Saturday, June 23, 2007

Reykjavic, Prague, Czech Republic

I had a really interesting and pleasant dining experience in Prague (Praha to natives). While walking from a conference site to my hotel, one of my local hosts suggested stopping at an outdoor cafe for dinner. We happened to sit at the restaurant Reykjavic, which , as the name suggests, features Icelandic cuisine. It is also notable as being one of the earliest foreign, private restaurants in Prague.

For dinner, I split some pickled herring with a friend, done in the nordic style. Now, I am a fan of pickled herring done this way, a passion I picked up after a week in Stockholm many years ago. The problem I have in the US is that until recently few local stores offered the sweeter herring characteristic of Sweden. I used to stop at Ikea on the way home from the Poconos to get some passable herring. I'm pleased to report the herring at Reykjavic was quite tasty. Being in Prague, I had a beer to go with the appetizer.

However, the main course was most interesting: salt cod. This is something I have never had before, though I have seen salted cod in its "raw" form: solid as a rock and looking rather unappetizing. The menu description included boiled potatoes and whole grain mustard. Altogether, it sounded like a risky and potentially bland dish.

I am pleased to report, that I could not have been more wrong. When the cod was served, it was to me reminiscent of fresh monk fish. It was tender, springy, flavored, and moist. The mustard was delicious, but I think this could have been served with almost any sauce. And to my surprise, the fish seemed salt free.

While I highly recommend sampling as much traditional Czech food as you can while in Prague, and I'll have a follow-up note on some great experiences, I found Rejkyavik to be a worthy departure from the local cuisine and a rather remarkable dining experience as well. If you are in Praha for a few days, give it the salt cod a try. I find myself wanting more, but not sure where to find anything comparable in New Jersey.


At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Prague Hotels said...

I also found czech kitchen delicious when I was in Prague. There are a lot of nice restaurants with excellent service and dishes for every taste. I enjoyed a lot.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Lucy said...

Thank you for advice. I agree with you, if you are in Prague, of course you have to try Czech cuisine in order to feel Czech culture. Czech food isn't light but it is a good food. They love the dumplings, all sorts, and the pork is their favored meat. From picturesque farms comes geese (much favored over a duck), chickens and trout from mountain streams. They harvest carp from ponds for Christmas eve meal. Many kinds of variety of delicious edible mushrooms come from virgin woods and meadows. They know and like cereal products such as noodles. Their superbly delicious rye breads are served in Prague restaurants with cold meats and cheeses. Their Sunday dinner starts with a soup with liver dumplings, main meal is dumplings, sauerkraut and rousted porkchops, or geese.
And naturally, it is the Budweiser or Pilsner Urquel to top every dish.


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