This gourmet sandwich, pasta and salad spot offers a taste of the Mediterranean in the Old Town

Dinitz's specialty is sandwiches but banish any thoughts you might have of withered, pre-packaged baguettes.

The savory sensations at this Old Town café/restaurant are quite unlike anything currently available in Prague, offering a welcome taste of Mediterranean sunshine as the long, dark winter draws in.

Tucked away on one of the quiet, tourist-free streets between Old Town Square and the river, not far from the InterContinental hotel, this stylish spot is a perfect place to recharge or relax.

Versatility is the key at this Israeli-owned establishment, which offers breakfasts, lunches and light dinners, and whose two rooms can accommodate anything from a business luncheon to a party.

The place is perhaps best suited to lunch with friends, though, serving up a sumptuous array of gourmet sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes in a light, cheery environment.

Designed by architect Alexander Lesianskij, the décor's sunny blend of light earth tones and natural motifs provides a perfect backdrop to the Dinitz dining experience, enhanced by a hip, well-chosen selection of background tunes.

The menu itself brings together a Mediterranean-inspired and, by Prague standards, rather exotic range of ingredients.

These are often combined idiosyncratically, albeit to delicious effect.

Who but Israeli head chef Gilad Avital, for instance, would have guessed that lettuce, pears, raisins, Roquefort cheese, sweet peppers, pistachios, croutons, grilled bacon bites and maple vinaigrette would combine as magnificently as they do in the Rockford salad?

Another of Avital's secret weapons are his boiled eggs, a full five hours in the preparation, yet mysteriously tender and tasty.

These are an integral part of the must-eat Hummus dish, which is served with tahini, fried onions and one of the restaurant's light, tasty breads.

Offered in generous portions, this authentic-tasting treat alone makes Dinitz worth seeking out.

Struggling under the weight of food on offer, I decided to skip the fresh pasta dishes and headed straight to the sandwiches, tackling the Mediterranean, a flavorsome explosion of tahini, salad, onion, potatoes, parsley, eggplant and our old friend, the boiled egg.

Again, Avital's adventurous approach pays off splendidly, with a somewhat unlikely range of ingredients combining to glorious effect, aided and abetted by the excellent bread.

Finally, I just had room for a sinfully rich slice of the restaurant's cheesecake before returning, dazed but happy, to the harsh realities of autumnal Prague.

Price Range (October 2004)
Breakfasts: 70 - 165 Kč
Salads: 105 - 195 Kč
Sandwiches: 125 - 195 Kč
Pasta Dishes: 160 - 185 Kč
Desserts: 60 - 115 Kč

Bílkova 12, Prague 1
Phone: 222 313 308
Metro: Staroměstská (line A)
Tram: 17, 53 (stop: Právnická fakulta)
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