It´s Christmas time and the eatin´s are good. If you are longing for a traditional (i.e. from your home) Christmas dinner we have some options for you. Whether you plan to stay in with friends and family; or if you are looking for a nice meal served elsewhere we´ve rounded up some sources of inspiration. Veselý Vánoce and dobře chuť!
· Essenia, in the Mandarin Oriental (www.mandarinoriental.com), will have separate meals on the 24th and 25th. For dinner on December 24th you can enjoy scallops, oyster chowder, lamb or baked pigeon and traditional Christmas pudding. Lunch will be served on December 25 and includes lamb, turkey breast or prawns and Christmas pudding.
· V Zátiší (www.zatisigroup.cz) is serving their Christmas meal throughout the month of December; but they are closed December 24. The Bohemian Christmas menu is 1190CZK and offers a traditional sour cream soup, mead roasted quail, fallow deer fillet and warm gingerbread for dessert. Their Christmas menu has on offer butternut squash, foie gras, black cod, veal and chestnut cheesecake for 1390CZK.
· The Vltava Restaurant, inside the Hotel President (www.hotelpresident.cz) will be serving a holiday meal on December 24, 25 and 26. Choose from a mixed salad or salmon terrine to start, followed by your choice of roasted butter fish or turkey and round it off with either fried apply puff pastry or chocolate cake, all for 950CZK.
· Over at the Radisson SAS, (www.prague.radisoonsas.com) they´ll be serving a Christmas Eve and Day dinner, plus Christmas brunch in the La Rotonda Restaurant. Dinner consists of an international buffet including fried carp, duck, dumplings, etc. Cost is 1490CZK. The brunch on December 25 also costs 1490CZK and will be a buffet as well.
· The Hilton Prague´s (www.hiltonprague.cz) very good CzecHouse will serve dinner on December 24 for 1590CZK. The four course meal includes oysters, duck and a pear-almond tart for dessert. December 25th, they´ll have a brunch which includes seafood, duck, turkey and desserts for 990CZK.
· The Palffy palác club (www.palffy.cz) will be serving Christmas dinner on December 25 and 26. It´s not a set menu, so diners can choose what they´d like. Options include artichoke soup, lamb chops and tiramisu.
· The lovely Le Palais Hotel´s (www.palais.cz) Le Papillion restaurant will be serving a special Christmas menu December 19-26. They´ll have a 3-course lunch for 650CZK and a 4-course dinner for 1200CZK. Choices include venison, trout, fish cream soup, veal, fried carp and plumb dumplings for dessert.
· Restaurant Hradčany (www.savoyhotel.cz) at the Savoy will offer a December 24 meal which includes deer, ricotta ravioli, prawn soup and roasted turkey, finished off with a Belgium chocolate waffle for 1900CZK. On December 25 you can enjoy butter fish, quail cutlet, duck and an apple tart for dessert. Cost is 1700CZK.
· The Hoffmeister Hotel (www.hoffmeister.cz) will be offering a Christmas meal for 1890CZK which includes a gourmet salad, fish soup plus your choice of pikeperch or roe´s saddle.
· The Prague Marriott (www.marriotthotels.com) will offer a Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch. On the 24th you can enjoy a buffet for 1550CZK. Choices include lamb, turkey or prime rib; fried carp, monkfish or Mediterranean vegetables; chocolate cheesecake and homemade pralines are just two of the desserts on offer. Brunch on the 25th is also a buffet and includes a seafood and oyster bar, a sushi bar, a salad bar, choice of cheeses and various carving stations for meats, plus desserts. Cost is 995CZK.
· The Gourmet Club inside the Hotel Palace (www.palacehotel.cz) will be offering a December 24 dinner with smoked duck breast; consomme “Royal” with foie gras; veal pate and other meaty dishes. Top it off with chocolate fondant. Dinner starts at 7pm and costs 141EUR
Other restaurants that may be hosting a Christmas meal include Coda Restaurant, (www.codarestaurant.cz), Hergetova Cihelna, (www.kampagroup.com), Sovovy Mlyny (www.sovovymlyny.cz) and the Aquarius Restaurant (www.alchymisthotel.cz). Be sure to make your reservation as early as possible; these special meals usually always fill up.
But, come on! You´ve got friends, family and enough chairs and forks for the lot of them: DIY! If you´ve done it before, you can recreate the experience in Prague - perhaps with some minor recipe replacements and a lot of flexibility. If you´ve never cooked Christmas dinner, you won´t know what you can´t get/do/find anyway, so go for it!
For those who like to host, but not sweat over the stove, Culinaria (www.culinaria.cz) offers lots of pre-made items for pick-up. You can create your own menu from their list of soups, meats, side dishes, vegetables and more. Highlights include cream of mushroom soup; fillet of beef Wellington, mashed potatoes and roasted mixed vegetables. Culinaria also offers pre-made platters for easy party hosting and their canapés and hors d´oeuvres are popular as well. Chefs would do well to check here for lots of hard to find baking items.
Meat-wise, as always, your best choice is Robertson (www.robertson.cz.) Orders must be placed before December 20! They are able to deliver, however not on December 22, 23 or 24, so plan accordingly. You can pick up your pre-ordered turkey on December 23 or 24. A fresh whole turkey (6-7 kilos) costs 99CZK. You can also get a turkey crown, breast or roll with sausage filling. Other helpful goodies include bacon, sausage, and whole or pieced ham; a line of Paxo Celebrations items; Ocean Spray cranberry sauce and jelly as well as a ton of Christmas sweets, including goodies by Terry´s, Bendick's and Cadbury´s. Finally, they also have pre-made mincemeat and Christmas pudding. Robertson´s has a long list of other imported, mainly English goodies, so be sure to visit their website or pop in to see what surprises you can pick up.
Nearly all your basics can be found at most larger supermarkets in town. Be sure to peruse the aisles closely while planning your menu; you may be surprised with what you will find. Tesco and Hypernova are more reliably better; but some Billa´s and Albert´s have a better selection than others.