Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SMICHOV - relatively interesting

It's Tuesday, Easter is finally over and if you have ever celebrated Easter in Poland then you will have a better understanding of how I am feeling right now. To fit it in a nutshell, it was like Christmas day with all the trimmings for 4 days. Throw in a hard boiled egg eating competition, large amounts of meat and vodka of which the aunties embarrassingly drunk me under the table and you have some idea of how my internal organs are feeling today, though I just would like to make clear that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience in the company of my SVG and her family, even with the language barrier and room full of warm patient people, whose English is slightly better than my Polish.

This weeks addition comes from Smichov and although we visited it last week and were proud of how organised we were being because of our impending trip to Poland, we still managed to forget most of the important photos to complete the blog, so I am very sorry that this week's reviews will not be complete as all the places of interest, but on a more positive note we have changed the blog address. This is because in the future we hope to set up a website and we want the names to be similar so in the future you will be able to read the blog at

We wanted it to be livincity.blogspot.com but sadly it was already taken. So back to Smichov,
what do we know, well I suppose most people know that there is a train station there and as with most areas around train stations it is not the most beautiful part of the city but that does not mean that it lacked in places of interest as you will see later on this week unfortunately but you will see some of the places that we found very interesting and we were pleasantly surprised and so will you.

The most commonly known facts about this area are that it is home to the Staropramen brewery, it was also a very industrial area with factories manufacturing and producing goods such as gloves, furniture and bricks, and there is a man made beach on the water front. The more lesser known facts are that Albert Einstein used to live here and the name derives from the word laugh (n) so in my roughly translated Czech, mit Smichov means to have a laugh.

Review no. 1

This was an interesting place if all truth be said, mainly because it is like a jack of all trades. A bar, restaurant, cocktail bar and cafe. Initially we tried the cocktail bar door which was closed and were just about to head off when I noticed a smashed up BMW around the corner and was pointing it out to my son when I noticed another door, which was open for business as a restaurant on the river front and the view from the window was a big plus.
So we went inside, not knowing anything apart from what I had mentioned and to be honest the decor did look a bit plush and we were preparing ourselves for a very pricey lunch, but we were wrong as it turned out though it wasn't the cheapest either but the food was good and the portions were generous as you can see in the photos and we had the run of the place as we were the only people there.

My daughter had the svickova and as you can see it was a generous portion and she did well in nearly finishing it. I had the steak and I am never sure about the translation when it comes to steak but they translated it as sirloin yet I am sure that it was rump, anyway it was disappointing as I was hoping for a nice tender medium rare steak but I got chunks of slightly chewy well done steak with burnt onions. The Czech dishes were well made and presented and to be fair you have to be prepared to pay more that 400czk for a good steak and mine was 250czk. If I had been more adventurous with my budget I would have gone for the pricier beefsteak which I hope would have been a nice cut of fillet, but maybe next time.

To summarize the view and the atmosphere were very nice, the prices pretty good for its location and the food was average and the portions above average. As we were leaving we noticed that the cocktail bar was now open and that the drinks were cheaper than in the restaurant, so I imagine that if you wanted a nice view and a few drinks it would be a nice place to meet friends before going on to somewhere else.


Other places of interest

Beer emergency                                       Italian wine and food
www.pivnipohotovost.cz                            www.winemarket.cz

Golf equipment                                         Botel Vodnik
www.amgolf.cz                                         www.botel.cz

Pilot Shop                                  Army Shop
www.hits.cz                                ul. Svornosti 30

Monday, April 18, 2011

ZIZKOV part 1

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Last weekend was a little hectic. I had to cover 2 areas because this weekend I am heading off to Poland to spend Easter Polish style with my SVG and her relatives. It was also made more challenging with the additional presence of my kids, but I had foreseen their lack of enthusiasm by making sure that they brought their scooters with them for starters, although I still knew that it would not be easy convincing them about the walks unless I could promise them something of interest to them, some of you might call it a bribe. I on the other hand prefer the word encouragement. The bait or motivation for this walk was the Army museum though  in the end we never managed to get there but I found something else to occupy their imagination.

Zizkov is one of those areas where all creatures great and small can be found roaming in its streets. It is cool and trendy and yet basic and mysterious. It has a unique magic. It can be compared to the atmosphere of the movie Moulin Rouge, well that is the best way that I can describe it.

Some interesting facts about Zizkov are that its name is connected to a well renowned General who was known for being quite ruthless. It was a part of the old city of Kralovske Vinohrady before becoming a town in its own right and later as with Kralovske Vinohrady was encompassed in the city of Prague. This area, and we have just started looking at Zizkov, has incredibly over 300 bars and restaurants. We took over 300 photos in this first area, my camera was full and I had to delete some older photos so that we could continue, only later to have my camera's battery die on me. If you are looking for some more impressive information, Zizkov is home of the world's 2nd most ugliest building, any guesses? and largest horse monument to boast of.

