toronto-based friends Doug and Irena in Prague, the trip was especially enjoyable — and made much easier because Irena speaks Czech fluently.

Where to eat, of course, is always a key question for us. The question was answered easily for Tuesday’s lunch, because Irena’s sister had recommended a restaurant in a boat moored right on the banks of the Vltava River (the Moldau, as it’s called in German), and was to meet us there. The main selling point was supposed to be the view, looking across the river and up to Prague Castle. That was indeed true, but the big surprise was how good the Italian food turned out to be at Marina Grosseto Ristorante.

This next photo, taken from high up on Prague Castle, shows the city on a misty day. Down on the river, you can just make out a long white bar — which is actually the roof of the Marina restaurant. (To the right of the photo, just out of view, is the famous Charles Bridge, which is open only to pedestrians. And which, by the way, is in serious need of cleaning.)

View from Prague Castle

Down on the river: The restaurant has a white roof.

From within the restaurant, here is the view across the river. In most areas, you can sit at your table and enjoy a view of the river traffic and the old city of Prague across the way, with its castle at the top of the skyline.

View from restaurant.

From the restaurant, across the river, up to Prague Castle.

As it turned out, we enjoyed our lunch on Tuesday so much that we lunched there again on Wednesday, after spending the morning walking through  Prague Castle, including the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral. (By the way, Prague Castle is actually a complex of buildings, courtyards, churches, and gardens, and is the world’s largest coherent castle complex.)

One of our discoveries was the Aperol Spritz, a refreshing (and attractive) cocktail that’s made with Aperol Orange Liqueur, Prosecco sparkling wine, and a dash of club soda, with rocks and a slice of orange. (Aperol is similar to Campari, and in fact is made by the same folks who make that deliciously bitter Italian drink.) Here’s how a few glasses looked:

Cocktails

Three Aperol Spritzes -- a lovely sight.

For Wednesday’s lunch, I ordered the osso bucco with creamy polenta, and was rewarded with the most tender veal shank I’ve ever eaten. Here’s how it looked:

Osso bucco

An Italian classic in a Czech restaurant.

Good Italian food and a great location weren’t the only positives, however. Prices were very reasonable, and the service was attentive and friendly. If you want to learn more, go to http://www.grosseto.cz and check out the Marina section.

But what about the obvious — did we actually eat Czech food while we were in Prague? Of course, but we had it for dinner rather than lunch. Among the four of us, we had everything from venison paté to smoked pork to red cabbage to bread dumplings to beef goulash.

It was delicious — but the truly memorable treat in Prague was the Italian food at Marina Grosseto Ristorante. Besides, to paraphrase our friend Keith, who actually made this comment about German food, the problem with Czech food is that in three days you’re hungry again.

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3 Responses to The place for Italian food — in Prague

  1. ChiefScout says:

    Indeed we discovered the Aperol spritz on our Puglia tour. We have been scarfing them here ever since! Surpised we have not made you one as pretty sure they started selling Aperol here before you left. I will try this place next month when in Prague.

  2. Loren says:

    Keith, Jan did remember that you liked Aperol. I’ll look for it here too.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Aperol spritz! I’m going to try that one — sounds delicious!

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