La Finestra opened in April 2009, the sister of another Prague Italian restaurant called Aromi, which opened in 2005. Both are owned by Rricardo Lucque, himself a chef who had cooked at Zafferano in 2001, and then worked at an establishment called "Square, a restaurant" in Prague from 2002 to 2005. He opened a third restaurant called Il Mercato in Brno in 2012. The head chef at La Finestra is Tomasz Cerny, who had previously cooked at The Four Seasons hotel in Prague.
There is a real emphasis on ingredient quality here, much of the produce imported from Italy, and sold at their delicatessen next door. The fish is delivered three times a week from the Adriatic, and they have meat from Italy, including Fassone beef. Bread is made at their delicatessen by an Italian gentleman called Mimmo from Altamura, and was palpably fresh. The dining room has a casual feel, with exposed brick walls and seats up to 50 diners, with a substantial wine cellar downstairs that can be used as a private room.
There was an extensive wine list with over 450 labels, mostly Italian, with fair mark-up levels, especially higher up the list. Examples were Piceno Fattoria San Lorenzo 2011 at CZK 795 (£24) for a wine that retails at CZK 240, Vintage Tunina 2011 at CZK 1,995 for a wine that you can find in the high street for CZK 1,158, and Antinori Tignanello 2010 at CZK 2,995 for a wine that will set you back CZK 2,077 in a shop. The young sommelier was helpful and enthusiastic
I started with tomatoes with buffalo Mozzarella (CZK 295). The tomatoes were from Campania, marinated with olive oil, garlic and anchovies, and had genuinely superb flavour. It is difficult to score something as simple as this, but it was a real surprise to find tomatoes of this quality (16/20). Papardelle with ragu (CZK 285) had good texture, the ragu having plenty of flavour and being accurately seasoned (15/20).
Chocolate fondant with white chocolate ice cream and passion fruit sauce (CZK 185) had a rich, liquid centre, though the dish would have been improved by more of the passion fruit sauce to cut through the richness of the chocolate (14/20). The bill was CZK 2685 (£81), but this was distorted by a half bottle of the Antinori Tignanello. If you came for dinner and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical bill would come to around £55 a head. There was a three course set lunch available at CZK 495.
Overall La Finestra was a pleasant surprise; I was not expecting such high quality produce, and the whole experience was very enjoyable, from the good bread through to the friendly staff and above all the superb tomatoes.