I had heard the stories of
extremely cheap and delicious food, but still wasn't quite sure what to expect when I
arrived in Prague. On our first night in the city, I asked at the reception desk
about a good close restaurant. He showed me the card for Restaurant Canto which
looked like a small, familiar place.
restaurant is located in a small cove court off of the main street on the west side of the
river. The entrance is a little odd in that it could be a secret entrance to an
underground bomb shelter. The dining room features about sixteen tables seating four
people comfortably at low, cushioned chairs.
The service was spectacular and the food
superb! Every aspect of our dining experience was memorable. Rina ordered the
apple juice, which was hand-squeezed premium juice, priced at about ten US cents per
glass. That night we ate like true royalty with appetizers, Onion soup, and a
succulent 3/4 lb. steak. When the bill came, I realized that the charge on my card
would be for an outrageous $21USD. The feeling of wealth, combined with the fat and
happy grumbling of my tummy made me feel great! Along with the bill, the waiter also
brought a glass with a swig of strong liquor, placed it in front of me, and said simply
"A drink for you!"
Two nights later, after an unhappy close call at a sleazy bar recommended by
"Fodor's Affordable Europe," we returned to the restaurant Canto for another
great meal. This night we sat on the opposite side of the room, but the rhythmic
pendulum clock was equally hypnotic. This night, I sampled the house draft, the
satisfying Pilsner Urquell. I also decided to sample one of the house specialties,
known in the English translation as only "meat cop." The "cop"
was a delicious strip steak smothered in a creamy pepper sauce. We went all out,
including apple strudel for dessert and coffee. Our waiter, a tall man with a large
head and big glasses, reminded us that the coffee would be served "Turkish
Style." We figured "hey! we're worldly" and gave it a try.
"Turkish Style" means a large cup of extremely strong coffee with the grounds
settled on the bottom of the cup. It was quite a different taste and style from the
Italian espresso shots.
If ever in Prague, be sure to stop by Restaurant Canto for their international
specialties, and Czech hospitality. You'll come away smiling with a happy stomach
and a full wallet!