Sigur Rós, based out of Reykjavík, Iceland, are arguably one of the planet’s most intriguing bands. Their vocals are rarely, if ever, performed in English.
They prefer Icelandic but have no qualms employing a fabricated language called “Vonlenska”.
The band has consistently baffled critics. Over their twenty-plus years of existence numerous genres including “post-rock”, “dream pop”, “shoegaze” or “art rock” among many others, were utilized at some point whilst attempting to describe Sigur Rós’s sound.
Phillipp Malý, co-founder of Selection Promotion and self-proclaimed fan, partly attributes their sound to the band’s geographic origins. He states, “I guess that the music of Sigur Rós can only come from Iceland or a country with a similar landscape. All the lonely corners in Iceland, the heaviness of the steeply rising fjords in a soft misty atmosphere is very present in the songs like “Glósóli”; from the album Takk… or “Varðeldur” from Valtari”.
Ágætis byrjun is inarguably the place to begin with Sigur Rós. Its original release was restricted to Iceland before being picked up by labels in the United Kingdom (2000) and the United States (2001). Ágætis byrjun is the album that placed the band on a path that would lead to global
popularity. It’s also routinely considered one of this century’s greatest albums.
This was followed by ( ) (2002), performed entirely in Vonlenska, Takk… (2005), Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (2008), Valtari (2012) and Kveikur (2013).
It’s been 14 long years since Sigur Rós last played in Prague and there is exciting news for fans and potential attendees. The band is currently working on a new album and are expected to present new material at their upcoming Prague concert.
Original member Kjartan “Kjarri” Sveinsson has also returned to the group after a near 10-year absence.
The Sigur Rós live experience is especially noteworthy. They can be intimate and immense, melancholic and euphoric. Malý sums up the band’s live show in the following description:
“Sigur Rós concerts are full of emotions – it feels like taking a deep dive into an emotional landscape. Music is mostly about feelings, but I know few bands where feelings and music are so strongly intertwined”.
This is an accurate description. Sigur Rós can and will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that could leave you forever changed.
It should be obvious this is a can’t miss the concert and clearly one of this year’s highlights for live music in the capital. Fourteen years have passed since the band’s last Prague appearance and it’s finally time to welcome Sigur Rós back.
- When: 9.10.22
- Where: O2 Universum
- Tickets: On sale now through Ticketmaster
The rise of vegetarianism and veganism in Prague has, in a positive way, altered the city’s food scene, yet an imbalance is still present.
Restaurants focused mainly on meat dishes are now forced to add – or at least think about the addition – of some sort of vegan or vegetarian fare. While vegan or vegetarian spots, for the most part, rarely serve anything that might appease a carnivore. This suggests a massive disconnect within Prague’s food community.
Spojka opened in 2019 and is located in Karlín, aims to bridge that divide and does so successfully. Their central ideology revolves around the notion of the flexitarian. Vegan, vegetarian, and meat dishes are all on offer here with a range of options that would suit any type of eater.
Before getting into the drinks, starters and main dishes it’s important to note that Spojka offers breakfast, available Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 11:30 and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 to 16:00. There is also a daily menu that, of course, changes every day. This is offered Monday to Friday from 11:30 to 15:00.
The drinks on offer highlight the level of quality found at Spojka. There are several items, even though we didn’t try them, that stood out. The Homemade Kombucha and the Homemade Lemonade, with the latter consisting of grapefruit, lemon and ginger. It sounded amazing. The Immunity juice, made of orange, apple, lemon and ginger was fantastic.
Spojka offers two beers on tap and both were spectacular. These included the Novozélandská lager, from a brewery just outside of Prague, and an APA called Liberator produced by Vinohradský brewery. It’s best to try both. The wine list is vast and the customer should have no problem selecting a bottle.
Spojka’s starters are, like the concept behind this restaurant, creative. The vegan baked cashew cheese was an interesting dish and the scallops were excellent. The only complaint regarding the latter is the portion size after considering the cost. The price for two scallops shouldn’t run the customer 475 kč. It’s simply too steep.
