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Trip Report: PRAGUE, VIENNA, BUDAPEST (LONG!)

I mean, they were good, but I've had much better. I think I liked the ones in Vienna better possibly because they had mayo in them, which of course makes them a bit unhealthier hehe.

Sorry I forgot to mention the guidebook I used. It was the Rick Steves Eastern Europe guidebook.

I was going to do a tour with Taste of Prague, but they were unavailable when I was there.

Oct 17, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Trip Report: PRAGUE, VIENNA, BUDAPEST (LONG!)

Thanks for the info Sturmi. I wish I had known about these little tid bits beforehand. Had the weather not been foul on the Saturday I was there I would have made an effort to try the Sacher torte at the namesake hotel. But come to think of it, my guidebook made a point that the locals think their Sacher torte is not what it used to be. This is why I didn't go. Maybe the guidebook is wrong?

Oct 08, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Trip Report: PRAGUE, VIENNA, BUDAPEST (LONG!)

I ventured further east on my recent trip to Europe and I praise the ChowHound community for helping me make most of my dining decisions. I traveled solo, which is only a bad thing because I wasn’t able to try more items off the great menus I saw. My trip started August 25 and ended September 1 (it took a while to write this up). Special thanks to Taste of Prague and Sturmi for their help.

Side note: I’ve included links to my Tripadvisor reviews so that you can see the pictures that I took. Unfortunately, it seems that TA did not include all of the photos I posted for some of the reviews. I’ll see if I can work on this. Also, unless otherwise noted, prices listed do not include what I tipped.

Prague:
Day 1:​Arrived early enough to grab some lunch. First stop was at Sisters (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). I got three of the open faced sandwiches: beet root with goat cheese, egg salad, and salmon mousse. Total was 93 Kc (~$4.30). I enjoyed the setting of this small place and the display of the sandwiches. Although I did like my sandwiches and the overall presentation of each of them was well executed, I can’t say I’d run back immediately to get more. I left some room in order to try the meatloaf (75 Kc, ~$3.50) at Naše Maso (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ), literally right across from Sisters. I got a couple of slices of meatloaf with my order along with some bread slices, mustard, and cornichons. Good stuff, but still left me wanting more in terms of flavor. What I did like was that it was not greasy at all, although it did have a good amount of fat to give it flavor. I didn’t realize until after I came home and looked at the reviews on TripAdvisor that apparently you can order any type of meat they have displayed and they’ll cook it for you right there. I would have done this had I known in advance and had I been a bit less shy to inquire.

Dinner was at Čestr (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). The interior was really neat looking with lots of tables. The outside patio had quite a number of tables as well, but it was rather chilly in the evenings here so not many people were seated outside. I enjoyed the menu that was given. It was kind of a small pamphlet/brochure and I was delighted to take this as a souvenir. Per Taste of Prague’s recommendations (from their blog), I ordered a stewed meat with rosemary (I can’t recall the cut of meat) and a side of mashed potatoes. My dishes were brought out by one of the chef’s and always asked if I was satisfied with the dish before walking away. That’s a nice addition to the service. Despite the great service I received, I wasn’t a huge fan of the dishes. My meat dish was fine, but maybe the sauce it came with could have used a bit more flavor. The mashed potatoes to me were nothing special. They certainly could have used more butter in my opinion. For dessert, I also took Taste of Prague’s recommendation and ordered the beer ice cream. I’ll admit I was hesitant in ordering this because I do not like beer at all and Taste of Prague mentioned it did not taste like beer. Out it came, I tried it, and wasn’t too happy with it. I have to say it was a bit heavy and had a carbonated taste to it (obviously from the beer) that I didn’t care for. Would I write this place off? No. I would just give them another try and have some other items.

Day 2: ​I had lunch at U Zavěšenýho Kaffe (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) up in the Castle hill area. When I went it was rather empty, which was fine for me because it meant less cigarette smoke in the dining room. This was my first shot at trying beef goulash. The plate I received was rather large, but was filled up mainly with slices of bread (dumplings) and the sauce. Very little meat was on the plate. However, the presentation was well done; wasn’t sloppy at all. I can’t say I really loved the dish. The sauce was a bit bland, but the beef was fork tender. I had also ordered a side of potato gnocchi, but I never received it because the waitress forgot to put in the order. I guess she was too busy smoking her cigarette behind the bar. I kind of didn’t care at that point because I figured I should just save my appetite for something better. I opted to try an apple strudel for dessert, which I particularly liked. My total (with a bottle of water) was 255 Kc (~$11.75).

I was excited to be dining at Lokal Dlouha (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) for dinner after hearing so many wonderful things about it. I walked in and at first was confused as to who was in charge of greeting and seating the dining patrons. You initially walk into a bar. I proceeded down the dining room and got the attention of one of the waitresses and she sat me at my table. You’ve read it before and I’ll remind you again, don’t come here without a reservation. For a Tuesday evening, it was quite packed and I witnessed many people being turned away that had no reservation. My dinner here was simple. I started with the ham and horseradish cream and my entrée was a pork schnitzel with a side of potato salad. I immediately fell in love with the horseradish cream. I don’t know what the “cream” part was composed of, but it tasted somewhat of a super light whipped cream. It cut through the spiciness of the horseradish beautifully and of course paired excellently with the ham. My pork schnitzel (recommended by the waitress) was nice and juicy. The potato salad was just that. I apparently wrote down that I had a small dessert in my journal, but I don’t have a photo of it or don’t recall what I had. Must not have been anything special, but Lokal certainly is special. I’d definitely want to come back here again and try other items off the menu. My total (with water) was 410 Kc (~$19).

Day 3:​ I toured the Wenceslas Square area on this day. At the bottom of the square was the newly opened Julius Meinl. I figured I might as well check it out here in order not to use up time in Vienna to see the same store. And also I kind of figured that the exchange rate would be more favorable for me here than in Vienna. I’ll admit the items here are expensive. However, I couldn’t help but spend most of my time browsing the different varieties of chocolates available on the ground floor. I had not seen chocolates like these before. They were chocolate bars with various toppings, which ranged from poppy seeds to dried fruits and nuts. The packaging was really beautiful and thought they’d make nice gifts. Upstairs you will find a deli, wines, liqueurs, coffees, honey, and a small section of cheeses, yogurts and other meats. It’s a beautiful market. The bulk of my purchase was chocolate bars (about 6; some made with camel’s milk from Dubai) and also included a bag of ground coffee, two jars of honey, and a small yogurt (from France) to have as a snack; 1339 Kc (~$62).

Lunch was at the venerable Sansho (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). Fortunately for me, I was able to sit on the outside patio. I enjoyed my view of the small street in front and of the church across the way. I was also seated next to a side street where across the way chef/owner Paul Day kept walking in and out of his soon to open new project (I can’t recall the name right now). Speaking of, he greeted me each time he passed me and made sure I was enjoying my meal. I went a little nuts with lunch in terms of how much I ordered. I started off with the soft shell crab sliders and the pork belly sliders. Both a great start to a great meal. My entrée was listed as a special and it was the red curry beef, which I’m assuming is the same as the beef redang served for dinner (correct me if I’m wrong). I really liked this dish. The shredded beef was served in a well-balanced sauce. My meal ended with a dessert trio of toffee pudding, cheesecake with caramel sauce, and peanut butter ice cream with a peanut butter cookie. Bravo! Excellent meal with truly exceptional service. Total was 692 Kc (~$32), which wasn’t as much of a splurge that I thought it would be.

