Praha matka měst, the mother of all cities: that is how Prague’s two million citizens nickname it. Prague is a unique city, suspended between history and innovation, rich in charm and refined elegance.
Going back to Prague after so many years was a great emotion since my blurred memories couldn’t do justice to the artistic and cultural heritage of the old city (one of the most beautiful places amongst the World Heritage sites). Its timeless charm is disarming to say the least, but Prague is also much more than this.
During my short stay I could discover the energy of the wine and food scenery of this city and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a true world of animation, in which the best Italian restaurant in Praga stood out proud: the Hostaria (in Mánesova 78).
This is not a common restaurant, but an extraordinary place made by enthusiastic people, with dishes made with attention to the smallest details, with excellent wines. A place where the owner, Andrea Minazzi, his chefs, coordinated by the young and talented Executive-Chef Leonardo Panza, an extraordinary chef emerged from ALMA, the illustrious and influential international cooking school supervised by the award winning chef Gualtiero Marchesi,
together with the professional waiting staff, know how to make you feel at home, surrounded by simple things and joy.
I remember that I was surprised by his email, which was very attentive and professional, and by his kind manners. He asked me if I could send him some bottles of our Millesulmare, because he had never tasted a wine made with grapes of Grecanico Dorato and he was pretty intrigued by this experience.
He was so impressed with our Millesulmare that he immediately put it in the wine chart of his restaurant, the Hostaria, which I was truly looking forward to seeing! For this reasons, after a wonderful day spent amongst the streets of the old city, filled with tourists animated by Christmas frenzy, Andrea invited me and Riccardo to have dinner in his restaurant. I was curious to understand what he could offer, different from the many Italian restaurants in Prague. And I understood it immediately as soon as I entered: I immediately felt at home.
The intense atmosphere of the place, polished, elegant but never excessive, filled up my heart completely. Everything was at the right place. The simplicity and the attention put into the choice of the furniture gave me a sense of stability.
I have always liked to feel at ease at the restaurants I visited. Even before the food, I believe it is an essential starting point: and Andrea, together with his team, made an excellent work!
I was impressed by the passion, the tenacity, the great intellectual and human honesty of Andrea and his team that, even if they live in Prague, and considering the obvious logistic complexity of finding the best ingredients, were able to recreate an authentic Italian restaurant of the highest level even far away from home.
Andrea ate with us that night and that was the beginning of a pleasant and truly interesting dinner, where I got the chance to fully understand the Hostaria’s philosophy: the almost obsessive research of excellence of its choice of ingredients.
Quality is the true queen in every creation made by Leonardo Panza and his Sous-Chef,
With care and passion, they are able to make you feel authentic emotions, even with dishes that they like to improvise.
This kind of approach to the research of the ingredients recalls the qualitative perfection reached by the greatest Japanese chefs,
with the addition that the Hostaria is full of Italian spirit and soul, with a heart full of a passion and a creativity that I was able to get to know better during that dinner..
As an entrée we had a tasteful roulade made with carpaccio of Fassona Piemontese, with herbs and very few other ingredients in order to enhance its good taste and its very high qualitative level.
It was followed by a wonderful tartare of Granda meat (a spectacular meat from Piemonte) with pomegranate grains, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a delicate yogurt sauce that embellished its taste.
After that we had a trio of first courses, all strictly Italian: a mix between tradition and innovation, reinterpreted by the skilled chefs of the Hostaria.
The egg pasta was a wonderful surprise!
That’s the thing: with those magnificent tortellini in broth I felt the same emotions that I had when I was a child and my grandmother made me homemade pasta, they were incredible!
An extraordinary revisitation of our carbonara and cacio&pepe, together for the very first time: magnificent.
And then a dish that I love: risotto.
I don’t know how to express how good this creation was, extremely simple and authentic, perfect when paired with our Millesulmare.
The fish dishes too were truly polished.
The fishes, chosen personally by the Chef Leonardo Panza, are very fresh and they have an excellent quality, as this delicious dish can testify.
They should be eaten along with their scales (as in the Japanese tradition) in order to enhance their taste and the body.
After that we had a fish sashimi that made me truly feel the taste of the sea in my mouth.
I couldn’t eat the dessert, but I couldn’t resist a serving of the freshest fruit, enriched with cocoa nibs.
I still have wonderful memories of that dinner (a true food experience that I hope to repeat soon) and of Andrea’s company, who told us his story, about how the Hostaria was born, how it was conceived and created, and how it is making a name for itself in the lively food scenery in Prague.
It is an honour for us to collaborate with the Hostaria and its team, because we well understand the challenges a “start-up” encounters and deeply admire its energy, passion, commitment and, most of all, its bravery in researching quality without making compromises and taking shortcuts. That’s why I would like to take this chance to congratulate them once more for their extraordinary work. They truly make us proud of being Italians!