Last week I had the pleasure of dining at Kalina Restaurant. I can't believe that I missed this new star. Under the fine direction of Chef Miroslav Kalina, this restaurant serves up some of the most inventive and interesting dishes in Prague, all expertly prepared from the best ingredients available, sourced both locally and internationally.
a new take on czech cuisine
The restaurant's location only a few steps from old town Square is also a welcome break from the many tourist traps serving overpriced bad Czech food or the ubiquitous pizza. And while Kalina is not cheap because it is a fine dining establishment (though it does have a very affordable lunch menu), it manages to combine a local, casual feel with a somewhat formal service and decor. This combination is a rare find in old town these days. Kalina's website says it best:
Our "Genuinely and purely designed interior without any pretentiousness offers nothing less than thoughtful simplicity and a pleasant atmosphere. The real luxury is actually waiting for you on your plate and inside your wine glass."
a local place in touristy old town
The evening began with an outstanding glass of champagne. It sparkled with flavor yet was incredibly dry, and it went perfectly with the small taster that was served complements of the chef. After choosing appetizers and a main dish, the restaurant's staff offered excellent input and recommended perfect pairings of wine with each dish.
a place for wine
The importance Kalina places on wine is summed up thus:
"The strong emphasis on the best quality wine list makes Kalina restaurant the right place for gourmets and wine lovers. Our wine collection is built mainly on Champagne and other wines from the best European wineries."
And to add the final touch on great wines, each wine is served in the perfect type of glass from expert glass maker Riedel (which, incidentally, began its operations in the historic Czech lands).
a great way to start
The salmon was superb, with a firm, juicy texture and a rich taste that was set off by the caviar. The chef's modern version of classic crab cocktail was truly surprising. The two white wines that accompanied these dishes - an oaky French white with the crab and a dry French white with the salmon - were excellent.
the main attraction
The duck, tender and filled with flavor, was a modern take on a classic check dish, and the almond crust on the potato croquettes made for a delicious twist on an old standby. A lighter, yet very flavorful, red was paired with the duck.
make room for coffee and dessert
Our end-of-the-meal espresso was thick and robust, and throughout we were given professional service that was attentive but not overbearing.
Dlouhá 12, Praha 1
Tel.: (420) 222 317 715
Mon - Sun 12:00 - 15:00, 18:00 - 23:30