Walking along Tržiště, the facade looks so lovely with a touch of the Italian owner’s Mediterranean charm, doesn’t it?! Yes, that’s San Carlo restaurant in Prague’s heritage district Malá Strana. Not only is the San Carlo a traditional Italian restaurant; it is also the in-house restaurant of Alchymist Nosticova Palace and it provides a superb daily breakfast service to hotel guests.
We enjoyed a 10-night stay at the hotel, and the experience I’m about to share from the San Carlo is based on our breakfasts and the (one) night we cleared to try their highly regarded dinner too. So, here’s what I love most about the San Carlo…
1) Marvellous Interior Design
Once you step off the cobble stoned street and enter through that magical yet mysterious commedia dell’arte door of San Carlo, the stage is set and you’re immediately wowed by the richness of colour, the hand painted acanthus tracery and medallions of the groin vault ceiling; yellow ochre ragged walls, the red and gold drapery and all the decorative details.., not to mention the chandelier! There’s no mistaking that the interior style flows on from its host hotel, the luxurious Alchymist Nosticova Palace.
2) Welcoming Atmosphere And Wonderful Service
Each morning when Kent and I arrived for breakfast, we were cheerfully greeted by the friendly staff and also exchanged mutual ‘good morning’ greetings with the other hotel guests. You might think this is normal for a 5-star hotel but in my experience, it is actually rather rare. To enjoy such an intimate and familial atmosphere and warm welcome? Perhaps it can only happen in a truly boutique hotel.
Most important, our morning coffee – which was served in a central European manner, a hot pot of strong black coffee and a jug of hot milk. Well actually the hot milk was our special addition, as cold milk seemed the norm. And this way of taking coffee was remembered and provided as soon as we settled in. Not quite espresso but satisfying all the same. If we happened to have had our early photoshoots (please check out our morning shoot here and here); this, on our return, was the moment we looked forward to the most!
While every quality hotel offers a hot and cold buffet breakfast and some additional made-to-order dishes. San Carlo’s buffet selection was extensive. In the cold buffet table we saw pastry, yoghurt; ham and other cold meat, a variety of nuts and dried fruits; fresh fruits and a variety of cheeses, cereals; breads and spreads. On the hot buffet, we had fried eggs, Czech sausages; English sausages, bacon; grilled tomatoes and baked potatoes. Basically they have you covered.
My personal favourites when it comes to cold breakfast would be prosciutto with fruits; especially melons or pears. Also, blue cheese with grapes or dates, delicious start to the day – my San Carlo breakfasts never disappointed!
3) Best Scrambled Eggs And Omelettes Ever
‘An omelette or scrambled eggs for you madam?’
‘Madam’, well that’s nice and that was my favourite question to be asked each morning after we were seated at our table. Made-to-order cooked items such as the scrambled eggs and the omelette were additional complimentary dishes for hotel guests. During our 10 breakfasts at San Carlo, I had one omelette and eight scrambled eggs, yes I kept note, and they were cooked to PERFECTION every time!
My scrambled eggs were consistently brilliant; silky, well seasoned and flavoursome. Tick! Tick! Tick! The best scrambled eggs in all the top hotels I have checked into to date! By the way, Kent liked to mix it up, often simply going for the fried eggs from the buffet.
4) Authentic Italian Cuisine In Prague
As it was our first visit to Prague, Kent and I wanted to discover and try as many Czech meals as we could; however, we did manage to stay in our cozy hotel for one evening and happily gave our little Italy – San Carlo a go!
Neapolitan Pizza is the speciality at San Carlo, with the pizzas being its most famed. Regardless of that, we passed on the pizza and went with seafood dishes we would love back home in Sydney. Kent ordered Linguine ai Gamberi, which was the Tiger Prawn Pasta. Living by the coast in Australia, we are spoiled by the freshness of our seafood and ‘Australian prawns are hard to beat.’; although the prawns were slightly overcooked, the pasta was ‘Al dente and tasty!’ According to Kent.
I was not very hungry that night so I decided to have a light meal by having two entrée size dishes – a soup and a salad.
My soup – Zuppa di Cozze, which was Blue Mussel Soup with Cherry Tomatoes – it was outstanding! The mussels had the taste of the ocean, and look at the intense redness from those tomatoes! Each spoonful was full of flavour and I was impressed.
My ‘red mussel soup’ no doubt outshone my Tuna Salad – Nostromo which I felt was a little under par.
Hotel guests, are offered two complimentary glasses of house wine each night at San Carlo; however we had not been taking advantage of the wine until this night, it was nice to know our drinks were on the house. Kent of course, went for a local beer while I chose a glass of house white to compliment my seafood.
The dining room atmosphere was quite casual that night, we did ask if they would be opening the special mosaic mirror room – the larger (some might say over-the-top) ornately decorated room? The answer was ‘Not tonight, maybe this Saturday!’ After all, it’s for weddings and special events. No pictures? Well, don’t be disappointed just yet as we did do one of my little fashion shoots using the entire mirror room the very next day (thank you for organising it Kent), so you will see just what a magic space it is! Stay tuned!
5) A Great Location
Located in the historic Malá Strana district; also known as Lesser Town. San Carlo is one minute walk to a tram stop (ticket shop as well). Several major attractions, such as the Museum Kampa on the Vltava River and Charles Bridge are within a short walk distance. The nearest metro station Malostranska is about 15 to 20 minutes walk.
Quiet, yet not far away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas. Between the Old Town Square and the Castle district; Malá Strana is a vibrant suburb which is full of charismatic restaurants and traditional pubs (yes we had tried a few of them), you just need to follow your nose and enjoy yourself!
Leave us a comment if you’ve visited Malá Strana or have dined at the San Carlo!