Saturday, May 17, 2014

Velká Klášterní Restaurace

A huge complex standing at the outset of the Royal Way offers pleasant dining in the historical Velká Klášterní Restaurace in Prague, located near the Strahov Monastery. The monastery was founded in 1140 by the Bishop of Olomouc, Jindřich Zdík, with the support of the Czech prince, and later king, Vladislaus II.  For centuries, Strahov Monastery has been a center of culture and art featuring a valuable painting collection and library.

We had just arrived in Prague, and it was raining.  We head out north of our hotel towards the old Strahov Monastery area to walk around.  We took a break for an early dinner at the onsite restaurant that had signs of "special hand made beers" that caught our eye.  Monks that make beer!?  Yes, please!

Inside, the dining hall was large with the typical Slavic beer hall feel, but much brighter with all the large windows.  We sat at one of the wooden tables and simply asked for a tasting of the different beers that they offer.  Our server spoke broken English, but understood our request and soon brought over three 0.2 ml glasses.

We sampled a house pilsner, called Matuska, the "special light", and the "special dark" - all were unfiltered and ranging from 13 - 14% alcohol content.  The various mixes of barley malt, adjusted hop, water, and yeasts provided different tastes.  I actually enjoyed the special light best, as it had lemony notes to it and was very refreshing.  Keith enjoyed the pilsner most of all, and ordered a full glass to go with his food.

I was hungry, and with the wet and cool weather, was in the mood for something to warm my belly.  I chose the Roasted Chicken in Dark Beer with onion potatoes.  A quarter chicken arrived, cooked in a way that left the meat very juicy.  Covered in gravy, the chicken was accompanied by a rough mash of potatoes mixed with onions that was quite tasty.  A warm pickled slaw was also included, yet I barely touched it.

Keith ordered the Prague Goulash of Young Piglet that came with Czech dumplings.  The dumplings were bland, dense, sliced cakes that just provided a starch to sop up the goulash and extra sauce.  The meat itself was a bit skimpy in portion, and seasoned heavily with paprika and other spices.

Overall, our introduction to Czech cuisine was pretty traditional and fitting for the damp day.  I enjoyed the ambience, but could imagine the place to be full of tourists on a more pleasant-weathered day.  Regardless, the location is convenient for a stop if you are touring that part of the city.

Total Rating: 3.53
Food: 3.5, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 3

What I ate:
Roasted Chicken in Dark Beer
with onion potatoes

Plus Keith ate:
Prague Goulash of Young Piglet
with Czech dumplings

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