Dinner was at Pizza Nuova. By this time I figured out that I’d pretty much be having most of my meals from the list of restaurants under the Ambiente group haha. So I wanted to try a couple of items off the menu and the waiter gave me a funny look. I said, “Too much?” He said, “Yes.” He suggested I order the all you can eat pizza/pasta. I obliged. I can’t recall every type of pizza and pasta I received, but I was pleasantly surprised with the Margherita pizza, which was very close to what I’ve had in Naples (what I consider to be the best pizza out there). The pastas I received were cooked well and paired with nice sauces. The portions they give you are tiny and sometimes there can be a little bit of a wait between courses. I enjoyed my meal, but ultimately wish I stuck with my original decision to eat like a glutton. Maybe next time. Total was 449 Kc (~$20.70), which I thought was slightly high for what I was getting.

Near the old town on Karlova is a bakery I passed a couple of times. It’s called Řemeslná pekárna Krusta. They sell these rolled up pastries (I never got the name) that you see all over Prague along with other lovely sweets. The roll, so to speak, had an interesting flavor (60 Kc, ~$2.75). It had a somewhat bitter after note after swallowing it, which I didn’t especially care for. I really liked the almond croissant (49 kc, ~$2.25), however.

Day 4:​ As you may have noticed I had not gone out to eat breakfast. Why bother when I have breakfast included in the hotel in which I was staying? However, for my last morning here I wanted to try Café Savoy (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) after hearing from Taste of Prague that they had a killer French Toast. I walked in without a reservation (this was during the week). A good amount of tables were available. I ordered my French Toast and while waiting couldn’t help but notice the beautiful interior of the restaurant. It felt like I was back in Paris. As I went downstairs to use the bathroom there was a little surprise: a nice view into the patisserie in the basement. On to the French Toast: superb! Better than the Pain Perdu I’ve had in Paris? No, but still a great meal with a wonderful presentation. I also ordered a couple of pastries from the display case to go. Total was 316 Kc (~$14.50). The pastries, which I ate later on, were forgettable in my opinion. I wanted to try something with apple, but nothing was available.

Vienna:

Day 1:​ I didn’t really do any sit down lunches in Vienna (except for my last day there). On my first day, while touring the Ring area, I initially stopped at Café Aida to try the much talked about Sacher Torte (€2.90). It was somewhat dry and overall the slice of cake was not in any way appealing to me. I’m finicky about chocolate (don’t care for dark or bitter varieties). On to the next food stop. My guidebook pointed me to Trzesniewski off the Graben (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). This place has been here for decades and is a favorite among locals (and tourists). They have so many open faced sandwiches to choose from at €1.20 a pop. I tried the paprika, bacon and egg, and crab and egg. Super yummy sandwiches. I’d have to say the bacon and egg was my favorite, naturally. I then spotted Zum Schwarzen Kameel (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) further down the way. I also stopped to grab some sandwiches and stood up in the bar rather than sitting down (to cut down on cost). I believe I ordered four kinds of sandwiches here. The two that stood out for me were the sweet corn and the curry and egg. Total for the four sandwiches and a bottle of water was about €11-12.

On to try another Sacher Torte. This time at Demel. I also ordered an apple strudel. Total was about €9-10. I figured that with the amount of money I just spent on two cakes that they’d be amazing. Wrong! I will say it is true that the torte here is moister (in comparison to Aida’s version), but I still did not care too much for the flavor. The apple strudel was a total let down. It lacked any sort of sweetness, which I expect with apple desserts. It was seriously bland and I was so disappointed.

Dinner was at Kutschker 44 (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ), which was recommended by Sturmi. This restaurant is in a total non-touristy area of city, which I happened to like. I decided to take a table on the outside terrace considering it was a nice evening. I didn’t get too much of a view of the interior of the restaurant, but I remember it having a very modern look. I was initially concerned when I was brought the menu because it was all in German. I have no knowledge of the language and couldn’t even really decipher anything on the menu. I asked the waitress if she had an English menu and, fortunately, there was. One page of the menu offers up 3, 4, and 5 course menu options and the other page contains a la carte items. I opted for the 3 course menu. My first course was a salad with sheep’s milk cheese, figs, and some sort of red berries dressed in a mustard vinaigrette. This was a solid course, but not amazing by any means. The lettuce used was more of a thick small leaf green that had a bit of a chew to it. My next course was a risotto with parmesan, arugula, and thyme plums. Another fairly solid course, but even with the slivers of parmesan on top I thought the rice needed more salt. It was borderline bland. My last course was a roasted filet of river trout with roasted spinach, green salad, and sour cream. It took what felt like 30 minutes to receive this course. The waitress even came up to me and told me that my course was almost out. I’d say another 10 minutes had passed before receiving my course (I was beginning to wonder that service is typically slow in Vienna. Sturmi, what say you?). Anyhow, the trout was cooked well and had a nice crispy skin. But it still lacked seasoning in my opinion. Is this also a thing in restaurants here? I have to say I wasn’t too thrilled with my dinner considering the €35.50 price tag.

Day 2:​ It was raining consistently this morning, which made for an unpleasant trip to Naschmarkt. Being that it was Saturday this would have been my only chance to check it out because I was leaving Monday and it’s closed Sunday’s. I did enjoy browsing all of the yummy food items that were available. There were certainly a lot of Middle Eastern vendors here, which was quite nice. However, with the rain, everyone holding an umbrella and bumping into each other in the narrow passageways, I couldn’t really stop and browse that much. I remember getting a meat borek (not great) and a date stuffed with cheese (YUM!). Had the weather been better I think my experience would have been more pleasant.

I returned to the Ring again to do some interior sightseeing because it was still raining. I decided to give Demel another chance. I bought a small selection of some of the chocolates available in their store (small milk chocolate bar, cat’s tongues, and a waffle torte. I think I’m missing something because I spent €46; ouch!). Once again I was staring at the display case of cakes, which by the way all look very beautiful. I couldn’t make up my mind right away so I opted to try the coffee and nut cake (€4.50) thinking it would taste similar to a typical American coffee cake. Wrong again! Although better than the two items I tried yesterday, I still was not feeling the dessert here. Such a shame considering how beautifully presented the cakes are. I think from this moment I decided to give up on the notion that I would find a really good dessert in Vienna. On a side note, I ate the waffle torte this past weekend. It wasn’t that much different from the chocolate wafers that are sold by Loacker. I bought the small version of the torte, which was about 5 inches in diameter and about 2 inches thick. The box it came in was nice.

So I went back to something I enjoyed the day before: the sandwiches at Zum Kameel. I wanted the sweet corn and curry and egg sandwiches again. I was so sad that they didn’t have the curry and egg that day, but they did have the sweet corn. Ordered that and another one that was composed of sour cream I believe (no English descriptions here; €2.50). I also went back to Trzesniewski and got the wonderful bacon and egg along with salmon/cream cheese (€2.40).

