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Posts Tagged ‘romantic gastronomic restaurants’

Opened in 1991, V ZATIŠÍ was one of the pioneers of privately owned restaurants in Prague. One might doubt the merits of a dining spot in a country where just a year or two ago there was a very limited choice of ingredients, restricted imports and as in the majority of communist settlements quantity was ranked above quality. The founder took his job seriously though and created one of the best and most consistent gourmet restaurants in the Czech Republic, where you will not hesitate returning.

Cuisine: Gourmet Czech, Indian and Continental.

Visit: September 2012

Design interior In Zatisi

Price: Medium (For foreigners) to high (for Czech people). For two courses you pay CZK 890 (just under $US50); three courses CZK 1090 (less than $US60); each additional course CZK 150 (about $US 8). So the more you eat, the more value you get. The quality and creativity of the meals is very high so it is worth the money spent.

Cosy seating at “V Zatisi”

Atmosphere: V Zatiší means “In retreat” and the restaurant is unquestionably devoted to its name as it is where hidden from the curious sights of hordes of tourists and sensation seeking tabloid press, the important and the famous dine, date and close business deals. There are three secluded rooms for ultra-confident meetings and celebrations. On the left there is a bar and a larger room for these preferring an open space to wine and dine in.

The interior is cosy, relaxing and stylish. Designed by a trio of local artists Bára Škorpilová, Barbara Hamplová and ‘glassmaster’ Rony Plesl you will be surrounded by plant motifs on wallpapers, vases filled with stylish flowers and elegantly curved branches and gently lit by intimate and classy chandeliers. Wear anything classy, elegant and rather understated than flashy. The entire restaurant is non-smoking which is in the current loosely regulated environment in the Czech hospitality a huge advantage. You can savor your meal and wine without any distracting cigarette odour.

Chef:  Milan Hořejší cares about his ingredients getting fresh vegetables and fruits from farmers, mushrooms from his friend and fish and meat the freshest possible. His experience from the high-end Prague’s restaurants and from Switzerland shows in his culinary adventure on each plate. He serves fish and meat with two different sauces so you can savor the dish from two perspectives. Mahavir Kansval is a one Michelin experienced chef responsible for the Indian dishes at Zatisi.

Indian frozen mango desert

Food:Flexible, creative and fearless. If you are in the mood of exploration, then you can choose either from the five-course Czech degustation (“The Best of Bohemian”) or the international Zátiší menu (“Taste explosion”). Going a la carte is the best if you would like to mix both.

Starting light (at least for the Czech standards) with Mixed Lettuce Salad with Butternut Squash, Fried Okra and Yuzu Citrus Dressing, you will be ready for any of the richer main courses. This original salad with a Japanese twist and fashionable okra spears is excellent with a glass of grassy Moravian Sauvignon Blanc (such as the one from Milan Sůkal).

Another refreshing starter is the Chilled vegetable and fruit gazpacho, avocado guacamole, mojito foam. Generous plate will satisfy the price conscious diners and unique mexican take without too much spice pleases the exotic flavors seeking connoisseurs.

Choosing the Duo of warm goat cheese, apple purée and salad with balsamic dressing will not disappoint cheese aficionados. This is a bit heavier starter, but excellent with wine either an aromatic Chardonnay or a delicate Pinot Noir. One part of cheese is breaded in a crust, melting in your mouth like a warm cream, another is sizzling hot on a toast resembling the french version, and both are lightened up by the accompanying salad with balsamic vinegar. Apple purée adds the necessary sweetness to the goat cheese in a delicious condiment.

Moving to meat with Pan seared pepper crusted beef carpaccio with celeriac remoulade and veal-truffle Jus one wonders if it is a starter or a main course, yet it is up to you what you make out of it as it can really be both. The juicy beef is tender and bursting with meaty and peppery flavors. The celeriac remoulade freshens up the meat and the veal juice infused with truffles adds complexity creating a genuine gastronomic experience.

