"Relativity teaches us the connection between the different descriptions of one and the same reality." Albert EinsteinMost of Holešovice is a desert for diners looking for quality. There are a few oases. I sometimes recommend SaSaZu or Bohemia Bagel (which might get a new name). But then I run dry.
I know people who live and work in the area, and they all say there's nothing special to go out of your way for.
One of them, Foodie Friend, suggested trying Baterka, which sits under a block of ugly flats facing Libeňský most.The interior has a modern-looking dining area with blond wood and clean lines.The seating was not the most comfortable, but it looked good. One annoying feature was the flat screen on the wall, blaring videos from Óčko, along with McDonald's and Pepsi commercials.
After sitting down, I was satisfied by a half-liter of cold and sharp Pilsner Urquell (35 CZK).FF had a .2 liter glass of 2007 Olaria from Portugal (42 CZK).That was also nicely cold and declared good, especially for the price.
Bread and butter were delivered.The cold slices were nothing special at all. Too dry and dense.
FF ordered a mixed salad (49 CZK).It was very basic and undressed -- just cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and a few iceberg leaves. There was oil and vinegar on the table.
Of course, I had to try the Maxiburger (159 CZK) to add to my next Brewsta's Burgers list.It was served cut in half -- something I'd never seen before, at least as a standard practice.
The ground beef was pink in the middle.Most places cook their burgers to death. Of course, not everyone likes a rare of even medium-cooked patty. But I was pleased.
It was loaded with lettuce, tomato, red and white onion, and there were jalapenos on the side. The visuals were pretty good.
So imagine my let down, pickled peppers aside, by the blandness of this burger. The meat desperately needed salt, and it had no flavor at all from the grill. I didn't like it.
On the plus side, the thin-cut McDonald's-style fries were hot, crunchy, and good.
FF got the papardelle con parma (139 CZK). It came with Parma ham, sun-dried tomatoes, rucola, and Parmesan cheese.Again, it looked good, but the flavor was lacking. FF said it could have been nice but needed something more in the mix to pull it together.
The meal ended with a cappuccino (39 CZK) and a large espresso (35 CZK).Both were good.
The bill for two, including three drinks each, was 619 CZK without tip. I was disappointed with the first visit, but we agreed to try it again the next week.
With that meal, I started with the bruschetta bolognese (69 CZK). It was described as ground beef with tomato on homemade Italian-style bread with melted cheese.The toast bread slices were good. But there's not too much more to say. It was very basic. But I will add that it was quite filling -- almost a meal by itself.
FF had the Norwegian salmon tartare (119 CZK). Chopped red onion dominated the flavor. There were also shallots and capers.I thought there was something fishy about the salmon, and it could have been fresher. But FF liked it a lot. The 80 grams of fish came with the toasted Italian bread and half a lime.
For a main course, I got the pork steak (179 CZK). The Italian bread made its third appearance. On the side, they served grilled vegetables in a pesto.The white meat was mostly juicy and coated in a sweet marinade. It came with a dish of mustard on the side.
The pork was slightly overcooked, with a little dryness in the middle. The vegetables were a little too plain and could have used a shot of vinegar.
FF got Norwegian salmon again, but as a main course (205 CZK). It wrapped, maki-style, in nori and then cooked. The fish was served over wasabi mashed potatoes.The tender salmon was cooked to medium, with an orange center. We both liked it.
We differed on the potatoes. I thought it had a great wasabi flavor, but FF felt it didn't have enough and wished for that familiar nose burn you get from a heavy dose.
Surrounding the potatoes was a pool of honey mixed with lime. It was cloyingly sweet. Not good. Perhaps just a drizzling would have been OK.
I combine these two ingredients myself, along with soy sauce, to make a sauce for Asian chicken wings. It really needs the salty dimension and more lime juice for balance.
The tab for this trip, which included three wines and a beer, came to 733 CZK without tip.
In our postprandial discussion, I said I wasn't too impressed by Baterka.
"It's not the kind of place you'd make a special trip for," FF said. "It doesn't compare well to restaurants in the rest of Prague. But for Holešovice, it's one of the best. I'm glad it's here."
That sentiment was backed up by another friend who works down the road. She goes there regularly for their sub-100 CZK lunch specials and says that there isn't much else to choose from nearby.
So, there you have it. When hunger strikes in Holešovice, it's hard to do better than Baterka.
But just remember: the theory of relativity applies to everything in the universe, including restaurants.
Prague 7 - Holešovice
Tel: (+420) 266 711 185