Prague is fast emerging as a culinary center in Europe. You can find pretty much anything that your taste buds desire and I found it to be extremely celiac-friendly. One restaurant that stood out during my visit was CzecHouse, tucked-away in the Hilton Hotel. Yet, this is definitely not a hotel restaurant – it’s a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel. We actually enjoyed our first visit to the restaurant that we decided to come back another evening while we were in Prague.
The restaurant itself is modern but still feels intimate. We were warmly welcomes and given a lovely table for two that was extremely private and despite the restaurant being busy, afforded us a quiet space all to ourselves. The food is a mix of modern and traditional with the focus on grilled meats – though there were quite a few traditional Czech dishes on the menu but sadly most were unable to be made gluten-free due in large part to their sauces and since many of the dishes were actually cooked in a sauce (versus being added later). There are plenty of gluten-free options though and many dishes can be tweaked for celiacs. On our second visit I heard a fellow guest asking for gluten-free items as well so perhaps the secret is getting out.
The staff at CzecHouse truly go above and beyond to make all of their guests feel welcomed and provide solid recommendations on everything from food to wine. They were all clearly well-versed in the food and wine menus and knew exactly what they were talking about – which is not always the case at many restaurants. When a lovely bread board arrived for my non-gluten-free other-half – a gluten-free version followed behind with a wonderfully warm and soft loaf of dark gluten-free bread accompanied by both regular and Café de Paris butters. This was followed by an amuse-bouche which the first visit was rich sweetbreads and the second visit was a rolled veal – both were delicious.
On our first visit there was a starter that caught both of our attention and as luck would have it could also be made gluten-free – the Sweet Pea Velouté with smoked bacon, egg 64° (a slow-poached egg), mint and thyme. It did not disappoint. It was absolutely one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my life – and that’s saying something. The sweet pea puree was wonderfully smooth with just a hint of texture and the smoked bacon added just the right about of saltiness pairing absolutely wonderfully with the spiciness of the mint and rich woodsy flavor of the thyme. The pièce de résistance was the egg – it had the most amazing consistency and was unlike any traditional poached egg I have had before. The yolk was decadently creamy adding a wonderful silkiness to the soup itself and just elevated this soup to an entirely different level.
At this point in the meals we were already quite full but pushed onto dessert because there was something that caught my eye – the wild berries on champagne sabayon paired with house-made violet ice cream. Alas, this was not meant to be as the manager told me they had prepped this dish differently for some reason so it would not be gluten-free. While disappointing, I could not believe the manager truly going the extra mile to ensure that I would have a safe experience – it was above and beyond. I was instead presented with a strawberry soup with a house-made basil sorbet which was very nice indeed. On my second visit to the restaurant they remembered me and the first thing the waiter said was that the sabayon was back to its original recipe and I could now have it – and let me tell you it was not only one of the most beautifully presented desserts but the flavors were outstanding with the crown being the violet ice cream. The delicate flavor or the violet with rich cream made for an almost religious experience and became my new must-have ice cream flavor. Each meal is also finished with a three story tic-tac-toe-esque tower that contains a selection of chocolates and sweets (some of which were gluten-free).
If you find yourself in Prague, definitely be sure to visit CzecHouse and you will not be disappointed. Everything from the service to the food is simply outstanding.
CzecHouse Grill & Rotisserie
186 00 Praha 8
Phone: +420 224 842 700