I decided to venture towards Rauthaus afterwards and ventured into some side streets along the way. I found a beautiful passage, Passage Ferstel, and headed in. I found a chocolate store, which I had written down in my notes prior to my trip. It’s called Xocolat. It’s a quaint little shop with locally made varieties and lots of chocolate bars. The back of the store has an even greater selection of chocolates from across the globe. I noticed the prices here were a bit less expensive than at Demel and I wish I had held off on buying the chocolates I bought earlier. I bought a small bag of the sampler of their chocolate truffles/bon bons, a couple of chocolate bars, and a small box of cat’s tongues (€17.90; considerably cheaper than Demel!). The small bag of the sampler truffles had various flavors and all were very good. There are about two or three left in the bag and I’m going to be sad when the last one has been eaten.

At Rauthaus I gathered my bearings and perused the food stalls that were in place for the summer film festival. Everything looked very appetizing. Because I wasn’t having the best culinary experience in Vienna so far I decided I was going to have dinner here tonight instead of going to Gasthaus Pöschl as planned (I was only going to get schnitzel anyway and after having a good version in Prague I figured that any other version wouldn’t be that much different). But before I came back I went over to Bitzinger at the Albertina. I had my first try of currywurst (€4.10). I really liked it! There were so many other varieties of wurst, but at this point I was trying to keep my appetite in check.

I had two items for dinner at Rauthaus. The first was a cheesy spaetzle from Mango Bowle (€7.40). The second was a beef gyro from the only Greek food stand there (€4.80). I enjoyed both of these plates of food and was glad I opted to come here instead of going to a restaurant.

Day 3:​ I had lunch at Meierei im Stadtpark (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). I first had trouble locating the “front door.” I circled around the restaurant and found it on the left side (with the terrace of the restaurant facing the canal). I was seated inside and had a great view of the dining room and the outside terrace. Again, I didn’t want to bust the bank on this meal (everything is rather expensive) so I ordered modestly. I knew I was going to order Kaisserschmarr’n here after seeing Sturmi’s recommendation. So that left me with figuring out what I wanted as my entrée. I opted for the small portion of the beef goulash. Bread is given to you here at a charge, whether you want it or not. I didn’t mind the €2 fee for the bread as it was tasty and the butter oh so delicious. I received my goulash. The server was also holding a plate of the kaisserschmarr’n and I was hoping that I wasn’t going to be served both dishes at the same time. I noticed that my waitress was whispering in the servers’ ear and he then walked back to the kitchen with the dessert. Phew! I took my first bite of the goulash and was instantly pleased. I’ll admit the beef itself was a bit dry, but the sauce (THE SAUCE!)…what an amazing kaleidoscope of flavors that were encased in that sauce. It was out of this world. And I was also devouring the leek roulades that were served alongside the meat. I think I considered this my best dish of the trip so far. Next up I received my kaisserschmarr’n. I don’t know if they served me the same plate they mistakenly brought earlier or if they made a new batch, but it tasted fresh to me. I really like this dish. It’s best described as pieces of pillow-like pancakes with raisins/currants. What I didn’t like was the plum sauce served on the side. It was ridiculously sweet! I used it in moderation and they do serve you quite a bit of the sauce. Total was €30.40 (with water).

I was supposed to have my dinner at Rauthaus tonight being that most restaurants here are closed on Sunday. As much as I loved that spaetzle from yesterday I needed to try something else before leaving. Plachutta seemed to be a top contender and I opted to dine here. I went for the dish that practically everyone comes here for: tafelspitz. You get a very large pot of beef broth with pieces of meat, vegetables, and bone marrow. On the side comes an apple sauce with horseradish, chive sauce, and fried potatoes. A really excellent meal, although I have to say the broth was a bit salty (guess my assumption of under seasoning was debunked with this meal and with most of the meals I had after Kutschker 44). I also ordered a dessert of cheese dumplings, which was more like two scoops of a sweet ricotta-like cheese with a berry sauce. I could have done without it. Total was €35.75.

