As many of my friends will testify, I, perhaps, have been ignorant when it comes to learning Czech. After living in this beautiful country for 5 years, my Czech skills are still pretty basic. One of my main battles has been with the extra symbols on letters; namely the hacek.
So when I received an invite for lunch at a Czech-Italian restaurant called Pastař, I really wanted to understand more about the name and where it comes from. I had a chat with the restaurant manager, Kateřina Stibůrková, who told me all about the restaurant and what they are trying to achieve.
The name originally comes from the fresh pasta they serve and sell. It is all made freshly in Karlovy Vary, a town just a short drive away and brought to the restaurant on a daily basis. Kateřina gave me a tour of the restaurant and showed me the produce they have on sale and the extensive wine list to go with any type of meal you might want. Argentinians and Italians featured prominently on the shelves.
She told me that 3 things are extremely important to the restaurant. Firstly, she expressed concern at the bigger restaurants and chains getting all their produce from corporate suppliers and she stated that most of the produce was sourced locally. Secondly, price is very important to her because they want people from all backgrounds and statuses to get a good meal. And thirdly; the food has to taste good. And it bloody well did.
Delightfully located within walking distance of the National Theatre, Kampa and Andel, Pastař has an ideal location for the summer. Kampa is usually packed in the summer with people having picnics, wine and generally lazing in the sun. Whilst it isn’t in tourist town, it is just a quick walk from all the transport hubs and it is really easy to get to.
The restaurant is looks small from the outside but it seats over 70 and is fairly extensive within. You can buy Italian products that are stocked on shelves and meats from the deli counter, or you can do what I did and sit for a nice meal.
The food here is incredible. No word of a lie, it was one of the best Italian meals I have had in a very long time. I ate potato and truffle soup that had an amazing texture and tasted like nothing id had in a while. I am not usually a ‘soup guy’ but this was pretty special.
The first course I had was a beef ravioli with the pasta cooked to perfection. It had mushrooms a delightful sauce that I would definitely recommend. The dish was perfectly proportioned and I would certainly recommend it.
The next dish had me slightly concerned. Although I love Italian food and consider myself fairly experienced when it comes to the regional Italian dishes, I’ve never had a huge thing for fish. So when they brought cannelloni filled with salmon I was slightly concerned. It was neatly polished with peppers and capers, and I needn’t have been worried at all; it was brilliant. It was perfectly cooked, expertly seasoned and served well. The waiters all knew their stuff and they were extremely cheerful.
The first few dishes had already won me over and I’m not really ever a dessert person but Kateřina insisted that I try the French cottage dumplings with pistachio and pomegranate. I was in heaven for a while. It was amazing. The taste combinations were incredible. It’s very rare that I like all the courses on offer but I literally cannot recommend this place enough. The prices were very reasonable and you can take a look at the exquisite menu here. The menu changes every few months to match the seasons, but you can guarantee you will find something brilliant on the menu.
I have to say that I felt awfully spoiled after coming to Pastař for a light lunch. The food here is simply incredible and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring family, friends and whoever else fancies a lunch to this delightful restaurant.