Tables will be heaving with delicacies of all kinds in many fine restaurants and ordinary pubs over the Christmas holidays. They have been closed for the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, which makes the chefs all the more eager to welcome diners.
Some invite them for the classics in the form of black or blue carp, while others opt for goulash, roast ribs, or knees interspersed with a punch. Many places treat Christmas Eve as a friendly meeting with diners.
It wouldn’t be a proper Christmas in Brno without the legendary Liquid Caprice event at Klub Šelepova. It will bring together members of the old guard, including actor Miroslav Donutil and singers Laďa Kerndl and Radek Rettegy, for a beer.
Singing, debating, toasting, and, of course, eating. “It remains to be seen who will arrive this time,” restaurant manager Raed Kahwaji said. A classic at the gathering is the goulash for 149 crowns. In Brno, it is said that men go to Šelepka at noon on Christmas Eve not to disappoint the women at home while preparing the Christmas Eve table.
At Obůrka, they will give out the cabbage soup
The restaurant at Obůrka in Blansko has an entirely different concept of Christmas Eve. It is situated in the forest just above the town and is a comfortable walk to the Veselice lookout tower. The Moravian Karst is just a stone’s throw away.
“We traditionally cook a thousand portions of soup. We give it away for free. It’s our little thank you for the patrons’ goodwill. We are happy to welcome newcomers to their team,” said restaurant operator Jiří Souček with a smile. The restaurant’s bestseller is sirloin steak for CZK 189 or roast beef with potatoes for CZK 249.
The Panský pivorovar in Sokolnice will be closed on Christmas Eve, but until the end of the year, they will offer guests a 12-pack of beer as a Christmas special, as well as half-pound roast ribs for CZK 279 and pork knuckle for CZK 249.
And those who want a specialty can go to nearby Kovalovice to the Old Post Office, which Emperor Napoleon once visited. It is reminiscent of the recipe for “chicken à la Marengo.” It consists of quartered chicken fried in oil and served with a sauce of tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, garlic, white wine, and cognac. It is filled with a baguette, a portion costs 229 crowns, and it is a recipe prepared by Napoleon’s chef.
The restaurant at the Zvon Hotel, right on Přemysl Otakar II Square in České Budějovice, is open during the day on Christmas Eve for regulars and in the evening for hotel guests.
“The menu includes roasted wine sausage with mash for CZK 187 or roasted Lysov ham from the bone by Mr. Číhal with traditional mushroom kubou for CZK 218. There is also a creamy fish soup for CZK 86,” Zdeněk Novotný, the hotel restaurant manager, said. He pointed out that the restaurant is open for hotel guests in the evening.
“They can order a carp steak with potato salad, pork or chicken steak, or a roasted fillet of fresh trout. The prices of the dishes range from CZK 280 to 380,” Novotný added.
Christmas at the Hotel Imperial in Ostrava is one of the most popular gastronomic events. On Christmas Eve evening, there is no movement here, just like on other festive days.
“Like every year, we also organize Christmas Eve dinner, St. Stephen’s Day brunch, and New Year’s Day brunch. All these events are viral, and we have been sold out since October,” said hotel representative Klára Daňková. According to her, families with children predominate on Christmas Eve.
“The fact that this is a traditional event that we have been organizing at the hotel since time immemorial is evidenced by the guests who used to come to us on Christmas Eve with their parents and now come as adults with their children,” Daňková added.
Of course, the menu includes the Czech Christmas classics, i.e., carp with potato salad and pea soup, but guests who do not need carp can also choose to have veal schnitzel, salmon, or chicken breast supreme.
From Christmas to snails
“Christmas starts with a breakfast of homemade Christmas cake, candy, and homemade apple fritters and ends with a Czech buffet dinner with classics such as South Bohemian carp and zander, farm turkey cutlets from Černíkova Dvůr and, of course, the traditional ham on the bone from Roman Krčma’s butcher shop,” Břetislav Benda, the chief operating officer of the Karlovy Vary Thermal Hotel, said.
“We will, of course also offer several types of potato salads from the Karlovy Vary region, but also snail specialties,” continued the operations director. The price for a visitor from the street is around seven hundred crowns. “We are almost sold out for this year, with only twenty seats left,” Benda added.