What I had in mind wasn’t quite the chic Valoria Castle & Garden Restaurant when I first arrived in Prague, but my experience at this gem with breathtaking views was above and beyond what I expected. Quite frankly, it couldn’t have been a better choice for my first night in Prague. Thanks to the guys at Lindner for the recommendation.
Located in the top section of Neruda Street in house No. 40, St. John’s Cellar, the restaurant is based on a Baroque cellar. It started as a town house with a terraced garden and it is uniquely based adjacent to the walls of Prague Castle, which ultimately provides for stunning views of the city and an even closer view of Lesser Town Square and Prague’s famous towers on both banks of the Vltava River. There’s a whole lotta WOW in this exquisite view, especially while dining outside on a warm summer or fall evening. You can vividly see the majestic dome of St. Nicholas Cathedral in nearby Lesser Town Square.
The food combines the best of Czech and French recipes and this is extended into their wine menu offerings as well. While it was hard to choose, I went with a Goat Cheese salad with leeks, walnuts and walnut oil to start. Fresh and beautifully prepared, wouldn’t you agree?
This was followed by a scrumptious Beef carpaccio made with sun dried tomatoes, capers, arugula and parmesan cheese. A Czech chardonnay was paired with this, which was oak barreled for six months (I asked). It was a Pinot Vinarstvi Gala although I also tasted the Chardonnay Vinarstvi Baloun which just didn’t have enough body for me.
Other appetizer options included Tiger prawns with chili, garlic, creme fraiche, cucumbers and peppers, a couple of soups, one which was Thai influenced with coconut milk, a Smoked salmon with quail egg, lemon confit and creme fraiche, a ravioli made with goat cheese, sage, butter and tomatoes, and a rocket salad with white wine, ceps and parmesan cheese.
The Czech cuisine list was small but included beef with root veggies, cream, cranberries, bacon and onions and Veal Cheeks made with dill,cream and whipped egg whites. While it was a very warm evening and I was sitting outside, I was too tempted by the Wild Boar since they offered it and I always think of Eastern Europe when I think of boar. I knew it wouldn’t disappoint and it didn’t. They prepared it with peppers, aubergine, courgettes, and added a chocolate demi glace.
I paired the boar with a Merlot Vinarstvi Tanzberg (the best red wine option on the menu by the glass in my opinion) and later with cheese a smokey Pinot Noir Vinarstvi Spielberg — I stuck with only Czech wines since my Valoria dining experience was my first night in Prague after all. Truth be told, I wanted to get a variety of Czech wine tastes to get a better idea of different regions to better educate myself on the days ahead.
They also had a Rib Eye with green pepper corns, Tuna made with peppers, courgettes, aubergine and butter, Tiger Prawns, Trout with grenaille, celery, carrots, cucumbers, yoghurt and dill, and a Veal Escalope made with panko breadcrumbs, potatoes, butter and cucumbers. Notice how much they use cucumbers and courgettes in the Valoria kitchen.
The views kept getting better as the evening wore on.
The long open courtyard, which extended from the inside of the restaurant, faced the best of what this part of Prague had to offer the eye. The inside of the restaurant was opened up because it was so warm — you could easily see how its charm wouldn’t end on a warm summer night. In other words, Valoria has both the ambiance and the food, a winning combination any time of year. It exudes old world charm while maintaining an air of elegance; this combo is one of the things that makes this restaurant so attractive, and that’s before you even see the sweeping views.
Desserts included chocolate with orange, cocoa, almonds and vanilla, Peanuts with chocolate, caramel and Sabayone, a vanilla creme brulee with fruit, sorbets, a cheeseboard selection and chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet, which I opted for.
Oh yeah, and even the bathroom was lovely — Valoria pays attention to the fine details which adds to the overall dining experience, from the moment you enter her doors to the time you leave.
Valoria Castle & Garden Restaurant
Nerudova 40, 118 00
Prague , Czech Republic
From Prague Castle: Valoria Castle & Garden Restaurant sits right on the wall of Ke Hradu (To the Castle) street. The shortest way to get there is to follow the Castle street west, which opens into the upper part of Neruda Street. Turn left again and after just 40 metres you will find house No. 40, St. John’s Cellar, where our restaurant is located.
From the Lesser Town Square: head uphill from the square following Neruda Street. Its history dates back to the thirteenth century, and virtually every house can tell its own story. When you arrive at the house, typically someone should be on the ground floor and can bring you up the elevator to the restaurant which is on the upper level.