Pilsen must be my favourite restaurant in Prague. It is also inside one of my favorite buildings in the city, the Municipal House.
Completed in 1912 the Municipal House is bang in the centre of Prague on Namesti Republiky 5. It was designed by Osvald Polivka and Antonin Balsanek in the Art Nouveau style and it was from here that Czech independence was declared in 1918. The Art Nouveau scheme continues inside with mural, metal and glass work by several important Czech designers including Alfons Mucha (yes him of the Laurent Perrier champagne labels)
Within the Municipal House is the Smetana Hall (named after Czech composer Bedrich Smetana) and a number of other rooms used for events and conferences, cafes and restaurants and an information centre. Top tip – in city where public loos often charge, the information centre has a free to pee toilet.
While the ground floor French restaurant is rather expensive the vast cavern in the basement that is Pilsen, is in my opinion very reasonable
Laid out as a European beer hall, the food is typical hearty Czech fare, stews and roast meat with the ubiquitous dumplings to soak up any gravy
I started with a smoked sausage which tasted a bit like a chip shop saveloy. No disrespect meant to to the sausage at all, I rather like chip shop saveloys and this sausage was mostly meat. For the main course I had the roast duck with red cabbage and dumplings. It was fabulous but vast. Although maybe not quite as big as the pork knuckle that Nick had!
Of course for the the spirit music is a natural accompaniment to food.
and the house band are the duo Svejk, Josef Jehlik on accordion and Alena Penzenstradlerova on double bass, playing traditional Czech folk songs.
So what’s the damage? Four people starters, mains, aperitif and beers about 2400 Czech Crowns, a ridiculous £85 UK for what we had.
Sadly during our visit the American Cocktail bar
in the Municipal House’s basement was closed for refurbishment, which was a shame because it is rather gorgeous inside.
As you can see from the photos from our 2009 visit, it could easily be the place where Poirot does the big reveal.
Not to mention the fact that they mix a really mean gimlet