Prague: Making Memories Over Good Food

I realize there’s still some adventures to share  from September’s trip to Prague. After all, if this blog’s purpose is to document my experiences in adulthood, our trips factor in pretty heavily.

Have you ever had a meal that was so wonderful, you remember it months later? You’d be in the middle of a conversation and you find yourself craving that dish? You can still remember what every bite tastes like, the sheer enjoyment you got out of every little morsel?

Because that’s what often happens to me, especially when I think about Prague.

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We never truly expected the Czech capital to stand out in terms of cuisine- after all Czech food doesn’t really resonate the way French or Italian does. But if you go with an open mind, you’ll find that both your taste-buds and wallet are in for a treat.

What made it all the more memorable isn’t just that the food was wonderful everywhere we ate, it’s the experiences that came to be associated with each place.

The Brie Burger at CakeCafe

On our first day in Prague, the last thing either one of us wanted to do was walk more, especially since we still had an opera to attend.

We had been familiarizing ourselves with the city since sunrise, doing Sandeman’s excellent walking tour as we waited for our hotel to check us in, and later exploring Wenceslas Square.

Using Zomato, we found a restaurant that served Czech food and grill. It was highly rated and nearby, two reasons for us to rejoice. However, since we weren’t too familiar with the area yet, we decided to ask the receptionist for a little guidance.

Big mistake.

Her lack of identifying left from right led us into one never-ending loop, somehow never passing the one street where the eatery we wanted was located. We began to get frustrated at one another, especially that I’m usually our navigator. Show time was getting closer and closer and we’d still not had a single bite.

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Finally we settled on this quaint looking cafe with a nice terrace on the way to the opera house- the menu unassuming and inexpensive. We both selected the same Brie burger, one with a side salad and the other with fries.

Once I had that first try of the meat, all was forgotten and that receptionist was relegated to a joke the husband and I make when someone gets lost.

Anniversary Dinner at Bellevue

Ahmad knows that half the fun of every trip is planning, so he lets me do my research without much interference. The one task he takes upon himself is finding us a high-end restaurant worthy of an occasion- and for our one year anniversary, he pulled out all the stops, booking a table at one of the city’s top notch restaurants with a breathtaking view of the castle and Charles Bridge to boot.

 

We relied on the staff’s recommendations and ended up enamored by the offerings, while the service was impeccable and attentive. They even presented us with an additional dessert in celebration. We lingered for as long as we could, discussing how the past year had gone and how we wanted to move forward.

It was at Bellevue that I realized I needed to take control of my own happiness.

Goulash at The Homely Restaurant Facing Petrin Hill Whose Name I Can No Longer Remember (Hotel U Krize Restaurant) 

By our third day, we wanted Czech food and we wanted it badly. We’d heard so much about their goulash and dumplings and we were not willing to go back to Beirut without a taste.

So after we had finished exploring/chilling atop of Petrin Hill, we hiked all the way down to the base (the stupid ticket machine for the stupid funicular would not take my stupid coins) and came across a street lined with eateries. I worried that they might be too touristy at first, but when I heard Czech being spoken  predominantly, I figured it can’t be that bad.

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The restaurant looked very homely and the dishes reflected that, as though someone’s grandma was in the kitchen preparing all the food with love. The meat was incredibly tender and the goulash came with plenty of dumplings-exactly what I needed to wipe the dish clean from all the delicious sauce.

The Homemade Fanta and the Apple Strudel at Mincovna

If Ahmad wants something, Ahmad is going to work hard to make that happen- especially if an apple strudel is involved.

On our last day in Prague, we’d already checked out of our room and were looking to fill up as much time as we could before we departed for the airport. We’d been lingering around Old Town Square for a while when hunger struck. Unfortunately, we were in the exact place for tourist traps.

Fortunately for us though, our tour guide on the first day pointed out Mincovna as the only place worth trying on the square- and one look at the restaurant was enough to affirm that. As we walked by, Ahmad saw dessert landing on one of the tables and it was love at first sight.

 

Their savory options were equally satisfying: I opted for the juiciest chicken breast I have ever had, while Ahmad indulged in their duck offering. We washed down the meal with some homemade Fanta that was so good, I replicated it a few weeks later at home. And of course, the apple strudel, the main reason we visited the place to begin with: it tasted just as great as it looked!

Later that night, we returned to Beirut with big smiles, full stomachs, and memories that began to feel like we had dreamed  them up.

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