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La Degustation in Prague- so many bad reviews on tripadvisor, whats up with that??

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I know tripadvisor is not the arbiter of taste that chowhound is!! But I am still surprised...
Kukubura, have you seen it?

Im not changing the reservations I made for my trip, but I just think it's strange...

Anyone else notice this?

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  1. Please do let us know how your visit is, I'm planning a visit early in the new year.

    3 Replies
    1. re: vanderb

      You'll be there before me then. Our honeymoon is in mid-late January.
      Could you report back?

      1. re: eviemichael

        Can do

        1. re: vanderb

          Thanks! :)

    2. We were at Le Degustation in September of this year and enjoyed it very much...It was the best of those we tried in Prague.

      1. I haven't seen those reviews but will read them. Don't know what to say though. Anyone can go into any restaurant with a chip on their shoulder and say "meh, whatever." We loved the whole experience but we also went in with wide open minds and total enthusiasm. And we were rewarded with a meal that we talked about incessantly for a long time after. Definitely let us know what you think.

        EDIT: Having checked it out, the number of negative reviews is what one would expect, percentage-wise:
        http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

        130 very good-excellent, 11 poor or terrible.

        EDIT 2: It IS very expensive. If you're going to beat yourself up over the money, knowing how expensive it is going in, then maybe you won't enjoy yourself as much. I couldn't afford to eat like that more than once a year, if that. Hell, we just had 4 days in New Orleans and ate at some of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, and the whole trip food-wise might have cost less than our meal at La Degustation. But it is what it is!

        5 Replies
        1. re: kukubura

          Yes it's true that the good reviews outweigh the bad, but it seemed strange that there were so many bad reviews lately all at once.

          Vanderb, can you share your experiences? :)

          1. re: eviemichael

            My reservation is for this Friday the 13th, I'll report back when I'm home on the 17th.

            1. re: vanderb

              Ok thanks! Sorry I got the impression your reservation was soon after new years.

            2. re: eviemichael

              I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist but isn't it odd how almost every language seems represented in the few negative reviews? English, German, Spanish, French... Weird...

              Every place has people who didn't like it. Every place.

              1. re: kukubura

                So true- on both points.

          2. Dinner last night at La Degustation...

            Wonderful dinner in all respects, the bad reviews on TripAdvisor are from people who lack tastebuds, noses and eyes from my experience. We had the Chef's degustation menu; because we live in CZ we didn't opt for the modern Czech menu and instead wanted a more international experience. We also added on the wine pairings which I really can't recommend enough. The sommeiller pays very close attention to the menu, the flavours, the fat content and seasoning of the dishes and comes up with some excellent wines.

            The menu was six courses with 7 amuse bouche, the first 4 amuse were served before the first course: starting with a very small tear drop of raspberry chocolate with pepper, then a beef cracker with mustard and micro greens, a pork crackling chip with black current dust and a finally beef tartare cookie. The first course was a cooked oyster with enoki mushrooms, tapioca pearls, and horseradish sauce, followed by lobster soup with orange pumpkin, lemon corn flakes and cuttlefish ink. The next course was split into two options, we each had one of the options: foie gras parfait, caramel, pistachio, white chocolate and tokaj wine jelly or beluga caviar, egg, white cabbage essence and lettuce. This was followed by another amuse of soda water infused with orange and sourdough bread. The next two courses were a duck in orange sauce with shaved broccoli, jerusalem artichoke and ginger followed by quickly seared waygu beef with (tons of) black truffle, perigourdine sauce and salsify. Another amuse came our way, a baby potato split and hollowed out, filled with a small amount of sour cream and two types of caviar (beluga and trout). Cheese followed, reblochon de savoie in honey milk. A sweet amuse came next but we didn't determine exactly what it was except it had ginger ice cream. Desert was a very small not too sweet cheesecake with stewed pears, earl grey tea and almond cookie.

            All of the amuse were excellent no disappointments, neither were there any on the menu but the real standouts were the foie gras parfait because it was such a terribly different group of ingredients that came together so beautifully and not too sweet. The waygu beef also stood out because it was so perfectly cooked and the truffles really took the dish to the next level. I couldn’t not mention the cheese course, I’ve never had a liquid cheese dish such as this… fully and completely cheesey but yet the consistency of warm milk. In addition the wine pairing for the duck course was a real standout. When we first received this wine it was exceptionally floral but the taste on the palate was very alcohol heavy and I wasn’t enamoured with it… until the duck arrived and the two were so well paired it’s hard to describe. I hope you get such a well thought out pairing on your visit.

