Café Louvre

Following in Einstein's footsteps, Brewsta marvels at the brilliance of this New Town coffeehouse's magnificent hot chocolate

Albert Einstein spent so much time in cafés, one has to wonder where he found the time to figure out the secrets of the universe. Apparently, he'd rather talk about politics than physics.

Like me.

In Zurich, he favored Odeon Café. In Prague, he spent time at Café Louvre. Franz Kafka and Karel Čapek also went there.

Like me.

You know what they say about great minds.

Café Louvre was founded in 1902, but the coffee house disappeared under Communism. Too bourgeois.

These days, it is going strong. It obviously underwent a restoration in more recent times. The paint may be a little bright, but the room is not overly ornate. It does feel like a real, working café instead of a museum or Disney ride.

Café Louvre

In fact, if you have an eye for spotting Czech celebrities, politicians and other movers and shakers, you may see a few on any given afternoon. The tourists are easier to spot. It is usually pretty full.

There are, of course, a variety of coffees. The food menu is not exactly Czech, but does center on dishes that appeal to the Czech palate. There is rabbit with white wine, lamb with rosemary, duck with mandarins, pork tenderloin with bacon, steak with pepper sauce, and goulash.

It's a meaty place, but they do have a few fish, pasta, and vegetarian options. They do breakfast, but the choices aren't too wide if you don't like basic omelets or scrambled eggs. There are also sausages, cheeses, and cakes.

Of course, they also have desserts to go with your coffee. The last time I tried the "Classic Sacher," it was pretty dried out. Good it came with a lot of whipped cream.

But I don't really go for the food. There is one thing on the menu that makes me a semi-regular: It's called the "Louvre" hot chocolate (Horká čokoláda "Louvre").

Café Louvre

I've had thick hot chocolate before, but I've never had thicker stuff than at this place. It's exactly like chocolate pudding that is about to set. In fact, if you leave it too long, it will form a skin on top. It is very chocolaty, and sweet enough, but they give you two extra sugars on the side, just in case.

You also get a little spoon for stirring in the sugar, if necessary, and you can use it for scraping out the chocolate from the sides of the cup. That is very necessary.

Café Louvre

It costs 42 CZK. A bottle of Mattoni sparkling mineral water is 34 CZK.

When I'm at Café Louvre, I'm usually not in the mood for all the meat, and I want a light snack to go with my hot chocolate. If I'm not there for breakfast, I almost always order the club sandwich (109 CZK).

There is nothing too special about this sandwich. It comes on double-decker white toast, but quite small, with bacon, lettuce, and tomato, sliced egg, a piece of chicken breast and mayo. Each quarter is about three bites.

Café Louvre

The toast, bacon, and chicken are cold. It could be a lot better. Still, I like it for some reason. Perhaps because Prague is not a club sandwich kind of town, and I need a fix from time to time.

Café Louvre

The waiters are busy, but move fast. It's usually not hard to get their attention as they pass. They'll take your order, but a chef from the kitchen, dressed in whites, will bring your food out to you.

The dining room can get quite smoky, and the tables are fairly close together, so there is a good chance you'll have a cigarette waved near your face. There is a separate room for nonsmokers, but it is not as nice to look at and doesn't get so much light. I always sit in the smoking room, though I don't smoke. There is a more modern-looking café downstairs.

If you come in the evening, you can shoot a game of pool at Café Louvre. There are five tables in the back room. It's a popular place, though, so don't expect to walk right in and get a table.

Café Louvre

Café Louvre’s location is very central and convenient. The café is up some stairs from an entrance on Národní třída. It's near metro line B, many tramlines, and sits between Wenceslas Square and the national theatre.

So, you don't have to be a genius to find it.

Café Louvre

Café Louvre
Národní 22
Prague 1
Tel.: (+420) 224 930 949

Prague Directory Listing

This review was written in April 2007.

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