Proclaiming to be the only authentic Romani restaurant in Prague, Ambix Gypsy Club and Restaurant provides an opportunity to delve into the gastronomy of a culture that is often a mystery to many.
The restaurant features an array of classic dishes such as halusky, marikl’l, and pierogy. With so many options to choose from, I turned to the server, who recommended the pierogy, a mashed potato dumpling dish, and the halusky, which are fried dough balls served with smoked meat, sauerkraut, fried onions, and pork greaves. These dishes paired perfectly with the classic oven-roasted flatbread, dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
An Ambix employee, Eva Chmelova, provided a glimpse into the history of the food and culture of the Roma community. She explained that, while they don’t have a large variety of food, they have abundant quantities.
“From nothing, we make a lot… It’s all about what life makes for us,” said Chmelova.
This is evident in the variety of dishes and flavors that emerge, despite the recurring presence of staples like potatoes and pork. The food highlights the community’s resilience and adaptability in crafting flavorful and satisfying meals from the limited resources.
This perspective sheds light on the profound connection between the Roma people, their history, and the culinary traditions that have evolved through centuries of discrimination they have faced. The Roma community has faced many stereotypes and a difficult history in the Czech Republic.
Despite an increase of Roma people living in areas such as Žižkov, Karlín, and Smíchov, according to iDnes.cz, the number of Romanies residing in Prague has halved in recent decades. Despite this, a large Roma population still lives in Prague, which is not represented by the amount of Romani cuisine available, making Ambix a unique opportunity to learn and try something new.
“We are described in books and stories by Czech people as dirty, thieves, and that we do not do anything, but that’s not true,” said Chmelova.
According to Tripadvisor, Ambix is not only worthy of a 5-star rating, but many reviews mentioned the restaurant as a wonderful opportunity to experience Romani culture—not only with food but with music as well. Even if you’re just a foodie, this place is still a must.
“I know my way around a potato, and I would say these are elite,” said AAU student Ethan Fite, an Idahoan, after trying the pierogy.
Beyond the culinary delights, Ambix Gypsy Club and Restaurant contributes to reshaping perceptions about the Roma community, challenging stereotypes ingrained in the broader Czech narrative.