BY MAXIMILIAN KWIATKOWSKI
My aunt taught English in Prague twice. She told me while I was there for spring break to make sure and try Czech dumplings. So for my second dining experience in Prague, I went on a hunt for a place that had a dumpling platter. U Ceskych Panu (Školská 38, 110 00 Praha 1) was one of two places near the city center I could find.
The restaurant is subterranean and I had to walk down a fairly long winding staircase to get inside (made even more difficult due to a large group of Czechs leaving). The interior has a medieval theme, with suits of armour and old bohemian coat of arms dotting the walls.
It’s fairly large, with a long distance from the main dining area to the kitchen and bar area. This got annoying as it took a while to get service. It also didn’t help that I had come for a fairly late lunch, meaning two Frenchman, a large Russian family and myself were the only guests in the restaurant. Service was spotty and slow but my server brought me my food warm and checked up with me a few times. I didn’t mind too much as I spent the wait writing postcards, but if I didn’t have something to do, I would have gone mad waiting.
Thankfully, the food was much better than the service. I started my meal with a beef broth soup (45 KC or $2). I was a bit disappointed there was nothing much to it except some chives and broth, but it was exactly what was written on the menu. I can’t fault them for that, I simply shouldn’t have ordered it. It was nice and warm, so at the very least it warmed me up from the cold day.
The next dish was the dumplings. The waiter placed this enormous plate in front of me covered in sauerkraut, red cabbage and some well-sized potato and bread dumplings. The platter was some of the best comfort food I’ve had. Cabbages were piled high and prepared quite well — they weren’t overly bitter or runny with water. The dumplings were loaded with thick chunks of bacon. We’re talking about the meaty part here, a little fat to add to the taste but nothing beyond that. It was pretty filling as well.
I then decided to have dessert and got myself the pancakes with sour cream and blueberries. The food I’ve missed most stateside has been pancakes, so this hit the spot. They were thick and chewy silver dollar flapjacks. The batter was probably buckwheat, which makes them have a kind of nutty flavor (similar to almonds, but less strong). The helping of blueberry preserves and sour cream was generous. Although neither were the freshest, it was still an excellent desert.
My total bill ran about 240 KC, which is only about $12. Considering the amount of food I got and the quality of the latter two dishes, I was more than pleased. The service could be improved drastically, so unfortunately I can’t give this a perfect score, but if you’re looking for a cheap place near the city center, give it a shot.
4 out of 5