Review no. 1

Our first pit stop was going to be the interestingly titled Planet Zizkov but it looked like it was undergoing some restorational changes, so we went to another Czech restaurant close by, because the kids were hungry and there is no warning for this when it happens so you just have to drop everything and pray that you are close to an eating establishment, which we luckily were in Zizkov and as I said before there is no shortage of places to eat and drink.

It may seem that I have a thing for cellars but I think that it is also a Prague thing, because if I had to name 10 places that you have to walk down to get into them, I would have no trouble doing so. Surprisingly they had a daily menu on a Saturday, so we chose from that, but they also had a quite extensive food menu as well, which my daughter ate from (chicken breast topped with cheese and ham ) and judging by the lack of remains on her plate, thoroughly enjoyed it, apart from the sunka that is, Kids!. We had no major complaints about the food. My SVG had a tomato and mint couscous with tzatziki, which she expected to be warm, but in fact arrived cold and in her words "It was so so". I had the Chilli con carne, which was spicy and surprisingly for me made with stewing beef rather that mince, though it went quite well together and I had no problems polishing it off or next week I suppose I will be Polish-ing things off. The staff were polite and quite attentive and having the kids is always a great way to test restaurant staff's patience and my 2 are experts in the art of testing people's patience. The food was also reasonably priced and it would be fair to say that we would go there again.


Review no. 2

Our last port of call was a cukrana called Marmelada. My daughter wanted to have a milkshake, so after 90mins of asking and she can ask and ask and ask and ask, believe me, so finally we were relieved to find this newly opened Cukrana and we believe that the owners were Italian though we could be wrong but they were definitely not Czech.

I didn't join them for cake and milkshake because I had to retrace my footsteps, as I said earlier we had a few technical problems with batteries on the cameras, mainly to do with the quantity of photos we ended up taking and also the ones that my kids took. When I came back the cakes had been demolished and the shake which was the main reason for going had not been finished though having a little sip myself I can say that it had nothing to do with the quality of the shake because it was made with fresh strawberries but more to do with my kids playing with a green and a yellow smiley face ball on the wall near to the toilets. We have to say that we really liked the place and would recommend it to people who enjoy nice cakes and coffee with friendly and welcoming knowledgeable owners/staff.


Other places of interest

International specialties

Balkan restaurant
ul. Prokopova 4

Georgian bakery                         Russian, Ukrainian & Caucasian specialties 
ul. Konevova 19                         ul. Rokycanova


Traditional Indian clothes                         Unusual gifts
www.sari.cz                                            www.uzasne-darky.cz

Gun shop
ul. Husitska


David - wellness & fitness studio             Hairdresser & physiotherapist for dogs
www.david-fitness.cz                              www.olexova.cz

Monday, April 11, 2011

VINOHRADY - The final chapter

For all intents and purposes I was meaning to finish my blog of Vinohrady today, but some things got in the way. Firstly my kids at the weekend and the seasonal fairground so that meant that I had to do all my running around today which I almost managed apart from an ad on expats selling a microwave oven, which we desperately need so when my offer was accepted, I had to go and pick it up hence not having enough time to complete my last stage of the Vinohrady saga and lastly, one of my students rang me up and asked me if I wanted to go and see the Sparta/Slavia derby at Letna, well hell yes! so that about sums up my battle with time and being able to delegate my priorities, which I failed at completely and I am very sorry to all my fellow blogettes who have been diligently following and supporting my ego by reading my postings on a regular basis, oh BTW and I know how this is especially going to annoy one particular blogette, who is more affectionately known to me as The Dude, could you all introduce me to a couple of your friends especially unknown to me kinda friends. Lets spread a little more love around and keep my ego flush. Regarding the blog, clearly it isn't finished on time and again I am so sorry for that but I promise you that tomorrow late-ish, I will have completed it for your perusal.

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Finished finally, after dragging my sick body around the last remaining streets. There is nothing more to say about Vinohrady than what has been mentioned previously, only to say "it is a bloody large area to cover" but  for one who used to live there it is a very nice place to live and if you are not impressed by the stylish buildings from the renaissance, gothic and baroque. You will also be impressed with the green areas that are dotted around and which come to life in the warmer months such as Riegerovy sady and Havlickovy sady.