Beef carpaccio

The main courses are tantalizing and it is very hard to choose one. I felt like testing the Indian chef’s skills and went for the Tandoori home smoked salmon, tandoori grilled vegetables, tomato chutney and aubergine raita. Visiting India myself and being spoiled by the European bastion of Indian food – London, I am a harsh critique of authentic Indian cuisine. The chef Mahavir Kansval has not disappointed my palate as the spices infusing the salmon as well as the vegetables were intriguing and authentic. The tomato chutney was generous, not spicy and the yoghurt based aubergine raita balanced the spices of the tandoori prepared fish and vegetables.

Pinot Noir from Stapleton & Springer

You are in the Czech Republic so go for something Czech if you feel like it. Be sure though that you will get a hearty meal not leaving you hungry. The Czech staple and favorite of many foreign visitors is the Beef tournedos with traditional creamy vegetable sauce “svícková”, herb dumplings and cranberries, which is made to perfection at Zatisi. It is almost as good as the grandmother’s style and that says a lot! ( You can never say it is as good as the svíčková your granny makes, so judge yourself how good it is here). It is an industrious endeavor to make this sauce. Cooking the beef for about five to six hours, then separating it and preparing the creamy sauce with carrots. The dumplings need to be tender and not chewy and cranberries juicy and slightly sour. To me drinking beer with this is too heavy, a light red wine such as Pinot Noir is ideal and aids digestion with its slightly acidic nature.

Pistachio cheesecake, raspberry sauce

Looking at the above picture of  Pistachio cheesecake with raspberry sauce, you might be seduced to safe some space for a dessert. The cheesecake is so soft and lighter than most of the American and British versions so go for it! The berries and fruity sauce are so refreshing that you will not feel stuffed at the end of the meal. Right the opposite, you might end up cooing like my sister after this tasty dessert, she would keep talking about it days after and I understand why.

I also liked the indian frozen dessert called Mango “Kulfi” served with fresh mango. It was delicious, refreshing and reminded me my favorite mango lassi, which I got in India often as a liquid dessert.

Drinks: The wine list is very broad. Covering Europe as well as the New world you will find a bit of everything including selection of well-known bubbly Champagne. If you come here regularly, you can bring your own bottle for a 345 CZK (less than $US20) corkage fee. Otherwise the sommelier is very helpful and eager to recommend a glass of wine to pair with each course. I would advise doing this since it seemed to be very popular. We started with a glass of white wine each and then moved to a bottle of red Pinot Noir 2005 from Stapleton and Springer. I have had their Moravian Pinot Noir many times and in various vintages and was never disappointed. It is light, well-balanced and shows juicy strawberry so easy to pair with a wide range of dishes from fish to meat.

The selection of teas is very extensive. You can choose your favorite from a box from Tchaba.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun: Lunch:  12:00 – 15:00; Dinner: 17:30 – 23:00

Address: Betlémské nám. / Liliová 1, Prague 1, 110 00, Czech Republic

Contact: Tel: +420 222 221 155

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Cuisine: French gastronomic bistro

Visit: August 2012

Price: medium (if you get two starters for lunch) to high (the bistro is located in a five-star hotel, three-course lunch menu varies daily from 30€ to 38€, à la carte starters €12, mains €25 and desserts with cheese €9)

Le Bistrot de la Véranda offers either a daily changed lunch menu or a seasonal « à la carte » selection and stunning views across a lush valley spanning from the ancient village of Gordes across the Luberon.

Refreshing terrace

Atmosphere: Fresh, family friendly and breathtaking vista. Although the bistro is located at a luxurious hotel, compared to its gastronomic restaurant, this is a casual spot to dine. You can wear your tourist attire as well as a nice summer dress and shirt. Fresh breeze coming from the valley lets you forget the steaming hot trail through the old village and provides natural air-conditioning on the terrace cut into the steep rocks of the Gordes hill. As we dined there, we spotted families with larger tables and their kids ordering special dishes the restaurant provided for them – from pasta to french fries, it seemed that they got what they desired. These were nice and orderly children, who knew how to behave at a nice place, so even the childless couples had their romantic lunch experience guaranteed without any disruptions.