I ventured further east on my recent trip to Europe and I praise the ChowHound community for helping me make most of my dining decisions. I traveled solo, which is only a bad thing because I wasn’t able to try more items off the great menus I saw. My trip started August 25 and ended September 1 (it took a while to write this up). Special thanks to Taste of Prague and Sturmi for their help.
Side note: I’ve included links to my Tripadvisor reviews so that you can see the pictures that I took. Unfortunately, it seems that TA did not include all of the photos I posted for some of the reviews. I’ll see if I can work on this. Also, unless otherwise noted, prices listed do not include what I tipped.
Prague:
Day 1:​Arrived early enough to grab some lunch. First stop was at Sisters (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). I got three of the open faced sandwiches: beet root with goat cheese, egg salad, and salmon mousse. Total was 93 Kc (~$4.30). I enjoyed the setting of this small place and the display of the sandwiches. Although I did like my sandwiches and the overall presentation of each of them was well executed, I can’t say I’d run back immediately to get more. I left some room in order to try the meatloaf (75 Kc, ~$3.50) at Naše Maso (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ), literally right across from Sisters. I got a couple of slices of meatloaf with my order along with some bread slices, mustard, and cornichons. Good stuff, but still left me wanting more in terms of flavor. What I did like was that it was not greasy at all, although it did have a good amount of fat to give it flavor. I didn’t realize until after I came home and looked at the reviews on TripAdvisor that apparently you can order any type of meat they have displayed and they’ll cook it for you right there. I would have done this had I known in advance and had I been a bit less shy to inquire.
Dinner was at Čestr (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). The interior was really neat looking with lots of tables. The outside patio had quite a number of tables as well, but it was rather chilly in the evenings here so not many people were seated outside. I enjoyed the menu that was given. It was kind of a small pamphlet/brochure and I was delighted to take this as a souvenir. Per Taste of Prague’s recommendations (from their blog), I ordered a stewed meat with rosemary (I can’t recall the cut of meat) and a side of mashed potatoes. My dishes were brought out by one of the chef’s and always asked if I was satisfied with the dish before walking away. That’s a nice addition to the service. Despite the great service I received, I wasn’t a huge fan of the dishes. My meat dish was fine, but maybe the sauce it came with could have used a bit more flavor. The mashed potatoes to me were nothing special. They certainly could have used more butter in my opinion. For dessert, I also took Taste of Prague’s recommendation and ordered the beer ice cream. I’ll admit I was hesitant in ordering this because I do not like beer at all and Taste of Prague mentioned it did not taste like beer. Out it came, I tried it, and wasn’t too happy with it. I have to say it was a bit heavy and had a carbonated taste to it (obviously from the beer) that I didn’t care for. Would I write this place off? No. I would just give them another try and have some other items.
Day 2:​I had lunch at U Zavěšenýho Kaffe (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) up in the Castle hill area. When I went it was rather empty, which was fine for me because it meant less cigarette smoke in the dining room. This was my first shot at trying beef goulash. The plate I received was rather large, but was filled up mainly with slices of bread (dumplings) and the sauce. Very little meat was on the plate. However, the presentation was well done; wasn’t sloppy at all. I can’t say I really loved the dish. The sauce was a bit bland, but the beef was fork tender. I had also ordered a side of potato gnocchi, but I never received it because the waitress forgot to put in the order. I guess she was too busy smoking her cigarette behind the bar. I kind of didn’t care at that point because I figured I should just save my appetite for something better. I opted to try an apple strudel for dessert, which I particularly liked. My total (with a bottle of water) was 255 Kc (~$11.75).
I was excited to be dining at Lokal Dlouha (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) for dinner after hearing so many wonderful things about it. I walked in and at first was confused as to who was in charge of greeting and seating the dining patrons. You initially walk into a bar. I proceeded down the dining room and got the attention of one of the waitresses and she sat me at my table. You’ve read it before and I’ll remind you again, don’t come here without a reservation. For a Tuesday evening, it was quite packed and I witnessed many people being turned away that had no reservation. My dinner here was simple. I started with the ham and horseradish cream and my entrée was a pork schnitzel with a side of potato salad. I immediately fell in love with the horseradish cream. I don’t know what the “cream” part was composed of, but it tasted somewhat of a super light whipped cream. It cut through the spiciness of the horseradish beautifully and of course paired excellently with the ham. My pork schnitzel (recommended by the waitress) was nice and juicy. The potato salad was just that. I apparently wrote down that I had a small dessert in my journal, but I don’t have a photo of it or don’t recall what I had. Must not have been anything special, but Lokal certainly is special. I’d definitely want to come back here again and try other items off the menu. My total (with water) was 410 Kc (~$19).
Day 3:​I toured the Wenceslas Square area on this day. At the bottom of the square was the newly opened Julius Meinl. I figured I might as well check it out here in order not to use up time in Vienna to see the same store. And also I kind of figured that the exchange rate would be more favorable for me here than in Vienna. I’ll admit the items here are expensive. However, I couldn’t help but spend most of my time browsing the different varieties of chocolates available on the ground floor. I had not seen chocolates like these before. They were chocolate bars with various toppings, which ranged from poppy seeds to dried fruits and nuts. The packaging was really beautiful and thought they’d make nice gifts. Upstairs you will find a deli, wines, liqueurs, coffees, honey, and a small section of cheeses, yogurts and other meats. It’s a beautiful market. The bulk of my purchase was chocolate bars (about 6; some made with camel’s milk from Dubai) and also included a bag of ground coffee, two jars of honey, and a small yogurt (from France) to have as a snack; 1339 Kc (~$62).
Lunch was at the venerable Sansho (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). Fortunately for me, I was able to sit on the outside patio. I enjoyed my view of the small street in front and of the church across the way. I was also seated next to a side street where across the way chef/owner Paul Day kept walking in and out of his soon to open new project (I can’t recall the name right now). Speaking of, he greeted me each time he passed me and made sure I was enjoying my meal. I went a little nuts with lunch in terms of how much I ordered. I started off with the soft shell crab sliders and the pork belly sliders. Both a great start to a great meal. My entrée was listed as a special and it was the red curry beef, which I’m assuming is the same as the beef redang served for dinner (correct me if I’m wrong). I really liked this dish. The shredded beef was served in a well-balanced sauce. My meal ended with a dessert trio of toffee pudding, cheesecake with caramel sauce, and peanut butter ice cream with a peanut butter cookie. Bravo! Excellent meal with truly exceptional service. Total was 692 Kc (~$32), which wasn’t as much of a splurge that I thought it would be.
Dinner was at Pizza Nuova. By this time I figured out that I’d pretty much be having most of my meals from the list of restaurants under the Ambiente group haha. So I wanted to try a couple of items off the menu and the waiter gave me a funny look. I said, “Too much?” He said, “Yes.” He suggested I order the all you can eat pizza/pasta. I obliged. I can’t recall every type of pizza and pasta I received, but I was pleasantly surprised with the Margherita pizza, which was very close to what I’ve had in Naples (what I consider to be the best pizza out there). The pastas I received were cooked well and paired with nice sauces. The portions they give you are tiny and sometimes there can be a little bit of a wait between courses. I enjoyed my meal, but ultimately wish I stuck with my original decision to eat like a glutton. Maybe next time. Total was 449 Kc (~$20.70), which I thought was slightly high for what I was getting.
Near the old town on Karlova is a bakery I passed a couple of times. It’s called Řemeslná pekárna Krusta. They sell these rolled up pastries (I never got the name) that you see all over Prague along with other lovely sweets. The roll, so to speak, had an interesting flavor (60 Kc, ~$2.75). It had a somewhat bitter after note after swallowing it, which I didn’t especially care for. I really liked the almond croissant (49 kc, ~$2.25), however.
Day 4:​As you may have noticed I had not gone out to eat breakfast. Why bother when I have breakfast included in the hotel in which I was staying? However, for my last morning here I wanted to try Café Savoy (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) after hearing from Taste of Prague that they had a killer French Toast. I walked in without a reservation (this was during the week). A good amount of tables were available. I ordered my French Toast and while waiting couldn’t help but notice the beautiful interior of the restaurant. It felt like I was back in Paris. As I went downstairs to use the bathroom there was a little surprise: a nice view into the patisserie in the basement. On to the French Toast: superb! Better than the Pain Perdu I’ve had in Paris? No, but still a great meal with a wonderful presentation. I also ordered a couple of pastries from the display case to go. Total was 316 Kc (~$14.50). The pastries, which I ate later on, were forgettable in my opinion. I wanted to try something with apple, but nothing was available.


