Hostinec U Kalicha and the Good Soldier Svejk
Hostinec (restaurant) U Kalicha is not only famous for its authentic Czech cuisine it also played an important role in the life of the ‘Brave Soldier Svejk’, the main character in Jaroslav Hašek’s novel of the same name. U Kalicha was also the favourite pub of Hašek.
This is the place where the author made the Secret Police arrest Svejk. This is the place where Svejk spoke the famous words: ‘After the war at six in U Kalicha . . .’ and then he continued, ‘Better if you come at half past six, in case I should be held up somewhere.’
Bohemian cuisine with a touch of this famous Czech novel
If you are an admirer of The Good Soldier Svejk, you can follow in his footsteps and have a traditional Czech meal in Hostinec U Kalicha. All the walls are scribbled with quotations from the book, and all characters from the novel are present as wall paintings by Josef Lada, the illustrator of the book.
Photos of illustrious international celebrities – such as Jacques Chirac, Vaclav Havel and Lionel Jospin – grace the walls. Serious fans of The Good Soldier Svejk can stock up on Svejk merchandise. If you are prepared to pay over the odds for a beer glass or an ashtray, you will go home a happy person.
The interior of U Kalicha is original 1930s. The restaurant can seat several hundreds of guests. The menu is in twenty-four languages, showing that you are not the only foreign visitor.
In fact, it is hard to find any locals dining in U Kalicha. The reason may be that the dishes are slightly overpriced and beer is twice the price of what you pay in most other places. When your mug is empty, it will be swiftly replaced by another one unless you tell them explicitly that you don’t want any more. They only serve half-liter glasses, not three deciliter as in other bars and restaurants.
Although the food is authentic, many a Czech prefers to go to a quieter restaurant serving dishes as his or her grandmother would cook them. Be aware that the small dishes of almonds that are placed on the table and which you haven’t requested are to be paid for.
Authentic Bohemian Dishes
While you are here, you might as well try roast goose with dumplings and red cabbage, pork knuckle with dumplings and sauerkraut or Bohemian goulash with bread dumplings. Vegetarians have a difficult time because only two dishes feature on the menu: asparagus with cheese and potatoes and scalloped cheese French fries. If you order a salad, ask if small pieces of chicken or pork have been added. This is not shown on the menu.
If you like meeting other foreign tourists, and you are a fan of The Good Soldier Svejk and don’t mind paying ‘tourist prices,’ a meal in Hostinec U Kalicha is quite an experience.
Address: Hostinec U Kalicha, Na Bojišti 12, Nove Mesto, Prague
Monday, Tuesday: 12.00 – 22.00
Wednesday – Saturday: 12.00 – 23.00
Sunday: 12.00 – 22.00
Photos Wiki Commons