Sunday, February 17, 2013

MALA STRANA part 2




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This is the 2nd post on Mala Strana, so enough of the history lesson and more about morer side of this district of Prague. Three names which come to mind when I think of Mala Strana are Jan Neruda, Albrecht von Wallenstein and Edward Kelly.

Jan Neruda's name can be seen on the road leading up to the castle from the square. Jan Neruda was a prominent figure of the Prague Renaissance in the 19th century. He was a writer, journalist, poet and founding member of the Czech realism movement. The name Wallenstein is very visible, especially on some of the buildings in Mala Strana. The most impressive of these being the Wallenstein Palace which is the current home of the Czech senate. Albrecht von Wallenstein was a general in the Habsburg army. He fought in the 30 years war and helped to win the war and was thanked by the Emperor Rudolph 2 who later had the command of his armies removed and ordered his assassination. The later of the three, Edward Kelly can't be found on any street names in Mala Strana but his name and the art of Alchemy for what he is known can be seen in many establishments in Mala Strana and other districts of Prague.

Apart from the obvious signs that you are in one of the most popular tourist areas of Prague such as the bustling streets of Mostecka and Nerudova and the views of the  Prague castle, Charles bridge and St Nicholas church, there are more subtle signs such as 50czk beers and an abundance of traditional Czech restaurants. If you fancy something a little less hustle and bustle and more relaxing and clean then there are 2 popular green areas to see, Kampa park along the banks of the river Vltava and Petrin hill and if you don't fancy walking all the way up to the tower, there is a funicular ride that will take those of you who have already covered more Km's than your legs are comfortable carrying.

Walking around the streets of Mala Strana, taking all those photos, with a map in hand I found it easier in the end just to put the map away and trust my built in GPS to guide me around the streets and in doing so I found a lot of interesting places and a lot of great photos, some of which you can see at the bottom of the blog, so have a look.

Review

This week we ended up by the river at Obcanska Plovarna which nowadays is a Thai restaurant/music club. We went to sample the Thai food hopefully prepared by their fabled Thai chef, as it says on their web site. The venue itself is very impressive, next to the Czech Parliament building with great views of the Rudolfinum and National Theatre. We booked a table quite early because we went there with our son and we were very happy when arriving to find a table and baby chair for little Sammy to sit in. Our waiter was very nice, speaking Czech and English and his general attitude was friendly and professional. The decor is very plush and minimalistic and was set on 2 floors. The second floor looked down on to the first floor like a continuous square balcony. The place was child friendly and when we checked the website and saw that from March they offer a Sunday brunch buffet from 11 to 15 for families with teachers from the British kindergarten available to look after guests' children, we were very impressed though at 700czk a head and 250 for children from 6 to 15 years we won't be going there every weekend.

I had a small draught Lobkovic and Annie had a glass of white wine as a digestive. The beer could have been a little bit colder, but I am being a little harsh, mainly due to the type of establishment it is and we were the first guests of the evening. To start we shared Kari Puf which in English are 6 pieces of Thai vegetarian samosas with a sweet chilli sauce and they had a very fresh taste and even Sammy enjoyed them, without the sweet chilli sauce of course. The main courses were a Phad Thai Kai which is Thai noodles with peanuts, beansprouts and chicken and it came wrapped in a bamboo leaf. It was a very generous portion, not spicy but it had some dried chilli as an accompliment if you wanted to be a bit more adventurous. The opinion was an empty plate and Sammy also helped Annie to finish it. I had the Kaeng Ped Pet Yang - crispy duck in a red curry sauce with vegetables which had a 2 chilli spice warning but wasn't very spicy, well for my palate that is. Annie might have a different opinion for sure. I was expecting crispy duck and a drier sauce but I got well cooked duck in a wetter more liquidy curry sauce than I imagined, which was a bit disappointing if I was to be honest but it was very nice, though I was not too keen on the addition of whole grapes with seeds and small cubes of aubergine, not really Thai style culinary ingredients me thinks.

All in all we really enjoyed the whole experience. It is a very nice place with a great location, roll on spring and summer time, lunches on the river bank and nice gardens and playing area for the kids to run around in. The staff were very nice, polite and professional and the food was fresh, tasty and great value for money and if you want a special meal for a special occasion then i am sure that the Norwegian roast king crab leg with chilli sauce and vegetables, weighing in at an incredible 1kg (I hope that it isn't just the one leg) and costing an arm and a leg at 1599czk, is going to impress.


