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Help a tourist out? Prague, Budapest, Bucharest - Hungarian wine trip? Pilzn?

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  • mc22 Aug 3, 2012 06:49 AM

Hello fellow chowhounders! NYC hound here headed to Eastern Europe. Soon. We are literally planning this trip on the fly. We'll be spending several days in Prague and Budapest, driving down into Transylvania (or taking a train there and on to Bucharest, still in the planning phase).

In Prague, we're staying at the Hotel Aria. In Budapest at the Sofitel. Not sure yet for Bucharest. Planning the usual tourist pursuits, once I figure out what those are... in other words, help!

Where should we EAT? Any suggestions for those three cities? I've been searching the boards but I'm getting overwhelmed and the trip is so soon! It sounds like lokal is a great idea in Prague. And we should definitely hit the covered market in Budapest.

I'd like to do a day trip out of Prague to Pilzn or out of Budapest to wine country - have y'all had any experience with either place? Good idea?

Thanks for any help you can provide!!!

-grateful in NYC

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  1. Edited to add: we are in our late 20s. We really like seeing what's new in different cities if that makes sense? That's the other reason I started a new post. Though as a New Yorker it's crazy when people are always doing that here - our chowhound board is a bit insane though. (come to New York and go to the new restaurant at the Nomad! I'm trying to pass the love back with a recommendation on this end :))

    7 Replies
    1. re: mc22

      Here's a Prague rec for NYC: Hospoda. It's on the UES and is by the team that has Prague's La Degustation.

      1. re: kukubura

        Kukubura, what is Hospoda's street address?
        I'm trying to find it on Google and see different addresses.

        1. re: sweet100s

          Google tells me it's 321 East 73rd Street New York, NY 10021 (212) 861-1038

          It's in the Bohemian National Hall. I haven't been so I can't say whether it's worth it or not but La Degustation was a really memorable experience so we'll probably try to get to Hospoda next time we're in the city (whenever that is... We lived there for many years and since moving away are almost never back.)

          1. re: kukubura

            ah, I see, I thought Hospoda was in Prague :-).

            Coincidentally I am ordering new glasses today :-) !! (gotta love zennioptical.com - am getting a new pair and backup pair for my trip!)

            1. re: sweet100s

              Ah, ok. Yeah, Hospoda is the New York outpost by the chef from La Degustation in Prague and is owned by the restaurant group that also owns Chowhound favorite Lokal, among others.

              Also, the word "hospoda" means a kind of restaurant in Czech, which is why you probably saw lots of hits for that name in Prague! Hospoda U Novaka was one that I liked, totally unrelated to the NYC restaurant.

              1. re: kukubura

                Thank you kukubura, I found and added Hospoda U Novaka as a placemark on my Google Maps list.

      2. re: mc22

        We were in Budapest in July and ate twice at Rosenstein near the Keleti train station. They have a web site. We had a great meal with appetizer, entree and dessert with wine for 3 people for $100. The food is very traditional, but well cooked and presented. They have a large wild game menu also. DD had wild boar one night and venison the next time. Would suggest a taxi from the central city, as it's difficult to find.

      3. there is a new hotel + bar + restaurant called Fusion at Panska street. I havent been there yet, but it seems to be targeted for people your age. They have a Czech restaurant, a soup+salad restaurant, a rotating bar and interesting new architecture.

        if you want to go to Plzen only for the beer, I grant you its the best beer but I dont think its worth the trip. there is a big brewery in Prague as well called Staropramen and they do tours with tasting. they also have a decent restaurant.

        if you are going to budapest by car, you can break your trip at Hustopece and visit the Sonberk winery. its one of the best wineries in the Czech Republic and it has great architecture and views of the countryside.

        oh, and if youre going by train, beware of the pickpockets, they are especially active on the trains to and from budapest. my husband had his wallet stolen several times on that train even though he was careful. and never have your passports and wallet at the same place, minimise your risks.

        1. well if you get to bucharest, you absolutely HAVE TO go to locanta jaristea. it is definitely the best place in town to eat traditional food and they have a very nice selection of wines. the staff is absolutely exquisite and the food is among the best i had in my life. when you step in that place you get the feeling that you're turning back 100 years. :)

          also, if you're planning to get around the city, a good plan would be to take the tourist bus. don't miss calea victoriei, lipscani, the cotroceni museum (the current presidential palace) & house of the people.

          1. Thanks all for the recommendations! Will post more details later but for now can I just say that Lokal and the Golden Tyger made Prague for us? :)

            5 Replies
            1. re: mc22

              Ooh can't wait to hear the recap!

              1. re: mc22

                Yes, please recap!

                I will be staying at the Savic Hotel on Jilska 235/7
                110 00 Prague. On Google Maps, that looks to be very close to the Golden Tyger if that is the same thing as:
                http://www.uzlatehotygra.cz/uzlatehot...

                I've been practicing Czech in the car with a CD:

                Phonetic best guess...

                "Pdrominteh pdroseem, Schtare-la-beesch pihvo."
                Excuse me please, I would like a beer.

                And if that is understood and I receive one,
                "Dyeck-koo-weee"
                Thank you

                1. re: sweet100s

                  Although the effort with the Czech language will be appreciated I have found it is rarely needed in central Prague. There are so many tourists, and as a result English is widely spoken at restaurants, pubs, food stands, etc.... If you get out of Prague those skills will serve you well.

                  I live in the CZ, not Prague and Czech is not my native language, and find for a beer the following has never failed me. Nothing wrong with what you are attempting, just a bit formal.

                  "Prosim, jedna pivo." "One beer please" is a basic translation, although it will help to know which brand/type of pivo you want.
                  Pro - seem, yed-ena pihvo - should help with the phonetics.

                  As for thank you... děkuji is a bit more like "dyh - koo - wee" or the informal "díky" which sounds like "dicky". I'd go with the informal.

                  Enjoy, you will be experiencing some of the best beer in the world IMO.

                  1. re: vanderb

                    vanderb, a valiant effort :-) just a tiny correction - it is jednO pivo.
                    Enjoy your beers!

                    1. re: sasicka

                      It's always fun to give it a shot, although I struggle. But my wife's big moment was asking the waiter at U Zlateho Tygrawhere the restroom was in Czech. He was impressed and started to warm to us (after an inauspicious start.) I did much worse in Vienna when I tried to spontaneously ask a complicated question auf deutch and ended up referring to her as my husband and messing everything else up too. Still, the server giggled and enjoyed the attempt.