January 09, 2012

Bistro Praha

Bistro Praha
10117 101 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 0T4

What better way to start a new blog about restaurants in Edmonton than by visiting an Edmonton staple? Bistro Praha first opened its doors in 1977, and, even enduring a terrible fire and relocation in 2010, remains a fixture today. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and I got the impression the restaurant has many regulars that the staff has come to know well. 

Prague Cabbage Soup (1/2 order)
 Bistro Praha has plenty of hearty options to offer, but I made the mistake of coming on a less-than-empty stomach. While I've heard rave reviews of the fried cheese, I had a feeling I would need to be peeled up off the floor by the end of the meal if I went there. The Prague cabbage soup I opted for was a marvelous blend creamy, sweet, and a touch of sour all at once in a mild tomato base. I really appreciated when our server offered half order -- an option available on most dishes -- since I knew I had to pace myself.
Rye Bread
Dinners are served with a basket of rye bread. It's dense, chewy, fresh, and delicious slathered in butter and dipped in soup. My soup-less dinner company, however, found it a bit dry on its own.
Green Salad
 Dinners are served with a choice of tomato onion salad or a green salad. I decided to go green. The cheese was fresh and sharp, the lettuce fresh, and the vinaigrette simple but too scant. 
Rainbow Trout Jizerka
Steak tartar is the dish Bistro Praha is famous for, but neither myself nor my company was feeling so adventurous. The rainbow trout Jizerka is seasoned and sauteed in butter and served with buttery mushrooms. The report was that it was perfectly cooked and totally delicious. 
Classic Wiener Schnitzel (half order)
 When asking my foodie group for dish recommendations, the classic wiener schnitzel was the next "must eat" after the steak tartar, and it didn't let me down. The pork was tender with a crispy breaded coating, and, with the juice of a lemon wedge squeezed over top, pleasantly flavorful. I swapped the potato salad for roasted potatoes which, like the schnitzel, were delicious in their crispy simplicity.
Peach Crepe
The buttery flavor of the pan-fried peaches in the fresh crepe was very nice, but more peaches would have been even nicer. 
Apple Strudel
 I decided to bring my meal to a close with a piece of apple strudel. Served covered in icing sugar beside a mountain of whipped cream, as my fork crunched through the flaky pastry a trap door opened in my stomach and I was hungry all over again. It was a touch on the dry side, and, like the peach crepe, I would have preferred more filling in the strudel, but I still had no trouble clearing my plate. 

The explanation for Bistro Praha's continued success in the competitive downtown Edmonton restaurant scene was clear to me with this visit. Big portions of comforting food made from scratch, and the friendly atmosphere and service give patrons plenty of reasons to come back again and again. I know I'll see them again.

Maybe I'll even find the nerve to try steak tartar. 
Bistro Praha on Urbanspoon

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