Obcanska plovarna

Restaurants

Samarkand

U Bileho Lva

U Sedmi Svabu

Aquarius

U Tri Houslicek

U Certa
web: www.ucerta.cz/#1


U Krale Brabantskeho
web: www.krcmabrabant.cz/index_en.php


U Dvou Srdci

Tri Stoleti
web: http://www.tristoleti.cz/


Bars & Cafes


Booze Bar
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d2207387-Reviews-Booze_Bar-Prague_Bohemia.html



Tkalcovsky Dvur
web: www.tkalcovskydvur.com/

Lokal u Bile Kuzelky
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1500679-Reviews-U_Bile_Kuzelky-Prague_Bohemia.html



U Zeleneho Caje
web: http://www.uzelenehocaje.cz/
review: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d830068-Reviews-U_Zeleneho_Caje-Prague_Bohemia.html


Creperie u Kajetana
address: Nerudova 17
review: https://foursquare.com/v/creperie-u-kajet%C3%A1na/4f919cb6e4b09d83502dbd79


Ema Prague Strudel
web: http://www.emapraguestrudel.cz/
review: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d3256629-Reviews-Ema_Prague_Strudel-Prague_Bohemia.html


Vinograf
web: http://www.vinograf.cz/tag/praha/
review: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g274707-d1653181-Reviews-Vinograf_Wine_Bar-Prague_Bohemia.html




Places of interest


Fork & Cork - Food & Wine lovers
http://www.fork-cork.com/


KGB Museum
http://kgbmuzeum.com/en/


Electric Bike Rental
http://www.ilikeebike.com/index.php?strana=home


Bio Bachovky - flower essence therapy
http://www.bio-bachovky.cz/


Rafaella - Prague alchemic perfumery
http://www.rafaella.cz/en/


Shakespeare a Synove - bookshop
www.shakes.cz


Bakery Krusta
Karlova 146/23


Marionety - hand crafted puppets
marionety.com


Pilsner Urquell Gallery – Experience Shop
http://www.galerie.pilsner-urquell.cz/en/



Monarch - wine and wine tasting, ice cream, cooking classes and more
http://www.monarch.cz




 





Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MALA STRANA part 1




Mala Strana dates back to the mid 13th century when the king at the time Premysl Otakar invited German craftsmen to vie their trade in what is Malostranska namesti. The town although not fully under the control of the king was granted Royal Status and it was during the reign of Charles IV that it was divided from the rest of Prague by the construction of the hunger wall remenants of which can still be seen today up on Petrin hill though by 1541 most of the original buildings had been destroyed by fire and wars.

The lesser side does have a lot of beautiful buildings and is connected to the rest of Prague by the Charles Bridge which apart from the castle is one of the most recognisable structures in the city and I am sure that if you have seen a lot of movies in the past 15 years you will recognise a lot of the streets and landmarks usually mistaken for other cities like Vienna and Paris.

Mala Strana is jam packed with historical buildings such as the Prague castle and the Walstein Palace, the Charles Bridge and countless churches and not forgetting the views from Kampa park of the old town.

Mala Strana was my local back in 2000 and I used to visit my local Irish bar Scarlet O'Hara's, hidden down the side of where McDonald's is on Mostecka, though it has sadly long since gone and much later on, when I was finally kicked out, head over the bridge to my favourite night club Lavka. During those days all the streets were dug up and no trams went through for a good 6 months so it was difficult to get there without a bit of a stroll but I was younger back then and I was not put off by a walk if it meant getting a pint of Guinness and having a drink with a mainly expat crowd. As you can imagine this area is full of bars and restaurants so choosing a 10 places to visit is by no means an easy task but there are still a lot of places which have survived the early construction around 2000 and the floods of 2002 so out of respect to their resilience, I have included  a lot of them.

Review

Anna, my SVG's parents were in town and they always want to have a typical Czech fried cheese or smazak to the locals, so with that in mind and my love of small breweries we went to Ferdinanda which is a small cellar hospoda close to Malostranske namesti. The cellar is very cosy and the staff are very friendly and helpful. I had a sedm kuli which translated means 7 bullets and it is a 13 degree dark beer and very nice and smooth. The future in-laws had a small dark beer and Anna had a small light ferdinand. The food was homemade and the portions were good and good quality Czech pub grub. Anna's parents had the fried cheese, Anna had the Nakladany Hermelin (pickled cheese) and I was adventurous and went for the Tlacenka (pork brawn). I would definitely go here again especially as they also have a non smoking section, a big plus when you have small children, though if you have a pram or a stroller you have to bear in mind that it won't be easy getting up and down, unless one of the friendly staff helps you up the stairs on your way out and don't forget to keep your bill with your email written on the back of it because there is a chance of winning a food voucher if you stick it in the small cracks in the wall on the way out, and they pick yours in the monthly draw that they have.

