|330 G Street, Suite F|
|Vaclav and Eva Burger|
Little Prague is a Czech restaurant. Maybe you've never had Czech food before, but don't be afraid — it's just good, hearty food. The happy hour at Little Prague is a good deal, with tasty 24oz. glasses of beer for $4.00, as well as 1/2 price appetizers like potato pancakes, deep-fried cauliflower, Duck Nuggets and more. For meat lovers, Little Prague also offers an assortment of European sausages, such as Bratwurst, Bockwurst, and Rindswurst, which vary from pork to all-beef varieties (also 1/2 off during Happy Hour). Their bakery section (The Farmer's Wife) sells bread to many of our local grocers and makes wedding cakes along with the multiple varieties of cakes available every day.
The ambiance, however, isn't always so hospitable. The owner of the L.P. is considered by many of the below reviewers to be a real piece of work — rude, autocratic, and possessed of his own unique take on the 'Romantic', 'European' charms of Bohemian dining. He has been known to kick people out if you do not order enough food or such things as wrongfully accusing people of theft. Please read comments below for stories before you decide to support this owner's business. There are many other tastier, cheaper, restaurants with good service.
Little Prague is a bit pricey (it is, after all, considered an upscale restaurant by some).
It should be noted that Little Prague is actually two separate businesses, the restaurant and the bar.
The space next door which was previously occupied by the Salvation Army Thrift Store is now the Little Prague Bar, a separate business extension of Little Prague with occasional live music and near nightly DJ's. There is a small cover charge of $3.00 for DJ nights Thurs-Sat, cover charge (depending on Band and their fees when they play) for live Bands on Mondays. In 2008, they started offering free water in a big orange cooler located on the bar near the dance floor. Former to that action, their water policy was controversial.
It should also be noted that, while they do charge a minimum on credit card orders of $10, it is generally lower than any other bar in town. They also have an ATM machine which does charge a fee for some cards if you wish to avoid the minimum order. Other than that bring cash and, like any other establishment, remember to tip for your service.
The Little Prague building was originally home to the Blue and Gold diner and later the Blue Mango restaurant.
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At one point an apparent employee from Little Prague posted a reply to some of the complaints. The reply was retracted, but the basic points were that there is a usually a supply of ice water and glasses at the end of the bar for people wanting free water (they do sell bottled water), last call is when the bartender calls it (same at every bar), regardless of the clock or your watch, prices for specially requested drinks are set by bartenders, so they can vary from time to time (look for daily specials), and people who tip tend to get first and better service (which is probably true at all bars). The likely reason the comment was retracted was due to the comment that the owner wasn't an asshole, but he was "plain crazy". He means well, but "believe it or not, he thinks he is doing the right thing most of the time". There was also the point made that they are aggressive about providing a welcome environment for all groups, and that the cakes and bread are made from scratch daily in the bakery.
Reviews from 2005, including a long discussion about the bar's ID scanner.
2010-03-24 19:59:29 I'm writing a review on the restaurant. It was quite pricey and the portions did not match the price. The soup that came with my meal tasted like something out of a Campbell's soup can. I ordered a dish with a pork chop, sausage, sauerkraut, and potato pancakes. It looked pretty impressive, but I was disappointed. Half of the plate was bland, and the other half was over seasoned and very salty. Maybe the kitchen staff had a bad day or maybe this type of cuisine is not for me. Service on the other hand was very attentive and friendly. My party received multiple refills on our bread. I would considering giving this place another try. —BenLee
2010-03-29 16:09:48 I am always surprised to see this restaurant is still in business. Yes, they have a wonderful patio (probably the best in town). And their cakes are good. So is their violinist who adds a very nice touch when he is there. They also have a good happy hour. But I have never thought much of their food (probably more due to the style of the cuisine than to its execution) and the owner is about the rudest person I have ever met. I for some time tried to give the restaurant a chance, but I got tired of making reservations only to then have to wait 20 minutes for my table after arriving (even when the restaurant was only partially full), all the while being pointedly ignored by the owner, then having to experience less than stellar service and mediocre food. I can put up with a lot, but an owner who shows actual contempt for his customers is too much to bear, or at least not something I like paying for. And to the extent it matters, no, I am not a college student. My bad experiences with the restaurant have been when I was in my 40s and when dressed in business-casual or better attire (not that that should make any difference in how you are treated when you are a paying customer of a restaurant). I keep hoping that this restaurant will go out of business so some better restaurant with a nicer owner can make use of its wonderful space, but it somehow keeps hanging on . . . —ToNils
2010-03-30 15:36:41 We had lunch at Little Prague today and were quite pleased. Judging from his accent, I assume that we were served by the owner. Both my wife and I had the chicken schnitzel. The portion size was perfect for me, and my wife gave me about 1/4 of hers because she had all that she wanted to eat. I've always wanted to have one of their delicious-looking desserts, but was so full from lunch or dinner that it required a return trip later.
