Food & Drink
New restaurant MeatEater knows what carnivores love
At the time of this interview, the employees of MeatEater Steak & Wine were busy getting ready for opening. The staff were still in the process of training. The menu was being fine-tuned. The restaurant’s last final touches were being installed.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day is the motto,” says David Cerny, the man working behind the scenes. He had been spending 12-hour days at the new restaurant making sure every detail is just right.
MeatEater is hoping to become a capital for Prague’s carnivores. Located in Old Town, this small but elegant establishment serves high-quality meat and wine to patrons looking for a fine dining, meat-filled experience. The concept comes from the mind of European barbecue master and food expert Daniele Govoni.
“Our customers’ experience needs to be unique,” Govoni says. “We study the temperature and timing to be sure that every client will have a new sensation with each bite.”
Govoni is internationally known for his barbecue skills. In October he participated in the Steak Cookoff Word Championship in Texas, and has earned the title of Grand Champion for the Czech Republic in 2015 and Reserve Grand Champion in 2019. He has also served as a judge for the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
Although Govoni comes from a family with a long cooking tradition, he actually started his career as an architect. Originally from Bologna, the Italian journeyed to the Czech Republic years ago and decided to pursue his passion for barbecue instead. He taught himself to grill and eventually his talents were noticed.
The idea for a place like MeatEater first came to Govoni more than two years ago. Located on the narrow Vejvodova street, the steakhouse is a quiet spot just around the corner from the bustle of Old Town. Thanks to Govoni’s connections, they are able to provide some of the finest and rarest meats you can find in the Czech Republic.
While they do serve one vegetarian dish, the focus is of course on the beef. And the choice is excellent. They offer cuts of a variety of breeds and even have wagyu from the United States, Australia, and Japan. Their wine selection is also top-notch with mostly red Italian wines, perfect to pair with a juicy steak.
Govoni employs two chefs with previous experience in Michelin restaurants to carry out the menu. Using ceramic grills, the steaks are cooked to pink perfection as they don’t allow for overcooking. Each steak also comes with a small dollop of mashed potatoes.
If patrons decide to forgo a steak, the menu features a good selection of starters and a few non-steak entrees. You can try their buttery foie gras with pistachios and apples. Their beef tartare shouldn’t be missed with hand-cut, not ground, meat from the Italian Marchigiana breed. The MeatEater pie with beef ragu, demi-glace and vegetables was also a standout.
Govoni, Cerny, the chefs and everyone else work extremely efficiently despite the restaurant’s small size. At about 70 square meters, including the kitchen, every nook and cranny is utilized without making the space feel cramped. A window into the kitchen allows diners to get a glimpse of the culinary artistry while still enjoying a calm, intimate meal.
Although located in the tourist quarter, Govoni would like to build a good following among locals. The dining room sits 22 people total, and so reservations are recommended and can only be made up to 14 hours in advance. This will help make sure that ex-pats and Czechs who live in Prague still get the opportunity to eat there.
MeatEater has the potential to become a destination steakhouse for Prague’s vibrant food scene, and Govoni’s ambitions don’t stop there. After they get the Czech location running smoothly, he plans to open several restaurants in several major European cities, including Monte Carlo, London and Brussels.
Until then, Govoni and the crew are focusing on giving the meat lovers of Prague something tender and delicious to sink their teeth into. Looking back on the opening of MeatEater, he feels like he’s leaving a dream. “At night I think about every moment of seeing the dream come true.”
Reservations: +420 220 513 133
Vejvodova 8, Prague 1