Restaurants

Sushi Bar
web: www.sushi.cz
review: review: www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1099679-Reviews-Sushi_Bar-Prague_Bohemia.html


Zlaty Had
web: www.zlatyhad.cz/vinarna-praha
review: https://foursquare.com/v/vinoteka-zlaty-had/4b893db9f964a520572532e3


Stara Pradelna
web: www.starapradelna.cz
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d2446254-Reviews-Stara_Pradelna-Prague_Bohemia.html

Alchymist
web: http://www.nosticova.com/cz/restaurace/
review: www.timeout.com/prague/restaurants/venue/1%3A17369/alchymist


NOI
web: www.noirestaurant.cz/en/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1149537-Reviews-NOI_The_Art_of_Taste-Prague_Bohemia.html


Cantina
web: www.restauracecantina.cz
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d694910-Reviews-Cantina-Prague_Bohemia.html


Luka Lu
web: http://lukalu.cz
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1095895-Reviews-Luka_Lu-Prague_Bohemia.html


Kampa
web: www.kampagroup.com
review: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d692129-Reviews-Kampa_Park-Prague_Bohemia.html


Carmelita
web: www.restauracecarmelita.cz
review: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1173546-Reviews-Ristorante_Carmelita-Prague_Bohemia.html


U Modre Kachnicky
web: www.umodrekachnicky.cz/en/original/welcome
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d694895-Reviews-U_modre_kachnicky-Prague_Bohemia.html


Mandarin Oriental
web: www.mandarinoriental.com/prague/fine-dining/essensia/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1797224-Reviews-Essensia_at_Mandarin_Oriental_Prague-Prague_Bohemia.html


Ferdinanda
web: www.ferdinanda.cz/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d800596-Reviews-Ferdinanda-Prague_Bohemia.html


U Maleho Glena
web: http://malyglen.cz/en
review: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d800628-Reviews-U_Maleho_Glena-Prague_Bohemia.html


El Centro
web: www.elcentro.cz/pages/cz_czech/uvod.php?lang=CS
review: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1370787-Reviews-El_Centro-Prague_Bohemia.html


U Male Velryby
web: http://umalevelryby.cz/en/restaurace/
review: www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d800365-Reviews-U_male_velryby_Little_Whale-Prague_Bohemia.html


U Maliru
web: http://www.umaliru.cz/en/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1092053-Reviews-U_Maliru-Prague_Bohemia.html


Konirna
web: http://www.konirna.eu/cs/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d694903-Reviews-Konirna-Prague_Bohemia.html


Bars & Cafes


Mad Bar
web: http://www.madbar.cz
review: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1137939-Reviews-Mad_Bar-Prague_Bohemia.html



Ichnusa Botega
web: www.ichnusa.cz
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1775083-Reviews-Ichnusa_Botega_Bistro-Prague_Bohemia.html




Hospudka Na Certovce
web: http://nacertovce.wz.cz/
review: www.qype.co.uk/place/1627669-Hosp-dka-Na-ertovce-Prague



Cafe Vescoviweb: www.vescovi.cz/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d3315343-Reviews-Caffe_Vescovi-Prague_Bohemia.html


Vino Deja Vuweb: www.vinodejavu.cz/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d2099462-Reviews-Vino_deja_vu-Prague_Bohemia.html


Cafe De Parisweb: www.cafedeparis.cz/
review: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1099743-Reviews-Cafe_De_Paris-Prague_Bohemia.html




Cukr Kava Limonadaweb: www.cukrkavalimonada.com/en/
review: www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d2691337-Reviews-Cukrkavalimonada-Prague_Bohemia.html


U Knoflickuweb: www.uknoflicku.cz/


Zanzi Bar
web: www.zanzi.cz/

Places of interest

Simulators

web: http://www.letecke-simulatory.cz/


GrowShop
web: www.growland.cz/


Ropemakers
web: www.provaznictvi.cz/


Snowboards clothing
web: www.salebra.com/



Sudek Atelier
web: www.sudek-atelier.cz/


Antique shop
web: www.ahasver.com/page.php?read=intro&lang=cs



Segway tours
web: http://www.prague-segway-tours.com/en/


Fish, poultry & game
web: www.misterwhat.cz/company/81060-ryby-drubez-zverina-masek-zemanova-praha


Filipino store
web: http://www.pnoytasteofasia.com/