Friday, August 11, 2017

Beading through Bohemia Reviews Part 2

Roasting meat
t’s all about the food – or at least good food makes a trip better. We did have several nice meals made even better with a group of new friends. I’m a bit spoiled; even though I have food allergies that make getting common items sometimes a bit difficult, chefs and cooks generally do their best to accommodate me. On this trip if I ordered on my own I could talk to the wait staff and find something that was local but acceptable to my dietary needs. When I was with the group, I got grilled or roasted chicken at each meal; this was disappointing. Again, to see how my rating system works, take a look at
Reading the Reviews.

What we ate:
Four Carrots

Il Gusto Ristrante (Rytířská 404/12, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia, +420 739 766 573) is in Old Town and has both outdoor and indoor seating.
Left to Right: Fish, Cheese plate
We had some really good cheese as well as some nicely cooked fish.  The service was slow – as it is in Prague – but the food was good and the company was great. Sitting inside can be rather warm, but the restaurant was non-smoking and it was gradually getting too cool for comfort outside. The prices were a bit high, but not out of line for where we were in the city.

La Bodeguita del Medio (1074 Budapest, Dob str. 57, +36 20 388 2738)
Top L to R: Sweet wine, Shrimp, Menu
Bottom L to R: Sorbet, Plantains
is a Cuban restaurant located in what appears to be a sketchy part of town. Actually, the neighborhood is just fine and is going through a gentrification. The young lady who invited us in had a hard time getting everyone to actually check out the restaurant. I decided to have a look inside and was quite surprised and pleased. Certain that I was going to be taken captive by white slavers, the rest of the group came into the restaurant, and was so taken with the place that we decided to stay. Our meal was very good and the service was excellent. Prices were good, as well. I hope these folks are still in business when I come back!

Stifler Bar (Budapest, Hungary, Erzsébet krt. 19, 1073 Hungary, +36 20 200 1000) is actually a sports bar. Barb and I stumbled into it, literally,
Top L to R: Menu, Restaurant
Bottom: Burgers and fries
after a morning of walking the hot streets looking for a book store. The fan on the seating area was what attracted us. In this bar you order off of a menu above the cash register, but the staff bring your food to your table. They were extremely courteous and made sure that we were happy with our meals. We each got a burger and fries along with very cold Cokes. Neither of us thought we could finish our meals, but we both ate every bit of what was before us. Barb had melted cheese to go with her fries and I had chipotle mayonnaise to go with mine. The restaurant had memorabilia from a bunch of US sports teams; however, on all of the TVs were videos of the Hungarian Olympic medal winners. We enjoyed watching the tapes, partly because we knew nothing about their heroes. I would go back there in a heartbeat!

Menagerie (Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1040 Wien, Austria, +43 1 3201111)
L to R: Iced coffee, Menu
is actually a café inside the Belvedere Museum. We only wanted a place to scour our maps and something cold to drink. What we got was some over the top iced coffee and the help of a very nice waiter. From out table we could look out over the gardens then out to the city. With the breeze coming in through the windows it was a very pleasant place to enjoy our coffee.

Three and One-half Carrots

Avalon Waterways ( has chefs who prepare meals for whomever is on the ship. Breakfast and lunch were
Top L to R: Fish, Fruit salad
Bottom L to R: Cheese plate, Soup
buffet, but most things were not labeled. Dinner was served. There was a listing of foods that could be ordered if you had food allergies, however, none of the groups listed focused on my dietary issues, so I was pleased that they did go to the effort of preparing dinner for me that didn’t have onions and/or spinach. Their selection of wines for dinner was really limited unless you were willing to pay extra. The waiters were okay, but seemed to have more patrons than they could serve efficiently. Everyone was expected to eat dinner at the same time rather than coming and going at different times. We were quite pleased that you could have breakfast (actually any meal) brought to your room for a fee of €2.

Café De La Place
Café De La Place (Malé náměstí 4, 110 00 Prague, Staré Město, Praha 1, Czech Republic, +420 728 257 732) is a nice little place for a snack and a smoothie. Several of us had these yummy fruit drinks.

