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Prague Fine Food Emporium: As Good As It Sounds

Posted by Tanja / Listed on June 6, 2007 / review policy

20770605-prag-pier.jpgUp until this week, my fill of Eastern European dining was generally found in the all-you-can-eat perogie Wednesdays at Future's Bakery. I hadn't had good schnitzel since Alegria closed on Queen West and so, I settled. I mean, all-you-can-eat perogies is a pretty fun concept even if you rarely get past a plateful.

That was until I discovered the Prague Fine Food Emporium.

Located on Queen West, just west of Bathurst, Prague has managed to fill their little Old-Toronto sized space with a deli, bakery, pastry-shop, grocery store and cafe/restaurant... and really, it's not even cramped!

Stopping in for a late Saturday brunch, my friends and I could only find a few stools by the window ledge, but the helpful wait staff was happy to move us to a roomier table once a family had finally polished off their potato pancakes.

While waiting for our order (as everything is made fresh -- no hot-table here) we had some time to look over the grocery shelves and marvel at all the imported goodies. Czech flour, Polish sausage, Hungarian paprika, a pan-European cheese section and sure enough, Future's Bakery bread... you could cover most of your grocery list on these few shelves.

Then, just as we were getting ideas of trying to cook our own meals (it happens!), dishes that far exceed our skill arrive at the table.

20770605-prag-czech.jpgFrom the all-day breakfast menu, Czech-Break ($7.50) is a bowlful of bread dumplings and egg (imagine chunks of fresh French toast) with Kielbasa (sausage). My supposedly famished dining companion could barely finish off this hearty bowlful, but it was so tasty she had no trouble enlisting the rest of us to polish it off.

Myself, I was going to get some Chicken Schnitzel (which I should mention also comes in a vegetarian Eggplant Schnitzel form!), but decided to go with those classic Polish-style Cheese Perogies ($7.90) after a neighbouring diner highly recommended them.

Pictured at the top, they were served with bacon, caramelized onions and a generous cupful of sour cream and chives. Who needs all-you-can-eat when you can get lost in this amazing dish? I really should have asked what cheese was in 'em (if they'd tell me) 'cause it was incredible... far better than any perogie in recent memory. This obviously works well as an entree but I'd actually suggest ordering it as side dish for sharing with friends - as you'll be doing so either way.

And across the table, a Gypsy Goulash ($9.90) -- beef, Moravian sausage, potatoes and some chopped vegetables all stewed together and served with a potato pancake. This is one of those dishes that smells so good all the people sitting around you lean over to see what they're missing out on.

As with the other entrees, this became a shared dish, even doubling as a perogie dip at one point (Mmmm!). Still, some improvements could be made here. While the beef was plentiful, we only found 2 little pieces of sausage. A couple more chunks of non-potato veggies would be a welcome change as well.

On to dessert...

The daily special was Palacinky (crepe) with ice cream, chocolate, and chopped hazelnuts ($4.50). The chocolate-addict called that one before the waitress had even finished describing it...and lived to be quite pleased with her decision. She was also the first to clean her plate despite being "full" before dessert.

I would have helped, but I had a mouthful with an order of Palacinky stuffed with yogurt, fresh strawberries, banana, orange and blueberry compote ($7.50). This was suggested by the waitress off the breakfast menu, and while I absolutely adored it, it's probably better suited as a meal in itself. I didn't even finish yet still had to be rolled out the door!

Finally, a slice of a European classic: Apple Strudel ($4). You know you've got a good strudel when the baked apples are so fresh and flavourful they still have that almost crisp texture to them. Served with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon, this was a strudel the Von Trappe Family could sing about.



The Prague Fine Food Emporium
638 Queen St West



chephy / June 6, 2007 at 08:55 pm
Looks GOOOD! Will have to check it out.
megan / June 6, 2007 at 09:40 pm
good god. i want to be there now, right now! that all looks delicious.
Japhet / June 7, 2007 at 05:55 pm
After reading this, I went out and tried those perogies... man, they were fucking good.
Laura / November 23, 2009 at 05:29 pm
I love this place (great brunch), wonderful people and exceptional taste for dollar. The Goulash and Czech Break are favs.
Mimi / June 6, 2010 at 06:39 pm
I went there this morning and absolutely loved it. I got the Czech Break and it was amazing, the perfect balance between eggs, dumplings and eggs is great for bringing you back to life after last night's fun! The service was great, always there when you need them but chilled out at the same time so everybody can enjoy their food in peace. Pricing is more than reasonable - overall a great place for a weekend breakfast/brunch.
mike / June 3, 2011 at 10:54 am
Wendy / June 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm
I literally just wiped drool off of my laptop keys. LMAO
Nazanin / November 21, 2011 at 01:00 pm
The food was good but customer service was of the waitresses was really friendly and nice but the lady at the counter seems to be very unsatisfied with her job!!!
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Ailyn / February 4, 2012 at 06:17 pm
Think twice when you have crepes at Prague, or have crepes in general!
Here's what I have to say...
Natalie / October 19, 2012 at 01:42 pm
Just visited Praque for their Perogies.
New owners, new renos done to the place. The perogies are boiled and delicious, presented on a bed of sourcream and garnished with sauteed onions and fatty bacon.
3 Hot Chicks / November 10, 2012 at 01:22 pm
I'd rather eat Kraft diner!!! Seriously this place puts on a fancy show but lacks in flavor, taste, and hygene. apparently there are new owners and staff but not for the better I guess. We will not be heading back!!
Disappointed / November 30, 2012 at 08:31 pm
Following The Prague's renovations, I quickly attended what used to be one of my favourite spots in Toronto for Eastern European food. Sadly, all the traditional Czech/Slovak dishes were now horrifying high-brow versions of their former selves. An expensive mini-bowl of "halušky" with no sheep's cheese and no bacon, sprinkled with Brussels sprout leaves? Please, that's pathetic. Not to mention the fact that I was served by some hipster who clearly has more interest in his tight denim or sculpted hair than anything to do with the boring crap he was serving us. Ugh, anyway - awful. I want the original Prague back so I can buy some kofola, you hipster losers.
TravisH / December 3, 2012 at 03:13 pm
APPALLING FOOD AND SERVICE! Just this past Friday, I noticed their sign outside advertising goulash with pork and peppers. I love goulash, so I popped in for some take away. I opened it at home and found four bite-sized pieces of tough pork attached to a thick piece of fat swimming in a pool of sauce and two huge pieces of soggy, sauce-soaked bread. They couldn't even package the bread separately. Pork is cheap. This "dish" was $15. Probably cost $1.50 in ingredients. I called to complain and they said, "Oops. Sorry about that. There's usually more pork." I gave my dog the fatty pork and tossed the rest. How can my experience (both in terms of food AND service) be so much different than that of the positive reviewers here??
shane / January 25, 2013 at 11:44 am
I used to lovee the old Prague, what a fantastic thriving business they had. I had been going there for years. Massive loss for the west end. They had their secret to success down pat. The new owners destroyed a thriving business. Terribly sad. Eastern European type folk, i beg you, please open up a proper eastern european deli on queen or ossington or dundas....that area is dying for one since the original pRAGUE was bought out and destroyed.

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