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Over at Prague.tv, Ted Gimalva writes that for his money, the best burger in Prague can be found at Jama.

I beg to differ. For me, the best burger in Prague can be found at Kojak’s in Vinohrady. It’s big, it’s messy, and they give you all kinds of options, including – and this is a deal-breaker for me when it comes to hamburgers – a choice of mustards. And their fries are just like I like ’em.

I’ve been going to Kojak’s since it opened, and it really is one of those places that doesn’t get enough respect. Its’ Mexican fare – inspired no doubt by Americanized Mexican food places like El Torito – is passable, with the fajitas being especially OK.

But the steaks are what to get at Kojak’s if you’re not into a burger. Big steaks.

And you can tell this post comes before lunch, no?

marhaba.jpg It’s been a while since my last restaurant review, and that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m not the man-about-town I used to be. But here’s one you may not be aware of.

My new neighborhood in Prague 6 is home to a number of good ethnic restaurants, including Haveli (South Asian), U Cedru (Lebanese) and Dong Do (Vietnamese).

But if it’s gyros you’re looking for, the place to go is the Marhaba Grill on Bubenečská, about 2/3 of a block down from the Hradčanska metro.

Marhaba’s gyros sandwiches don’t look like the kind you drunkenly order near the Narodní třida metro at 4am after a hard night out involving copious amounts of Fernet and arguments that inevitably end in “you don’t know ANYTHING about art.” Not that I would know ANYTHING about that, mind you.

Marhaba uses large, thin breads that resemble tortillas, and rolls them up into what look like burritos. I’m sure there is an Arabic word for these, and more educated readers are encouraged to use the comments section.

Even though the quality at Marhaba is great, there isn’t a seat to be had. It’s a strictly stand-up affair, which is good, because I’m usually a bit suspicious of eating places where you can’t stand and eat.

Good prices (45 Kč for a gyros sandwich) and friendly waitstaff round out the offer.

There was one other thing I wanted to mention: when I DJ, I use the name “Dougiegyro,” so you’d think I’d know a thing or two about gyros. In fact, it was a nickname I picked up back in college because I didn’t surf well. In fact, I flailed my arms around to keep balance. Gyroscopic balance. The name stuck, and I kept it even when I moved to Prague and Czechs pronounced it with a hard ‘g’, as in ‘gyros.’ Ach jo.

As Czechs travel further and further afield, the cuisines they bring back – and the stories behind them – are richer and more varied. Don Pedro, in the southern suburb of Praha 5 – Radotin, is an excellent example of both excellent cuisine and an interesting story.

The story goes something like this: After starting the Architects’ Club (Dutá hlava) on Betlemské náměstí in the Old Town, Don Pedro’s founder, Petr Novak, went to Chicago. There he met Sandra, a beautiful Colombian woman, who convinced him to come to see Colombia. A series of misadventures later, and Petr and Sandra were convinced they were made for each other.

They decided to move to Prague and open an authentic Colombian restaurant, with meals cooked by Sandra’s mother and served by his sisters-in-law.

The meals are excellent. Emphasis – like in Argentine cuisine – is on grilled steaks, but the difference is they’re done with such care and panache. A better steak is hard to come by in Kafkaville.

I had the Uruguayan Steak, a large slice of imported Uruguayan beef grilled and served with a cilantro-olive oil sauce, grilled peppers and onions and a baked potato. The beef, while a bit tougher than a typical svičková, was very flavorful.

For dessert I had the brownie con helado (homemade brownie with ice cream), followed by Cafe de Colombia.

Digression: Cafe de Colombia has as their spokesman Juan Valdez, right? And the commercials say that every bean is hand-picked by Juan Valdez, right? So what happens when Juan Valdez gets sick or has a bad hangover? Does the entire nation’s coffee output depend on one guy and his donkey? But I digress.

Don Pedro is a bit out of the way, but a worthwhile detour for an excellent Colombian steak.

Don Pedro, Na Výšince 2/8, Praha 5 – Radotín, tel. 257 811 308.

This is the first in a new category of posts dealing with restaurant reviews here in Kafkaville. Most of the restaurants have actually been around a while, but I’m putting them here anyway as a service to people just coming into town. If you want to send me your reviews, I’ll be happy to put ’em up.

Pizza Grosseto revolutionized Prague pizza. Before Grosseto, pizza was the province of bored Yugoslavs avoiding their war, and godawful Czech abominations involving ketchup instead of real pizza sauce. Grosseto was one of the first outfits to use a wood-fired stove, and their pizzas are some of the best I’ve ever had.

Personally, when I’m at Grosseto, I get their calzone, and order extra garlic and hot peppers to – in the words of Emeril Lagrasse – kick it up a notch.

The tomato soup must be tried. Thick, salty, garlicky and intense, it’s a perfect foil for their fresh-baked bread.

Grosseto has three locations: Dejvice, Vinohrady and Pruhonice. And while they don’t deliver, they take phone-in orders for take-out.