Vienna:
Day 1:​I didn’t really do any sit down lunches in Vienna (except for my last day there). On my first day, while touring the Ring area, I initially stopped at Café Aida to try the much talked about Sacher Torte (€2.90). It was somewhat dry and overall the slice of cake was not in any way appealing to me. I’m finicky about chocolate (don’t care for dark or bitter varieties). On to the next food stop. My guidebook pointed me to Trzesniewski off the Graben (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). This place has been here for decades and is a favorite among locals (and tourists). They have so many open faced sandwiches to choose from at €1.20 a pop. I tried the paprika, bacon and egg, and crab and egg. Super yummy sandwiches. I’d have to say the bacon and egg was my favorite, naturally. I then spotted Zum Schwarzen Kameel (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ) further down the way. I also stopped to grab some sandwiches and stood up in the bar rather than sitting down (to cut down on cost). I believe I ordered four kinds of sandwiches here. The two that stood out for me were the sweet corn and the curry and egg. Total for the four sandwiches and a bottle of water was about €11-12.
On to try another Sacher Torte. This time at Demel. I also ordered an apple strudel. Total was about €9-10. I figured that with the amount of money I just spent on two cakes that they’d be amazing. Wrong! I will say it is true that the torte here is moister (in comparison to Aida’s version), but I still did not care too much for the flavor. The apple strudel was a total let down. It lacked any sort of sweetness, which I expect with apple desserts. It was seriously bland and I was so disappointed.
Dinner was at Kutschker 44 (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ), which was recommended by Sturmi. This restaurant is in a total non-touristy area of city, which I happened to like. I decided to take a table on the outside terrace considering it was a nice evening. I didn’t get too much of a view of the interior of the restaurant, but I remember it having a very modern look. I was initially concerned when I was brought the menu because it was all in German. I have no knowledge of the language and couldn’t even really decipher anything on the menu. I asked the waitress if she had an English menu and, fortunately, there was. One page of the menu offers up 3, 4, and 5 course menu options and the other page contains a la carte items. I opted for the 3 course menu. My first course was a salad with sheep’s milk cheese, figs, and some sort of red berries dressed in a mustard vinaigrette. This was a solid course, but not amazing by any means. The lettuce used was more of a thick small leaf green that had a bit of a chew to it. My next course was a risotto with parmesan, arugula, and thyme plums. Another fairly solid course, but even with the slivers of parmesan on top I thought the rice needed more salt. It was borderline bland. My last course was a roasted filet of river trout with roasted spinach, green salad, and sour cream. It took what felt like 30 minutes to receive this course. The waitress even came up to me and told me that my course was almost out. I’d say another 10 minutes had passed before receiving my course (I was beginning to wonder that service is typically slow in Vienna. Sturmi, what say you?). Anyhow, the trout was cooked well and had a nice crispy skin. But it still lacked seasoning in my opinion. Is this also a thing in restaurants here? I have to say I wasn’t too thrilled with my dinner considering the €35.50 price tag.
Day 2:​It was raining consistently this morning, which made for an unpleasant trip to Naschmarkt. Being that it was Saturday this would have been my only chance to check it out because I was leaving Monday and it’s closed Sunday’s. I did enjoy browsing all of the yummy food items that were available. There were certainly a lot of Middle Eastern vendors here, which was quite nice. However, with the rain, everyone holding an umbrella and bumping into each other in the narrow passageways, I couldn’t really stop and browse that much. I remember getting a meat borek (not great) and a date stuffed with cheese (YUM!). Had the weather been better I think my experience would have been more pleasant.
I returned to the Ring again to do some interior sightseeing because it was still raining. I decided to give Demel another chance. I bought a small selection of some of the chocolates available in their store (small milk chocolate bar, cat’s tongues, and a waffle torte. I think I’m missing something because I spent €46; ouch!). Once again I was staring at the display case of cakes, which by the way all look very beautiful. I couldn’t make up my mind right away so I opted to try the coffee and nut cake (€4.50) thinking it would taste similar to a typical American coffee cake. Wrong again! Although better than the two items I tried yesterday, I still was not feeling the dessert here. Such a shame considering how beautifully presented the cakes are. I think from this moment I decided to give up on the notion that I would find a really good dessert in Vienna. On a side note, I ate the waffle torte this past weekend. It wasn’t that much different from the chocolate wafers that are sold by Loacker. I bought the small version of the torte, which was about 5 inches in diameter and about 2 inches thick. The box it came in was nice.
So I went back to something I enjoyed the day before: the sandwiches at Zum Kameel. I wanted the sweet corn and curry and egg sandwiches again. I was so sad that they didn’t have the curry and egg that day, but they did have the sweet corn. Ordered that and another one that was composed of sour cream I believe (no English descriptions here; €2.50). I also went back to Trzesniewski and got the wonderful bacon and egg along with salmon/cream cheese (€2.40).
I decided to venture towards Rauthaus afterwards and ventured into some side streets along the way. I found a beautiful passage, Passage Ferstel, and headed in. I found a chocolate store, which I had written down in my notes prior to my trip. It’s called Xocolat. It’s a quaint little shop with locally made varieties and lots of chocolate bars. The back of the store has an even greater selection of chocolates from across the globe. I noticed the prices here were a bit less expensive than at Demel and I wish I had held off on buying the chocolates I bought earlier. I bought a small bag of the sampler of their chocolate truffles/bon bons, a couple of chocolate bars, and a small box of cat’s tongues (€17.90; considerably cheaper than Demel!). The small bag of the sampler truffles had various flavors and all were very good. There are about two or three left in the bag and I’m going to be sad when the last one has been eaten.
At Rauthaus I gathered my bearings and perused the food stalls that were in place for the summer film festival. Everything looked very appetizing. Because I wasn’t having the best culinary experience in Vienna so far I decided I was going to have dinner here tonight instead of going to Gasthaus Pöschl as planned (I was only going to get schnitzel anyway and after having a good version in Prague I figured that any other version wouldn’t be that much different). But before I came back I went over to Bitzinger at the Albertina. I had my first try of currywurst (€4.10). I really liked it! There were so many other varieties of wurst, but at this point I was trying to keep my appetite in check.
I had two items for dinner at Rauthaus. The first was a cheesy spaetzle from Mango Bowle (€7.40). The second was a beef gyro from the only Greek food stand there (€4.80). I enjoyed both of these plates of food and was glad I opted to come here instead of going to a restaurant.
Day 3:​I had lunch at Meierei im Stadtpark (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). I first had trouble locating the “front door.” I circled around the restaurant and found it on the left side (with the terrace of the restaurant facing the canal). I was seated inside and had a great view of the dining room and the outside terrace. Again, I didn’t want to bust the bank on this meal (everything is rather expensive) so I ordered modestly. I knew I was going to order Kaisserschmarr’n here after seeing Sturmi’s recommendation. So that left me with figuring out what I wanted as my entrée. I opted for the small portion of the beef goulash. Bread is given to you here at a charge, whether you want it or not. I didn’t mind the €2 fee for the bread as it was tasty and the butter oh so delicious. I received my goulash. The server was also holding a plate of the kaisserschmarr’n and I was hoping that I wasn’t going to be served both dishes at the same time. I noticed that my waitress was whispering in the servers’ ear and he then walked back to the kitchen with the dessert. Phew! I took my first bite of the goulash and was instantly pleased. I’ll admit the beef itself was a bit dry, but the sauce (THE SAUCE!)…what an amazing kaleidoscope of flavors that were encased in that sauce. It was out of this world. And I was also devouring the leek roulades that were served alongside the meat. I think I considered this my best dish of the trip so far. Next up I received my kaisserschmarr’n. I don’t know if they served me the same plate they mistakenly brought earlier or if they made a new batch, but it tasted fresh to me. I really like this dish. It’s best described as pieces of pillow-like pancakes with raisins/currants. What I didn’t like was the plum sauce served on the side. It was ridiculously sweet! I used it in moderation and they do serve you quite a bit of the sauce. Total was €30.40 (with water).
I was supposed to have my dinner at Rauthaus tonight being that most restaurants here are closed on Sunday. As much as I loved that spaetzle from yesterday I needed to try something else before leaving. Plachutta seemed to be a top contender and I opted to dine here. I went for the dish that practically everyone comes here for: tafelspitz. You get a very large pot of beef broth with pieces of meat, vegetables, and bone marrow. On the side comes an apple sauce with horseradish, chive sauce, and fried potatoes. A really excellent meal, although I have to say the broth was a bit salty (guess my assumption of under seasoning was debunked with this meal and with most of the meals I had after Kutschker 44). I also ordered a dessert of cheese dumplings, which was more like two scoops of a sweet ricotta-like cheese with a berry sauce. I could have done without it. Total was €35.75.

