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Dec 22, 2011 08:56 AM

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

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?

    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:

        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.

          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.


                  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.