Don't miss the boat
New Grosseto serves up great views with reliable cuisine
Posted: August 11, 2010
It doesn't get much better than this: pizza, perfect views and people's prices.
The newest branch of the Grosseto pizza and pasta joints feels like it's always been there. Since opening, Grosseto Marina, a beautifully converted barge docked right next to the Rudolfinum, has been packed to capacity every night. Clearly, the popular chain was confident enough in its following, and confident enough to even keep its usual reasonable prices. And considering that the barge provides unbeatable vistas of both Prague Castle and Charles Bridge - not to mention the buzz of activity on the river - it seems almost too good to be true.
A vast deck of planked floorboards and tasteful wicker seating is perfect for lounging and lingering, with lanterns and sturdy umbrellas over tables that were filled on recent nights with parties enjoying full meals and people simply having a drink, enjoying the view. A sleek bar anchors the deck and connects to the sheltered room downstairs, and a bell sounds every time a nifty pizza dumbwaiter delivers up a pie. All together, it's one of those places that makes you giddy to be in such a beautiful city without having to pay tourist prices.
Below-deck, a large room provides more shelter, with creams, tans and blacks setting a chic background to the food, some of which does blush into slight mediocrity, but many items shine.
Most pizza and pasta dishes are well below 200 Kč, and some steaks and seafood items venture higher, mostly with success.
Alšovo nábřeží, Prague 1-Old Town
Tel. 605 454 020
Open daily 11:30-midnight
Salmon tartare 139 Kč
Pizza proscuitto and rucola 189 Kč
Ravioli with chicken meat balls 169 Kč
Canneloni with spinach 145 Kč
Pork steak with olives, capers, dried tomatoes with roast potatoes 245 Kč
Panna cotta 87 Kč
0.25 L carafe Chardonnay 60 Kč
Grosseto is pretty adept at seafood, and of the starters, the salmon tartare and an octopus salad were treated with respect. Both were full of flavor and lightly dressed to highlight the delicate flesh, and the presence of chopped tomatoes and parsley, as well a slight citrus dressing (lemon on the salmon, lime on the octopus), made both items standouts.
Another starter, stuffed peppers, was nice, with deeply marinated peppers so soft they fell apart with a fork and drizzled in balsamico, revealing the briny, Italian cheese underneath flecked with parsley. Two wedges of baked foccacia, topped with dried tomatoes, were a nice touch, and also came with the salmon tartare. Starter options also include above-standard olives, a generous bowl of which is only 65 Kč. Both green and black olives are soaked through in a garlicky, herbed seasoning, pitted and still firm to the bite.
The Grosseto restaurants pride themselves on their traditional Italian pizza ovens, and their pies are naturally quite good. The crusts are dusty, chewy and crunchy, and the sauce is tart and sweet, and circles of buffalo mozzarella and snippets of fresh basil on the margarita are good counterpoints. Some of the more elaborate pizzas can be fussy, as toppings become slightly clumsy and dry, such as happened with the sauce-less Prosciutto crudo and rucola pie.
The spinach and ricotta cannelloni was tasty, if a bit relentless: The leaves of spinach and densely layered pasta turned into a slightly tedious task halfway through the giant portion, leaving something to be desired. The homemade ravioli with chicken meatballs, however, is a more memorable dish, with lightly tinged, parsley-herbed meatballs over almost-floury ravioli stuffed with ricotta.
Of the meat dishes sampled, the juicy pork steak with salva, olives and tomatoes was the winner, and came perfectly tender while slightly pink. The roast potatoes that were included with the dish were stellar: crispy and flavorful on the outside and soft and comforting within.
Being part of a chain, there are immediate expectations for the quality of food and service upon opening, and the Marina doesn't disappoint. True, there are so many servers attending any one table that sometimes multiple orders are made by accident, but the wait staff are quick to apologize or fix the problem. Even a drawn-out wait between courses on a recent visit didn't seem so bad, what with a nice bottle of Moravian red on the go and the sunset over the castle to keep us distracted. On another visit, the staff clearly wanted to turn the table over as quickly as possible, whisking away plates as soon as forks were put down, but then leveled out to a better pace as we lingered over our wine.
Overall, however, it's a welcome treat of a place that will surely become a staple location for celebrating occasions and bringing visitors. It's already hard to get a table there, though, so make sure you book as far in advance as possible. You don't want to miss the boat.
Fiona Gaze can be reached at
Tags: restaurant review, food, Grosseto Marina, Fiona Gaze, pizza, food & drink, prague, prague restaurants, eating out in prague, czech, czech republic.