Our first real taste of Czech food was at U Provaznice where they serve a huge platter containing a little bit of everything called “Old Prague Plate” because why not try it all if you have the chance? When I mentioned dinner at U Provaznice, Daniel casually mentions, “Isn’t that the haunted place?”
Wait, what?? While I enjoy the thrill of horror movies and man-made haunted houses, I steer clear from “real” or allegedly haunted places. I took a deep breath and put all hesitations behind as my curiosity for Czech food outweighed my fear.
A few things we learned after that night:
1) If no one comes to greet you upon entering a restaurant, sit down where there is available seating.
After this experience, we found that most dining establishments do not rush to seat you as you come through their door. It’s completely normal and probably preferred for you to seat yourself. We walked into an almost full restaurant with waitstaff rushing back and forth, ignoring anyone trying to get their attention. After five minutes of standing around searching for available seating, a couple nearby offer to share their table with us. We politely decline as we’re still hopeful that seats would open up soon. When we finally get the waitress’ attention and ask her for two seats, she responds “No.” and walks away, leaving the older couple behind us confused and still waiting.
We walk out of the restaurant and reevaluate the situation. We start watching the patrons sitting outside, see that people walk up to the benches and sit down like it’s the norm. What’s that popular saying? “When in Rome..” so here we go. When in Prague.. We finally sit down and are handed menus immediately.
2) If someone you watch on YouTube gives you recommendations, it is highly likely you’ll find them there.
For weeks we watched Janek and Honza of The Honest Guide, noting all of the places they recommended as well as the scams they had warned us about in Prague.
While scanning the interior of U Provaznice for seats, I noticed a face who looked oddly familiar but brushed it off because I didn’t truly believe it. When my brain finally recognized who he was, I told Daniel that Janek was dining in the restaurant. We were seated outside so I kept an eye on the door for a short while when lo and behold, Janek passes through.
Daniel couldn’t believe it himself. We spend a few seconds contemplating whether we should give up our seats (which took at least 30 minutes to get) and go after him. After it clicked that we should really go meet him, I let our table neighbors know that we will be back while I chase after Daniel as he is chasing after Janek.
When we get Janek’s attention, he reaches out to introduce himself and ask for our names. We tell him that we are at the same restaurant because of his suggestion and that his videos have been really helpful. (His dad excitedly chimes in to also tell us that we have visited on a very special occasion as it is the 50th anniversary of the end of political reformation due to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and members of the Warsaw Pact.) After parting ways, we walked back to our seats while still a little starstruck. We chat with our table neighbors until our food comes out and finally explain why we left in such a hurry. Turns out they completely understood since they watched The Honest Guide videos as preparation for their Prague trip too.
Thank you to Janek for stopping to chat and for sharing an immense amount of useful information on his YouTube channel to make navigating the streets of Prague a little easier.