The Four Seasons never fails to impress, and the stunning river-side rendition in Prague sets a new high standard for the luxury hotel sector. The venue, marked by an iconic Bohemian exterior, stands poised by the Vltava river in the heart of Prague’s old town centre.
Named Cotto Crudo, Prague’s most iconic restaurant offers a new interpretation of Italian classics. Its title means “cooked and raw” and introduces a new dining and lounge concept to Prague.
The menu features classical Italian dishes with a modern twist, made at a central culinary station with prime Italian delicacies (excellent theatrical viewing), a crudo bar (raw bar), variable seating options both inside and outside, and a unique design showcases the latest in dining trends.
The idea is that one can choose items from the crudo bar (raw) or from the extensive cotto menu (cooked), or simply enjoy some light snacks with a drink. Both informal yet elegant, it caters to romantic evening dinners, informal lunches, and all day dining. Boasting a wine list of over 300 labels, 26 wines are available by the carafe and the cocktail list is extensive.
We were recommended the iconic Seabass baked in the salt crust – a favourite dish of mine that I used to enjoy frequently whilst living in Spain. As expected, after the excellent food we had already had, the presentation was exceptional and refined. It was a slightly more sophisticated rendition here with roasted baby calamari in a luscious green pea and mint sauce. Very summery, light, fresh and moreish. Surprisingly it wasn’t too much after all of the other courses that we had had, keeping the portions reasonable yet enough to be pleasantly full.
We enjoyed this seabass in all its zesty freshness and summer-time flavours with an equally herbaceous wine, a New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – which was a lovely complement to this grand finale of the main meal. We had Petit Clos by Clos Henri, 2014.
For dessert, we enjoyed two highly recommended dishes – the Amedei chocolate Lingotto and Bronte pistachio – which was exceptional. Dark, thick, almost ganache like chocolate with a pistachio luscious cream on the inside. The ice cream was cold and fresh, rendering the chocolate moreish as it cleansed the palate.
We arrived on a Saturday evening at 6.30pm for our pre-dinner aperitif at the beautiful bar to be greeted by the head supervisor Peter.
Inside is a clean, open kitchen with a view to the Chef’s, for those that want a performative dining experience. The high quality ingredients presented beautifully behind the chefs, in an atmospheric, dark room cloaked in elegant lighting and art.
The day, however, was hot and the sun was still high, thus we requested to sit outside. He took us to our table on their adjoined breath-taking terrace, and offered a view of the river – where rows of swans gracefully glided along, bathed in the sunset glow – and the Prague castle, high with its fairy-tale spires set against the backdrop of the summer sunset eve. It was magnificent – a destination fit for a proposal. My guest and I felt comforted and relaxed by the view, as Peter brought us out two glasses of champagne to start the evening.
As the menu arrived for us to peruse, Peter brought out two complimentary amuse bouches – a delicious seared tuna dish, light and crispy yet tender and sumptuous, made to perfection, with a floral salad, that worked well with the light acidity of the champagne.
The menu is extensive, and marked by raw food – noting the raw and cooked concept.
For the wine, whilst the wine list is extensive – and surprisingly affordable (I noted numerous bottles of wine, including well known Chateaus and Burgundy estates, for circa 30 euros per bottle extremely accessible for a Michelin star venue) we decided to follow the sommelier, Igor, and his recommendations for each course that we ordered. He was sufficiently explanatory in his choices without enforcing too much, rendering the experience both edifying and enjoyable. His enthusiasm and generosity ensured that we enjoyed our choices as much as we enjoyed our food.
The concept is brilliant for sharing- something I am a huge fan of. The first part of the menu showcases various premium tapas items, from cheeses like Quadro di Bufala (Bufallo mozzarella), and Tronchetto di Capra (Goats cheese), to different hand sliced prosciutti.
There are many tapas dishes to choose from – and the idea is that you pick and choose your own starter board of sharing tapas to enjoy. The starters come with two baskets of freshly baked bread – there are the typical Italian breadsticks, light, crispy, and salted – and a selection of focaccia (with olives and sundried tomatoes – delicious, melt-in-your-mouth olive-oil goodness), seasoned flatbreads, and crusty wholemeal breads.
