Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Kracow...again.
I know this must be a well worn path and subject. And I have been looking over previous posts...but my wife and I will be taking this route, driving we hope, and are looking for some interesting places to try out. We love to try new chefs who are just starting a new restaurant or something off the beaten path. We also like to try one high end place per city, something that is taking traditional and mixing it with something new, perhaps. Sounds like LA DEGUSTATION might be that place in Prague but any others would be helpful. Also if there are any recs for places that might be on route between any of the four cities mentioned that would be great. And if driving between these places is crazy for any reason feel free to bring that to our attention.
Thanks in advance for your help. Chowhounds has always directed us to great places we would never have found on our own.
Driving down from Prague towards either Vienna or Budapest, you can make several stops on the way. Brno is the second largest town in the Czech republic and has a decent restaurant scene, but it might be tedious to get off the highway and drive into a town with its traffic jams and limited parking.
However, there is a very new hotel / restaurant being started about 100km from Prague called Chateau Heralec. It's a funny small place for a luxury hotel and gourmet restaurant but they seem to make their ends meet somehow. You'll need a decent map or a navigation system to get there because it's so small, but the exit is either Humpolec (90km) or Usobi (104km). There are almost no signs for the hotel but both the trip (7km off highway) and the small countryside chateau are worth the trip. The rooms are wonderfull, much better than the photos on the web site, and the food is very good too http://www.chateauheralec.com/
Another stop on your way, if you are interested in wine, can be the winery Sonberk. It is very highly acclaimed in international competiitions, Decanter magasine tastings, etc but here in the Czech Republic it's known for it's architecture. If you go, make sure you taste the acclaimed 2008 Riesling, the fresh dry Moscatel (their speciality, no one else does Moscatel in this way), Palava (regional wine from exactly this region, you drink it overlooking the Palava hills and Palava lakes) and finally their biggest speciality - straw wine. They are open for public most days except Sundays from 10am-5pm http://www.sonberk.cz/ (only in Czech).
Thanks for taking the time with this. I tried to talk my wife into going down through the Moravian wine area but we ended up going down the more western side through Plzen and then down toward Cesky Kumlov. We love wine but she won this one. We will cross over into the Wachau valley for a few days and then on to Vienna.
My experience with summer driving in Poland has been pretty awful. Construction is the wild card (and their limited highways). By contrast, Hungary's highway system is excellent. If you have to drive to/from Krakow, then just suck it up and accept that it may well be very slow moving until you leave the country.
I'm in no way suggesting Krakow can't be justified. I enjoyed it much more than Budapest or Vienna, food or other-wise. However, if the map says it's a 2-hour distance, assume it's closer to 3-1/2 hours.
And my mention of Hungary's highways being excellent -- once you make it to the outskirts of Budapest it can be very slow moving into the city. Avoid rush hours anywhere, if you can.
I understand...we had already made the decision. Not about the quality of Krakow as a place to visit it was just a time thing the more we planned and figured we couldn't do justice to all of them. And it seemed like a lot more driving to get there. So we will have to do it on a Russia/Poland trip.
Vienna high-end: Steirereck
Currently Nr 11. on the list "Worlds Best Restaurants", up from Nr.22...
Vienna best value for the money: Freyenstein
A perfect 8-course tasting menu for Euro 39.-
I would recommend to visit both places !
Best hidden gem on the road between Vienna and Budapest:
L´Altro Vino in Mönchhof/Nickelsdorf. Authentic Italian cuisine with a perfect wine list.
Reservation only, open Thursday to Monday.