…Best of the best in and around Ostrava
Ok, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s really hard writing about great places to eat when, like all of you, I haven’t been anywhere since the start of lockdown. And, truth be told, I would rather invite you all over to our house for a great meal (since my girlfriend and I have both become creative cooks in our own right) to enjoy some company during these socially distant times☺. Hopefully, restrictions will begin to loosen up soon and we can get back to some of those places we all love and miss. For now, I’ll try my best to recall the best of the best as this, my fifth blog in this five-part series on restaurants in and around Ostrava, will reveal my number one picks for local Czech, Italian, Mexican and American cuisine.
Before we get to my winners, however, I will take a minute to recommend a true winning concept in food delivery here in the Czech Republic, which can really come in handy during these trying times. For those of you who haven’t yet used the Dame Jidlo delivery service www.damejidlo.cz, make sure you get to know this inspirational site, a real Coronabuffer and all around awesome idea. Their credo is “The restaurants you love brought to you”. And that’s exactly what Dame Jidlo does, bringing over 3,000 restaurants together in one service that just (call me nostalgic) takes me back to that New York state of mind. I often find myself reminiscing about college life and a time when I had at least 50 different takeaway menus to choose from and my toughest decision every day was what country’s specialty to choose. Dame Jidlo just took all those great places and put them under one roof, a business model that also allows them to offer the best deals. Definitely a big thumbs up!
Now, for my top choices that I only hope survive the lockdown so that we can all enjoy them again in the near future. This month we’ll start with Italian because Italian is my favorite and this is my blog, so I can do it in any order I like☺ But first, I’d just like to make one thing clear: I am not typically a fan of restaurant chains lacking in character and serving an “assembly line” style of grub. However, my top choice for Italian in and around Ostrava is just that – a chain. Maybe it’s the Trattoria design or maybe I’m just a sucker for great salads, brick oven pizza and homemade pastas. Whatever it is, Pizza Coloseum www.coloseum.cz, is, in my opinion, number one for fresh Italian food, professional, English-friendly service, preparation and, yes, authenticity. Oh, and they’re one of the only places I’ve been to around here that serves a complimentary starter – warm bread made on site and herb butter. They also deliver and they work with Dame Jidlo. Enough said.
Believe it or not, my top pick for Czech cuisine is part of another chain. I know what you’re all thinking. He just wrote he’s not typically a fan of chains and his first two picks are chains. Well, I also described deciding factors (see my first blog in this series) where lots of points go to English-friendly places. And I don’t know if any of you have tried finding an authentic Czech restaurant with an English menu and/or website but, believe me, it’s almost impossible. So, although I have been to places a bit less commercial, I have yet to come across a traditional Czech establishment so conscious of the fact that we Expats actually like their local dishes, too. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better (or bigger) řizek than at Švejk Restaurant www.svejk.cz. There are locations all over the country and the closest one is nearby in Frydek-Mistek. The atmosphere is lively, the beer is top-notch and the staff is always in a good mood. Even though they don’t speak much English, they’re happy to fetch you an English menu where you can find all sorts of authentic dishes and their funny translations..
My best Mexican was really tough to choose. Again, the English-friendly factor played a role. Hey, what did you expect from a blog about where Expats should go to eat? While, Chiquito in Novy Jičin www.mexiconj.eatbu.com may be a bit out of the way, it’s certainly worth the 40min drive from Ostrava to this historic town, and at least it’s not another chain☺ Awesome enchilladas and the Porotada bean soup for 59 crown is a meal in itself. There are lots of vegan dishes and many authentic mexican dishes to choose from and the vibe inside is the closest you’ll get to Tijuana this side of the UK. And, of course, they have an English version website, an English menu and a willing staff. All criteria which won Chiquito top spot..
As for my favorite American place in and around Ostrava, the best I’ve found is, ironically enough, a place called Amerika! www.penzionamerika.cz is located in Haviřov. The fact that they spell Amerika with a “k” may upset some of my fellow-Expats from the states, but once you try some of their truly American specialties, you’ll forget all about the k, just like I did. Excellent steaks and spare-ribs and, can you get more American than Buffalo Wings with a side of Mac & Cheese? Throw in some chicken tenders and arguably the best burgers in the region and Amerika is, without a doubt, as authentic as it gets here in Europe. English-friendly points and extra points for the American-style service. Amerika also scores for their almost perfectly translated website and, yes, they have an English menu, too.
Well readers, that about wraps it up for this blog. I sincerely hope we all get back out there soon and that you are all able to try these places for yourself. A special thanks to the people at Ostrava Expats Centre for posting this best of the best series and hopefully we can all continue contributing to making life a little easier, and tastier, for us Expats here in Ostrava☺