Conditorei Sluka Rathausplatz (Rathausplatz 8, A-1010 Vienna, +43 1 405 71 72) is an outdoor café that specializes in tempting desserts. We
Top L to R: Beef croissant, Menu
Bottom: Desserts
all succumbed. The also served sandwiches and drinks that were pretty good. Prices are a bit high and service is a bit slow, but people watching kept us busy until our food was delivered. Of course, we did start out with only four people and our group grew to about seven; our waitress grimaced each time we added a table, but did her best for us.

Heuriger Hans Maly KG (Sandgasse 8, 1190 Wien, Austria, +43 1
Top L to R: Salad, Bread
Bottom L to R: Mixed meats, Beer
3201384) serves traditional Austrian food: lots of meats, dumplings that look a good deal like hunks of bread, soup, salad, and apple strudel.  Because of my allergies, I was served roasted chicken. I was surprised that none of the arranged restaurants actually prepared traditional dishes without onions. I tasted several of the traditional meats and they were pretty good. Strolling musicians added to the ambiance.

Hospodarsky Dvur (Bohuslavice 10, 588 56 Telč, Czechia, +420 607 061 390) is a hotel and restaurant. There is also a cute little gift shop
Left: Chicken
Right T to B: Soup, Beef and dumplings
attached to the hotel. One surprising thing is that they don’t have any ‘to go’ containers; you can get a bottle of water at the gift shop, but nothing else. The café was pretty as were the dishes, and the servers were very nice. We had the traditional dumplings, meat, and soup. Of course, they presented me with a grilled chicken breast rather than anything remotely ethnic and while it was tasty, it was boring.

Hotel Veselý restaurant (Stefanikova 416, Železný Brod, 468 22, Czech
Top L to R: Tortellini, Omelet
Bottom: Fries
Republic, +420 608 119 077) was quite nice and the young lady who served us did a very good job explaining the menu.  Barb had a very nice omelet and I had some lovely tortellini. Prices were good and we weren’t rushed through our meal. I would have liked to have seen the hotel rooms; it looked like a nice place.

Huszár Étterem – Söröző (Budapest, II. János Pál pápa tér 22, 1081 Hungary, +36 1 303 9940) served traditional Hungarian food. Most folks
Left: Strudel
Center T to B: Chicken, Chicken paprika
Right T to B: Menu, Bread and soup
got chicken paprika that looked really good. I got, yep, you guessed it, roasted chicken. The salad and bread were very good. The strudel was okay, but by this time most folks were fairly tired of this dessert. The strolling musicians were good and took requests. The restaurant is in a historic building and the atmosphere was lovely; I particularly liked the paintings that adorned the walls.

Restaurant U Balouna (Václavské nám. 781/20, 110 00 Nové Město,
Top L to R: Jacqui with pig knee, Menu
Bottom L to R: Goat cheese,
Debbie with pig knee
Czechia, +420 224 228 388) is near Wenceslas Square and generally serves tourists; this was probably why my two friends got the pig knee.  I got a nice piece of goat cheese. This outdoor restaurant had a rather extensive menu, good service, and good prices. It’s sometimes difficult to get into places like this, but it’s worth the effort if you’ve not been to Prague previously.  We had a good time with our waiter and the people around us.

U Labuti (Hradčanské nám. 61/11, 118 00 Praha-Hradčany, Czechia, +420 220 511 191) is a nice restaurant and the waiters were pleasant, as
Top L to R: Bread, Menu
Bottom L to R: Strudel, Salad
well. However, they didn’t realize that we were coming to their place of business on a festival day and they were very busy as well as being understaffed. Our local guide actually got up and helped serve the traditional lunch, which had taken an inordinate amount of time to prepare. The salad was especially good, as was the bread; the strudel was okay.

U Topolů (Jugoslávských partyzánů 943/32, 160 00 Praha 6, Czechia,
Left: Bread stuffed with cheese
Right T to B: Menu, Veal Squirrels
+420 233 338 854) is a neighborhood bar and restaurant with an interesting menu. It was close to the hotel and seemed to be a rather welcoming place. What grabbed my interest was ‘Juicy steaks of veal squirrels’; and of course that’s what I ordered. It was actually beef with a tasty gravy and some pretty good mashed potatoes. Some of the other folks said that the beer good, as well. A few nights later I had a hunk of bread stuffed with cheese that was dreadful; you have to watch what you order. It’s interesting that a group of women ordering beer can only get a small mug, but if you’re with at least one man you can get a large beer. Our waitress the first night was smiling and ready to deal with us. Our waiter for our second visit was a bit gruff and, I think, a bit intimidated by a group of rowdy women.

