First impressions: food and service

Today I had my first Czech meal. Without intent, we walked into U Fleku, which is apparently the most popular and famous restaurant and brewery in Prague. I’ve been a little nervous to give Czech food a try because I figured they wouldn’t have very many pescetarian options and if they did I wouldn’t be able to understand what they were. Luckily, the place we went to included an english translation in their menu and I quickly spotted the section labeled vegetarian. Instead of getting the ONE vegetarian main dish that the place had, I decided on a potato soup and a side of dumplings. The dumplings were nothing like I expected. When I think of dumplings, I think of Asian dumplings, which are pretty much potstickers except they are boiled not fried. Instead, dumplings in Prague are pretty much a fluffy bread. The goulash, which my friends all ordered, was served with two different types of dumplings, because they are perfect for dipping and soaking up the gravy from the dish. Overall, our group had a good experience with the food we ordered and the drinks that we got. At U Fleku, men walk around with trays of their famous dark beer and with shots. I got one of their beers as well as a shot of what the man described as honey wine. It literally tasted like a liquid form of honey, way to sweet to take more than a sip at a time. We shared a tray of cheese, and I made the fatal mistake of lathering the “stinky cheese” on a piece of bread. In an effort to not be a rude, I ate the whole thing, holding back my disgust of the putrid smell. We ended our meals with apple strudel, which was accompanied with whip cream – a delicious treat.

My experience with the service has been fairly good up until this point. I went into a bagel shop yesterday and was served by the happiest woman I’ve seen here this far. And because of this, I wasn’t even mad when they completely screwed up our orders. lol The first night I went out the men at the pizza place were very nice and asked where in America we were from, and even tried to teach us some common Czech phrases. When I asked how to say thank you or anything for that matter, he told me Miluji tê (I love you). They were funny and kind. Unfortunately we had a little bit more trouble at this restaurant. A man, different from our waiter had us pay and when I asked if we could pay separately he already seemed a bit ticked. When he was halfway through, he asked one of my friends where she was from and when she said New Jersey, he gave an annoyed expression then continued getting the money from the rest of us. We left the restaurant feeling very confused about the service norms in Prague. I’ve had mostly good experiences but some of the others hadn’t. I expected it coming in, being told that good service is expected in America but not in Europe. But I still was confused as to why someone would choose to treat us poorly when we are giving them service, but then again it is a popular place and one less party wouldn’t hurt them.

 

I had initially intended to include the photographed food review in my post, but I would rather not write too much more. We went to a place called Culinaria over the weekend near Old town Square. They had cold dishes out on display that you could choose from and then they would heat them up and bring them to you. I found this interesting, but it was very good and not very expensive. I got the salmon with a side of zucchini and a lemon tea for 250 krowns, only 10 dollars. The people working there were younger and it seemed like a nice quiet place to go to to read or do homework. I know I will definitely return.

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