All I can comment on is based on our experience. Some people might describe the service as slow, but I think this is more of a cultural difference and expectations set by too many corporate places. Dining is an art in Europe, and serving is considered to be a worthy profession, unlike here, where it's something that one does to get through college or until a better job comes along. Our server came back to the table to explain that he was brewing another pot of tea, after I had asked for a refill. There is even something near the front of the menu about "eating and talking slowly;" something that many Americans could do to improve themselves.
As far as the comment about being checked on too frequently, blame corporate restaurants for the strict time standards and steps of service they require of servers. Me, I'd rather not have a menu thrust at me before by butt even hits the seat. —JMLowman
2010-06-11 09:46:13 . I went there for the World Cup special. I have been to the restaurant before and enjoined their brunch. Kudos to the owner for the good idea of combining breakfast with the big screen TVs in time for the 7AM game.
Unfortunately, it was under-staffed (only the owner working) with about 25-30 customers, served lower quality food, and was over-priced. The omelette ingredients were beyond skimpy: 1 tablespoon of cheese on top (which was $2.50 extra) and nothing at all inside since they forgot the ham. Other omlettes at the table were equally flat despite the order arriving with all the ingredients ordered. I asked the owner about the cheese not being a standard ingredient, but he was either unable to understand my point or saying that their omelettes don't normally have cheese. I remembered ordering an omelette during brunch there before, so I took a glance at the restaurant menu. Cheese was included with each omelette.
The coffee was $2, which is a normal price, but then the unsolicited refill from the owner was also added to the tab for another $2. Clarification on the bar menu might be in a good idea so that people know what to expect. Water was not served or available for me to serve myself. Instead the owner had a "special" for $1 bottles of water. This was inside of a bar, but it was 7AM and everyone was eating breakfast and drinking coffee, not alcohol. Water should at least be in a large jug for us to serve ourselves.
It was a nice idea to have a place to eat breakfast and watch the early morning World Cup games, but the reality fell short. I left feeling exploited and annoyed. None of the prices on single dishes were exorbitant; it was the unexpected and relentless nickel-and-diming that did me in.—cyraemery
Perhaps they read your comments (or heard from others) and made changes where needed. By the time I went on 6/23, the coffee was self-serve and bottomless, and there were at least 4 servers for a full-house 7 a.m. game. Don't know if the food changed, though. —JoRo
2010-08-10 08:38:54 Went for dinner last night...the customer service was good and the staff was friendly. And while I believe the food is very overpriced, it is pretty good. The desserts are awesome! —jsbmeb
2010-08-11 11:18:42 I've never eaten here, but have been here many times at night while at the bars. I always get a weird feeling here - they're not totally friendly, and some of the staff think they're cooler than they are. They also cannot mix drinks AT ALL. The bartender didn't know that 7 referred to 7 up! We had to tell her how to make the drink, and after getting it made twice, I couldn't even drink it. If you drink here, just stick to beer. —aggie2009
Most likely this was not a bartender, but a waitress at the restaurant next door who helps from time to time and, on a very rare occasion, is there by herself. Very highly doubt it actually happened this way though. As for who in the bar you had an experience with that feels they are "cooler than they are" I am curious as to the details of this interaction.
2010-12-14 18:41:19 Sigh. Went here for lunch on Saturday because my husband loves it. Like I've said before, its good, but not good enough for the prices. That being said the service was good as was the food. It was a little weird when we were seated though- the owner was nice but only handed us one menu for 6 people and then he said we had to choose between the reg. menu and the special menu right then and there. He was cool though when we asked if we could order off the dinner menu...the husband loves the sausage plate. —jsbmeb
2011-02-17 20:36:14 I went there the evening of Feb. 13th for an early valentine's day dessert... MISTAAAAKE! The dessert was awful, the coffee weak and mediocre, and the price high (for the awful quality.) We ordered 2 pieces of cake to share- chocolate fudge and carrot cake. The chocolate cake was cold and hard, and tasted of freezer burn. The carrot cake didn't taste like anything and the frosting was really cheap tasting. The cost came to $19 with tax and tip. My recommendation- save your $ and go to the Nugget where the desserts are fresh and delicious and apparently have been made within the last week! —MommyScientist
2011-03-18 12:25:24 Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned. This is my review of what I anticipated was going to be a wonderful, fun St. Patrick's day at Little Prague: http://www.funnytheworld.com/2011/Mar/18.htm (I won't be back). —BevSykes
2011-05-50 21:48:29 The desserts here are amazing. The food is not so good, though we did get a steak with whipped cream on it — interesting! The one time we ate there we were sick for 3 days :( The bar has good ambiance and some of the bar tenders are really cool. Wish they had more beer options though —bobobb
2011-06-15 01:25:26 My husband and I became regulars at Little Prague about two months ago, almost instantly after moving to Davis in April 2011. The patio is gorgeous and we enjoyed the food, which isn't as great as I've had in the Czech Republic but decent for 'small college town' America. We also went to the bar often after dinner for a beer or a glass of scotch. For the most part, the staff is very nice and attempts to be helpful. The owner, on occasion, seemed rude to the staff, but I never needed to interact with him so I didn't realize the extent to which he despises his customers, or perhaps only his customers of color. There are cultural issues in the Czech republic relative to the treatment of people of color these issues traveling to the United States with the immigrants though, is unacceptable in the public sphere.
