Zlata Praha - 28-48 31st Street, Astoria, NY 11102
N/W Train to 30th Avenue
Zlata Praha is one of my favorite restaurants in Astoria because it serves Czech and Slovak cuisine--the food that I was raised on. My family and I go there on occasion, and this weekend we met there for a casual lunch. It was very filling and as delicious as always. Although it's not as good as Koliba, Zlata Praha definitely holds its own.
To my family and me, the atmosphere at Zlata Praha is nostalgic and endearing. Pictures of Czech and Slovak folk art deck the walls and there's even an oversized portrait of famous Czech singer, Karel Gott. They used to play Czech and Slovak music but this changed, as we were surprised to hear American classic rock and oldies. There's a front of the house bar, at which you could sit for a casual meal and a frothy beer, as well as a spacious dining room for a more formal sit-down. They even host larger parties, and you could shut this place down if you're throwing a big shindig.
The style of food here is typical Eastern European--lots of sauces, meat and dumplings. I absolutely love this type of cuisine, but be aware that a regular portion can make you extremely full. Since we ate here on a Saturday, we couldn't take advantage of their $6.95 lunch special but the value was still great. Here's what we devoured:
Beef Soup - Since it was cold outside, I was looking forward to a warm, hearty soup. I wasn't impressed with Zlata's version--it was too thin and did not seem homemade. The worst part about it was that the peas were half raw and there was no sign of beef anywhere in this s0- called "beef soup."
Szegedin Goulash - Mmmm...this is one of my favorite dishes from my culture but it happens to originate from Hungary. The portion was huge and my plate was packed with tender pork goulash, sauerkraut and soft knedlik or dumplings. The whole thing worked well together and it was lovely to dip the plump pieces of knedlik into the meaty goulash. There was a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top, which gave the whole concoction freshness.
Other Dishes - My brother Peter and his girlfriend Fiana both ordered the beef roast with mushroom sauce. They enjoyed it and the portion was generous, paired with a side of knedlik. I didn't try it, but like my dish, it looked rich and filling.
My mom ordered the chicken paprikash, which looked like the biggest portion yet. The chicken came smothered in a red paprika and sour cream sauce and it was served whole instead of a cubed version, which my mom usually prepares.
Dessert was also had but I had to skip it. My family ordered two fruit crepes, which were as delicate as tissue paper and topped with whipped cream and fresh chocolate sauce. I heard no complaints and even though I didn't have them this time, I've tried them before and they're yummy. I think that they're a lot lighter than the crepes in Greek restaurants.
Service and Cost:
There's one lonely waiter in the entire place, which is unfair. For this reason, we found the service inconsistent and slow. We sat in the restaurant for about three hours, which didn't bother us, as we were looking forward to spending time together. However, if we had other plans, we'd be furious.
Zlata Praha offers great value. Appetizers range between $3.95 -$6.95 and entrees are in the $10 - $15 neighborhood--and as I've described, they're huge! We also had a coupon from restaurant.com, which saved us about $25 off of our entire check. Check it out here.