Bistro Prahaís Phoenix-Like Return
A cornerstone of Edmonton culture has been rebuilt at last, and splendidly so. Bistro Praha, a longstanding downtown eatery whose tasty European fare has satisfied a loyal cadre of diners for more than 30 years, has reopened, and this latest incarnation has delivered on every expectation set up by the last.
The best steak tartare in the city is to be had here, its fans proclaim. And if youíve got a liking for schnitzels and to-die-for crepes, and welcome such surprises as impromptu on-site performances by troupes of Polish dancers between courses, this is your spot.
Owned and operated by a team that includes brother-sister pairing Milan and Sharka Svaigr, the new Bistro Praha (in the Empire Building at Jasper and 101st, replacing the Rice Howard Way original that was destroyed by fire in March 2009) basically duplicates the old, a fixture here for since its 1977 founding by the Czech expat Frantisek Cikanek.
The atmosphere is every bit as relaxed and unpretentious, the décor every bit as populated with kitschy-cool artificats, the menu (salvaged from the ashes and dusted off) every bit as crowded with such Eastern European flavours as Beer Ham Paris, and Prague Egg and caviar. Donít bypass the grilled chicken dinner or various fish offerings on subsequent visits. You can order a half or full size of any entrée.
The Bistro Praha crowds are young and cosmopolitan, many bound for or fresh from the symphony or a night at the theatre. Historically, the restaurant has attracted some of the cityís hungry intellectuals, in for deliberations about politics or literature alongside bites of beef schnitzel and fried cheese bread. Reservations are a good idea, especially on weekends.