On the particular night in question, my husband, a friend and I went to the bar, we ordered a beer and a glass of wine and paid for them. We decided to order another round, and my husband went to the bar and ordered a beer and left the tab open this time. Since we frequent the bar often (about once a week or more) the staff knows us well, my husband routinely leaves the tab open and I order on his tab or close it as necessary. After my husband finished his beer, I went in to order another beer and close the tab. The bartender I was ordering with was busy and I would have preferred to wait for her, because the owner seems so contemptuous. Unfortunately the owner spotted me at the bar and engaged me in conversation, he started starring at me and said, "Well are you going to order something”. His tone was dismissive and aggressive at the same time, and he was looking at the men at the bar instead of looking at me while he spoke, trying to engage them in what was becoming a confrontation, rather than a conversation. I attempted to pronounce the name of the Czech beer, which may not have been perfect. Of course the owner himself has a horrendous accent while speaking English, but that isn’t something we penalize people for in the free world. I told him I had a tab open and spelled the last name instead of pronouncing it, because it is a foreign name and he would not be able to understand. He became irate yet again and said, "I don't know you." I elicited the help of the bartender, whose attention I had attracted by this point, including the attention of much of those seated at the bar, who found my husband's credit card. The owner then looked at the ID and the card and said, “this isn't you, you can't sign for this man” (I had told him I'd like to close the tab and leave and did not want the beer). I then went to the patio and fetched my husband to sign for his card. My husband was told he had not spent enough money to close this tab. My husband offered to let them charge the requisite $10 on the card as he just wanted to leave the place at that point, but was told he must make another purchase. Luckily, I produced a $10 bill and was able to recover our credit card and ID and escape the dastardly place.
It really saddens me, but I will not return to this establishment again, nether will my husband who is faculty at UC Davis and he won't be holding any outings with his colleagues at this establishment. Little Prague offers mediocre food with a side of terrible service and occasionally a little bit of old fashioned Eastern European fascism circa 1933. There are plenty of fine establishments to choose form in this town, I am sad that we've spent so much of our hard earned money at this particular one.
2011-06-15 01:30:25 How sad that if it wasn't for tonight this review would have been somewhat positive. I have good reason to believe that the owners of this place do not want customers who aren't their own particular ilk, whatever that may be. The food is decent, although the goulash does not compare to what i've had in the Czech republic. The sausages are good but how can you go wrong with a sausage. If you choose to visit this place, despite the fact that is is probably owned and operated by racist, anti-semitic nazis, then order the soups, they are the best thing on the menu. I have personally been run out of this place and refused service. The waiters and bartenders are not the problem, it's the management and the owner and I choose to vote with my money and never patronize this place again. —ZeeZee
2011-07-31 22:31:14 I came in today and got a piece of carrot cake. It was over $6 (which I knew before ordering so that was fine) but my boyfriend and I both found it horrible. It was way too sweet. We didn't even finish it. —JanaShute
2011-12-24 12:17:10 Little Prague Restaurant is an absolute gem. It is a bit pricey, but it’s great for something special like when guests come to town. Lenka has been our waitress numerous times, and makes great suggestions on both food and beer. The food is amazing—all the goulashes, anything with a dumpling or sausage, the beef stroganoff, chicken schnitzel—it’s Bohemian heaven if you’re into that. It was here that I learned the word “robot” was coined by a Czech—I have wowed many a person at cocktail parties with this fun fact. Someone above comments on their treatment of people of color— not everyone in my family is white, but we have been all treated really well there. Unfortunately I can’t eat most of the foods here anymore because of dietary issues, but you probably can, so go!!
2012-05-23 11:12:54 Horrible little restaurant with extremely unfriendly owners. The food is PASSABLE, but just barely. Will never return. —FoodsterDan
2012-05-30 10:53:42 Mr. Owner, Why don't you learn from these negative comments? I am a woman who was born and raised here. I am a professional not a young college student. You should be taking care of all of your patrons. Don't forget this is a college town the students here are making it possible for some of us to have jobs!
Your food and desserts are decent but freshness is what we want and it is lacking in your restaurant. Your prices are too high for what you get. You try to stick it to us every chance you get. Charging for a refill of coffee! Really? I have loved the location of your restaurant and the few good meals I have had kept me coming back. The atmosphere is so uncomfortable! Why are you so rude to us? You are rude to your staff as well. We have menu's thrown in our faces and no smile. Some of your wait staff is friendly except when you are giving them nasty looks then they feel uncomfortable. Good customer service is critical! Why don't you wise up? —ashleyinthemist