Category Archives: Czech Republic

Art & Cuisine in Historic Prague

2013c Art Nouveau Palace Hotel

Art Nouveau Palace Hotel
Panská 12
11121 Prague 1

 A Prague architectural treasure, the Art Nouveau Palace Hotel is located between the Old and New Towns, the UNESCO-protected center of Prague.  Records confirm the existence as an aristocratic residence at this very location, not far from Wenceslas Square, as far back as 1378.  Over the centuries the structure’s owners and its use changed many times, until it was eventually razed at the end of the 19th century.  In 1903, the new owner rebuilt, designing the Art Nouveau Palace Hotel as a luxury property that was to become the focal point of social and cultural life in the city.

In 1986, the hotel closed to undergo extensive renovations, reopening three years later.  Its architectural character was preserved, and the hotel remains a fine example of the Art Nouveau structures that grace this beautiful city.  In this architectural style, sculptural figures and flowing ornamentation, ideally suited to wrought iron and glass, were the hallmarks of the early twentieth century.  The entrance to the hotel embodies these elements and the warm colors of the foyer are enlivened by mirrors and crystal chandeliers. 

It is a privilege to be a guest at this historic hotel, where history meets modernity, elegance blends with efficiency, and the timeless traditions of hospitality are honored.  Beyond the comfort of our bedroom and the pleasures of an abundant breakfast buffet, Prague awaits, the principal sites within easy walking distance.  I am delighted to discover the Mucha Museum directly across the street from our hotel.  Alphonse Mucha was the most renowned Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, best known for his distinctive paintings, illustrations, and designs – over 100 of which are on display in this little gem of a museum.  It is a great way to start one’s visit to Prague and to appreciate the architectural and decorative details of the buildings that adorn the neighboring streets of our hotel.

At the end of the day, I must admit, there is no greater pleasure than eating at home.  At home, this evening, is at the Cafe Palace Restaurant of our hotel.  The warm deep red color of its walls and carpet encloses us in an atmosphere of cozy and casual comfort and the pop music that plays softly in the background simply relaxes.  Christmas lights sparkle inside the restaurant and on the nearby buildings outside our window.

Cafe Palace - saladCafe Palace - main 2Cafe Palace - main 1The menu offers a limited but welcome choice of traditional comfort foods that are by no means ordinary.  A salad of crisp greens and Cafe Palace dessert 2Cafe Palace - dessert 1red radicchio is dressed up festively with spiced pears – do I detect cloves? – Gorgonzola and walnuts in a balsamic vinaigrette.  Two traditional Czech dishes, beef in sour cream sauce with dumplings and pork schnitzel with pureed potatoes, are delightfully satisfying.  Add the apple strudel and almond crusted fried ice cream with black currant sauce, the two desserts we shared, and we feel totally spoiled.

Throughout our meal we study the large display of framed photographs and signatures of the many notable guests who have stayed at Hotel Palace Praha over the decades – musicians, artists, actors, writers, politicians, etc.  Yes, this fine hotel has hosted many renowned guests.  Who wouldn’t want to stay where each guest is valued and made to feel special, regardless of social status or notoriety? 

Mlynec Restaurant – a restaurant with a view


Mlýnec Restaurant
Novotného lávka 9
Prague 1, 11000
Manager: Pavel Stepanek
Chef: Marek Šáda

The Mlýnec Restaurant sits at the foot of the famous Charles Bridge overlooking the Vltava River in Prague. When the river overflowed its banks in June of 2013, the flood waters devastated the restaurant. The Mlýnec team lost no time in taking on the challenges of restoration and new décor, re-opening just 7 weeks later.

The interior is tastefully done in neutral shades of espresso brown, toffee and cream colors. From the ceiling a constellation of lights in blown-glass balls, tinged red and in the shape of pomegranates add a whimsical elegance to the dining rooms. But what pleases most is the up-close view of Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle in the distance as seen through their panoramic windows.

All of this before one even begins to savor the superb cuisine of Chef Marek Šáda. A la carte dining is available in addition to several tasting menus. We choose the Czech Menu with its 4 courses, each one paired with select wines of the region, the origins of each dish and wine carefully explained by Jiří Šubrt, the deputy manager.

The plates please the eye before the flavors reach our palates. The potato soup is very tasty, with underlying flavors that linger after ch spoonful. Duck Confit with red cabbage and dumplings is the stand-out dish, but if one favors dessert, the chestnut brulé with pumpkin ice-cream wins with the first bite.

Creative cuisine and caring service are hallmarks of this restaurant. The gift is the view!Mlynec Restaurant


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