Review no. 1

There are so many places to visit in Vinohrady as you have probably read about in previous posts so the main reason for choosing restaurant Pasticka is that it was nearly 12pm and I was bursting to go to the loo and also it did look really inviting from the outside or it could have been the large Guiness sign and I do like places that you go down into them. I am a hobbit by nature I guess.
While on my walk around the final part of Vinohrady I also made the decision to rate Czech pub/restaurants on 3 basic categories and that would be 1. The beer (it can't be the usual suspects); 2. the welcomeness; 3. the beer food. One of the first things that you get introduced to when you come to Prague is The Beer and the food that goes with the beer and my 2 favourites are Nakladany Hermelin and Utopenec, basically a chilli/garlic oil pickled Czech Camembert and a pickled sausage, both served with loads of bread, good for soaking up the alcohol so I decided on the Guiness and at 60czk it was quite reasonably priced and very smooth, the pickled cheese which had lots of garlic and chillies, was at room temperature,
 and so oozingly nice. The staff were very nice, tipping also helps to create this feeling but not in this case. They were very friendly, and the low lit woody feel about the place says come again we would love to see you, .

                          Restaurant Pasticka

Review no. 2

I have been here before, with my best mate (The Dude) and his fiancee, who are getting married in July I think, yes it is July. My SVG confirms it. We had been to a wedding shop to get fitted for the wedding and on the way to the metro we stopped in here and they had some breakfast and I drank wine. Did I also mention that it was a late breakfast. 12.00pm to be precise, so relax. I am not an alcoholic, it just helps me to relax.

This time though I went with my SVG and she ate because it was after my 6 o'clock watershed and i drank wine, again just a coincidence. She had the seafood tagliatelle which was too basilly and without any other seasoning. It was well presented as was everything there but the quality of the food was a little disappointing compared with the overall feeling we had when walking in. It is a nice place to go and have a glass of wine and something light and the service was very good, so a thumbs at half mast for the food but a big thumbs up for the general atmosphere.

                                        Restaurant Bukefal

Other places of interest


Restaurant Tokyo                        Korean restaurant
ul. Balbinova 26                           www.samigrill.com

Celtic pub and restaurant            Maneska steaks and more
www.kilfenora.cz                        www.maneska.com

Cafes and bars

Kaaba                                                   Balbinka poetic bar
www.kaaba.cz                                       www.balbinka.cz

Ethiopia cafe and restaurant


Robertson - International delicatessen     Table tennis shop
www.robertson.cz                                   www.vsenastolnitenis.cz

Bio Market Vitek                       Fresh fish
ul. Vinohradsk√° 53                     www.fishpoint.cz


Poker club

Monday, April 4, 2011


This week's foray is around Podoli, which roughly translated means valley. Our reason for choosing this area is firstly to do with my SVG's parents being in town and wanting to see the river and secondly and more importantly, to get a glimpse of the hospital where my SVG will give birth, and I will also be at her side giving her support and encouragement, come on you reds!! as long as it is not on a match day that is.

We looked for some interesting information about Podoli and we couldn't find any so there is an opportunity for someone to add a comment. Apart from the swimming pool, water works which originally were built to supply water to the neighbouring town of Vinohrady and the Yacht club it is manly a residential area and a very nice area to live in from what we saw, but for the blog, looking for places of interest the pickings were very thin.

Though we were persistent and we did manage to add some places of interest but I think unless you live there or close to there, I wouldn't bother heading out there unless you have a reason to. Although saying that, there were a few nice interesting places that would be worth a visit, when you are feeling a little adventurous.

Review no. 1

I will keep this review short and to the point because as I mentioned previously this is a mainly residential area so there was not too much to choose from but in the end we ended up in a typical Czech restaurant because my SVG's parents really wanted to try a fried cheese, so how could I refuse. The order was 3 fried cheese, 1salmon risotto and a spicy Filipino prawn dish which was very tasty but the sauce was pre-packed but also very filling. The service was pleasant and the pricing was average. Also orth a mention for you meat lovers was the nice range of reasonably priced steaks, Czech and Argentinian starting from just under 200czk for 200g and if you want larger then there is the 400g to sink your teeth into.
 If you are in the area I would recommend it but I wouldn't suggest making a special trip out there to dine, although Mum and dad in-law were very happy with the restaurant, the smazeny syr  and that they could finally sit down. I don't think that they realised how far we would be walking hence mum's choice of footwear. I hasten to say she was nursing a few blisters in the evening but I was still in the good books, well that was the translation my SVG gave me. I am going to Poland for Easter so we will see how the reciprocal treatment is on their home turf.

                                             Restaurace Sklenik
                                             ul. Na Dolinach 52

Other places of interest


Tobaco music bar               Scandal Bar
www.tobaco.cz                  www.barscandal.wz.cz


Ta Kavarna                                              Nargila Club Hrob
www.takavarna.cz                                    www.nargilaclubhrob.cz


Russian specialties                                   Musical instruments
www.ruskespeciality.cz                           www.kytary.cz

Special mention

Mini Golf Club Dekanka
Dekanska vinice I/987/5