Prague: Is Maze worth the hassle they're giving me?
My family and I (seven of us total, ranging from 27 to 67) will be visiting Prague in March. We would like to have dinner at Maze, so I contacted them regarding a reservation. No problem, however they are limiting our group to these choices: the 7-course tasting menu, or a limited a la carte menu -- three choices for each course (see below.) I have asked them why we can't select from the full menu and have been told that they don't allow that for large groups.
So, I am disappointed and peeved. I would love to eat there, but I don't like the idea of forking over a HUGE amount of money unless we're getting what we want. I also hate to reward a restaurant for what I think is very unaccommodating behavior. We have been to so many other restaurants of equal or higher quality as a group of seven and have never been asked to compromise like this. In fact, at most places (e.g., Taillevent) restaurants have practically bent over backwards to make our meal something we really looked forward to, as well as something we talked about long after our visit -- in terms of both the food itself and the service. Ultimately, I'm sure we would dine well at Maze (and we probably would have opted for the tasting menu anyway) but I guess I just don't like their attitude.
Should I just say the heck with Maze? If so, can anyone recommend a worthy substitute?
We'll be celebrating my dad's 68th birthday so we would like something special.
This is the "large parties selection" they offered us:
Sample A La Carte Selection Menu:
Jerusalem artichoke velouté with duck ragoût, cep brioche and cep butter 250 czk
Roasted quail with celeriac remoulade and Madeira sauce 400 czk
Lightly smoked salmon with oyster beignets, dill and mustard dressing 350 czk
Steamed daurade Royale with candied aubergine, bok choi and spicy tomato sauce 600 czk
Cornfed chicken with cabbage, carrots, leeks, confit leg and cep sauce 650 czk
Roasted rack of lamb with confit shoulder, garlic purée and sauce epice 700 czk
White chocolate and coconut panna cotta with mango and black olive caramel CZK 250
Carpaccio of pineapple with coconut sorbet and lime syrup CZK 250
Peanut butter and cherry jam sandwich with cherry sorbet CZK 250
It is a bit annoying as 7 is really not that big of a group. However, the menu they are offering you looks fabulous! I was in Prague a year ago and I see that Maze just opened last November. With a menu like this I definitely would try it if I were going to Prague again. We had a very expensive lunch at Flambee, which consisted of some great dishes and some poor ones. Also a dinner at Bellevue, which was not as expensive and was enjoyable but not exceptional. I have seen some posts on CH saying that Kampa Park was wonderful, but I did not get to try it.
We just left Prague and had the tasting menu at La Degustation - there are only 3 different tasting menus there, all at 3+ hours, but i loved the experience. And the food. They were doing some very fantastic things. They also let people substitute back and forth between tasting menus if there's a particular course they don't like, or don't wish to eat. The service was very accomodating, but in a more friendly way than other fine dining establishments. The server was very helpful, the manager overly accomodating, and the sommelier was a fount of information regarding Czech wines. They all happily recommended other restaurants and pubs they enjoyed around Prague as well. It did end up taking over 4 hours, but i would highly recommend them.
Also went to Allegro, and had impeccable service in a gorgeous room. Impeccable meaning perfect service from robotic servers...The food was mixed, especially since i found many dishes over-seasoned. Prices were more expensive than La Degustation as well. It was ok, but unless they fix the seasoning issue (it was a Sunday evening, so who knows), i'd hesitate to recommend it, even though many other posters do.
Tried to go to Bellevue, but they are closed until end of February for reno's.
I write an English language food and drink blog on Prague and recently reviewed a meal on maze by Gordon Ramsay at the Old Town Hilton.
Personally, my feeling is that the meal only half succeeded. Given the hype, we felt some disappointment.
Of the menu listed, we only had the artichoke veloute with duck ragout. We thought that was one of the best thing we tried. With the lobster salad, the lobster was perfectly poached, but the serving was shockingly small -- half a claw and chopped lobster meat the size of a 50p coin.
Didn't much like the famous pork belly -- chewy and stringy. Chocolate fondant was lovely but creme brulee was only average and basic.
I haven't been, but top foodie friends are recommending V Zatisi. La Degustation is supposed to fantastic, but if you get the recommended wine pairings, and everyone says you must it is double Ramsay's price -- around 4000 CZK a person.
I'm not sure if it is OK to post a link to my review here, but you can find a link to my blog in my profile.
Two restaurants in Prague my wife and I really liked in Prague were
Karoliny Svelte 21
Praha 1 Stare Mesto
Tele. 222 220 008
I had the best duck I've had in years there. It was seriously good. The freshness of the food reminded me of Chez Panisse.
Restaurace U Parlamentu
420 721 415 747
Had a great schnitzle, actually a chicken cutlet with creamed spinach.
This place sells Pilsener Urquell.
When I really need to be, I can be a bit on the devious side... '-) If you really have your heart set on the full menu, why not make sumultaneous reservations and split your group in two, being careful to choose different last names for the reservations? I'm assuming you know of something special on the full menu you want to try but are being denied.
La Degustation would be my recommendation. Impeccable service, accommodating, amazing food. You also get to try lots of Czech wines if you want, which, surprisingly, can be excellent. The other recommendations here are all top notch as well. Bellevue and V zatisi belong to the same group of restaurants and are both excellent, with great service, Kampa Park is also fantastic. I would be amazed if any of them had any problem with your group of seven making their choice after you arrive at the restaurant.