Budapest:

Day 1:​ I had some time to spare before I was able to check into my apartment. I opted to waste some time at the Great Market Hall. I immediately went straight to the Langos food stall upstairs. It was about 10 am so there wasn’t too much of a crowd. I ordered a traditional langos with sour cream and cheese, plus a few tomato slices (800 Ft, ~$3.25). As you can imagine you can’t go wrong with fried bread dough. This was my first time ever trying anything like this and I really enjoyed it. The langos is about 7 in. in diameter and can easily feed two. I ate the whole thing myself and was glad I didn’t have to share :-).

After touring the Parliament later in the day I decided to seek out a food store/market that I had come across in my research prior to my trip. It’s called Culinaris (a few branches in town exist) and this one happened to be just down the street from the Parliament building (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). Think of it as a gourmet food emporium with a varying amount of condiments, spices, chocolates, etc. from around the globe. However, being from Los Angeles, I noticed that most of these items were available to me at the specialty food stores here. If I wasn’t in too much of a hurry I probably would have found something I hadn’t seen in LA before. So, instead I went over to the adjacent room where the deli was. There was a good selection of pre-made foods such as salads and I’m sure the workers there would be able to assemble a meal for you. I opted for a ready-made sandwich. The gentleman stocking the shelves was quick to help me decipher the different kinds (all listed in Hungarian). I chose a duck liver mousse baguette and a savory puff pastry of some sort (1039 Ft, ~$4.25). The mousse was exquisite and tasted of butter. Just right! The pastry was also delicious. How can you beat a price like that?!

Dinner is not worth mentioning. I just ordered some food to go from a restaurant near my apartment (recommended by the apartment owner).

Day 2: ​My first culinary experience of the day was having some sweets at Ruszwurm (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ), which is just down the street from St. Matthias Church. I can’t believe this place has been in business since the early 1800s. The display of cakes was so tantalizing and I had a hard time deciding which to try. I opted for the honey and walnut cake, which was such a great choice. This so far beat any of the cakes I tried in Vienna. It was nice and moist and the flavors, obviously, paired well together (550 Ft, ~$2.25). I also ordered two items to go: dobostorta (native to Hungary) and an apple strudel (900 Ft, ~$3.70). I ate these two after my lunch (which I’ll describe next). Dobostorta is a sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and has a thin layer of caramel on top. The cake was delicious, although a tad bit on the rich side. The apple strudel was also good (much better than Demel’s version).

I had lunch a bit down the hill at the Michelin-starred Csalogny 26 (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). The restaurant interior was simple, not pretentious at all considering there were a number of business lunches taking place. What I thought was rather interesting was the location of the kitchen. It was hidden behind an automatic door at the side of dining room. I was only able to get quick glimpses of the kitchen itself, but I thought it was an interesting idea to have that automatic door there as if you were walking into a store. I came here with the assumption that there was an inexpensive prix fixe menu for lunch, but that didn’t seem to be the case as I was offered a regular menu and saw the same being offered to the locals. I already had dessert waiting for me in my bag of goodies from Ruszwurm, so I only needed to order an appetizer and entrée. I started off with a dish of panko crusted scallops that sat on a bed of cucumber and barley salad. As you can imagine, curiosity got the best of me and I wondered what breaded scallops would taste like considering I can’t recall ever seeing that on a menu before. The scallops (3 small pieces) were perfectly cooked and tender and the panko lent a good crunch to enhance the meatiness of the scallops. The salad was also delicious because there was a light buttery sauce on the plate to compliment it. This dish was simply outstanding. I wanted more considering its somewhat small size. My entrée was duck liver with ofal risotto. I had read before coming to Budapest that Hungary was a fine purveyor of foie gras and being from California (with the state wide ban) I was ready to devour some. I can’t say this was a true risotto. It resembled something more like a rice pilaf, but don’t let that deter you. The lobes of foie (and there were many on top of the dish) were absolutely buttery and pillow-like soft. The juices at the bottom of the plate, with all of the fatty juices from the foie, were, um, tantalizing. I took each and every bite with calm and ease. I did not want to finish this dish. What a truly outstanding meal with excellent service to boot. Total was 7200 Ft (~$29.50). Well worth every penny!

Continuing my streak of Michelin-starred restaurants, I had dinner at Borkonyha Wine Kitchen (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). I had wanted a table on the outside terrace, but nothing was available. I instead chose to be a bit of a hermit and sat near the bathrooms and entrance to the kitchen where there were only two tables available in hidden view from the main dining room. My view was of the wine bar, which was empty on this particular evening. I was started off with their house made bread basket. One slice consisted of pistachios, another with fennel seeds, and lastly one made with squid ink, which was, of course, black in color. The butter served with the bread was of high quality and reminded me of the butter you get in France. My favorite of the three was the squid ink, which had a slightly sweet after tone. My waiter listed several specials of the day. I had a hard time deciding, but I opted for the beef rib that sat on a bed of lentils with roasted figs on top. The rib was lacquered in some sort of thick sweet-savory glaze. I couldn’t quite figure out the flavor. The lentils were perfectly cooked and had absorbed the flavor from what I assume were the fatty juices of the rib meat. The fig on top lent a slightly sweet counterbalance to the dish. I very much enjoyed savoring this dish. No complaints at all. Next up was a vichysoisse with rabbit meatloaf. I’m very used to having potato-leek soup, but I forgot that a vichysoisse is served cold (this was my first time trying a true vichysoisse). Despite the initial surprise, the soup itself was beautifully silky and had just the right amount of thickness to it, similar to a nice veloute. Naturally, the only thing warm about this dish was the three tiny pieces of rabbit meatloaf. They were well seasoned. My final dish was the duck leg confit with foie gras and carrot/carrot puree. I’ll give high praises for the foie and carrot portion of this dish. The duck leg was a bit dry, however. I actually had a very hard time finishing this dish. The amount of foie gras put on this plate was extremely generous. Add to that the rather large duck leg. I was so full! But that was my own doing for ordering three rather heavy dishes. Again, my only disappointment here was the duck leg, but everything else was truly exceptional. Total was 8900 Ft (~$36.50), which included the tip. I was surprised that I had a full meal for less than $40 at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Day 3: ​The beginning of my day consisted of touring the rest of the Pest sights, closer to Vaci utca. I ran into one of the bakeries I listed in my research notes: Auguszt Cukraszda. I must have walked in right after they opened because I was the only patron there. It worked a little to my disadvantage because as I had my walnut cake the baker was still bringing out cakes. However, my walnut cream cake was absolutely delicious. Not quite creamy as you’d expect, but moist enough to make you forget about that. Total was 550 Ft (~$2.25).

After my meanderings near the Great Synagogue I ran past an à Table patisserie, which is a local chain. A friend of mine in Los Angeles put me in contact with someone he knew that lives in Budapest and he threw out this place during our many chats about which restaurants to visit. I wasn’t particularly hungry and I knew I was going back to get another langos soon, but I stopped by anyway just to compare what a croissant would taste like in comparison to the ones I’ve had in Paris (as may have noted I like to compare most French dishes to what I’ve had in Paris because IMHO they’re usually the best here). My plain butter croissant (395 Ft, ~$1.60) was absolutely delicious and buttery; very comparable to traditional croissants. I only wish I had room to savor something else like the quiche’s that were displayed.

