Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dinitz Café (Closed)

** Note: This restaurant closed and La Republica has opened in its place with a Czech-Austrian-German style menu. I haven't been, but I must not that, in my opinion, they desecrated one of the most beautiful Art Deco dining rooms in the city.

"If music be the food of love, play on." - Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night, 1601
I love music. I love food. And like Orsino, I needed a distraction. So, the other night, I went to Dinitz Café. It's a good place for all of that stuff.
This is a very cool spot on Na Poříčí, not far from Náměstí Republiky. It has a very interesting Art Deco interior. I'd like to know more about the history behind it. I googled around a bit but couldn't find much.
Dinitz Café regularly has live music. Just about every Friday, they have Cuban band called Son Caliente, which has something of a rotating line-up. But this is no cheap imitation. These are real Cuban expats. They sound great. Prague needs more of this kind of style.
As the night moves along and drinks start going down, a few people pop up from their chairs and dance in the little space that's available.
The singer will move out onto the floor. With your girlfriend. You don't dance. He does. He's good. The trumpet player will wander around and play on among the tables. It's relaxed and it's fun.
Dinitz Café has two levels, with a bar and tables on each.
The top level overlooks the lower level. It is smaller up there, with fewer tables. If you are interested in conversation, it is better to be upstairs when the band is playing.

They do a wide range of cocktails. A friend had a Long Island Ice Tea for 180 CZK. They list the ingredients as "tequila, vodka, rum, gin, triple sec, lemon juice, fresh orange, coke."
I didn't like it. I've heard of the drink being made with lemon juice or sour mix, but never orange juice. And it had too much of the stuff. It made it too sweet and the drink didn't seem strong enough, considering all the alcohol involved. I make a better one.

I was drinking Jack Daniels with ice. You all know what that looks like.

Given my earlier raves about the steak sandwich at Rocky O'Reilly's, a reader of this blog recommended the one at Dinitz Café. It is called the "Mongolian Steak Sandwich" (Mongolský sendvič) with "grilled slices of beef entrecote, green aioli, grilled tomatoes, arugula and fried onions, served on ciabatta bread." It comes with fries and goes for 250 CZK.
I liked it. Almost great, but not quite. Every ingredient, from the steak to the bread was fresh and good quality. Nicely grilled tomatoes and onions.
When you open this beautiful sandwich, you see that the quality ingredients are just swimming in mayonnaise. They called it "green aioli" but it looked pretty white and Hellmanns-like to me. It is hard to see in the picture, but the mayo is what keeps the grilled tomatoes glued to the top of the bread.
It's a shame, really, because the mayo overwhelms the other stuff. They include plenty of extra mayo on the side. It would have been more than fine to let me put it on myself. Or not. I actually love mayonnaise, but this was too much for even me.

Dinitz Café has their full food menu available online. There is also a cocktail menu and a schedule for live performances.

While the Dinitz Café steak sandwich has potential for greatness, I think Rocky's still has the edge for the best.

But what do I know? Shakespeare knew a lot about music, food, and love, and he certainly didn't seem to have a lot of respect for steak sandwich lovers.
"Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has; but I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit."

-- Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Twelfth Night, 1601Dinitz Café
Palác YMCA
Na poříčí 12
Prague 1
Tel. (+420) 222 314 071
email : info@dinitz.cz


Anonymous said...

Dinitz on Bilkova serves much better food IMHO than the café and is cheaper (180 Kc for the Mongolian). Looking at that sandwich in the photo, it seems to bear this out.

Their cheesecake is also a contender for best in Prague, and they make their own bread.

Brewsta said...

I think Dinitz on Bilkova closed down. Expats.cz listing says it was replaced by Bisli Restaurant:


This is the website for the new place:


It has the same address as the old Dinitz -- Bilkova 12.

E.F. Slattery said...

Nice write-up and pics! We were in there on a recent Sunday afternoon and it was nearly empty, except for a few couples having coffee and admiring the architecture. What used to be there, do you know?

Falstaff says, "Let the sky rain potatoes," so no doubt Shakespeare would have loved his french fries...

Anonymous said...

Their lunch specials are a steal, also fresh and and of manageable portions. Usually scaled-down versions of their regular offerings. The pastas are quite good too and the chicken liver pate is yum. Someone has a light touch in the kitchen...

Brewsta said...

Great to know, Angel. And thanks for your earlier comments. Much appreciated.

griga said...

Hi Brewsta,
I really enjoy reading your blog. It's funny how foreigners in Prague go to places that Czech people rarely visit. I have one question for you. I love pork ribs. What place would the best?

Brewsta said...

I really like the meaty ribs at Ambiente on Manesova. The have a nice, home-made mango chili sauce with it. They also have an "all you can eat" option on the menu.