            My interpretation of the overall experience was extremely positive. The service was excellent, the course descriptions good the wine pairings outstanding and the view into the kitchen (from our table) entertaining. Is this the most romantic room, no, it is quite functional but I believe this is the right setting for a Czech high end meal given the history of "functionalist" design that exists here. This is no Anna Sacher in Vienna with the beautiful art and period design, but the meal was equally distinguished to the one we had there last summer.

            Lastly the cost, it's not cheap but for what you are getting it's also not expensive. A meal such as this in Paris, Vienna or Rome would run you a lot more money. As you are planning for a very special occasion I don't think you will go wrong here or be at all disappointed.

            I hope you do have a great meal and will report back as well.

            7 Replies
            1. re: vanderb

              Terrific write-up. And glad you enjoyed it! We still talk about it even though it was nearing a year ago. That parsnip puree...

              1. re: vanderb

                Thank you so much for the detailed review! I am so looking forward to our night there and I will definitely report back!

                Glad you had a memorable time. :) I can't decide which menu to choose- the international or the czech...maybe we'll get one of each and share.

                1. re: eviemichael

                  Most people around us were getting the Czech inspired menu, I think mostly because they were foreigners and wanted Czech food. You can't go wrong getting one of each menu but if you want to share you should note the plates are quite small (not unpleasantly so) and you will potentially miss out on the full measure of the dishes if you pass them back and forth.

                  Personally I'd suggest the Czech menu if you aren't too familiar with Czech food as the tastes and flavours will be a new experience, where as the international menu has more familiar flavours. But that's my two bits for what they are worth.

                  And don't forget for your other nights in Prague to go across the street from La Degustation and hit Lokal for some serious good down home Czech cooking (had the 1/4 duck with cabbage last night). They pull some of the best Pilsner pings in town as well. If you want a guaranteed table make sure you reserve or show up early (5pm) to stake a claim. Also make sure you specify non-smoking, if that's what you want, when you reserve as the smoking side is very smokey.

                  Enjoy

                  1. re: vanderb

                    We definitely intend on going to Lokal. Ive heard such great things. And I'm all about the Pilsner! :)

                    I'm familiar with Czech cuisine because I've spent a lot of time in Prague. I'll just look at the 2 menus and choose the one that seems most appealing...

                    Thanks again so much for the tips and for sharing your experience!

                    1. re: eviemichael

                      Don't forget to report back on your trip!!

                      1. re: kukubura

                        Wow, you are doing what Parigi in Paris does, keeping posters on their toes to report back. Just did on N.O. As you may recall Degustation is on my top list anywhere and one of the most exciting meals l have had in last 10 years. The wine pairing with the Czech menu is a must.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          lol! I'm in between trips so I'm craving vicarious reports! Wait till we get back from Mexico City in April. I'll have a lot to say!

              2. Bad reviews must have been written by people with no taste or impossible expectations. The restaurant is spectacular, the dishes original (you will not find a fine dining menu of Czech, as oposed to international cuisine, anywhere else except maybe at La Degustation's sister restaurant in New York) and the wine pairings sublime.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Asomaniac

                  No to criticise Degustation in any way - but that's a statement I have to challenge.
                  I had great fine dining , with choice of traditional or modern Czech dishes - all paired with Czech wines at V Zatisi.

                  My experience was a couple of years back - but a friend was at both in December and preferred V Zatisi.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    We thought V Zatisi was just "okay." It paled next to La Degustation, in our opinion.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      You are right - V Zatisi and its sister restaurant Bellevue have some good Czech wine but I don't think the pairings are anything as good as at La Degustation. For starters, they use a much smaller pool of wineries - Milan Sukal, Michal Robek and Sonberk account for the majority of by the glass wines they serve. They are very fine wineries, but the pairings are quite predictable if you know those three wineries well. In contrast, La Degustation simply pair the food with what they think is best. They use wines from all good Czech wineries. And their sommelier (very famous in the czech Republic actually) is excellent, much betetr than at V Zatisi. (Having said that, I do like V Zatisi very much.)

