It's not what you know, it's who you know. And I happen to know the author of "Grant's Prague Bike Blog." It's a small world for bloggers in Prague.
Grant writes and posts photos about the many challenges, adventures, and beers he's had while taking his life in his hands and cycling around this great city and beyond.
But he's not just all about the bike. This is a guy who likes to eat out, gets excited about new restaurants, and knows how to tell a story. Unlike me, he's actually been paid to write restaurant reviews. In an actual newspaper.
So, I offered him the opportunity of a lifetime: To be the first guest poster to appear on Czech Please.
Without further ado, Grant takes it from here:
I'm a regular reader of Czech Please, and an unexpected visit to one of Prague's finer restaurants last weekend got me to thinking about Brewsta's recent posts about the best hamburger in Prague.
And then I stopped thinking and started eating.
And now it's time to start writing something about what I was eating and thinking.
I've tried the hamburgers at TGI Friday's, at Jama, at Mozaika and Potrafena Husa. Haven't tried Fraktal's yet.
And I agree with Brewsta that PH's burger is both delicious and also way too expensive, at 297 crowns. But sometimes you just need a burger, a good burger, an authentic American burger, and you just have to say, "Check, please!" and get on with it.
I've splurged quite a few times on the PH burger, I must admit. Plus, the fries are very, very good, too.
My girlfriend, Daisy, and I had dinner the other night at Hergetova Cihelna in Malá Strana. In addition to a cool interior design, attentive service, and an eclectic menu, Hergetova Cihelna boasts what is arguably the city's best restaurant terrace, right along the Vltava, with an unbelievable view of Charles Bridge and the Old Town's spires and domes.
I think the view is better at Hergetova Cihelna than at the ritzier-and far-more-expensive Kampa Park, right next door, because it affords diners a less-restricted perspective on the bridge and the city.
And the evening we were there, the weather was stunning.
I've had the burger at Hergetova Cihelna before and liked it very much. But it had been awhile since I'd been back. I ordered it again. In fact, we both ordered it. Medium. With a bottle of South African Nederburg cabernet sauvignon (700 CZK).
And I think I can now make a pretty good argument that Hergetova Cihelna has the city's best hamburger, all things considered. That is, taking everything -- flavor, price, portion size, fries, accompaniments, and atmosphere -- into consideration.
The Cihelna burger is 295 crowns.*** That's two crowns cheaper than at Potrafena Husa. That's still one expensive hamburger and fries, but the price says more about Potrafena Husa than it does about Hergetova Cihelna.
Potrafena has a lot of nerve charging more than Hergetova for a simple hamburger. At Hergetova, you're dining in stylish surroundings and rubbernecking to see what celeb might be at the next table.
Plus, you get That View. That View is worth at least 100 crowns per burger, in my book.
I'd say the Cihelna burger itself is as good or better than the one at PH. The huge slab of quality ground beef is served under a warm blanket of four wide slices of bacon. The burger was perfectly cooked and had a nicely charred flavor. The burgers at HC are served with a small basket of crispy fries, and an array of condiments -- pickles, tomatoes, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, lettuce, and cole slaw. The only quibble? The tomatoes are diced.
I think the Cihelna burger is also much easier to eat, physically, than the PH burger. I always find myself giving up and resorting to knife and fork about halfway through the PH burger. It's just too big, even for my mouth, and everything starts squirting out the back. The HC burger and bun have a lower profile, without sacrificing any substance.
As for Kogo at Slovansky Dum, I agree with Brewsta. I, too, think it's probably the best all-around dining experience in Prague -- when you consider food, prices, service, atmosphere, and that ineffable quality that makes you just happy to be there.
But now that it's fresh in my memory, I'd say Hergetova Cihelna runs a close second. Prices for entrees start at a very reasonable 225 crowns for the spaghetti with mussels. A half-liter of Pilsner Urquell will set you back 65 crowns, compared with 55 crowns for a .33 glass of Budvar at Kogo.
And unlike Kogo, it's got That View.
*** The Cihelna Burger now acutally costs a whopping 395 CZK.
You can read my review of the burger and restaurant here.
Prague 1, Mala Straná
Tel. (+420) 296 826 103