Monday, September 8, 2008

Cafe Savoy

Cafe Savoy, Prague

Cafe serving full meals and wine as well as French pastries and coffee

This Parisian-style cafe was founded in 1893 in an old apartment building. It's been continuously in operation since then, through Communist Party rule, when officials met there to consider new memberships, and the current Czech Republic, where it's now a historical destination with a great kitchen and wine list. The interior is very modern, with some nice touches: when you walk downstairs to the bathrooms, you pass the wine cellar and can continue down to overlook the bakery.

The ornate ceiling dates from the early days of the cafe, was covered up, and recently rediscovered. Its colorful, floral designs, almost Middle Eastern, give the cafe a distinctive character that shows in the menu offerings, the modern furnishings, and the service. Our helpful waiter recommended the Savoy Cake when we were lost in the dazzling array of pastry choices, and offered to bring a fresh coffee when Mark's cup spilled out into the saucer.

We wanted to get the traditional European (more German/Austrian) "Kaffee und Kachen." Mark got cafe au lait, and Tim got fresh ginger tea. Really fresh ginger tea, basically just ginger root steeped in hot water. The Savoy Cake we shared had an outer layer of marzipan enrobing layered chocolate cake and cherry.

It was a great place to sit and enjoy the late afternoon sunlight on the cobblestone streets of Prague. It's easy to let yourself drift back there to the early 20th century, with the nearby bridge over the Vaclav and the palace and St. Vitus's Cathedral looking down from the hill. Or you could be in the seventies, discussing Party politics with your fellow officers. It's not even bad to imagine it's a late summer afternoon in the twenty-first century, and you have nothing better to do than while away an hour with a friend over Kaffee und Kachen.

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