Google awards first-ever 'Crystal Pin' to best-rated Prague restaurant

A new prize based on user reviews on Google is going to 10 eateries across the Czech Republic.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 13.06.2022 15:59:00 (updated on 15.06.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Search engine giant Google is giving out awards to the 10 best-rated restaurants, bistros, and cafes in regions across the Czech Republic. The winners of the first edition of the Crystal Pin are being announced gradually throughout June.

In Prague, the Crystal Pin (Křišťálový špendlík) was earned by Vallmo restaurant, at Plavecká 4 in New Town. Vallmo Restaurant focuses on modern European cuisine using Czech ingredients including fish from Třeboň. Chef and owner Martin Makovička comes from Třeboň, but gained experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in Ireland and Canada. He founded the eatery just before the pandemic and despite the difficult times of the past two years, the eatery has been able to make an impact with customers.

“The only recipe for success is hard work, perseverance, and attention to detail. It is important to talk and listen to people, both customers and employees,” Makovička said on Google’s page dedicated to the awards.

On Facebook, the restaurant thanked its satisfied customers, employees, suppliers, and everyone who participated in this award. “Being number one in Prague is, as everyone knows, a big chase and that is why we are very happy and motivated to continue working,” the restaurant said.

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Three other awards have also been given out. The restaurant Měšťanský pivovar Polná won in the Vysočina region. Writer Bohumil Hrabal lived in part of the brewery as a child, as his father was an accountant there. The building was spared from destruction a decade ago, and Ladislav Pártl adapted it into a restaurant and pension.

Pizzeria La Cucina Nera, located in Brno, won for the South Moravia region. They cook pizza and other Italian dishes over flames from beech wood and have wines from Austria, Spain, and Italy.

The winner in Northern Bohemia is Nepalese and Indian eatery Sagarmatha. People in their reviews praised the food as well as the fast service.

Winners in six more regions will be announced during June. The complete list of winners will be presented on June 27.

Over a billion people around the world use Google Maps on a regular basis, not only for navigation but also as a guide for where to eat or what sites to see. There are already more than 200 million places and businesses on Google Maps. Users can rate them with stars, add photos, and write reviews.

Google spokeswoman Iva Fialová said that even though Google gives out the prize, it is actually a user award since it is based on their ratings.

“Behind each review, there is a satisfied customer who visited the place, was excited about it, and therefore gave it the best rating. We wanted to reward companies for their work in this way. People from even more distant parts of the Czech Republic will then be able to visit them, for example during summer travel,” Fialová said in a blog post.

The winning companies were selected on the basis of several criteria. The decisive factor is the number of positive reviews and the number of stars awarded on the company profile in the given region of the Czech Republic at the end of April 2022. The venues had to have at least 300 reviews and over a 4.5-star rating out of five.

The awards were designed by František Jungvirt of the Czech studio Klimchi. Crystal was chosen in a nod to the Czech glass-making tradition. Each prize was handmade at the family-run Sklárna Jílek in Kamenický Šenov in the Liberec region.

"The material itself, from which the prize is made, represents the fragility of the relationship between entrepreneurs and their customers. The bubbles, which created a unique image inside each pin, represent thousands of places on Google Maps. The award serves as a mirror reflecting the place that has achieved success according to customer evaluations,” Jungvirt said.

“We are a young team and we are not afraid to try new things all the time. We think we have that in common with Google. We are honored that they decided to connect with us,” Jungvirt added.

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