A bottle of Rose and tremendous view

Food: Fresh, creative and full of flavor. Using mostly local ingredients the chef creates daily a Menu du marché – a three-course lunch menu including a glass of local wine and coffee. One never gets bored with his creations. The starter of Gâteau de poulpe, fine semoule et poivrons marinés. The Octopus cake made with fine semolina and marinated red peppers was prodigious in terms of mastering the seemingly disparate ingredients in one dish. The tiny slices of octopus added texture to the semolina cake, the marinated peppers sweetness and juice, the pepper gazpacho was like a juicy sauce, the rocket brought some bitter touch to the sweetness of the peppers and the crispy cheese cracker on the top was a sophisticated touch of savour topping the multiple pleasures from this dish.

Octopus with couscous in red pepper gazpacho

The melon season announced itself in another starter, this time on the regular à la carte menu. The Coeur de melon et jambon cru (Fresh melon and raw ham) was simple, but exquisite. Juicy and sweet melon was in harmony with the ham.

Cantaloupe with ham

Even more meaty was the terrine from the same menu. La terrine de campagne provençale (Country style provençal pâté) felt like grandmother’s own terrine. Capers and salad added freshness and fruit chutney sweetness reducing the strong meat in the terrine.

Meat terrine with salad

Moving to the main courses with La rascasse en bouillabaisse (Scorpion fish in bouillabaisse) our friend did not go wrong. This authentic yet innovative dish based on the local fish used often in bouillabaisse and served with green beens swimming in a rich creamy sauce with young potatoes and vegetables attracted our friend because of the scorpion fish. He had never heard about it and wanted to try it. As he finished the whole plate I assume that he liked it a lot.

The bouillabaisse

Drinks: Great local wines selection with reasonable prices. The rosé we got though was little bit too strawberry perfumed for me, lacking balance between freshness and flavor. For a light lunch I prefer something crisp and refreshing, perhaps rather going into the delicate peach aroma as most of the Provençal rosés posses. I got a glass of local white wine as a consequence and was extremely happy with it since it delivered the crispness and aroma I craved for. You can taste the wine by the glass before so if you do not like it you can choose something else instead.

Opening hours: Lunch : 12.30 – 2.15 pm daily

Contact: +33 (0) 4 90 72 12 12

Address: Rue de la Combe  84220 Gordes, France

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Cuisine: French gourmet

Visit: July 2012

Price: Very high (main courses around €100, a la carte menu €180 without drinks).

Panoramic view overlooking the bar area with Cap Ferrat at the back

La Chèvre d’Or is a stunning luxurious hotel with perhaps an even more impressive location. Hundreds of tourists browse daily through the medieval Eze village high in the hills above Monaco and Cap Ferrat. Some visitors look for art, other for architecture and there are many who take the challenge of walking on the cobbled stones in nice (ladies high-heels) shoes as they head to La Chèvre d’Or’s gourmet restaurant. No wonder the restaurant attracts so many food connoisseurs. With two stars in the 2012 Michelin guide, panoramic views over the Mediterranean and picturesque Cap Ferrat with yachts cruising around its curves lining the sea, the Chèvre d’Or is on the list of must-dine-at places of many travelers to the French Riviera.

Chef: Fabrice Vulin is not only inventive, but he also creates novelties rewarding your taste buds with complex and enjoyable flavors. In one dish one can find dozens of interpretations of one central idea – be it vegetables or a meat dish.

Amouse bouche from the chef

Ambience:Elegant, romantic and breathtaking views. If you are lucky enough to sit at one of the window tables you will delight in a view that not many restaurants in the world can match. Reserving these tables though might be a tough nut to crack. Unless, you book it weeks ahead, and in high season even months ahead, you will be happy dining at any table in the restaurant as the food is so good. The walls are decorated with unique paintings reminding you that you are in one of the most important art villages in France. Since the restaurant is inside, you do not need to worry about mosquitos, wind or cold night temperatures which you might consider if dining at the hotel’s second, more casual, restaurant – the Eden. No need to wear a robe, but clean well-presenting clothes are appropriate. As you can see, the man on the picture below, got away even with a polo shirt!