Back at the Great Market Hall, I had to get one last fill of langos. I had the same kind as last time (sour cream, cheese, tomato), but this time I decided to add some kick with garlic (800 Ft). One thing to note here is that the guy preparing my langos (same guy as the other day) was very quick to try to push extra ingredients on you. Be firm and tell him to stop after you know what you want on your langos.

Lunch was at Menza in Franz Liszt Square. What a wonderful pedestrian side street off the busy Andrassy ut. And it’s wonderfully shaded in case it’s super-hot out. I came here without a reservation because I was told it wasn’t necessary. I was able to get a table inside without a wait, although the place was indeed busy. I would have preferred to sit outside but I didn’t want to wait for a table. I did get a table right next to the front window though, which was great except for the fact that it was a little hot in that area and there was no air draft at all. I didn’t feel like asking for another table because I had a great view. I started off with a banana juice (in a bottle), which was nice and refreshing considering the temperature of the room. For my meal, I ordered the goulash soup and a pork schnitzel that came with potato salad. The goulash was a total mistake on my part; I should have been alerted by the key word, soup. I should have had something cold. The soup was good, but it just reminded me of a Mexican pozole, so nothing to brag about with it. The schnitzel was nice (and large) and the potato salad provided that cooling factor I needed. I think I still prefer the schnitzel I had at Lokal in Prague, though. Bottom line, I should have tried other items off the menu. Total was 3870 Ft (~$15.90).

Dinner was at the much hyped Onyx (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). Being that I came here alone, I was afraid I'd be bored to death sitting through a 2+ hour meal. I was not! The flavors that were going through my mouth were so exciting. When I first walked in at 7:30 pm, there was only one other couple in the dining room. It remained this way for a while and then the place started to fill up. However, from what I gather everyone there (including myself) was a tourist. It begged the question of how many locals come to dine here. But, that question was far from my head after indulging in the wonderful food and service here. Service was impeccable. The bread selection was something I've never seen before. Quite the fantastic array of breads and spreads. I opted to order a la carte. The first dish was an amuse of stuffed paprika pepper with a Parmesan crisp and a potato veloute with saffron and pea oil. The pepper was nothing to write home about. The veloute was exquisite and had the slightest after tones of a nice spice, which heightened the experience of it. My starter was the beef goulash, which had won in the Bocuse d'Or competition in Lyon, France. The quality of this dish was super elevated. Although not my favorite dish of the meal, I did appreciate the look and flavors of the dish. By this point I had tried various versions of goulash in my travels and this one was high up on the list. My entree was the lamb shoulder with white eggplant and saddle lamb wrapped in a bread/pastry roll. I am so glad I took my waiter's advice on this dish. I don’t recall ever having an entrée that came to my table as two separate dishes. One bite into the lamb in the bread/patry roll and I really melted away. I can't recall ever having anything of this caliber before. It was the most tender piece of meat I've ever had and the bread/pastry role melted along with the meat. I had to consume it extra slowly because I knew I was going to miss eating this dish. The lamb should was also very tender and the white eggplant was something new to me and very delightful. I was given a pre dessert of a mango carpaccio, mango sorbet, and chili lime; such a wonderful way to segue into my dessert. As you can imagine this dish was super refreshing and the spice was quite nice. My dessert was a modern version of Hungarian sponge cake with walnuts and a salty caramel layer. I just kept wondering how the pastry chef was able to layer all of these pieces together in a wine tumbler. And of course what’s a fine dining meal without some petit fours? Beautifully crafted and well presented. My bill was presented with a lovely box that contained a macaron and a small piece of chocolate. I had these for breakfast the following day. The macaron was especially delicious and very comparable to what I’ve had in France. My total, including tip and one cocktail, was 25,530 Ft (~$120). I highly recommend this place.

Day 4:​ I rented a bike today and ended up cruising up the Danube along the Buda side. The friend of a friend I mentioned earlier told me about one restaurant I should not pass up. It was also conveniently located, right across the Chain Bridge. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Zona, which hasn’t been discussed on these boards yet and should be (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe... ). When I first walked up I wasn’t sure if they were open for lunch because no one was seated at a table. But, fortunately, they were open. The restaurant has a sleek modern design (they had recently went through a renovation) and some of the tables have a great view looking outside towards the Danube and the Chain Bridge. You have two options (well, three actually) for lunch: a la carte, a 2-course, or a 3-course prix fixe. I chose the 3-course, naturally. You initially get complimentary water bottles (both natural and carbonated) along with some great house baked bread. The first thing to arrive was an amuse (really?!) of a cucumber root soup with salmon roe. I was initially stunned when I received it because it’s not common to receive an amuse for lunch (maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ve seen it before). The soup was exhilarating to say the least. It was very refreshing and the perfect start to a meal after having biked a few hours through the city. My first course was a celery root soup with mussels. It was while eating this dish that I was convinced I was about to have the best meal of the whole trip. The soup was gorgeously frothy and had so many flavors packed into each spoonful. The mussels lent a very nice saline finish. I was simply in awe of this dish. I wanted more! Next up was the Mangalica pork medallion with homemade pasta. I had seen this particular pork on the menu at Kutschker 44 in Vienna and was now thinking I should have ordered it back then. This perfectly cooked piece of pork lay on a bed of a sour cream like cheese with rolls of pasta that tasted more of an egg-like crepe. The pork was seared beautifully and after one bite into it I fell in love. The meat was incredibly juicy and as tender as a cut of filet mignon (if not more tender). If I had one complaint about this dish it’s that there was too much of a heavy hand of the “sour cream.” For dessert I had a coconut mouse stuffed with pineapple chunks with a side of pineapple sorbet and chunks of mango. Could this meal get any better?! I couldn’t believe how unbelievably good this dessert was and the presentation was simply beautiful. I was even served a petit fours dish afterwards. The waitress, who was simply a delight, persuaded me to come back for dinner. I was more than happy to reserve a table since my dinner plans were up in the air anyway. Total for this spectacular meal was 3940 Ft (~$16), which included tip. What a great deal!

On to my final meal in Budapest; back at Zona. I was really excited. I had the same waitress, which again was a joy. The special running tonight was that the 5- and 6-course meals were the same price. Score! I chose the 6-course. The amuse was the same as what I had for lunch, so that was a treat in itself. The starter was a pho soup with shrimp and potato gnocchi. The broth was perfectly clear and flavorful and had a good amount of scallion/green onion in it to heighten the flavor. Next up was a dish of Mangalica pork raviolo with scallop along with some pickled vegetables. I’m not much for pickled anything, but the raviolo and scallop were excellent. The third course was foie gras with a mackerel filet, confit beans and potato. This was all laid on top of some sort of thick cream that had an orange hue to it (I forgot to ask what this was). The foie gras lobe was well cooked and the mackerel had a nice crispy skin. The fourth course was pork leg, calamari, and pickled cucumber. There was also a spoonful of a nice polenta on the side. Again, didn’t care much for the pickled vegetable on the dish. The pork was rather interesting. It was like a medallion, but when you cut through it the inside was composed of what seemed like vermicelli noodles. It had a good amount of fat too. The calamari piece was cooked very well. The fifth dish was Pollack, Hungarian black pudding, and peach. I don’t recall liking this dish as much as the others. I did like the black pudding, however. The peach was quite interesting. It was laid out as a peeled half and after biting into it I began noticing a very strong tingling sensation on my lips. I asked the waitress about this, who then asked the chef. It contained Szechuan pepper. That explains it! My dessert was a plate of some small chocolate cakes with a berry sorbet on the side. Beautiful presentation. Next up I received an after dessert refreshment of orange juice with grapefruit liqueur that had a slice of fig and blueberries. Add to that a small petit fours dish. Ok I’ll admit I wasn’t as impressed with the dinner as I was with lunch. I still feel I got a very solid meal with excellent service. I’m dying to come back here again one day. Total was 16,765 Ft (~$68), which included tip.

