Easy. St Martin’s Day falls on the 11th of November and it celebrates St Martin of Tours, one of the first „non-Martyr saints“, a soldier-turned-Bishop who lived in the 4th Century. There are many legends surrounding his life, but only a few are relevant for us specifically.
Namely, it’s St Martin goose, St Martin rolls, St Martin wines, and St Martin arriving on a white horse.
Traditionally, St Martin is said to be arriving on a white horse, meaning that November 11 tends to coincide with the first snow of the winter season. Well, due to a little thing called climate change, this hasn’t been the case very much lately. Still, St Martin is the day on which you feast on comfort food before the Nativity Fast hits on November 28: there’s a few legends involving geese and St Martin (they either made loud, annoying noises during his sermons, or he hid among geese when they came over to make him a Bishop, and they ratted him out – in any case, they misbehaved and must be punished one way or the other), but the fact is St Martin goose with cabbage or sauerkraut and dumplings is an absolute St Martin’s Day classic, along with sweet rolls filled with either nuts or poppies.
Now, we will go all out and say it: we recommend you skip St Martin’s wine altogether, especially if you like and appreciate good wine. Seems like the Wine Fund (the country’s wine authority) tried to out-French the French, and it makes little sense: wines in Beaujolais are picked earlier than here, and the wines are marketed a good week later. So being „first“ doesn’t always mean being better, and we gotta be honest here: we never had a St Martin’s wine that we liked, if you take the context away. Also, St Martin’s wine is a big winery game, so you’re missing out on the small wineries that we like so much. In short: have „normal“ wine instead. Which ones? Here’s a good point to start.
St Martin feast has gained quite a bit of popularity over the last few years, so it is a good idea to make a reservation beforehand. Here’s our favourite St Martin’s feasts in town.
Výčep, the „Wallachian pub“ with Michelin star-grade cooking in Vinohrady is planning a goose bonanza for St Martin’s weekend. We’re talking goose confit with sauerkraut and cabbage (they stomp their own), goose kaldou soup, goose paté with brioche and jam, or goose livers and hearts, finished off with their fried donuts. They will also have cassoulet for two. This is their biggest weekend of the year, so make sure you book now.
(Full disclaimer: we run social media for Výčep, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s a great restaurant and would be on the top of our list even if we didn’t have a business relationship.)
Ossegg, the understated but very competent pub with its own craft brewery is serving their St Martin’s menu all week until Saturday. One the menu: goose liver paté with bread and dark beer sauce, goose kaldoun soup, 1/4 of goose confit with two cabbages and two dumplings, or pulled goose in potato pancake with sauerkraut. You can also order a „goose feast“ that includes the whole stuffed bird with a variety of siders, two litres of their St Martin’s beer special, and one bottle of St Martin’s wine. This is designed for parties of 4 to 6 and must be pre-ordered. Finally, they are also baking St Martin’s kolache. Yay!
St Martin’s menu at this beautiful pub by Chef Punčochář, one of the veterans of Prague’s fine dining scene and a judge on Czech Masterchef, has been served since Tuesday. What’s one the menu? Goose liver paté with fried livers, duck foie gras terrine with brioche, or toast with pulled roast goose and kimchi, kaldou soup and goose leg confit with sauerkraut and dumplings. This is a great option, and you can walk off those calories in the Baba Housing Estate nearby.
This multi-storey modern pub in the Hybernská street that manages to be packed despite the sheer size of the place is planning to serve its St Martin’s menu from 11 through 20 November, so this is a great option if you’re late to the game but still yearn for that juicy St Martin’s goose. They will serve a whole bird for bigger parties with two types of dumplings and red cabbage with orange and star anise, which must be preordered. Other items on the menu include goose kaldoun soup, dried goose ham with fig chutney, goose leg confit, and baked buns with goose fat and plum jam. Order now: this place is very popular.
Kuchyň, the „upgraded Lokál pub with a view“, is serving their classic feast with a big St Martin’s focus. You can book a table for a four-course meal – first four starters, than a big soup bowl of goose kaldoun soup, followed by a casserole of goose and duck confit with all kinds of cabbage and dumplings, and followed by baked plums for dessert. Add fresh Pilsners from a well-chilled tank… and enter Nirvana. This is great if you have a bigger party who likes to eat and take their time doing it.
The iconic Nusle pub that specialises on duck confit is serving St Martin’s menu on 11 through 13 November. Goose isn’t that far from duck, is it? So this should be good: the kaldoun soup with brioche dumpling and noodles, goose livers on Port wine with almonds, and a whole bird or 1/4 of goose with two types of cabbage and two types of dumplings. This is a really nice option that fits smaller budgets, and is not touristy at all.