                      1. re: Asomaniac

                        V Zatisi have Sonberk as well :-)

                        1. re: Asomaniac

                          There are many people who are scared by eating 12 small dishes. They want familiar tastes and / or a big plate of food. This is what Zatisi offers - more filling, less playfull, less sophisticated.

                          Zatisi used to be my favorite for Czech food, but they do not innovate and their service is getting worse. I'm so happy that you guys enjoy the culinary delights that Prague now finally has :-)

                          1. re: sasicka

                            I went to V Zatisu last night and they were featuring an indian degustation menu. I opted for the Indian sampler of appetizers and my husband got the foie, which was gamey and paired with a sweet dessert wine at the beginning of the meal. I had the crispy duck for my entree (dry and not crispy) and also tried some of my husband's lamb. Both dishes were just OK but thought the wine pairings were pretty good. Dessert was straight disappointing. Portions were very large and service was extremely spotty. Felt like a 2nd Avenue restaurant in NYC (new yorkers will know what I mean).

                            I'm headed to La Degustation tonight... Will report back.

                    2. OK...after reading all the hype on La Degustation...I can't help but be curious. What makes the meal so excellent? Ingredients? Prep? freshness? presentation? etc.... I'm heading to Prague in a few months & will probably only splurge on a few meals...esp if it is really so good. Just so I'm mentally prepared, approx. how much are we talking about per person? I LOVE LOVE food, but I also have a pretty high standard, so if I get to splurge...I want it to be worth my while...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chc1980

                        1) form of degustation - you get about 12-14 small tapa-sized portions (including all the amuse-bouches. Therefore you get to taste a lot of things, not just one heavy dish.
                        2) lightness and freshness - this is something that is definitelly not common to the Czech cuisine. Here, they are able to deliver flavour without the grease and heavyness.
                        3) taste - it is the first restaurant in Prague that I find to be on the level of best restaurants worldwide - you enjoy each mouthful.
                        4) great food / wine pairings - they have a great sommelier because I have never had such unusual wines paired with the food and it allways works out, although with so many dishes, you end up drinking quite a lot of wine if you insist on finishing each glass.
                        5) presentation, design, atmosphere - the restaurant is well thought out, doesnt feel crowded even though it usually is, and you just feel great from the moment you enter the room.
                        6) IMHO, you would be better off to choose the Czech version. I think the cook better understands the flavour combinations that he tried to achieve and has his heart more into the Czech version. I find that some dished in the international menu, while good and correct, lacked some umph that was all there for the Czech version.

                        I also have a pretty high standard in restaurants. Therefore I think that you should go there for your big splurge (if you want, you can allways return and have the other menu). There are some other expensive restaurants here in Prague, but none of them have this standard of cuisine. None of them are even comparable.

                        Then, if you want to compare, the next day go to Lokal, which is next door, and serves also Czech cuisine, but the basic version, as it should be in a good pub. It belongs to the same group of restaurants and the owner of the group has his hands in both.

                        1. re: sasicka

                          Thank you for such a detailed response!! Not only have you convinced me to go, BUT I am REALLY REALLY excited for this meal!!

                          Do I need to make reservations in advance? Also is there a certain day which they are not open?

                          Thank you again!! I really appreciate you taking the time.

                          1. re: chc1980

                            They are closed on Sunday. For lunch they open on Tue-Thu but I would recommend doing the full dinner. You definitely need reservations. You can make them on their web site I think, although I never tried. http://www.ladegustation.cz/en/
                            Happy tasting!

                            1. re: sasicka

                              Thank you! I can't wait!

                      2. Finally the Michelin guide got it right in Prague. After last year fiasco - awarding several restaurants that got bankrupt shortly before, this year is spot on. The stars in Prague were awarded to the best restaurants in town - La Degustation and Alcron.

                        The former gets lots of reviews here, but the latter is sot so frequently recommended to foreigners. It is "international" cuisine focused mainly on fish. I must say that I have not yet eaten a better lobster bisque anywhere in the world, even though there is no sea nearby. The chef is Czech but he masters perfectly the light touch necessary for the fish to shine.