Three Carrots

Folklore Garden (Nad konečnou 18, Corner of Nad konečnou and Na zlíchově, 159 00 Praha 5, Czechia, +420 724 334 340) has traditional
Left T to B: Slaw, Strudel, Translation
Center: Honey Liqueur
Right T to B: Bread, Chicken
singers and dancers along with traditional food. The menu interested me since it had common phrases translated from many different languages into Czech. The meal included soup, slaw, meat and dumplings, and strudel. I had chicken and salad. This place is really loud so any conversation is difficult. It also took quite a while to serve our large group so for those of us who were already tired from traveling, it wasn’t the best way to end a long day. However, the music was nice and the information about the culture was interesting.

Hotel and Palais Strudlhof (Pasteurgasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria, +43 1
Chocolate croissant
3192522) breakfast was a buffet with all of the breads, cheeses, and canned fruits you could eat. There were also some breakfast meats, and hot and cold cereals. We had plenty to eat, but it wasn’t too exciting. There was no table service, but there were folks around to clear and clean tables. They also made sure that the buffet was refreshed as needed.

Hotel International (Koulova 1501/15, 160 45 Praha 6, Czechia, +420 296 537 111) had a breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, canned fruits,
Breakfast plate
breakfast meats, and a variety of cereals. This was what we usually see in European hotels so it came as no surprise. There staff available to clear, and clean tables but there was no table service. Two things surprised us. The first morning Barb and I ordered room service coffee from a menu you hang on the door the night before; it came with a bushel of bread as well as butter and jam. The hang-tag menu was never returned to our room after this first night. We also got in trouble in the dining room when a bunch of us were chatting and laughing; we were told we were too loud.

Ibis Styles Budapest Center (Budapest, Rákóczi út 58, 1074 Hungary,
L to R: Breakfast area, Room service menu
+36 1 462 8100) had quite a large place for us to sit, but a very restricted area for the breakfast buffet. The room service had two pages of bar drinks and about half a page of food. We didn’t order any meal brought to our room. Breakfast included the usual assortment of breads, cheeses, meats, cereals and beverages. Because space was so limited, the buffet was refreshed continuously. This place had the best coffee of any hotel in which we stayed.

Restaurace U Ševce Matouše (Loretánské nám. 110/4, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia, +420 220 514 536) is a nice enough place to get a
T to B: Menu, Ham
and cheese
snack. We sat on the sidewalk, but there was also a garden with tables. Had we sat inside we’d have boiled! The food was rather expensive and the service was slow. Barb and I split a ham and cheese sandwich and we each had a Coke. It was pleasant sitting in the shade with a view of the Loreto and the Prague Castle.

Yohm (Peterspl. 3, 1010 Wien, Austria, +43 1 5332900) was a sidewalk
Left: Lemonade
Right T to B: Menu, Goat
cheese and tomatoes
café that met our needs before we dropped from walking all over Vienna. Barb and I shared a sandwich, and we each had a lemonade. They were busy so our order took a while. The restrooms were in a nearby restaurant, and the folks there didn’t seem busy at all. If I went back I’d opt for the restaurant rather than the café.

One Carrot

Gastland Bisztró Oktogon (Budapest, Teréz krt. 23, 1067 Hungary, +36 1 952 1453) was absolutely vial. There is no service, the food is
Left: Cream puff
Right L to R: Logo, Buffet
unmarked as to what it is (forget what is in it), and seating is hot and uncomfortable. The only reason I rated it as high as I did was for the very cold Diet Coke (an extra charge) and the passable cream puff. Barb had a piece of pound cake that was like cardboard. The piece of pizza I had was salty, stale, and tough. The poppy seed pasta was sweet and meant to be eaten as a dessert, but it was with the main dishes on the buffet. We were given about 12 ounces of tepid water in a pitcher to serve a table of six. There was no ice and no refills; no one ever came to check on our group. What a miserable experience!

This trip introduced me to places I would like to revisit. There is still a wealth of things to see and explore along the Danube and I’m ready to go, again!

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