Ambience at Le Chevre d'Or gastronomic restaurant

Le Chevre d’Or gastronomic restaurant inside

Food: Complex, unexpected and generous portions for a gastronomic restaurant. Dining at Le Chèvre d’Or does not come cheaply, on the other hand though there ar not many two Michelin-starred restaurants serving satisfying sizes of their portions. I can guarantee you will not leave the restaurant hungry, craving a pizza at a nearby stand. My American friends, who were dining with us, were astonished over their portions “at a French restaurant”. Comparing the dining experience to a Thanksgiving dinner, that was perhaps the highest compliment a restaurant can get.

Already the appetizers overwhelmed our senses with complexity and joy from each bite. The Capunatina d’Aubergineswas just incredible. I cannot remember when I had such an intricate dish, where each mouthful tasted slightly different! Well done Monsieur Vulin, since this was one of the best appetizers in my life. The vegetables, including the chopped aubergine on the base, were interspersed with various herbs, pickled seasonal mushrooms and even tiny piece of a cheese as one bite had revealed. Despite being an adventurous spirit in terms of food, I would order it again, if I went to the Chèvre d’Or.

Capunatina d’Aubergines

Another generous appetizer was Le loup, l’Araignee de mer, le caviar d’Aquitaine. Sea bass with a sea crab and caviar from Aquitaine. Looking like a slice of caviar cake with juicy crab lining, it was a quirky dish, yet so interesting. I wonder how many ingredients the chef had put into this creation. From seafood, vegetable, herbs, sauces and even flowers one could find numerous facets of the white Mediterranean wish, the sea bass, which was the core ingredient. Excellent with champagne or a mineral white wine such as Chablis or Puligny-Montrachet.

Le loup, l’Araignee de mer, le caviar d’Aquitaine

The main courses were no less elaborate. La sole de Méditerranée cooked in papillote (wrapped in baking paper) with Noilly Prat (dry vermouth from South of France) and lasagna aux coquillages(mussels) had a delicate texture enhanced by a creamy sauce with the Noilly Prat vermouth. The small lasagna accompanying the fish were exquisite. With mussels marrying flowers and herbs in one’s mouth, I would exceptionally legalize polygamy in this marriage of three perfectly matching souls. The seasonal mushrooms then were just like a best man to the ceremony of flavors. Assisting with their juicy and rich flavor in the lasagna church filled with mussels, flowers and herbs. The dish was about multiple flavors in a harmonious relationship.

Sole Mediterranee

The meat afficionados might be seduced by a Veau de Corréze. This veal from Corréze is roasted for two people and served with a cassoulet of vegetables, seasonal mushrooms and young potatoes. A portion for a lumberjack will surely not disappoint even the biggest eater and provides enough energy for the entire day. The meat was succulent, delicate and rich in flavor. As the waiter kept bringing small pots with accompanying vegetables, mushrooms and young potatoes, the brows of the two gentlemen kept rising. They have managed it well though, sated and sighting with pleasure.

Veal

With a desert tray approaching our table, I thought I might be the only one succumb to the temptation of the sweet delicacies. The sweet kingdom in front of our eyes seduced all four of us, including the two veal eaters. One forgets quickly how much he ate after seeing something so delicious. I got three pieces – a dark chocolate based one to appease my chocolate addiction, a delicious pistachio creamy sensation with berries and silver leafs, and a tapa-size cookie topped with two fruity layers and a cap of a red strawberry. They were all great, although the pistachio mini cake was my favorite.

The trio of deserts

Drinks: Going local we got a bottle of La Chapelle de Sainte Roseline 2007 Cru Classe, Côtes de Provance. This intense red wine was dominated by Grenache, typical for the South of France, and refreshed with a spicy kick if Syrah. Not an ideal but a fun and enjoyable wine for all of our dishes. The wine list features most of the big players in the wine world, although it is focused on France. I highly recommend to everyone to get an aperitif outside at the bar terrace just below the restaurant. The fresh breeze and sunset with all the colors flashing on the sky guarantee a very special start of your unforgettable dining experience.

Contact: +33(0)4 92 10 66 61

Opening hours and seasonal closure:  Open for lunch and dinner from March 08th until November 24th; closed from November 24th till March.

Address: LA CHÈVRE D’OR – Rue du Barri – 06360 Eze Village, France

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