Ladies who lunch don’t just eat in the city, they also take road trips.
So, it’s come to this. Recently back from two months in London it’s been rather hard to readjust to life in Prague. I miss the sushi, the Lebanese cuisine and the raw oysters (sigh), but the Czech Republic is beautiful this time of year so rather complain about what I am missing I thought it best to let you all in on a little secret. When I am not in London, these are my favourite places to eat outside of Prague – all I’d like to add – a max drive time of 90 minutes from the city. So, grab a car or chauffeur service and head to one of these little enclaves for delectable, chic goodness.
Voted number one restaurant by the Grand Restaurant Guide this is THE place to lunch outside of Prague. Don’t want to drive your own car? Not a problem! My last trip out there I was whisked into the country by a very nice BMW 5 series and dropped off at the front door… not even my cute heels had to deal with the gravel- bad enough they already deal with the cobbles in Prague. This 5 star boutique hotel is about 70 minutes from Prague offering a perfect country escape for both day and evening. Though the hotel itself is worthy of its own post, it’s the food – almost all locally sourced from the gardens on the premises or from the forests surrounding the estate – that you’ve come here for.
If the weather is good I highly recommend sitting on the terrace and taking lunch/dinner al fresco, or take a picnic on the grounds and play a round of croquet just as if you were at the Hurlingham Club in London. Looking for something a bit more intimate or high-end? Stay in the dining room of the Piano Nobile restaurant and be waited on by some of the best staff in the Czech Republic. While you will see people in all sorts of dress, my recommendation is to come ready to impress – think nice trousers for men and a jacket which can be removed and ladies, why not wear a nice dress, skirt or trousers? And for the record, should you choose to wear heels don’t forget to bring a pair of flats for walking around the gardens.. no one wants you to aerate the lawn.
A spot favoured by local politicians, high-ranking members of the business community, and the fashionable elite; the Park Hotel is located an easy 30 minutes outside of Prague passed the Park (Chodov) and Pruhonice. With slate interiors and a friendly staff, the dining options here are top-notch. As with Chateau Mcely the clientele come here ready to impress with most men and women dressing up a bit more than you would see in some of the restaurants in Prague. Expect to even see the illusive pocket square in men’s suit jackets and ladies to be carrying the latest real Louis Vuitton or Chanel handbag. Dining on the terrace – there’s a covering so even with inclement weather you can manage a nice afternoon – is a must where one can enjoy the view of a man-made lake as you eat beet root salad, risotto, or take a strong espresso as you chat over the latest gossip. For those keen on wine I am happy to report that the somelier has actually found some phenomenal Czech wines to accompany your meal, but ask him or your waiter for what is the best.
Located in the shadows of Okor, this is the place for a quick bite to eat or a leisurely lunch for those looking to escape Prague. It was during a recent visit with my dear friend B that we sat next to count them- two – nicely dressed Czech pop-stars while we dined on schnitzel and mashed potatoes (I was fresh back from London and had a hankering… ok). While this is a favourite for those on cycling trips expect to see the Prague set here as well. Who are the Prague set; they include women with small dogs, smaller handbags, bigger glasses and longer extensions. undoubtedly all will be accompanied by men – also in Gant or Ralph Lauren – and perhaps a child or two in tow. While this is one of the more relaxed venues, the food is anything but that and expect standard favourites and new creations done to perfection.
Located in “Middle Czech” this former grand estate from 1911 boasts English Gardens, 36 rooms, and mediterranean cuisine. The founder of the house is none other than the father of Czech modern architecture Jan Kotera. Located some 60 minutes from Prague it’s an ideal weekend escape where one can stroll in the gardens, use the sauna or take advantage of local attractions. Of course, we’ve come here for the food so let’s get down to it. Italian risotto, duck leg confit and rib eye steak sound delicious when finishing up with a sweet chocolate fondant or sorbet prosecco- you may need that walk around the gardens after all.
It’s slightly further afield (about 35 minutes past Plzen) but seems worth it for the steaks alone. A part of the Slow Food movement that became popular throughout Western Europe, the food served at your table is prepared from the surrounding areas and the farm itself, meaning slaughter to plate is without the truck and airplane. After your mouth-watering meal you can either drive back to Prague or stay in the on site accommodation.