The best meal of my five-month exchange in the Netherlands was not actually in the Netherlands. As amazing as the Dutch cities and culture are, they’re actually not known for their food other than stroopwafels (the greatest desert known to man). Instead, the best meal I had was a midnight dinner at a vegetarian restaurant attached to a nightclub in Prague, Czech Republic.
One rainy weekend in March, two friends and I hopped on a plane to visit my aunt who lived in Prague, and she gave us the name of this restaurant to check out while we were exploring. We’d largely forgotten about all of her recommendations, but that evening as we descended the Petrin Tower with its all-seeing view, we realized that we were starving and that it was too late to get a real dinner. It was 10pm, and everything was closed—or so we thought.
Never underestimate the Central European club culture on a Saturday night.
After an hour long descent back to the city center through unlit park paths, we stumbled back to the metro station that would take us home, where we could at least grab some cereal bars to subsist until the next day. We were all ready to head back when my buddy Wayne checked the restaurants he had starred on Google Maps. Luckily enough, one of the restaurants my aunt had recommended was just down the street, and still open!
There we were, half-starved and willing to eat anything, and we end up being served the best meal of the entire semester. The restaurant, which was more of a bar with a few tables strewn around as an afterthought, served such a diverse array of dishes that at first we were concerned that it couldn’t be good. I ordered the vegetarian quesadilla (I hadn’t had any Mexican food for three months at the time), while my friends had a lo-mein style noodle dish and a portabella mushroom burger, respectively. We all shared and were unified in our happiness—which, coincidentally, is the restaurant’s name in Czech (Radost FX).
After a long day of marching through the cold Czech weather, looking at ancient fortresses and climbing towers, you can’t beat a solid meal. It was well worth the experience, and certainly lived up to its name.