                        Congratulations to both chefs and good luck with keeping the stars for the years to come!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sasicka

                          Sasicka, thanks for the mention of Alcron, I will add it to my next visit to Prague.

                        2. Hi guys, I'm looking for a place to take my husband in Prague for our wedding anniversary in November. Le Degustation food looks amazing, but I'm concerned about the atmosphere - it doesn't look romantic at all in the photos.
                          Is there anywhere else with (almost) as good food and a more appropriate atmosphere for a romantic evening? Happy to splurge on price. Thanks!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MarinaP

                            I find La Degustation to be quite romantic, the lighting in the evening is subdued, the music lovely and the overall atmosphere quite cozy. There are no "private" booths but when my wife and I dinned there early in the year we felt it was a very romantic place. Just my opinion as photos on websites are generally well lit in order to produce a good image and may not give the right impression.

                            1. re: MarinaP

                              Degustation doesnt have private booths but the lighting is down and the tables are not too close together. Its more of an elegant, smart-casual (but lots of smart, a little bit casual) feel, more sleek and simple than white table-clothes, rich decorations and silver cutlery. If you like the decorated style more (most US people prefer decorated, most Europeans prefer simple and sleek, IMHO), go to the Alcron restaurant in the Radisson SAS hotel. They have also a recent Michelin star and they serve very good French style fish cuisine - the best lobster bisque I have ever had in my life despite being so far from the sea shore. The restaurant is cosy, only a few tables, and has very nice Art Deco decorations. White tablecloths, silver and formal service. Make sure you ask for the Alcron restaurant, they have also a big hotel restaurant La Rotonde.

                            2. I did the Dégustation du Chef menu a few weeks ago, here are some photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wesbran/...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: brandonr

                                Thanks for px, when l was there about 16 months ago, it was WAY less molecular. l loved it then and had been served the local tasting.

                              2. *hanging head in shame*

                                I'm very sorry that I never reported back! After the wedding I was in recovery mode from the whole experience, things got crazy at work, and it took me about 10 months to get back to chowhound!

                                We went to La Degustation and it was excellent! Unfortunately we didn't have our camera with us that night, so I don't have any pictures to share. We both went for the Czech menu, not the European one and we were happy with that choice.
                                The service was excellent. I would definitely go back next time we're there.

                                Sorry again for being a flake and not responding for so long!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: eviemichael

                                  Glad to hear back! Feel free to expound further for those who probably won't be back there any time soon. Also, any other fun Prague experiences to report?

                                  1. re: kukubura

                                    Yes, for sure!
                                    Standout dishes at La Degustation were the beef tongue and the tartare.

                                    We also had a pretty great meal at Bellevue, although the service was really really obnoxious. The view was fantastic.

                                    We ate lunch at Lokal one day and enjoyed it. I thought my goulash portion was a bit small, but I have a big appetite! :)

                                    We went to a dive that I really love called Baracnicka rychta in mala strana that has low prices and amazing goulash. My husband got roast pork and was in heaven. We went there for lunch 3 times during our 6 days trip. They don't speak much English there but it didn't matter. My rudimentary Czech got us by!

                                    The U Zlate Studne restaurant was underwhelming, which I hate to say since I LOVED their hotel and the service.

                                    We also had a lovely lunch at V Zatisi- great foie gras dish.

                                    It's been a while, so I'm hazy on the details. But I do love the food in Prague and I think there are many culinary delights to be enjoyed there. Also, I used to hate beer until I had it from the barrel. Never thought I'd love beer so much!!

                                    Also, I think wintertime in Prague is gorgeous, and suits the cuisine scene as well...don't know if I'd be as much in the mood for some of the Czech dishes if it weren't so cold. Total comfort food. Wish there was a Czech granny next door to teach me how to make bread dumplings!

                                2. Bad reviews of La Degustation on tripadvisor?

                                  The only reason I can think of is that people are idiots. The restaurant is top notch, the best in the country. I would also ignore tripadvisor for restaurant reviews. Just look at the top 10 rated Prague restaurants on tripadvisor. Anyone who knows the Czech dining scene will immediately realise how useless tripadvisor is in assessing Prague restaurants.