Hospoda U Beníšků
Hospoda U Beníšků is just around the corner from the chateau and the church of Sts Peter and Paul and has a reputation as being the best place in Mělník for traditional Czech food.
Long narrow building
The restaurant is in one of the old houses built on the original gothic plots of land so it has a narrow street frontage but extends a long way back from the street. Entrance is via their small outdoor seating area to the side, about halfway along the narrow building.
Inside, the bar is opposite the main doors, towards the street are 6 heavy wooden tables with enough space for about 35 people and towards the back is a long table for about another 10 people, and the entrances to the washrooms and kitchen. The outdoor seating area has space for another 15 or 20 diners.
Lost and found antiques
The walls are all painted a deep red and from them and the rafters hang a menagerie of old maps and historical pictures of Mělník, musical instruments, radios, typewriters, pots and pans, and ice skates. Even a couple of old bicycles and a pram swing from the rafters.
I ate there twice and both times was made to feel welcome immediately. I had the impression that the staff were also the owners of the business and therefore had a real interest in their customers’ experience.
Communists in the (water) closet
Perhaps this is what Lenin had in mind when he talked about of the means of production being in the hands of the workers. Speaking of old communists there are a couple of them out near the bathrooms; a statue of Gottwald, the first Czech Communist premier and a picture of Stalin at the height of this power between the wars.
I doubt the owners of U Beníšků are closet communists though. A well used Czech insult is to compare somebody you don’t like with a toilet, and my guess is that’s why the statues and pictures have been placed where they have; so that they can be with the other ‘hajzly’.
On the Sunday night, they were only serving smoked meat, so I chose the cutlet for 75Kč. The next day for lunch I had the fried cheese with chips also for 75Kč and was very happy with both meals. The goulash that came out to the next table filled a huge plate and smelt wonderful.
Old school meals on blackboard menus
You won’t find these meals listed on a menu though; the selection is just written up on blackboards each day. But ordering shouldn’t be too much a problem; the meals are fairly standard and by the time you make it to Mělník, the names of at least a few dishes will be familiar to you. If not, any phrasebook will have these meals listed and if even that fails, the staff speak German well and I’m sure would also know enough English to communicate the contents of their meals.
It’s a great place for typical Czech food and a good refuge from the bus-sized groups of tourists who are eating around the corner at U Rytíře or the Chateau restaurant.
Hospoda U Beníšků
Tel. (+420) 315 622883