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Czech Mate
Czech Mate Michael Lazar
This is not a fancy restaurant, but a Czech pub with ambiance, good beer and very large portions of tasty eastern European food. With such great value for your money, the welcoming atmosphere and friendly environment, I can see why the place is always packed.
A number of years ago I found myself wandering the streets of Prague. Al Gore had just lost Florida and the U.S. elections to George Bush and the Americans in the city came out to show their disbelief (by getting drunk). I remember a lot about that beautiful city, some say the most beautiful in Europe. It is true that the Czech women are exceptionally pretty, the food, while eastern European and therefore a little on the heavy side, is quite good and the beer… well… the beer is just excellent.

While I have never been back to the Czech Republic, Little Prague located in the center of Allenby St. has always been a place that I find myself returning to again and again. It’s neither a restaurant, nor a bar, but a combination of both. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel at home, no matter where you’re from. A place one wishes would open just around the corner from where you live.

Little Prague is equipped with a long, well stocked bar, but the highlight is definitely the beer. Evidence shows that hops cultivation existed in Bohemia from as early as 859 A.D., while the first evidence of their export dates back to 903. The earliest known brewery to have existed in the area was established in 1118. With such a long and rich history, it is no surprise that they make some of the best beer in the world. With a half liter of rich, dark Starobrno we were free to take in the atmosphere of the place, which lacks pretensions. Simply decorated, it is at once inviting. A perfect place for a romantic date, a night out with the guys or a good, filling meal.

We arrived a little hungry so we ordered a plate of potato pancakes with blue cheese and onions as a starter. For the main course we had the Knedlo Vepro Zelo – a traditional dish of roasted pork with stewed cabbage, onions and spices served with knedlik (Czech steamed dumplings) and the Veprevo Koleno – pork knuckle marinated and roasted with red cabbage. The portions, unbelievably huge and very tasty are priced very reasonably at under NIS 50 per dish.

This is not a fancy restaurant, but a Czech pub with ambiance, good beer and very large portions of tasty eastern European food. With such great value for your money, the welcoming atmosphere and friendly environment, I can see why the place is always packed and how it has become one of those rare Israeli institutions, which have managed to survive for more than a few years. So if you’re looking for some good food with your beer (and I don’t mean the french-fries served by nearly every bar in Tel Aviv), Little Prague is the place for you.

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