Restaurant reviews in short

Marina restaurant

Where: Lodenica, Vlčie hrdlo (Danube harbour), Tel: 0903-224 118, Open: Mon 11:00-22:00, Tue-Sun 11:00-23:00, English menu: No, Reservations: Yes, Rating: 6 out of 10

AN ALTERNATIVE to a Sunday lunch in sleepy, sweaty downtown Bratislava is driving out to the Danube harbour and enjoying the fresh breeze from the water. Most of the houseboat restaurants there offer fish specialities.

The menu at the Marina restaurant near the Slovnaft refinery is generous and includes not only freshwater fish but also salmon and more exotic delights, such as calamari and frog legs. Halászlé, the traditional Hungarian fish soup, however is quite disappointing because instead of spicy its taste is rather sour, a fault that could not be remedied by adding extra chili sauce.

The local fish - zubáč (zander) in a spicy wine sauce and sumec (sheatfish) with mushrooms and cheese topping are good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Marina spares a thought for non-fish eaters, offering them a selection of meat dishes (pork, chicken or beef) or a vegetarian alternative such as fried cheese, buchty (sweet dumplings) and halušky (gnocchi).

The most attractive part of dining at Marina is floating gently on the river while eating. After lunch you can either take a walk along the water, or rent bicycles and inline skates from a shop beside the restaurant for Sk60 per hour and a deposit of Sk1,500.

Voulez Vous

Where: Palisády 50, Tel: 02/5463-0157, Open: Mon-Sat 11:00 to 01:00, Sun 11:00 to 23:00, English Menu: No, Reservations: Yes, Rating: 8.5 out of 10

THIS French restaurant is not as French as the name suggests, and decidedly not Slovak in its approach to service.

Main courses are delicious, filling and tastefully presented, and diners are served by an entire crew of wait staff, rather than left to the hassled care of a single waiter. Best of all, you can pay with your bank card.

Installed in the former premises of the exclusive Mária Terézia restaurant near the presidential palace on Palisády Street, Voulez Vous initially offers visitors two flights of stairs - one up, one down - with nothing to indicate where the restaurant is. Once downstairs, you walk into a comfortable bar area with couch seating. The restaurant proper is through to the right, a bright, spotlit room with a black-and-white tiled floor. It's air-conditioned and non-smoking, with the kitchen through a push-door and a curious cook peering out every time new guests arrive.

The restaurant offers an extensive wine list ranging up to almost Sk10,000 for French champagne. The main courses include such meals as salmon in béchamel sauce and filet steak with a helmet of blue cheese, both outstanding. Simply, Voulez Vous is a culinary authenticity with a honest fare.

Zlatá Laň

Where: Laurinská 18, Tel: 0904 893 133, Open: Daily 10:00 to 01:00, kitchen open until 11:00, English Menu: No, Reservations: Yes, Rating: 6 out of 10

THE GOLDEN Hind (Zlatá Laň) restaurant on Laurinská Street in Bratislava's Old Town, with a Captain Hook statue at the entrance, bears the name that English captain Sir Francis Drake gave to the ship in which he circumnavigated the world from 1577 to 1580.

The Golden Hind (restaurant) strives mightily to serve food reminiscent of what Drake's crew might have eaten. The meals are some of the cheapest meals in town (many entrees under Sk100), and cold beer runs Sk30, all in one of the nation's highest-rent districts.

- Spectator staff

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