GamberoRosso: Healthy Italian cuisine to recharge an active lifestyle
New Italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown Prague
The name GamberoRosso comes from a classic Sicilian restaurant in the coastal village of Taormina where Michal and Oleg met several years ago while on vacation with their families. On return trips to the seaside, the casual family-style restaurant, known for its fresh seafood and homemade pasta dishes, became a highlight of their vacations. Four years later, when the pair decided to start a business together, they aimed to recreate in Prague the healthy, tasty cuisine and the friendly atmosphere they remembered from their vacation days in Sicily.
Since Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in Prague, they knew they wanted to offer their customers something unique. Balancing health and taste was especially important in their new venture, since both men recognize that staying fit requires a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Oleg is a professional in the martial art of sambo who eats a vegetarian diet, while Michal works out regularly in the gym and enjoys sharing healthy meals with his family.
Even GamberoRosso’s official logo encompasses the dual nature of the restaurant’s aim. The name “gambero rosso” in Italian means “red shrimp,” and the restaurant’s trademark is the curved body of a red shrimp. But, in a humorous touch, their second trademark is a shrimp’s tail that doubles as a red, well-muscled bicep. Their second logo is featured alongside the first on their website, printed on pizza boxes and beer coasters. It’s a way to remind customers that a healthy lifestyle means not only eating well but also exercising and vice versa.
Like their trademark, the concept of the restaurant goes beyond healthy eating to encompass a healthy mental attitude and well-balanced lifestyle habits. In addition to creating a calorie-conscious menu, Michal and Oleg added details to the interior of their restaurant to make the atmosphere welcoming and cozy for its customers, who range from young Czech professionals to families with children as well as tourists looking for a quality meal for a decent price in Prague’s downtown.
Inside the restaurant, three large-screen televisions can stream different sporting events at the same time for die-hard sports fans. During evening hours, red lighting transforms the restaurant into a bar and lounge perfect for a night out with friends. A room downstairs offers space for company and private events. Music hits from Taormina’s local radio station add authentic ambience. Oversize mirrors printed with motivational sayings (“Let food be the medicine and medicine be the food” – Hippocrates) provide literally “food for thought” when dining alone. And, as a final touch, a bright red pull up bar is mounted in the alcove – just in case a customer gets the urge to do a quick arm workout before dinner.
In keeping with its owners’ life philosophy, GamberoRosso’s menu includes original recipes with Italian-style elements as well as classic Italian favorites. The menu is changed seasonally and sourced locally as much as possible. Fish, meat and vegetables are often served grilled or steamed, not fried, and there is an emphasis on protein-based calories from legumes and other vegetarian sources. Salads are prepared on the spot from fresh ingredients, not premade in advance. A special fitness menu offers “recharging” choices with calories listed per meal. Daily lunch specials priced around 100 CZK include three choices, one of which is a healthy meal labeled as FIT! The other two choices include a pizza or a pasta special and another meat or vegetarian dish.
Even though GamberoRosso dishes up healthy options, the restaurant also caters to those who like to indulge. For example, a favorite among regulars is the “fish and chips” lunch special with homemade French fries and homemade mayonnaise. Their desserts include traditional Italian tiramisu and other healthy specialties made from ricotta and mascarpone cheeses.
For beer lovers, the restaurant serves a special microbrew from the Beznoska family brewery in Prague 9. GamberoRosso is the only place outside the brewery where Beznoska is served. Plans are even in the making for a special trademark GamberoRosso beer, which will be tinted red. As an added benefit for locals working or living within 1km of the restaurant, GamberoRosso offers “ take away on foot.” They don’t use a delivery service because they want their food to stay fresh.
With an average meal ticket of 300 CZK, GamberoRosso aims to be affordable cuisine for locals and tourists alike. It’s a place to go to relax, enjoy tasty food and not feel guilty the next morning. Although GamberoRosso is just over one year old, a successful first year of business has led Michal and Oleg to anticipate future affiliates, likely in neighborhoods where more locals live and work.
At the moment, they’re in the process of developing a new charcoal pizza crust made from black dough. “A small quantity of charcoal has recognized health benefits, plus it adds something interesting for people to try,” Michal says. Like its new pizza crust, GamberoRosso is a work in progress, evolving to meet the demands of its customers.
Michal says, “We are trying to put our own lifestyle into our business. We are helping people find what they want to find.”
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