As always, Kastrol, the excellent Czech pub far far away at the edge of the Stodůlky housing estate, has prepared a pretty comprehensive and expansive St Martin’s menu, offering some items that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. The appetisers include goose paté, ragout of goose stomachs on red wine, or goose appetiser plate, of course there’s soup, and then goose leg confit served with three different sides, incl. barley cholent, two types of dumplings and two types of cabbage, or sauerkraut with lokše potato pancakes, or lokše filled with pulled goose. We’d try it all, so book a table for a big party and share. Served from 11 November onwards.
The fine dining restaurant with a view of the Charles Bridge (let’s be real here: only a few tables get that view) does not plan any special menu, but simply put goose on its regular menu: you can either have a kaldoun soup, or 7-hour goose confit with croquette, croissant, red cabbage and cranberries. Come here if you like your goose fancy… and with a view of the Charles Bridge (read above).
Čestr, the beautiful Czech steakhouse in the former Federal Assembly building, is serving its St Martin’s menu from Friday until sold out. On the menu: chunky goose liver paté with rosehip, goose kaldoun soup, smoked goose roulade with chestnuts with cabbage and dumplings, and goose leg or breast confit with cabbage and dumplings. Sounds good! This is a good place if you have a bigger party, or want to choose anything from their pretty well curated Czech wine list with a big focus on natural wines.
Café Imperial, the flagship of Chef Pohlreich’s empire (or is it his Italian restaurant, Divinis?) is serving three goose dishes until Sunday: goose rillettes, goose giblet soup, and goose confit with sauerkraut and dumplings. His restaurant across the street, Next Door, is serving goose foie gras parfait with marinated quince, goose velouté soup, and goose confit with red cabbage and dumplings. So it’s really about whether you like white or red cabbage. Oh, decisions, decisions!
U Kalendů on the riverside, actually one of our favorite glorified pubs recently, is planning to serve goose on 11 November with limited availability, and now they’re reporting they are sold out of them already. But keep an eye on them: perhaps they may add a few portions!
The first good restaurant in Karlín that opened before the hipsters came is serving a St Martin’s menu for two on 11 through 17 November. (Plus they have goose on their lunch menu.) The menu for two includes ragout with giblets on toast, goose giblet soup, 1/2 goose confit, red sauerkraut, baked apples, potato dumplings and Puy lentils, and pear on red wine, buns with vanilla custard. Reservations are recommended, and as always, the goose is best paired with craft beers by Matuška, a long friend of the restaurant.
The beautiful pub in the Vinohrady district is serving its St Martin’s menu until 15 November. It includes goose leg confit with sauerkraut and dumplings, langos with pulled goose, potato dumplings filled with pulled goose, and St Martin’s goose roulade. They also serve goose paté, the whole bird for 4 to 6 people, and kaldoun soup. Pair with fresh Pilsners from the tank.
The nice restaurant in the newly opened Andaz hotel in Prague that aims to attracting locals as well as its hotel guests is serving St Martin’s menu until the end of the week. Of course you have the kaldoun soup, goose liver parfait with apricot, hazelnuts and pickled onion, goose breast and goose leg confit with two types of dumplings and red cabbage, and plum dumplings with sour cream and brown butter. An excellent choice if you want to eat your St Martin’s goose in a fancier setting.
Zdeněk Oyster Bar, a great restaurant that really focuses on seafood, has left surf behind and is going all turf for the St Martin’s week, serving goose confit with dumplings and lokše (fermented potato pancakes), and two types of cabbage from 8 through 11 November. You can buy the whole bird, or just a single portion. (And don’t worry, they will still have seafood.)
Bockem has become famous for approaching breakfast as a 3-course fine dining affair, but have long expanded into lunch and dinner, too, in what must be one of the most beautiful and tasteful dining room in town. On 11 and 12 November they will serve a 5-course St Martin’s feast, paired with St Martin’s wine by the Sedlák winery. No further details are provided, but this should be great.
Vinograf, one of the first wineries in Prague to serve Czech and Moravian wines with pride (in their late location in Míšeňská) is advertising a „Goose massacre“ in their Senovážné náměstí location on 11-12 November. No further details are provided but hey, what part of „massacre“ don’t you understand? This is a great place if you like wine with your food because boy, do they have wine. (St Martin’s wines will be definitely served, too.)
In any case, happy St Martin’s Day, and eat and drink responsibly!
Categories: Vinohradský Parlament
Tags: David Petřík, Viktor Kaplan
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