The Prague restaurant Eska has been included in Michelin’s Main Cities of Europe Guide for 2017. The restaurant, located in the busy district of Karlín, received the Bib Gourmand award for places with “exceptional good food at moderate prices”. There are currently seven restaurants in the capital that boast a “Bib”, while three others have retained their one-star Michelin ranking. I asked food critic Petra Pospěchová what she thinks earned Eska the prestigious spot on the Bib Gourmand list:
“Eska belongs to the Ambiente [restaurant chain] family, so they have had a really good background from the very beginning. They launched a very ambitious project, partly a restaurant inspired by Scandinavian cuisine nouvelle, and a bakery and sophisticated fast food on the ground floor.
“But they are also part of the Czech tradition, which is for example fermentation. They are not fermenting only food but also drinks, and they are really delicious, I must say.
“At the beginning they were not really able to fulfil their ambitions – their products were rather expensive and their quality unstable. But after being on the market for more than a year, they finally settled down and they are definitely an interesting venue to visit.”
So do you think it was a well-deserved win for Eska?
“I believe Eska is a good candidate for Bib Gourmand but I suppose there are many other places in Prague which deserve it as well. At the moment we have seven Bibs and I believe that if the criterion is a good price for good quality, a few more places should be included on the list.”
What effect do you think the Bib will have for Eska?
“Bib and Michelin have always a similar effect – it opens the place more to the foreign public. People who come to Prague might use the Michelin guide, but I think it has been on the decline, because people are using online applications, such as TripAdvisor. The Michelin stars were established in 1926 and the Bib Gourmet Award in 1955, so I am not quite sure if they are completely up-to-date.”
“If we compare it to Paris or London, it’s really poor, because there are really many more not just one-star but also two- or three-star restaurants. But if we see it the central European context, we are on a good path to reach the top.
“Compared to Western cities, we still have a long way to go. But I am afraid it is not so much a problem of Prague itself and local restaurants but it’s really the prejudice of the Michelin inspectors, who either cannot appreciate local traditions or they just think local establishments cannot be as good as Parisian or London ones.”