Time For Pie

Two of Prague's best spots for the real deal pizza

Pizzeria Rugantino
Dušní 4, P1
Tel. 222 318 172
Open Mon – Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sun 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Long recognized as Prague’s best pizzeria, Rugantino knows the essence of the dish: good ingredients prepared simply. Take my longtime favorite, dubbed “Marathon,” consisting of sautéed spinach and rich, sweet clumps of ricotta cheese baked with mozzarella. It’s unstoppable, a perfect interweaving of subtle flavors. On a moderately busy evening, expect quicker service than you’re probably ready for, as the kitchen spins out notably thin, crispy pies with plenty of cheese and a range of delectable condiments – grilled zucchini, potato, parma ham, pesto sauce and bufala mozzarella – in record time.

Of note are the “special pizzas” added to Rugantino’s newest menu. I especially recommend the pie “Bella Italia.” This features a unique mixture of warm and cool toppings, akin to a good deli sandwich – lettuce, radicchio, fresh tomato and several particularly succulent green and black olives. At 180 Kč, these are the most expensive pies on the menu; indeed, among the most expensive in Prague, but worth the splurge.
With a combination of two-seaters and large, wooden tables, Rugantino is good for both groups and couples, with plenty of elbow room left over. The only disconcerting element is the wall décor, split between kitsch rustic paintings and badly rendered murals of scenes from Disney films. Bring the kids.

Coloseum Pizza
Vodičkova 32, P1
Tel. 224 235 611
Open daily 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

In my opinion, the greatest asset of Coloseum is its consistently delicious tomato sauce. In the American style of preparing pizza, the right sauce recipe means everything. In the best sauces, the rich taste of fresh tomatoes is evident along with a subdued tang of oregano. These sauces yield tasty pies that go down quickly – ideal for guzzling beer while watching TV. Though it rightly bills itself as an authentic Italian eatery, Coloseum is perhaps the closest Prague comes to approximating an ideal American-style pizza.
Follow the business lunch crowd down to Coloseum to sample its extensive array of fresh pizza toppings, another of its hallmarks. Unfortunately for vegetarians, the menu is rather heavy on meat, with few veggie dishes listed. Perhaps the best meatless option is to create your own toppings from the inexpensive (45 Kč) salad bar, featuring grilled eggplant and zucchini.
Recommended pies include “Alio i spinaci,” a plain cheese pie topped with spinach sautéed in garlic, and “Pizza rucola,” a simple marinara and cheese pizza topped with a pile of fresh arugula. The latter is an uncommon concoction, but the crisp nutty greens perfectly complement the rich base. A wider menu of salads, antipasti and good pasta dishes are also on offer.

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