Monday, November 5, 2007

Autogrill - D1 Motorway

We were somewhere around Brno on the edge of the Moravian highlands when the hunger began to take hold.

I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive….” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us.*

Next thing I knew, we were pulling to the parking lot of Autogrill.Yes, this roadside purveyor of panini and prosciutto in Italy has now established itself in the Czech Republic.

It's on the D1 motorway, a little more than halfway to Prague, heading from Brno. It's hard to spot it behind the Agip station.

We've driven through Italy many times over the years, and we have almost aways stopped for a quick bite at one of the ubiquitous Autogrills on the Autostrada. The simple sandwiches, filled with good bresaola or fresh mozzarella or rucola, usually hit the spot.

During this stop, we only ate one piece of Marlenka honey cake. We were in a hurry. It was a big slice and very moist. We enjoyed it.

But I thought it worthwhile documenting the other offerings and the Autogrill ambiance for fellow travelers. So to speak.

There is a basic, cafeteria-style food service area. It is very clean and new. Slide your tray along the rails.There are a couple of steam tables with prepared food. The food is mostly Czech, with a few Italian meals thrown in.

The only items that really caught my eye on the first steam table were the meatballs in tomato sauce (74 CZK) and the lasagne (89 CZK). The lasagna looked pretty dry, though. I hope they include some sauce with it.There was also beef goulash (75 CZK), beef tenderloin (75 CZk), dumplings (18 CZK), chicken legs (68 CZK), roast pork (59 CZK), sauerkraut (22 CZK), pasta (25 CZK). Boiled potatoes (28 CZK).So, don't expect too much sexy Italian fare here.

There were fried options like pork schnitzel (85 CZK) or chicken schnitzel (80 CZK) or fried cheese (65 CZK).

And there was breakfast. Ham and eggs (hemenex) for 58 CZK, an omelet for 54 CZK, scrambled eggs for 42 CZK, and a sausage (klobasa) for 28 CZK.

The restaurant had a very limited display of panini for around 60 CZK. It was not the wide variety you'll see at an Italian Autogrill.There were several salads to choose from, including tomato and onion or fresh red, green and yellow peppers or fruit salad that looked like it came from a can.The seating area was very clean, but generic and boring. Little style, lots of cheap tile. There is not so much about Autogrill that says you are getting a small taste of Italy.But considering the alternatives for roadside food in the Czech Republic, I'd still have to say that Autogrill is a decent, if not very special option.

I wish we had more time to sit down and try a few things. But a few short minutes after our arrival, we were back on the road.

V saw the hitchhiker long before I did. "Let's give this boy a lift," she said...*

Next to the Agip station
D1 Motorway
Direction Prague

*Extra gold stars for those who spot the literary homage


Anonymous said...

Used to be I went to Agip stations to shop for hard to find Italian products. Thankfully now you can find them at other places, but still like to brwose what they have.

*Hunter S. Thompson's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
(Greatest American Novel since Twain's Huckleberry Finn)

Brewsta said...

Gold stars for anonymous!

Anonymous said...

I miss the Agip Autogrill pit stops while living in Southern Italy. The Panini rustichella was always a treat, and it was a great place to buy local cheese. I traded about 40000 Lire for an Agip jacket- the same ones you see the Agip employees wear..nothing but great food and memories here.