Then there are the Crudo – the raw food selection. The concept is similar to sushi but incorporates carpaccios and meats, offering another light tasting course that can be shared. We followed the recommendation of Peter, and went for the highly acclaimed Tuna spaghetti marinated with orange emulsion – a ponzu style sauce – and the Scallops with artichoke salad, umeboshi and vanilla mayo.
Both were stunning – I personally preferred the scallops, which were delicate – small mouthfuls of tender scallop with an essence of vanilla in an oriental nuance. My guest preferred the tuna, which came as raw, semi-seared tuna ‘spaghetti’ curls in a bowl with a similarly oriental emulsion. Very clean, simple flavours that are incredibly moreish yet not overwhelmingly rich. The rest of the Crudo looked delicious too – I was aching to try the oysters, but with such an extensive menu to work through, we saved our appetites for the second and third starters – before delving for the mains.
The second starter we had to try – I was adamant – was the famed Burrata. I love burrata, and I always judge a restaurant by how good their burrata is. So far, until Cotto Crudo, I thought I had tried the best – in Dubai – at a famous restaurant known for its Burrata dish. I can truly say that the Burrata at Cotto Crudo however, out-performed the former. The Burrata at Cotto Crudo was significantly more creamy yet light, more finely salted, and with a lovely melt-in-your-mouth texture. It was brilliant – to the extent that I would next time order two between two, as sharing one left us wanting more. My guest was equally delighted. For the second starter, the menu offers an Antipasti selection that boasts dishes, reminiscent of traditional Italian fare, like Roasted octopus with buffalo mozzarella, as well as Beef tartar and and Goat cheese praline.
I was tempted to go for the Roasted octopus which was highly recommended, but with a further Pasta and Risi (pasta and rice) course ahead, we decided to save our appetites for the chef’s recommendation of ordering Spaghettoni “Benedetto Cavalieri” with oven baked tomato sauce, basil pesto ricotta and lemon zest and the Cavatelli pasta di grano arso, ‘cacio e pepe’ with calamari, artichokes and Umbria lentil sauce. I tend to avoid ordering pasta in restaurants as I find it quite basic and easy to replicate, but these pasta dishes were no simple fare. The Spaghettoni were delicious – thick, al dente spaghetti – almost like udon noodles in thickness but with a thickness and slight crunch to them that made them very clean to eat. The sauce was delicious and creamy, yet rendered light by the lemon zest and herbaceous basil.
Exceptional – and easily would have ordered a whole portion of this for myself. The Cavatelli pasta was black, pasta shapes served in a delightful pot (immaculate presentation, as always) with tiny calamari and a thick lentil sauce at the bottom. My guest proclaimed this to be her favourite dish – and it really was fantastic. The flavour combinations seemed tremendously complex and well matched, rendering these pasta dishes much more sophisticated than what I would have expected from a pasta course. I was impressed, and would be keen to try the other options on the menu.
For the wine – with the Crudo courses – Igor brought us a stunning Chablis, Domaine William Fevre, 2014, that was well balanced in its minerality, acidity and fruit.
With the pasta, Igor suggested a more robust wine, a lightly oaked, buttery chardonnay. We had the Cordero di Montezmolo Langhe Chardonnay Elioro 2014 – which was perfectly acidic to cut through the creaminess of the pasta dishes, yet could stand up to their strong, respective seafood and tomato flavours.
I had the typical Prague strudel – the Variation of pear with strudel, Ivory chocolate cream and pear sorbert – a childhood favourite of mine – made to Michelin star standards with beautiful presentation, hot, crisp, buttery yet feather-light pastry, oozing with golden apples and complemented by swathes of thick cream and a cold, luscious vanilla ice cream to contrast and enhance. Delightful.
We enjoyed our desserts with two glasses of their iconic dessert wine – the only one on the menu since it harmonises well with all the dessert dishes, whether from the vast array of fine cheeses or sweets – the Batasiolo Moscato d’Asti.
We finished the evening – 3 hours later – feeling pleasantly full, satisfied, merry and happy. The staff were wonderful, offering a bespoke service marked by kindness and attentiveness, good humour and generosity. We felt appreciated and welcomed, whilst able to ask questions about the menu where we felt curiosity, yet free to indulge in our own company and meal as we wished.
I will, of course, be returning. I know now, my future venue of choice for Prague. I am pleased to say, that the Four Seasons Hotel continues to impress in all corners of the world. Thank you, Cotto Crudo, for a brilliant evening.
110 00 Praha-Staré Město