The main courses on offer clearly displayed Spojka‘s commitment to the flexitarian ideal this restaurant is built around and each vegan, vegetarian, and meat dish tasted fantastic. The vegetarian and gluten-free Indian murgh makhani with oven-baked cauliflower is highly recommended.
Meat eaters can order the same dish with chicken substituted for cauliflower. The wild boar burger was beyond perfect. The seasoning and spices were applied in an expert manner. If you’re a carnivore this is not something to skip out on. However, the absolute star of the show was the vegan bao bun with pulled oyster mushroom (pork can be substituted for the pulled oyster mushroom).
The mushrooms tasted heavenly, but Spojka’s chefs deserve recognition for the perfect application of both hoisin and plum sauce, which added another level of flavor to an already exquisite dish. The vegan bao bun must be one of the best meals Spojka produces and is a good enough reason to return.
The service was prompt, friendly, and professional. They appeared quickly when needed, and, most importantly, knew when to stay away so the customer could enjoy his meal.
Spojka’s interior, with fresh plants hanging down from the ceiling, gives this space a calming atmosphere. This is not an accident given the detail placed upon the food served. It seems one of Spojka’s goals involves connectivity where vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters can enjoy the multitude of choices found on the menu and under one roof.
But goals or ideologies mean nothing for a restaurant unless the food is excellent. Spojka passed that crucial test thereby making it a spot to try out or return to in the bustling neighborhood of Karlín.
- Address: Pernerova 697/35
- Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-23:00, Saturday-Sunday 9:00-23:00
- Contact: +420 226 203 888
The largest virtual reality park recently opened in Prague’s Brumlovka area.
Avatar Park, with 500 square meters, offers a simulated fall from a skyscraper, a roller coaster ride, an attempt to defend a medieval castle, and a simulation of the Tour of France, amongst other attractions.
“It’s really like in reality, [with] all the details and how the whole seat is knocking with you,” says Vladimír after trying the roller coaster simulator.
A simulated fall from a skyscraper is one of Avatar Park’s best attractions. Another outstanding experience occurs when a person is placed on his stomach and then sent backward and forward achieving the feeling of flying through the air.
The park is suitable for all ages including children. The entrance is 580 Kč and valid for everything up to an hour.
“It is the largest game park with unique attractions that are not to be tried anywhere else in the virtual world. VR Park Avatar best describes words like adrenaline or an extreme experience,” stated project author Dan Broulík.
Virtual reality experiences are rapidly increasing in popularity throughout the Czech Republic.
Prague, with Avatar Park, can now welcome this new and exciting experience for both residents and out-of-town visitors.
QQ Asian Kitchen, after opening its doors in 2017, very quickly became one of the most talked-about restaurants in the city.
The cuisine – a mixture of food from Bali and Taiwan with several other culinary stops along the way – was not something readily available in Prague. QQ Asian Kitchen became almost immediately successful.
The food was excellent and the seats were full. That has not changed. The level of quality at QQ Asian Kitchen remains top-notch.
QQ Asian Kitchen’s location, however, did change in the spring of 2020 and is now attached to Mosaic House Design Hotel. A location change for a restaurant with an already fixed reputation could be a risky endeavor, but everything is contingent on the quality of food and service. That, as stated, remains the same. QQ Asian Kitchen is an amazing place to visit and clearly deserves its very recent placement in the Michelin guide.
Come hungry and do not skip out on the starters. Some of the most interesting and amazing dishes are to be found there. Seafood lovers should try the soft shell crab mushu taco alongside the seared yellowtail sashimi with butter ponzu vinaigrette. These are both pristine examples of what the chefs produce at this establishment.
Main courses are just as stunning. The slow-cooked beef rendang is an all-time favorite one never tires of and the sea bass, presented in a banana leaf, was seasoned perfectly. The only vegetarian dish on the menu were the gado gado vegetables with tofu and peanut sauce. Both the steamed and yellow coconut rice are recommended in tandem. The homemade cassava crackers were also a very nice touch.