If you made it this far, thank you so much for your patience in reading my entire trip report. I hope you will enjoy the places that made an impression on me the most in your future travels.

Oct 07, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Zona, Budapest

I heard from a local that this place is really good. Can anyone confirm/deny this?

Aug 12, 2014
smaointe in Europe

One night in Vienna...where to eat?

Holy moly! How am I going to decide? :-)

Aug 09, 2014
smaointe in Europe

One night in Vienna...where to eat?

I will also be there on a Sunday evening and am wondering where to dine. I listed the City Hall Open-Air festival as my dining choice for that evening. Good/bad choice? I don't care where I eat really as this will be my fourth and final night in the city.

Aug 08, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Dinner with kids, Ljubljana on a Sunday

Double check on opening hours (Sunday's are kind of dead in this town), but I did dine at Valvas'Or (Italian-esque menu) and Gostilna na Gradu (traditional Slovenian food) and had excellent meals at both. Valvas'Or is in the old town. They have seating right outside the restaurant (or indoors if you prefer that) in the middle of a lovely pedestrian street. Gostilna is up in the castle (indoor and outdoor seating). No direct view of anything at Gostilna, however, but the kids might like the ambience of eating in the middle of a castle. Enjoy! Ljubljana didn't disappoint me one bit in terms of food and quality.

Jun 25, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Berlin, Viena, Prague, and Budapest- Sept 2014

Thanks for the tips!

Jun 19, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Berlin, Viena, Prague, and Budapest- Sept 2014

One more thing. In trying to decide where to go for traditional Viennese cuisine (I'm trying to narrow my list to one, maybe two places), how would you order these in preference?
-Phoenixhof
-Glacis Beisl
-Gasthaus Poschl
-Gastwirtschaft Schilling

Jun 18, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Bratislava

Thank you.

Jun 18, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Berlin, Viena, Prague, and Budapest- Sept 2014

Hi Sturmi, sorry to barge in on an older post. I had submitted a lunch reservation for Konstantin for when I will be in Vienna August 29- Sept. 1. Unfortunately, they are closed until the 1st (I leave the next day). Would you recommend something non-traditional that I shouldn't miss? I didn't want to spend that much for lunch, so anything less than $40 (single diner, no drinks needed) will do. Thanks!

Jun 18, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Bratislava

Most posts are years old. Any places for lunch that are highly recommended? Local cuisine would be best and relatively inexpensive (less than $25-$30 pp).

Jun 17, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

If your wine trip gets canceled for some reason, please let me know :-).

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I agree :-)

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Thank you! So you don't recommend the 3-course prix fixe menu?

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Oh my lol. My plans keep changing because I can't seem to settle on a particular place. I was just going to try Cestr, but now you're making me think I should stick with Pizza Nuova. Actually, I think I have room for the both of them.

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

54% approval on Trip Advisor? Hmmm...

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Looks yummy. ~$10 for risotto! I'm in. Do you think all of the dishes are good, or just what you had (pork knee)?

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Maybe not the best place to ask, but am also open to hearing suggestions for any sort of experiences I should try out while in Prague. I'm always looking for something off the beaten path/non touristy, or things many tourists don't know about.

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I'm starting to change my mind, sorry. I've got Lokal down and Sansho for lunch. I don't have to dine out each night I'm there, but I would like a good list of standbys. I'm open to any cuisine as long as it's good and fairly inexpensive (about $30 tops, I don't drink btw).

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I'm thinking of giving La Degustation a shot, but I wonder how long the dining experience is for the 6 course menu. I'm not interested in sitting down for 2-3 hours.

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

That's a good point! I guess I figured they tout having really good Neopolitan pizza so I wanted to go here. Honestly, when looking for places to eat in cities I want to experience the local cuisine. But since I saw that Italian is on the rise in Prague I figured why not try pizza, which will most likely taste better than here in the states. I'll play around with my list some more.

Jun 16, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I crossed out Locanda Marino earlier and added Pizza Nuova instead (per your recommendation on your blog). I honestly don't remember where I got Marino from. Thank you again for your suggestions.

Jun 13, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Thanks, this helps :-)

Jun 13, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Thank you Jan. I had emailed you earlier in the week and you replied back saying that you would be out of town on the dates I wanted to do the tour. I really was going to sign up for it and now after reading your comment I'm more sad I won't be able to partake in this wonderful adventure. But I will survive :-). If you could point me to clothing shops for men (preferably items made in the Czech Republic) that sell inexpensive clothes I would be greatly obliged (I've already read that clothes there can be more expensive than here in the states; true?).

Jun 13, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I clearly wasn't paying attention after seeing their website so many times. Thanks for the heads up. Can't wait!

Jun 13, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I've gone nuts looking at the food blog mentioned earlier. Now my list is getting ridiculously long and I'm only there for 3.5 days lol. If I go to Sansho for lunch, how much should I expect to pay (no drinks)?

Jun 13, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

BTW In case you're confused about the prices I set, I'm traveling solo :-).

Jun 11, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

Turns out that the tour is not operating on the dates I will be in Prague. In any case, I have referred to their blog and I've seen lots of wonderful options (too many to be precise). Maybe the fellow CH community can help me narrow my list. I am looking for places that have good local food or just anything good in general. I prefer to be budget conscious (no more than $40 for dinner or $25 for lunch). So that leaves out the high end places like Bellevue and La Degustation. Here's what I have written down so far:

-Lokal (Dlouha)
-Cafe Savoy (breakfast/pastries)
-Locanda Marino
-Dish Fine Burger Bistro
-Patisserie Mysak (for sweets)

Seems like my list is short and would welcome more ideas. I don't drink wine or beer so any place focusing on that is out. What are your thoughts on a prix fixe lunch at Aureole? Thanks!

Jun 11, 2014
smaointe in Europe

Taste of Prague Foodie tour

I didn't see anything about making stops at jewelry stores. I will have almost 3 full days in Prague plus another half day. It's my first time visiting. I've already gathered together a small list of eateries from past discussions on here that I should visit. At first the price seemed high, but then again it is a 4 hour tour. Now I'm undecided. I will have to take a good look at the link to their blog they provided me and see if there are good options listed there and just use that as my guide.

Jun 11, 2014
smaointe in Europe