While we were in Prague, we decided to check out one of the more famous, if not a bit gimmicky, restaurants there: Vytopna. Mark actually found out about it before we went to Prague so it was on our list of things to see. What’s their gimmick, you ask? Well….
Yes, the restaurant features a G-scale model train that stops at your table to drop off your drinks after you’ve ordered them. It doesn’t bring you your food though, that job is still handled by real wait staff. But it’s still pretty cool.
Vytopna is actually a small chain of restaurants, with four locations so far, including two in Brno, and two in Prague. Although the original Vytopna opened in Brno in 2009, we dined at the one at Václavské náměstí 56 (Palác Fénix) in Prague. Located close to the famous Wencelas Square in the shopping district, the restaurant is on the first floor (which actually means the second floor in North American terms. What we consider to be the first, or main floor is called floor 0 in most European countries. You get used to it once you’re there).
While we waited for our drinks, we took a look through the menu. The pork goulash shown on the menu cover equated to about $7 CDN. Not terrible for being in such a touristy area, where you pay a lot more for location. The menu is a mix of traditional Czech and Western dishes.
Mark opted for the deer leg sous-vide with farmer dumplings and a thick mushroom sauce. I wasn’t all that hungry for a full-on meal, so I went with their lemon panna cotta with forest fruit mix. Then we sat back to watch the train go around the room doing its thing.
If you spend a lot of time on YouTube you may have already seen video of the train going around the restaurant perimeter bringing patrons their drink orders. But we took a very brief video of it as well:
After a few minutes our own drinks arrived at our table by train.
What I don’t understand though, is how does it know when you’ve removed your drinks from the car? The weight perhaps? All I know is, as soon as we took our drinks, the train went on its merry way along the track. I’m not a big train fan, but I gotta say, this kind of made me want to have one at home. As long as it had a similar drink delivery system, of course!
They didn’t stop at just having a train though; the tracks were complimented by landscaping, bridges, tunnels and buildings all the way around the restaurant. They even added a castle or two for good measure:
With so much focus on the theme, we weren’t expecting much from the food to be honest. But Mark raved about his meal, saying it was one of the best he’d had on the trip. Meanwhile, my panna cotta was sweet but not sickeningly so, and it was light and flavourful as well. All in all, a very fine choice for lunch. We were expecting the place to be packed, but there were plenty of tables available, at least for lunch on a rainy May afternoon. Still, it might be much busier for supper so it’s best to come early if you want to check it out.
On our way out, we saw a fellow dressed as a train conductor as a walking ad for Vytopna. Usually I feel bad for people who have to dress up as mascots to advertise a store or restaurant. But he looked like he was having a good time. He had the greatest smile:
So definitely pay Vytopna a visit if you’re in Prague or Brno. It’s a bit kitschy but it makes for a fun, unique dining experience. www.vytopna.cz/