Marco Polo IV. - Following in the famous
Written by: Jasmina Žarković
Photo: Dorothea Bylica
If Marco Polo had compiled a culinary
resumé of his journey from Venice to the Far East and back, it
would have looked like the menu of this new restaurant. The similarity
of the explorer's work, Million, to the selection of dishes here
is no coincidence.
The Marco Polo restaurant opened in May of last year, taking its
name from one of the eponymous traveler's expeditions. It is inspired
by food preparation methods in France, Italy, and Thailand, with
the future emphasis intended to be on French cuisine. "Our
main goal is to serve meals of high quality, prepared from fresh
ingredients - meats, fish, and seafoods - of which few restaurants
in Prague can boast. These great tasting, creatively adorned specialties
need not be exorbitantly priced," says head chef and restaurant
manager Tomáš Turek. "We focus mainly on a local clientele,
but tourists often visit us, too," he adds.
With a menu that consists mainly of seafood dishes, this establishment
successfully combines the culinary philosophies of three ethnic
cuisines. The Thai dishes are the most exotic, using many spices,
yet they can be prepared very quickly. Although it might seem that
you need a pocket encyclopedia to decipher dishes and ingredients
such as mangold, jasmine rice, lemon grass, and Madras curry, it's
good to know that all the ingredients used are authentic. The local
chefs were trained by a Thai chef, and all the finest fish and
seafoods are selected from the Pacific Ocean and the Mediter-ranean
The international selection means that for an appetizer you can
order a Thai spring roll with vegetable filling and spicy fruit
and peanut sauce, an Italian carpaccio, or a French foie gras de
canard - a paté of white French duck livers marinated in Cognac
and Port wine.
If you have enough time for a substantial lunch, try the roast
eggplant paté with tomato dip as an appetizer (which is prepared
according to a Provencal recipe) or any of the Thai soups: Tom
Kha Kai, a chicken soup with coconut milk, mushrooms, and fresh
vegetables, or Tom Kha Koong, rich with tiger prawns, coconut milk,
and vegetables. Popular main dishes include chicken breast marinated
in coconut milk with vegetables, Madras curry and jasmine rice,
and New Zealand lamb crowns in rosemary, with mashed potatoes,
spinach, and pinoli nuts. Besides the permanent menu, you can also
choose one of the Marco Polo daily specials, such as large tempura
tiger prawns with mashed potatoes, or excellent Pacific Red Snapper
with grilled vegetables and rice. For dessert you can enjoy Lutetia
- a two-toned chocolate cake made with white and brown chocolate
on a crunchy nougat.
The wine list includes excellent Moravian, Italian, French, and
Australian wines. For example, the French Chablis Premier Cru "Les
Vaillons", Chateau Clarke Baron Edmond de Rotschild 1998,
or Jacob's Creek Shiraz Cabernet from southern Australia. The most
highly rated wine in the cellar is the 1998 Italian red Barolo.
If you only have time for a quick bite, Marco Polo
is still a tempting option, as it offers an interesting
range of salads and Italian and Thai pastas. You can
also stop in for just a glass of wine, coffee, or a
cocktail. The restaurant is conceived in the Venetian
style, while the café's decor reflects the Thai influence.
The motifs of the interior, which was designed by the
restaurant's owner, Milan Ouřada, are as diverse as
the menu. The combination of colors, from fiery reds
and oranges to brown earth tones, could be regarded
as a compromise of Italian temperament and Far Eastern
philosophy. Walls covered with thousands of river pebbles
laid out in Venetian motifs, a fountain with a Venetian
lion's head, gondola poles, teak and ebony furniture,
and antiques from Thailand and Sri Lanka - it's all
reminiscent of a famous journey from Venice to Peking.
Marco Polo IV.
Café a Restaurant
Široká 4/24, Praha
Tel.: 224 819 668, fax: 224 819 673
Amex, Maestro, Diners, OK Plus
- Chilled fantasy
AN UPSCALE CAFE on Pařížská? Say it isn't so.
But those addicted to Italian-style decadence will
find the allure of Cremeria Milano irresistible.
This decidedly more gilded member of the Cream
Dream family (compared to the branch on Husova)
has elegance aplenty, in the form of sekt cocktails,
imported Italian confections, dainty salads and
baguette sandwiches, and all sorts of coffee concoctions.
The real attraction, however, is the more than
20 flavors of genuine Italian gelato. Be forewarned:
after too many months of Algida and other imposters,
a mouthful of nocciola, cassata, or panna amarena
may give your taste buds an overdose.
Cremeria Milano, Pařížská 20, Tel: 224 811 010
FARTHER AFIELD: Restaurace Století
A trip to the country and back into history await visitors to "Století" (Century),
in Loděnice near Beroun. All of the spaces in the former 19th century
Moravec estate were rebuilt in such a way as to preserve the architecture
of agricultural buildings. The residential building was converted
into a cosy restaurant with a fireplace and seating for about 70,
including a small dining room in the attic. The granary was converted
into a salon with a barbeque grill, and in the summer the courtyard
is used as an outdoor restaurant that seats about 50. The menu is
inspired by both classic Czech cuisine and modern influences from
abroad, including steaks and salads, pastas, roast fowl, and traditional
snacks that go with beer. Pleasant service and reasonable prices
make the dining experience complete.
Photo by: Hana Hamplová
Husovo nám. 11, Loděnice, tel.: 311 671 848, Daily 11-23 Visa,
MC, EC, www.stoleti-lodenice.cz, firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get there:
From Prague take the highway towards Plzeň,
exit 10. As you leave the highway the restaurant will be right
General director, CzechTrade
"I have two favorite restaurants, where it's a joy to spend
some time with clients or colleagues. The first is Potrefená husa
on Jiráskovo Square. It not only has a great atmosphere, but the
service is great as well - attentive, accomodating, and pleasant.
I've recently been enjoying their fine salads and pastas, and it
stands out with its selection of beers, which are handled excellently.
It's good for meetings that may extend into the night. My other
favorite is the café on the ground floor of the Fred and Ginger
building. I go there for lunch when nothing but business is on
the agenda. There you'll find a wonderful view of Prague, excellent
sandwiches, and impressive service."
Potrefená husa, Resslova 1, P 2, tel.: 224 318 691; Le Valence, Rašínovo
nábř. 80, P 2, tel.: 221 984 166