The wine list is impressive and extensive. A glass of the Rioja Crianza was recommended and complimented everything eaten. Únětice beer is available on draft and went down quite well with some of the spicier dishes tried. An Indonesian beer is normally also offered but not available at the time of our visit.
The service was both exceedingly professional, efficient, and very friendly. It is not odd for the chef to come out and inquire about how your meal and overall experience is going. Both chefs genuinely seem to care. QQ Asian Kitchen, once more, is listed in the Michelin guide for a reason. The service is also part of that.
It is important to note that a reservation is very likely needed every evening. QQ fills up quickly. There is a very affordable and interesting lunch menu available Tuesday to Friday from 12:00 to 15:00. If a mid-afternoon visit occurs it’s possible you’ll have the place largely to yourself.
Overall, there is little for QQ Asian Kitchen to improve upon even after nearly five years of existence. The food and service remain spectacular and the new location compliments its other attributes perfectly.
This has quickly become a beloved Prague establishment for a reason. The chefs – Nyoman Purnata and Lee Chang – should be commended for the restless creativity that drives QQ Asian Kitchen while, at the same time, making this a place one will always return to.
- Address: Odboru 278/4
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 – 22:00
- Contact: +420 776 337 878
Shortly after entering the doors of El Gaucho the initial feeling one detects is that of confidence. The reasoning behind this is simple: El Gaucho knows how good their food is. Experience does that.
There are locations stretching from Southeast Asia into Europe, which helps to ensure how special this dining experience will be.
Prague has its fair share of Argentinian steakhouses, but, after El Gaucho opened its doors in June, none of them seem relevant. There is no better steakhouse found in the capital. El Gaucho is in a league of its own with two locations found here. One is mere minutes away from the Old Town Square and the second – opened very recently – is located in Dejvice.
The sheer breadth of the menu is slightly overwhelming at first, but the staff is there and will advise you if needed. Service is friendly, helpful and exceedingly professional.
The staff, at times, can seem invisible, but they appear exactly at the moment needed while also paying close attention not to interrupt your meal.
The level of quality found at El Gaucho is so high one could have an amazing meal just from the starters on offer. Beginning with the homemade Argentinian beef soup is an excellent choice as this is also the first opportunity to taste El Gaucho’s beef.
It is nothing short of exquisite. The salmon tartare was also amazing. Yet, it is without doubt that anything on the starters menu – from the beef empanada to the salchicha – is delicious. There are no wrong choices here.
El Gaucho’s emphasis is on American beef when it comes to their steaks. Both the rib eye and filet were flawless. The foie gras ordered with the steaks was halved it was so massive and truly exquisite. Add chimichurri and wild mushroom sauce – both homemade – and these are the best steaks in Prague. The Argentinian Malbec Salentein was the perfect wine to accompany this meal and is highly recommended.
However, the wine list at El Gaucho deserves its own praise. The term “extensive” is an understatement. The wine list, much like the initial confrontation with the food menu, is again slightly overwhelming. But, as previously mentioned, the staff is there to advise if any questions arise. It’s clearly obvious that a superhuman feat of effort went into selecting each and every wine at this establishment.
El Gaucho markets itself primarily as a steakhouse, yet there are many other dishes on offer. Salads, pasta, lamb, pork, chicken and fish are available for main courses. Burgers are also on the menu with a vegan option available. One suggestion, and its feasibility is impossible to determine, involves the El Gaucho mix platter serving four people. This is an intriguing choice, but it would be nice if this was made available for two people.
If it seems like any serious criticisms are lacking that’s because there is nothing to criticize. El Gaucho is the best restaurant to open in Prague this year. The food was sheer perfection from start to finish. El Gaucho came for the throne and seized it. It’s highly doubtful this seat will be relinquished anytime soon.
- Addresses: Dušní 905/4 and Dejvická 268/30
- Locations: Old Town and Dejvice
- Opening Hours: Old Town – 11am-10pm, Dejvice – 11am-10pm
*Times may change due to Covid restrictions
- Contact: Old Town – +420 777 073 040, Dejvice – +420 725 422 302