Pub Review: Restaurace nad Šárkou
A not-bad pub way out west
Posted: March 20, 2013
At Restaurace nad Šárkou, the beer snacks fare better than the main menu, making for a passable stop before or after visiting the park.
By Max Bahnson
For the Post
Tankové pivo is almost automatically associated with Pilsner Urquell - understandably so, as it is the brand that has most aggressively promoted this dispensing system. However, Plzeňský Prazdroj is not the only brewing company that has tanks in pubs. In the past few years, the system has also been adopted by Staropramen, Budvar, Heineken CZ and, most recently, by Pivovary Lobkowicz. And it was the promise of tanková Vévoda that brought me to Restaurace nad Šárkou, right next to the Divoká Šárka tram stop.
The best way to describe the interior of this pub is "nondescript." Much of the furniture looks as if it comes from Asko, XXXL Lutz or a similar sort of shop. (It was not, though, as any furniture bought at any of those places wouldn't last a week in a restaurant). It's not ugly, but it's not very inviting, either.
Evropská 209, Prague 6-Liboc
Tel. 220 560 362
Open Mon.-Fri. 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
The service is very fine, though. All three of the waiters I met during my two visits were professional, no-nonsense, attentive and polite. Items were brought quickly and without missteps, questions were answered properly, and tabs were settled without any delay. Just as it should be everywhere.
The food, on the other hand, was not that successful. I had lunch with a friend and our orders - beef broth, francouzké brambory (french fries) and vepřové výpečky (pork roast) with cabbage and potato dumplings - matched the blandness of the interiors. It tasted like something a tired parent would throw together for their preteen children who are also fussy eaters.
The beer snacks fared a lot better, even though the nákladaný hermelín (69 Kč) didn't look too promising at first. It came served with one of those long peppers Czechs call a "ram's horn" and a spoonful of some truly awful jam that tried to pass itself off as cranberry. Fortunately, the offending preserve was easy to scrape off, and I was able to rather enjoy a fairly good hermoš filled with what appeared to be a pepper and garlic paste. It wasn't bad, but, for that price, it could have been better. (Just to give you an idea, at the recently reopened U Slovanské lípy, in Žižkov, 55 Kč will get you a better pickled cheese, served in a glass jar, and then there is, of course, the beauty I had last month at U Járy for 38 Kč). The utopenec sausage was the same price but better value, because it was a double portion. It is quite hard to screw up this snack, but what I liked about this one in particular was that the sausages had been stripped of their casings, something that is not often done. It was a pity they were not of better quality, though. They tasted too floury.
It was the beer, though, that had really lured me all the way out to Restaurace nad Šárkou. Before Pivovary Lobkowicz took over, the stuff brewed in Vysoký Chlumec wasn't particularly good. Now, though the 11º pale lager Vévoda will certainly not make anyone tremble with delight, it is a solid and unpretentious session tipple with, in this case, the added smoothness and freshness typical of unpasteurized beers that are dispensed straight from the tank, without the use of top pressure. It makes it really hard to have just one, and, at 28 Kč per half-liter, having a couple more should not dig a big hole in anyone's wallet.
Vévoda is not the only beer on tap. However much I enjoyed my pint of jedenáctká, I couldn't leave my second visit without having a go at another one of the beers on the list. I picked Merlín, a stout-inspired black lager that I have a bit of a soft spot for. Unlike at many other places, where only smaller glasses are available, Nad Šárkou pours it in half-liter measures for 34 Kč. (Elsewhere, you're likely to pay that much for a 0.3L). Contrary to my custom, I ordered a small glass (21 Kč), which must have been a sixth sense because despite the almost irrationally cold temperature at which the beer was served, I could still feel it was well past its prime. I shouldn't be surprised, really; I doubt a beer like Merlín ever gets much rotation at a pub like Nad Šárkou. Perhaps they should do away with it, and the others, and just stick to the tanková. I doubt anyone would complain.
I'd be lying if I said Restaurace Nad Šárkou is worth the long tram ride. But, now that the nice weather is hinting at a comeback, it could be a good option for a quick one or two pints before and/or after a walk in Divoka Šárka. As long as you stick to Vévoda, you won't be disappointed.
Max Bahnson can be reached at email@example.com