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Lokal "Worst place for food that I have ever been."

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I just got back from Prague and enjoyed excellent meals based on the recommendations on this board. We had dinners at La Finestra, V. Zatisi - which was superb and Kolkonov. My husband remained behind to attend a conference and asked me to recommend a place for dinner where he could go with his colleagues. I suggested Lokal since it gets such rave reviews here. I just received a text from him saying that it is the worst place for food that he has ever been and his colleagues blame him. They are afraid to even use the bathroom. These are not people who don't appreciate good food. Most of them are sophisticated foodies. What gives? Is there more than one Lokal? Did they go to the wrong one?

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  1. Hi Christie,
    Maybe as you've never been to Lokal, you might have misunderstood what it actually is. It's a pub. Not a modern sleek gastropub with a Michelin star. Just a pub. In the evening, it can be hard to see through smoke. People are sitting together on benches and since the tables are close together in a cavernous interior, the noise can be intense. The interior is very basic. Tables for 8 persons, no tablecloths, no views, no decor, not pretty or too comfortable. A down to earth pub. I would never bring my colleagues there for a work lunch or dinner unless they were Czech.
    The food is similar. If you've been to La Finestra or V Zatisi, these are uncompareable to Lokal. Lokal is the very basic of Czech cooking - heavy dumplings with heavy sauces, cabbage, fried cheese, potatoes, pork. It is a very good example of true Czech cuisine, done with fresh ingredients, care and love, but you won't find any lightness or greens in it. For lots of foreighners this might be inedible, especially if they are sophisticated. Lokal is as unsophisticated as you can get.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sasicka

      Thanks for the clarification sasicka - wish I had known this before :(

      1. re: christie21

        I would not say it's "as unsophisticated as you can get" by a long shot -- it's clean, friendly, etc... But it's far from fine dining. And there are in fact two Lokal locations, but I doubt that they are that different (for example, I doubt one is "nice" and one is "awful.")

        I hate to say this but without having a more detailed recap from the people who said that it was literally the "worst" I'm thinking that they were just being babies.

    2. This is too harsh and based on wrong assumptions, in the best of cases.
      Lokal is a no frills beer hall, with very good but simple food. They use top class products for very down to earth meals.
      No, indeed, no service like in a starred establishment. It is slow food from poor pedigree products and poor people's traditions, like in the days that no refrigeration existed at homes and meats were cooked in communal kitchens.

      Lokal does not do foam of ginger over shadow of pigeon with green pea mouse with the waiters complimenting you on your new Jimmy Choo shoes.

      What makes we wonder is that the people who now point fingers at your husband, seemed to like Kolkovna. That would be very telling.

      1. There are two Lokals, I go to both quite often because the food is of a high caliber for Czech pub food. I've never had a bad dish, meal or beer there.

        As others commented, without more info, I'd have to assume these folks need security blankets to go anywhere but the golden arches...there's nothing frightening about Lokal, their food or indeed their toilets. I'm wondering if the post was a joke to get our collective goats.

        I've got family going to Lokal tomorrow and will get their thoughts.

        1. Rather than start a new thread, I"m going to add on here. It's now two years since this thread started and obviously at least the Dlouha location has been remodeled completely. First here's pix of the space from their site:

          http://lokal-dlouha.ambi.cz/en/#galerie

          As you can see, it's a, IMO, clean, spare, contemporary space. Tables for six with chairs. The service just could not be better. I love it when anyone available brings the food when it is ready as they do. Our wine glasses were refilled before empty. Yes, it's loud. But FUN loud. I wouldn't hesitate to bring business associates...but only if they want to have fun as well as have super food. BTW, I didn't visit the restrooms but can't imagine that they aren't also fine.

          Now to the food. When in Prague - eat tartare :

          )

          http://lokal-dlouha.ambi.cz/en/#menu-3

          We started with the "pickled camembert" (have NO idea how they do this but it was tasty) and the "spicy" sausages. Spicy did not mean heat at all but loads of flavor and made inhouse. And then the tartare which was sublime. There was no egg on top (is that a Czech MO?) but we didn't miss that at all. It tasted mainly of beef with other subtle flavors. A large serving - maybe a cup? That came with a generous basket of toasted brown bread and a large garlic clove to rub over the bread. Everything was top notch. The only mistake we made was it was all too rich. We should have subbed a salad or a starch for the cheese. If I live in the area, I'd be a regular. Now for the really shocking news. All that with three wines and a beer, VAT over 20% and a 15% tip was a teeny tiny $35!

          I don't really need to persuade anyone to go there as they're full every night. (We couldn't get a res but were able to walk in and share a table with another couple.) But I'd hate to think I missed it.

           
           
           
          4 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            I'm glad you like it. Lokal is an institution - you can see it from the fact that there are already 5 (I think) restaurants of this franchize in the Czech Republic and it seems that more are on their way. Unfortunatelly, they are slightlly going up with their prices every once in a while while not changing anything else. What started as a slightly more expensive pub (for everyday use) is now in the range of a decent restaurant which most people can afford once a month. When comparing prices, you need to realise that most people expect to eat lunch for less than $5 with soup, main course and a drink or dessert included. So while they started at about $5-7 per main course, they are now way over that and lots of people here find that very bad price to value ratio.

            1. re: sasicka

              Thanks for the Czech perspective on cost! I'd been wondering generally. This was at night and was clearly a "happening" kind of place :) Very fun.

            2. re: c oliver

              Glad to see you're enjoying the trip and eating well!! Mmmm, tartare....

              1. re: alliegator

                Oh so very, very well. Other writeups to follow including the fan-tab-u-loso :) Sansho :) You rock!