Kolkovna Revisited

Restaurant Review: The quality falls and the prices rise at a former Old Town favorite

When it first opened, Kolkovna was a breath of fresh air.



The food was way above pub average, combining Czech classics with more modern fare, and, for the Old Town, all priced within reason. The beer, Pilsner Urquell, was from the tank - un-pasteurized and never kegged, with no carbon dioxide - and also affordable by the standards of the center.



On subsequent visits though, the quality has fallen off and the prices have gone up. Beer now costs 37 CZK, which, even for the Old Town, is expensive, and on our visits, was off temperature - a little warm - and had obviously been sitting at the bar for a while and then topped off to be brought to the table. This is a huge no-no in the better pubs.



On a few of our visits the service was also lacking. Recently, we waited 15 minutes for someone to take our drink orders even though there were nearly eight servers hanging around the bar and only about three or four tables in the middle of a quiet afternoon lunch shift.



The zelňačka (cabbage soup with bits of kielbasa) was served tepid. The waiter asked if we'd like bread with the soup, to which we said yes, only to find a charge of 40 CZK on our bill at the end of the meal. The guláš was wholly unremarkable, with a few forlorn cubes of meat floating in a watery, flavorless broth with fistfuls of marjoram. Even the knedlíky were poor. The Moravský vrabec, a classic Czech dish of cubes of roasted pork with potato knedlíky and homemade špekový knedlík (with bits of bacon and dark bread) was completely flavorless and served with two kinds of zelí (stewed cabbage) that tasted like they came straight from the can. One person in our party had the roasted salmon which was so overcooked as to be inedible.



Every restaurant can have a bad day but too many bad days means that there's something very wrong in the kitchen. Perhaps the staff at Kolkovna has become complacent with their success, but the end result is an overpriced, unremarkable restaurant in a city that has a burgeoning food scene, where it's increasingly easier to find a good meal with good service for the same prices.



READER'S COMMENTS

"Sadly this is all too common in Prague. A new place opens, they offer some good food at a good price, they build a clientele quickly because everyone likes to try something new, then slowly the quality goes down and the prices go up. Not sure if it is due to greed, or just an initial miscalculation of what it takes to serve consistently good quality food?" --Disappointed Eater



"Celnice, one of the others in the same group, seems to suffer from the same malaise. On a recent visit the "fish and chips" were three small, hard pieces of ordinary cod filet, probably frozen stuff no different from a corner supermarket and coated in a dry, dusty crust, along with some thin, garlicky crisps instead of proper chips. 150 Kc or thereabouts. That did it." --Won't go there again



"Very true, servers were aggresive about tip last time I was there. Used to take out town visitors there but no more. Thankfully Olympia near Ujezd, the sister restaturant is still a nice place to go, service is good and friendly and menu the same as kolkovna." --mw



"Unfortunately this review is true. Kolkovna used to be my favourite place BUT NOT ANY MORE. I can stand the prices but not the staff attitude! Now I prefer to go to Bredovsky Dvur - Recommended for all past-kolkovna fans that want a modern hospoda!" --Tony Anderson



"Last time I was in Kolkovna, I actually got up after 15 minutes and went to the bar, where the servers were standing around, chit chatting, to get someone to take our order." --Anonymous User



"We stopped going to Kolkovna two years ago. We have always found the management to be lacking. They don't train their staff thoroughly, don't supervise them enough, and consequently, the previously attained high standards and level of service have suffered. This is typical of a company with several sites. They dropped the ball on this one!" --PJ



"Article and comments are all dead on. Twice in the last 6 months I was dissapointed with both food and service, and both by a wide margin. Had lunch there in the early fall, and my companion's turkey was flavorless and overcooked, service lousy. Tried again last month with business guest, and thhe food was only so-so, but the service was abominable. This was once a favorite, but is now on my no-go list." --MH



"I emailed this to info@kolkovna.cz"

Brewsta

September 14th, 2006

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