Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Food news: The new Grand Restaurant Guide is released, La Casa Blů airs out, and Marks 'n' Sparks considers expansion

Last week saw the release of the 2009 Grand Restaurant Guide, with listings of 455 restaurants across the Czech Republic. The top-rated establishment according to the voting public was Alcron at the SAS Radisson, followed by La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, Francouzská Restaurace at Obecní dům, Rialto Ristorante in Brno, and V Zátiší. 2008's bizarre overall winner (and #1 and #3 in service and food, respectively), U Lípy, was conspicuously absent from the rankings.

Congratulations to La Casa Blů, whose owners decided to make their restaurant and bar completely non-smoking after holding an online poll of their regular customers. The change won't go into effect until January 1st, but they will be holding their first smoke-free test run party this Friday the 12th at 6 pm. I, for one, am looking forward to enjoying a breathable Casa Blů.

"House of Personal Development" Maitrea on Týnská ulička plans to open a vegetarian restaurant in early 2009. The center is run by the same people who brought us the well-loved veg eatery Lehká Hlava. And the Dejvice branch of Country Life has finally reopened -- although there is no sign of the vegetarian bistro they promised when they shut for renovations nearly a year ago.

Starbucks-esque Polish chain Coffee Heaven has announced that it will be consolidating its operations and closing six of its nineteen Czech stores as well as its Bratislava and Bucharest locations. The real thing, meanwhile, continues to expand, with a new Starbucks replacing Pravda Group-run Yessi Café on Václavské náměstí.

And some good news for home chefs frustrated by Albert's perenially moldy produce: Marks and Spencer is reportedly considering opening a series of grocery-only stores (known as Marks and Spencer Simply Food in the UK) in the Czech Republic. They've already experienced success here with their in-store food sections, which feature M&S-brand canned goods, frozen foods, wines, and more.



Jennifer said...

Great to hear about M&S, sad to hear about Coffee Heaven...keep up the great work, Laura! I enjoy reading your reviews - in both Czech and English.

Laura Baranik said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I appreciate your support.

Pivní Filosof said...

And good to hear about La Casa Blu. Though I'm not a big fan of smoking bans at restaurants and pubs, I do support those who decide to make their shops non-smoking, more so if they actually asked their customers about it. They should get some support from the government, that could encourage more to do the same.

Kacenka said...

Ah! I can't wait! I really hope M&S opens those branches soon! Their selection of things is great and actually quite decently priced