The Aria, a five-star boutique hotel with 51 rooms, is tucked into the historic area known as the Lesser Quarter, close to the Charles Bridge and just down the hill from Prague Castle. The property adjoins the Vrtbovská Gardens, Prague's oldest Baroque gardens and a UNESCO World Heritage site. These formal gardens (frequently missed by tourists) are stunning and a real treat for hotel guests who enjoy an exclusive entrance.
Had the weather cooperated, I would have dined at Coda's 360-degree rooftop terrace overlooking the Old Town, churches and river. Instead, I was seated in the enchanting art-deco restaurant that sustains a musical theme down to the plates. They are imprinted with caricatures of famous musicians.
My prelude was a creamy mushroom soup or “Kulajda“Soup that was made from wild forest mushrooms, dill, cream and poached egg. A few croutons were sprinkled on top to contrast the velvety smoothness.
My entree was roast duck, a Czech staple known as “Vodňany“ Duck. Chef David Šašek cooked the poultry to perfection--crispy on the outside and fork tender on the inside. The duck was harmonized by sauerkraut and potato dumplings, a Bohemian specialty, and tasted like an Old World grandmother's homemade comfort food. Each bite yielding a mouth fulfilling pleasure.
|Chef David Sasek|
Although my duck was roasted, Chef Sasek is known for using the French method of 'Sous-vide', a water technique that results in making meat so tender it almost needs no chewing.
Dessert featured gorgeous ruby strawberries that were drenched into aged balsamic vinegar and topped with Chantilly cream. The blend between the sweetness of the berries and the vinegar's pungency was melodious.
For an encore (had I been a hotel guest) I could have basked in the music library of over a 1,000 CD's or listened back to my room. The Aria has a virtuoso feel, a mixture of classical, opera, jazz and contemporary touches. One could truly escape here, close to the best features of stunningly different Prague.
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If you go:
|Aria Hotel - View from the Mozart Suite|
118 00 Prague