Friday, March 2, 2012

Simple Pleasures

A handy guide to the best daytime dining in the UNYP neighborhood

By Baia Dzagnidze

Lunch is an everyday struggle at UNYP. For many students, it means a 10-minute dash to a fast-food restaurant like KFC or McDonald’s, and quickly jamming some unhealthy food so you don’t faint in the classroom. And even for those who have time for a decent lunch, there are an overwhelming number of choices in the I.P. Pavlova area. How can you tell what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s worth the money?

To answer these questions, UNYPRESS will be running a regular restaurant review section this semester designed to help you find the best meals at the best prices.

Radost FX
Perfect atmosphere to read and enjoy the lunch
  • Type:Combination lounge, restaurant/café and club
  • Address: Belehradska 120 
  • Hours: 11 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. daily
  • Special Offers: Weekday specials for 120 Kč until 6 p.m.; American Brunch on weekends
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian; combination of Mexican, Italian, Greek, Thai and Indian
  • Price: Starters from 90 Kč; Meals from 130 – 205  Kč
  • UNYP Benefits Program Member: Yes 
  • Webpage: http://radostfx.cz/
Being the closest café near UNYP makes Radost the preferred choice of many students and staff members. Customers can sit in several different areas. The front room is nonsmoking, while smokers can light up in the back room.  

The atmosphere is quite cozy and relaxing. Pleasant background music gives you a chance to talk to the person you are having a lunch with without being distracted. The overall impression is quite good, especially the service; our waitress gave us space and at the same time was nearby if we needed to order something extra.

Radost offers a big variety of different cuisine, including sandwiches, pasta, salads and meals for two. During the week, the menu offers a daily special of soup, main course and salad for 120 Kč until 6 p.m., which is quite reasonable considering the amount of food you get on the plate. Ordering anything else from the daily menu can be a bit expensive for a student budget, but it’s worth every crown. Unfortunately, the meals don’t include freebie extras such as bread or condiments. 

Mushroom Risotto
Our visit started with a warm welcoming smile from the waitress behind the bar. After choosing a spot to sit, my friend and I were immediately given menus. Our order was taken and served quickly. My choice was a mushroom risotto from the weekly special menu, which consisted of sautéed vegetables and mushrooms, onion, olives and cheese, served with a side of salad. The entree was a bit dry, as it was completely covered by melted cheese. Fortunately, the salad had a generous amount of dressing, which balanced the dryness of the risotto. Otherwise, the meal was well-presented and properly cooked, with a decent amount of blended spices, such as salt and pepper. 

Although we visited Radost during a three-hour break and planned a presentation over our meal, I would totally recommend it as a quick lunch spot, because the service was excellent and fast – we did not wait long to get our drinks or meal. More importantly, with several rooms, it’s easy to get a table at Radost.

So many choices
  • Type: Bakery
  • Address: Jugoslávská 17/6 
  • Hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
  • Special Offers: Sandwich of the month; Menu of the month; Salad, sandwich and soup menus
  • Cuisine: French 
  • Price: Sandwiches from 75 – 109 Kč; Salads from 89 – 119 Kč; Pastry from 24 Kč; Slices of cake from 45 Kč 
  • UNYP Benefits Program Member: No 
  • Webpage: http://www.paul-international.com/cz/accueil
The newly opened French bakery PAUL, located right at the tram stop I.P Pavlova, is a great place for a quick lunch. You can grab a healthy snack during a 10-minute break and enjoy the meal. It also has plenty of table space for those who want to sit and enjoy lunch without any rush.

More importantly, sandwiches and salads are fresh compared to those in our vending machines. Additionally, pastry is baked on-site, so it’s fresh and crisp.  Also, PAUL offers three breakfast menus: Espresso coffee or tea with a croissant or chocolate roll for 49 Kč; Espresso/tea and ½ baguette with butter and jam for 59 Kč; Espresso/tea with a ham and cheese croissant for 69 Kč. 

For lunch, the bakery offers a choice of three menus, with a soft drink included in the price: Soup for 79 Kč; Sandwich for 109 Kč; Salad of the day for 115 Kč. During March, Paul is offering a breakfast special of a doughnut with tea/espresso, and a lunch special of a chicken sandwich with Dijon mustard. 

Ham, tuna, chicken, salmon and other types of sandwiches are offered on various types of bread (plain baguette, croissant, baguette with sesame seeds). I tried several different kinds during short breaks, and they were all quite good. The only exception was the baguette with prosciutto, which definitely needed some kind of sauce to make it more moist and soft. 

PAUL's eating area
Service is average. Most of the time you need to wait in line, and even though there are several people working behind the counter, orders move slowly. However, when you finally make it to the cashier, the person warmly welcomes you and takes your order with a smile. 

PAUL is definitely a good spot for a quick but healthy breakfast or lunch, with prices that fit a student budget.

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