Tonino Lamborghini creates pasta heaven
Posted July 23, 2004
By TARLIKA NUNEZ
PRAGUE— I was told not to leave Prague before dining for lunch at this delightful café.
I went to Tonino Lamborghini for one reason: to taste the home-made pasta that my informant so enthusiastically said I must try.
After convincing my fellow foodies that I had a credible tip to some authentic Italian food, we hopped on the No. 9 tram and took it to Vodičkova.
And that’s where we found, up the hill and on our right, Prague’s version of pasta heaven.
We walked into an overwhelming aroma of fresh herbs, spices and the smell of fresh picked tomatoes circulating the room.
There are a lot of Italian places out there, but rarely do you come across one that takes a time-out for homemade pastas and refreshing, fresh squeezed juices.
The tea of the house (a blend of citrus juices and fresh brewed iced tea), is perfectly sweetened and highly recommended.
If you go right around lunch time, you might have difficulty finding a table at this restaurant, well-known for its quick ticket times and homemade lasagna with ingredients that change daily (broccoli and bacon lasagna was the special when I visited).
The menu at this small 15-table pasta cafe features a variety of Antipastas, fresh green salads, paninis, homemade pastas and freshly baked pies.
For starters, the bruschetta is excellent (120 k č, $4.60). The vine-ripe tomatoes, oregano and garlic that top the three Italian-loaf toasts, create a rich garden feel you are unlikely to forget.
Another starter you might find pleasing is the Antipasto misto (196 k č). This is an exotic blend of Italian sausage, dried ham, pancetta, gorgonzola, parmesan, artichokes, olives, dried tomatoes, and fresh green salad. It is delicious, filling and certainly large enough to take the place of a meal.
For main courses, there are more than one dozen different sauces to top your choice of home-made pasta: gnocchi, fusilli or spaghetti. I was pleasantly pleased with the spaghetti spinaci (135 k č).
Fresh spinach, red pepperoncinis, and a light tomato-parmesan sauce to the perfectly cooked pasta laced with grated fontina cheese. Though there could have been more spinach the dish left me begging for more … but don’t get me wrong it was a hefty portion of pasta.
Also recommended among pasta dishes is the AllaChecca (145 k č), with chunks of tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella, this dish places you at a side-walk café in Rome.
If you need some protein, don’t be afraid to ask, the waitress was more than happy to fulfill our request to add chicken for an extra 45 k č.
If you don’t feel like a plate of pasta for lunch, an assortment of paninis (100-150 kč) filled with everything from ham and cheese, to salmon and capers are offered. I can’t personally comment on these Italian sandwiches, but I can say I saw a fellow diner eating one beside me … and it looked delish.
The drink menu features a lengthy array of lattés, espressos, fresh squeezed juices, milkshakes, and of course, wine. The bar is limited, but has everything you need for an after dinner drink or a Sunday brunch cocktail.
If you need a pick-me-up after such a substantial meal, the espresso latté comes in an oversized coffee cup and is accompanied by a slightly warmed and petite chocolate chip cookie that melts in your mouth like any good cookie should
For dessert, we indulged in the tiramisu, four layers of sponge cake tiered with heaps of home-made whipped cream. It was simply okay; some would find it a little repetitive. But other specialty desserts include home-made pies, gelato, and cakes that looked so mouthwatering they appear to have fallen directly from heaven.
This airy inside café joined an open kitchen, creating a cafeteria-style atmosphere that left you gazing at the chefs while they created your delectable home-made pasta dish. Oversized wok-looking-pots held spaghetti sauces that you would expect to find only at Italian festival or wedding.
The service was timely and the café engaged a much more attentive staff than the average Prague restaurant. The wait staff spoke sufficient English to explain the menu and was willing to alter a set dish …which was helpful.
Overall, I highly recommend this to any pasta lover searching for an authentic Italian meal. For the price, the food was good and we didn’t have to sit at a white table cloth or get out-dressed by the waiter to enjoy a top notch Italian eatery.
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