The House of French Gastronomy La Gare is the center of the La Gare restaurants´ growing gastronomic empire in Prague. Situated just off beautiful and historic Namesti republiky on V celnici in Prague 1. Brasserie La Gare occupies the main floor and large patio with a boutiques gourmandes in a small section off to one side. There is also a charming and quite large restaurant Le Winstub downstairs, completely separate from Brasserie La Gare which is open for lunch Monday to Friday and brunch on Sundays between September and May and private functions anytime.

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 The La Gare Restaurants started about eleven years ago with their flagship eatery, "Les Moules"  and now they have the House of French Gastronomy La Gare with its boutiques gourmandes and "Le Winstub" downstairs as well as "restaurace Vozovna Stromovka" and "Hostinec u Supa". Having sampled just a little of what they have to offer, I fully intend to visit them all but let me tell you about Brasserie La Gare.

 I want to start with their boutiques gourmandes. As I said it occupies just a small area of the restaurant off to one side. Depending where you sit, it would be easy to miss but don't. This little French deli may be the jewel in La Gare's crown. It's shelves are packed with mouth watering morsels. Some products like the expansive assortment of French wines and cheeses are imported from France but much of what they have is made right there. Bread, baguettes and croissants, olive oil, jams and marmalade, pickles and foie gras. If you don't have time to sit and eat, La Gare's boutiques gourmandes sells jars of their French onion soup, coq au vin and cassoulet to take home. They also make their own ice cream, cakes, pastries, Belgian chocolates and macarons....mon dieu... the macarons.

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  Having had a chance to check the place out, I returned following evening for dinner. Monday to Friday are their busy days. Nestled amongst some of Prague's best hotels, you'd think tourists would be La Gare restaurants' bread and butter but in fact, the patio on this summer evening was filled mostly with locals. I'm guessing people who work in the area are coming by at the end of the day for a drink or a meal. It seems to me, it's always the sign of a good restaurant if you can keep the locals coming back.
 
The atmosphere on the patio this evening was relaxed. Although the clouds had been looming about all day but the air was warm so my fellow patrons and I sipped our drinks in calm defiance of the threatening rain. To my right I could see the majestic buildings framing this end of namesti Republiky and to my left in the distance, I could see Vitkov with its statue of Zizka. In front of me visitors from around the world stroll by.

  The interior of Brasserie La Gare is elegantly decorated, warm, tasteful and inviting  but when my date arrived we remained on the patio, deciding to watch the still bustling V Celnici while we ate.

  La Gare has the type of menu you'd expect from a French restaurant of this calibre. The menu is not expansive but as a first timer, you may experience some option anxiety. There are some great starters, frog's legs, smoked salmon, smoked duck breast, a French cheese plate and of course, escargot. I had the cheese plate because as an expat living in the Czech republic, I never pass up the chance to get my hands on a decent piece of cheese. I was not disappointed. I also had the French onion soup, even though I knew I was going to fill up before the main course. I haven't had a decent French onion soup since I left Quebec so I couldn't resist this opportunity. It was wonderful. I decided to go with the Coq au Vin for the main course. It came highly recommended and I imagined it would be a little less daunting then the grilled steaks of pork, lamb, and veal they were setting down on the tables surrounding us. It was actually a substantial meal but light enough I could almost eat it all, in spite of my earlier over indulgence of cheese and soup.

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  The Coq au Vin lived up to the praise but the Pressed duck and Baked rabbit seemed like popular choices too. They have some lighter options too with a variety of quiches, salads, a sea food stew, muscles and prawns.

  There is no question that the food at Brasserie La Gare is great. It's fresh, flavourful and beautifully presented. I was warned that it was a bit pricey and yes it's not the kind of restaurant where you're going to get a 100 CZK (5 dollars) lunch menu but taking into consideration the quality of the food and the location, you'd have to say the prices are in fact quite fair. The staff at Brasserie La Gare are dignified, prompt, pleasant and genuinely friendly. Good service is not something one comes to expect in the Czech republic. Perhaps that's why, although everything was wonderful, it was the service that impressed me most. Well the service and that French onion soup. I can still taste that French onion soup.

Steve Meyers

         
  La GareLogo
V Celnici 3, Prague 1

Opening hours:
Mon - Su : 8:00 - 0:00

TEL.: +420 222 313 712

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.lagare.cz

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